“I know nothing with any certainty, but the sight of the stars makes me dream.”
This quote is attributed to Vincent Van Gogh, but writers have found as much inspiration in the stars as artists. A quick survey of the shelves of the young adult section in library turns up dozens of books that invoke the imagery of stars in their title, whether they are science fiction, fantasy, or set in the real world of the past or present.
Fantasy or Supernatural
- Starry Nights by Daisy Whitney is an unusual romance set in Paris: a boy falls in love
- with a cursed girl, trapped in a painting.
- Fans of creepy ghost stories and serial killer mysteries with stay up late reading The Name of the Star by Maureen Johnson. (2012 Best Fiction for Young Adults)
- The Chaos of Stars by Kiersten White is a funny, light-hearted story of a the family and romantic drama that comes with being a girl who is descended from Egyptian gods.
- Shakespearean theater and fairies will enchant readers of Lisa Mantchev’s Eyes Like Stars.
Dystopian or Post-Apocalpytic
- Across a Star-Swept Sea and For Darkness Shows the Stars by Diana Peterfreund are both retellings of classic stories—The Scarlet Pimpernel by Baroness Emma Orczy and Jane Austen’s Persuasion—set in a future world where a large portion of the population have been “reduced” to a limited capacity through genetic engineering.
- Shadows Cast by Stars by Catherine Knutsson blends mythology and Arthurian Legend to tell a story of a world in which blood has become a contested commodity.
- Crime-fighting superheroes with a dash of magic make Dark Star by Bethany Frenette a fun read.
Captain America: The Winter Soldier debuted in theaters this weekend opening to the tune of $37 million dollars on its first day alone. It’s an entertaining new installment to the Marvel universe and one that has certainly shaken up the status quo for subsequent movies and the ABC television show SHIELD. There are lots of amazing articles on the interwebs that can speak to the awesomeness of this movie, its post-credit introduction to the second Avengers film and the many theories about this all means for the Marvel-verse going forward.
Since they pretty much have the movie and the film/comic nerd analysis covered for us, I thought it would be fun to create a “What would they read?” list for some of our favorite Captain America characters from Winter Soldier.
- Steve Rogers aka Captain America – The Book Thief by Markus Zusak (2007 Top Ten Best Books for Young Adults)
Death narrates this story from World War II where he tries to understand the horrors of human nature while also relating to Liesel, a young German girl who steals books and tells stories to sustain her friends and family during the war. Given that the Captain has missed out on years of popular culture, it seems like he would be the type of reader to relish the historical fiction novels more. This one might especially appeal to him since it is based in a time period he can actually remember. There is also a nice connection to be made between Death trying to understand the human race in the novel and the Captain trying to understand this new world that he finds himself in. read more…
Good morning, Hub readers!
Last week, we asked you to tell us which secondary character in YA lit deserves a book of their own. Reagan from Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell was your top pick by far, with 45% of the vote. Who can resist a character who’s described as wearing eyeliner “like a hardass Kate Middleton,” after all? The lovable, foul-mouthed Hassan from John Green’s An Abundance of Katherines was your second pick, with 24% of the vote. Write-ins included Lila from Holly Black’s Curse Workers series, Brimstone from Laini Taylor’s Smoke and Bone series, and Melina Marchetta’s character, Jimmy Hailler. You can see detailed results for all of our previous polls in the Polls Archive. Thanks to all of you who voted and commented!
This week, we’re buzzing about the news that Rainbow Rowell’s Printz Honor winning title Eleanor & Park has been picked up by Dreamworks for the big screen treatment. Although most YA book-to-movie adaptations in recent years have been in the paranormal or science fiction genres, with the upcoming release of The Fault in Our Stars movie in June, we might just be about to hit a big wave of realistic YA fiction in the movie theaters! So besides the two titles we’ve mentioned here, what other realistic YA fiction would you like to see adapted as a film? Vote in the poll below or add your suggestion in the comments.
Which realistic YA novel would you like to see adapted for the big screen?
