As Hollywood continues to mine young adult literature in hopes of finding the next big franchise, you can’t turn around without running into another film adaptation of a YA novel. In November alone, Ender’s Game burst into theaters only to be followed by the highly anticipated release of Catching Fire. The Divergent trailer will be analyzed carefully for months and behind the scenes photos from both The Fault in Our Stars and If I Stay bounce around Facebook and Tumblr at rapid speed. However, The Book Thief managed to slip into movie theaters around the world this month with much less fanfare.
In fact, when I asked teens and adults alike about their predictions for this 2007 Printz Honor winner’s big screen treatment, many expressed surprise that a film version was happening at all–let alone that it was premiering in a few days. But once they heard the news, the book’s fans were as anxious as any Hunger Games or Harry Potter devotees. Would the silver screen in some way ruin the book they love so passionately? How could the film will capture the novel’s unique narrator, Death? Will the book’s unusual imagery and strong emotional story somehow become cheesy in translation? read more…
As usual, Twitter has been busy this week with YA related news, events, giveaways and more. Here are some of the highlights, in case you missed anything…
Contests and Giveaways
- Enter to win an advance copy of ASHES TO ASHES by @melissacwalker ––> http://shrd.by/7GnfH5 -@harperteen
- Morning! Here’s a giveaway to start your day —> http://shrd.by/kPn3C7 via @ryangraudin-@haperteen
- Available now! For free! My short story, “The Turing Test,” from @LightspeedMag! Go! Read! Free! Exclamation mark! http://www.lightspeedmagazine.com/fiction/the-turing-test/ …-@bethrevis
- Read an excerpt fr @marburyjack‘s #GrasshopperJungle http://bit.ly/GrasshopperJungle … & tweet the link 2 win a prize pack! pic.twitter.com/UPFf7jscOZ-@PenguinTeen
- Follow the tour for JAVA MAN by @HarrisandGray & enter to win a #KindleFireHD, $50 GC, signed copy & more! Enter: http://publicity.bookandlatte.com/2013/11/tour-java-man-harris-gray/ …-@yaReads
- Want to get your hands on @ryangraudin‘s ALL THAT GLOWS before on sale? Enter the giveaway ––> http://shrd.by/XztLGR http://shrd.by/1r7Sgm -@harperteen
- Coming tomorrow at noon-the brand new trailer for PAWN by @aimee_carter and giveaway! pic.twitter.com/wPoACJenFK-@HarlequinTeen
- To celebrate PAWN’s release in FIVE DAYS, I’m giving away a one-of-a-kind annotated copy and a silver pawn necklace. http://www.aimeecarter.blogspot.com/2013/11/win-annotated-copy-of-pawn-and-pawn.html …-@aimee_carter
Happy Geography Awareness Week!
Geography Awareness Week, also known as GeoWeek, is an annual public awareness celebration organized by National Geographic Education Programs (NGEP). This year the theme is Geography and the New Age of Exploration.
Geography plays an important role in many YA titles. Whether it’s the futuristic Chicago in Veronica Roth’s Divergent series or modern day New York City in David Levithan and Rachel Cohn’s Dash & Lily’s Book of Dares, authors use geography and location in order to develop their worlds. Road trip and travel stories, in particular, move their characters through their story lines by moving them around geographically.
In order to connect with the theme of the New Age of Exploration, I have selected two books, one domestic road trip and one international travel story, and created Google Maps of some of the important geographic landmarks in the stories. These maps follow the journeys taking place on the page, providing a visual way to track the trips.
Heads up for those concerned about SPOILERS: I tried to keep all plot spoilers to a minimum in my location notes, but I do highlight locations that are mentioned from the beginning to the end of each book.
Let’s start with our domestic road trip. In Amy & Roger’s Epic Detour by Morgan Matson (2011 Top Ten Best Fiction for Young Adults, 2012 Popular Paperback for Young Adults), our characters goal is to get from Southern California to Connecticut. They start out with a well planned itinerary from Amy’s mother, but very early into the trip, as the title implies, they decide to take advantage of the open road.
View Amy & Roger’s Epic Detour Map in a larger map
Moving overseas, we have Maureen Johnson’s 13 Little Blue Envelopes (2006 Teens’ Top Ten, 2006 Best Book for Young Adults). Ginny’s journey begins with a trip to New York City and then heads overseas where she travels around Europe based on the directions of her recently deceased aunt, left for her in a series of thirteen letters. This map notes the major places Ginny visits on her adventures.
View 13 Little Blue Envelopes Map in a larger map
Have you learned about geography from any YA titles? Is there a book that you would like to see mapped out geographically?