- Anna and the French Kiss by Stephanie Perkins (39%, 49 Votes)
- Hate List by Jennifer Brown (14%, 18 Votes)
- The First Part Last by Angela Johnson (13%, 17 Votes)
- The Disenchantments by Nina LaCour (9%, 11 Votes)
- Forgive Me, Leonard Peacock by Matthew Quick (7%, 9 Votes)
- Yaqui Delgado Wants to Kick Your Ass by Meg Medina (7%, 9 Votes)
- Panic by Lauren Oliver (7%, 9 Votes)
- In Honor by Jessi Kirby (2%, 3 Votes)
- Purity by Jackson Pearce (1%, 1 Votes)
- If You Find Me by Emily Murdoch (1%, 0 Votes)
Total Voters: 126
Not signed up for YALSA’s 2014 Hub Reading Challenge? Read the official rules and sign up on the original post. Anything you’ve read since February 3 counts, so sign up now!
How is everyone doing with the competition? Are you just getting started? Or perhaps you have already finished? Have you found any new favorites or appreciated more about a past favorite as you reread it for the competition?
Though warm weather is just starting where I am, I hope at least some of you are enjoying Spring weather and can take your reading outdoors! We want to hear all about your reading experience! And, don’t forget to start thinking about your best spine poetry for our latest photo competition. Hopefully it will make you see the Hub Reading Challenge books in a whole new way!
The 2014 Hub Reading Challenge will run until 11:59PM EST on June 22nd, so you have until then to finish all 25 books. Just be sure to keep track of what you are reading/listening to as you go along. We’ll be posting these check-in posts every Sunday so you can share your thoughts about the book(s) you read/listened to that week and share links to any reviews you post online. If you just can’t wait for our weekly posts, you can also share your thoughts via social media using the #hubchallenge hashtag, or join the 2014 Hub Challenge group on Goodreads. Check out the social media conversation below!
If you have already completed the challenge by reading or listening to 25 titles from the list of eligible books, be sure to fill out the form below so we can send you your Challenge Finisher badge, get in touch to coordinate your reader’s response, and, perhaps best of all, notify you if you win our exciting grand prize drawing! Be sure to use an email you check frequently and do not fill out this form until you have completed the challenge by reading/listening to 25 titles. read more…
Want to write a book? Great! Just put your fingers on your keyboard and start typing. There you go, your first sentence!
Perhaps that’s the way it works for some, but for many authors, the opening sentence is one to ponder. Should it be enigmatic, coy, hilarious, or profound? Will it be powerful or understated? Elaborately descriptive or one perfect word? That sentence is read in just a moment, but has the potential to excite a reader’s interest…or not.
Create your free online surveys with SurveyMonkey , the world’s leading questionnaire tool.
There was a time when I was unaware of how awesome coffee and coffee shops were. I like to recall that time as the “dark years.” Now I can start a work day without my morning coffee, although I do miss going into Starbucks every morning and seeing the dynamic that happens there.
This led me to think of all the YA books taking place in or featuring coffee shops. There are a lot of books out there, but I can’t remember the one book that inspired this list. I can recall all the details, but the title, author, or any of the character’s names. It’s driving me crazy. While I rack my brain trying to remember, here are some of books that feature coffee, coffee shops, or those amazing people who make our coffee, baristas.
In this retelling of Much Ado About Nothing, Geena is looking forward to a summer of working at the local coffee shop with her cousin Hero and best friend Amber. But as soon as Geena arrives home from boarding school, she falls in love and realizes her friendship with Amber might be over.