- Jessica Lind, currently reading Catherine by April Lindner
YALSA-bk is a listserv with lively discussions among librarians, educators, and beyond about all things YA lit. Sometimes one listserv member will ask for help finding books around a certain theme or readalikes for a particular title. This post is a compilation of responses for one such request.
The original request
My local high school is attempting to do a “One Book One Read” for their required summer reading, where every student — grades 9-12 — will read the same book. Last year they chose I Am the Messenger by Markus Zusak and received a lot of parent complaints about the content (primarily concerning sex and violence).
They would like to try again this year and have asked for my help in finding The Holy Grail of Books. They’re looking for a book that:
- Is appropriate for all grades (again, 9-12)
- Students haven’t already read [for class]
- Does not contain strong language, violence, sex, allusions to drugs or alcohol
- “Has a good (but NOT religious) message”
These students are annually assigned to read The Book Thief by Markus Zusak and Hiroshima by John Hersey and the teens absolutely LOVE THEM — to point where many of them read the books before they have been assigned, because they’ve heard they’re so good. Steampunk and dystopian series also circulate very well at my branch.
I’m going through the server archives to see what has already been suggested, but I’ve noticed most of the “clean reads” list are gender-specific and geared more toward middle schoolers.
Some readers may recognize the title of this post as a reference to the classic ‘80s movie War Games, but even if you don’t, you likely relate to the sentiment of gathering with friends to play a game. This summer, researchers uncovered game pieces from over 5,000 years ago and there were probably simple games in existence far before then. Earlier this month, the movie version of Ender’s Game came out and this weekend will see the release of Catching Fire, the second Hunger Games movie, both of which take place in worlds where games and competitions are central. With games being such a universal theme across time, it is no surprise that they are also a recurring theme in literature. If you enjoy games and think it would be fun to read books that center around them, check out one of these great options. read more…
Call him cynical, call him unfeeling, but don’t ever call him dull. Ritchie’s keen, restless wit drives this hilarious narrative as it speeds down two paths. The first is the story of Ritchie, his friend Elliot, his not-girlfriend Lacy, and an incredible bongo drummer called Chaos (“Chowus” to you) clumsily form a band. In alternating chapters, Ritchie is in a juvenile detention center writing out his story as part of a therapy project. At first he takes the assignment as a joke. But Ritchie is intelligent and eloquent, a natural writer, and eventually he is able to release his emotions through words.
The book is jammed full of musical references. There’s the music Ritchie likes, the music he mocks, the music he plays, the music he writes, the music of his ring tones, etc. At the end of the story, Beaudoin adds some extras, such as Ritchie’s list of 25 Worst Band Names Ever, and a discography of the book. It was hard to select just one song for Jukebooks, but led by my interest in the perverse, I selected What We Do Is Secret by the Germs.
Elliot plays the Germs while driving quite recklessly in his car. Ritchie describes the sound as “…something that’s hard and fast and harsh and fast and awesome and fast and loud and fast and fast and fast.” (p137) But he pretends he doesn’t know the band, nor its lead singer, Darby Crash. This gives Elliot the chance to explain that Darby Crash fell apart and overdosed on heroin, hence only one album. Crash’s sad story and sadder death were completely overshadowed in the news however, when John Lennon was murdered just hours later. As Ritchie says, “‘Total punk timing.’”
A film biopic, What We Do Is Secret, spent fifteen years in production prior to it’s 2007 release. Producer/director Rodger Grossman focuses on Darby Crash as he builds his band and then gradually self-destructs. Crash and the Germs also appear in a segment of The Decline of Western Civilization, a documentary about the punk scene in LA, 1979-1980.
The video clip below shows a live performance of the song, What We Do Is Secret.
-Diane Colson, currently reading This is the Story of a Happy Marriage by Ann Patchett and listening to Spillover: Animal Infections and the Next Human Pandemic by David Quamman and read by Jonathan Yen
I often spend a lot of my time recommending books to people. I got to thinking: what books would I recommend to my favorite TV and movies characters? There are so many different characters to choose from, but I knew that I would need to first look at a group of nerds with whom I would love to spend time discussing the finer things of the book shelves. I decided to closely examine the possible reading tastes of the ensemble of The Big Bang Theory. Some of the characters may be pretty obvious in their reading preferences. I mean, how many times have we heard Raj talk about Twilight? So now, with no further delay, here are my recommendations for our nerdy male friends in The Big Bang Theory.
Sheldon – Sheldon is one of the more difficult, yet simplest person to please with books. Obviously if you’ve watched at least one random episode, you will easily notice the love of comic books and graphic novels. Sheldon has an affinity for Batman as he states that he could be Batman given the right amount of financial backing. Given those interests, I would recommend Batman: Year One by Frank Miller and David Muzzuchelli. As for a traditionally-formatted teen novel, I would suggest The Adoration of Jenna Fox by Mary Pearson (2009 Best Books for Young Adults, 2009 Amazing Audiobooks for Young Adults). In this book, Jenna discovers that after she experiences a traumatic accident, she is only alive due to vast amounts of artificial medical materials. This leaves Jenna debating whether or not she is still human or now some kind of medical creation. Sheldon would be interested in the ethics of science as well as the procedures created for the book. Not to mention, it is mentioned quite frequently that Sheldon is not quite human. I would also throw the modern-day classic, Ender’s Game by 2008 Edwards Award winner Orson Scott Card at Sheldon as well. He would definitely be able to relate to the young genius protagonist. Also, the science fiction elements fit into Sheldon’s established preferred genre. read more…
Last week, we wanted to know which version of the afterlife you would want to experience, as depicted in YA lit. Lots of readers must like the idea of aging backwards, because the clear preference was the afterlife described in Elsewhere by Gabrielle Zevin, with 70% of the vote. 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 asking you to choose the first lines of a book that make you want to keep reading. We’ve picked out some compelling choices for you, so vote in the poll below, and please comment if we’ve missed your favorite first lines.
Which book's first lines make you want to keep reading?
- “I said a silent prayer. Actually, silent is probably the only type of prayer a guy should attempt when his head’s in a toilet.” (Winger by Andrew Smith) (20%, 38 Votes)
- “Blue Sargent had forgotten how many times she’s been told she would kill her true love.” (The Raven Boys by Maggie Stiefvater) (16%, 32 Votes)
- “I’ve confessed to everything and I’d like to be hanged. Now, if you please. I don’t mean to be difficult, but I can’t bear to tell my story.” (Chime by Frannie Billingsley) (15%, 30 Votes)
- “I am a coward. I wanted to be heroic and pretended I was. I have always been good at pretending.” (Code Name Verity by Elizabeth Wein) (12%, 23 Votes)
- “I cracked my first lock when I was three. I know that sounds like I’m bragging, but really, it wasn’t that hard.” (Also Known As by Robin Benway) (10%, 20 Votes)
- “I wake up. Immediately I have to figure out who I am.” (Every Day by David Levithan) (10%, 19 Votes)
- “I had just come to accept that my life would be ordinary when extraordinary things began to happen.” (Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children by Ransom Riggs) (7%, 14 Votes)
- “In which I enter an alternative universe where burly men read Cosmo and giant house cats roam sacred corridors.” (The Red Blazer Girls: The Ring of Rocamadour by Michael Beil) (5%, 10 Votes)
- “There’s a beautiful girl to my left, another to my right.” (Drums, Girls and Dangerous Pie by Jordan Sonnenblick) (3%, 5 Votes)
- “Every town in England has a story. One day I am going to find out Sorry-in-the-Vale’s.” (Unspoken by Sarah Rees Brennan) (2%, 4 Votes)
Total Voters: 194
We love reading challenges here at The Hub, and we hope you do, too, because it’s almost time for the second annual Morris/Nonfiction Reading Challenge! Did you participate in last year’s challenge? Did you wish you had? Well, now’s your chance!
On Monday, December 9, YALSA’s 2014 Morris/Nonfiction Reading Challenge will begin. The finalists for the William C. Morris YA Debut Award and the YALSA Award for Excellence in Nonfiction will have been announced, and you’ll have seven weeks — until the Youth Media Awards announcement on January 27th when the award winners will be revealed — to read all of the finalists for the awards. You may choose to read just the titles on the Morris Award shortlist or just the ones on the Nonfiction Award shortlist — or if you’re feeling ambitious, you may do both.
Everyone who completes the challenge by reading either all of the Morris Award finalists or all of the Nonfiction Award finalists will be permitted to count those titles toward our 2014 Hub Reading Challenge, which starts in February. (Normally you may not count books you’ve already read toward the Hub Reading Challenge.) This will give finishers for the Morris/Nonfiction Reading Challenge a leg up and get them that many books closer to being eligible to win the Hub Reading Challenge prize!
Are you up for the challenge? Keep an eye on The Hub for more details and to participate.
-Allison Tran, currently listening to the audiobook of Crewel by Gennifer Albin, narrated by Amanda Dolan