Here are some great bookish tweets from this week:
- @catagator: And also, I wrote a post of Ellen Hopkins read alikes at Book Riot earlier this year, too –> http://bookriot.com/2014/01/20/beyond-bestsellers-youve-read-ellen-hopkins/ …
- @catagator : You’ve read Laurie Halse Anderson’s SPEAK? Here’s what YA titles to read next for sexual assault awareness month: http://bookriot.com/2014/04/01/beyond-bestsellers-youve-read-speak-laurie-halse-anderson/ …
- @PublishersWkly: The Most Anticipated Books of Spring 2014 http://pwne.ws/1iTbk9j
- @sljournal: Q & A: James Patterson Talks About Upcoming Webcast and How Literacy Saves Lives http://ow.ly/vj7ui
- @lbkids: Thanks for joining #LemonySnicket on his @reddit_AMA! Find answers to all of your wrong questions here: http://redd.it/21xynj
- @TLT16 : This month join @NSVRC to raise awareness of sexual violence. Also, follow #SVYALit Project 4 bks to raise awareness http://www.teenlibrariantoolbox.com/2014/02/svyalit-project-index.html …
- @IceyBooks : Hitting Shelves (#115) — April 1st, 2014 http://goo.gl/fb/JGtLa
- @PublishersWkly : PW’s Fall 2014 Children’s Sneak Previews — start making your reading list now! http://pwne.ws/1fODmDd
- @sljournal: YA Lit Winners and Honorees Announced for the 2014 Street Literature Book Awards http://ow.ly/vlSz1
You are aware, I’m sure, that April is National Poetry Month. This brainchild of the Academy of American Poets has been celebrated since 1996, and the Academy’s website has a plethora of great ideas ideas of ways to celebrate, but why not celebrate by simply reading more poetry?
What’s that? Poetry is “too hard?” Do not fear iambic pentameter, sestinas, or villanelles! But if you would rather not attempt a sonnet, a haiku, or even a limerick, there is a great way to ease yourself into the world of poems: novels written in verse. The tales are so compelling and the verse so subtle, you won’t even realize you are reading poetry. Quite often, novels in verse tackle very hard subjects. It can be astonishing how authors cover deep, dark topics with just a few, perfectly chosen words.
Here are a few to get you started:
My Book of Life By Angel – Martine Leavitt
Angel is sixteen when Call gives her “candy” that makes her fly, and asks her to start sleeping with his friends. Soon, Angel is hooked on drugs and is working the streets as a prostitute. When Call brings home an even younger girl, Angel plans to escape this life she’s found herself in, and take young Melli with her. Leavitt’s books have appeared on multiple Best Books for Young Adults lists, and after reading her work, you will understand why.
Freakboy – Kristin Clark (2014 Top Ten Best Fiction for Young Adults)
Brendan seems to be a guy’s guy. He’s a wrestler, has a lovely girlfriend, and loves video games, but deep inside, he wants long hair and soft skin and a curvy body. Brendan is transexual and he’s trying to figure out who he is. He has never met anyone else who is like him, and he is frightend that he is “not normal”, whatever that means.
Daisy’s family is in crisis. Her younger brother, Steven, is autistic, and his violent outbursts have become dangerous as he grows bigger and stronger. Daisy escapes into music, playing her trumpet in the jazz ensemble at her school. At one time, Daisy was an “…orchestra-guest-worthy prodigy horn player,” but Steven’s care has required the family resources to be diverted from her musical development. Nevertheless, playing jazz is Daisy’s refuge from the problems at home. When Daisy’s parents decide that Steven must move out of the home for better care, Daisy suspects that she should be relieved. Isn’t this her chance for freedom? Instead, she’s angry, and finds herself turning away from music and her dreams for her future.
Daisy loves Kind of Blue, an album by Miles Davis and members of his jazz sextet. It’s “…kind of, always, how I feel,” Daisy describes. She’s not alone in her admiration. The smooth, beautiful melodies introduced a shift in the improvisational possibilities of jazz, resulting in music that feels as if it could go on forever. The album was recorded in two sessions and released in August 1959. Many regard it as the best jazz album ever.
To celebrate the 50th anniversary of Kind of Blue’s release, Columbia Records reissued the album in 2008. (Not fifty years, is it?) Below is a short clip elucidating its effect on jazz music.
-Diane Colson, currently reading Grandmaster by David Klass