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Tweets of the Week: April 10th

2014 April 11
by Whitney Etchison
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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

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SuperMOOC Mania! Part One – Addiction in Graphic Novels

2014 April 10
by Traci Glass
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SuperMOOC2So, last year, just around this time, I heard a word I’d never heard before – SuperMOOC.  It stands for Super Massive Open Online Course – it’s a free course, sometimes sponsored by a college, sometimes not, but always fun and exciting (well, at least the two I’ve taken have been and are).  It’s open to as many people who want to sign up for it, and the one that propelled me into SuperMOOC mania was Professor Christy Blanch’s first foray into the world – Gender through Comic Books.

Well, it was a glorious three months that ended too soon, but I was happy to learn that Professor Blanch was offering another one – Social Issues through Comic Books.  I’m currently deep in the throes of this class, and I thought each month I’d share with you the comic books we’re reading that have to do with a specific societal issue.   This class is a bit longer, but we’ll be tackling issues like addiction, the environment, social inequality, immigration & information privacy.

I thought it would be fun for me to give you, dear readers, all the info on these comics – a lot of which are ones that were already in my library’s teen graphic novel collection, but I had never read before.  First up – addiction.  For readers interested in the topic or those curious to see how comic books have covered the topic, I’ve got you covered.  Come with me over the next few months to hear my thoughts on a lot of comics that I’ve only just recently read.  As always…let’s start with Batman –

Batman VenomBatman:  Venom by Denny O’Neil, Trevor Von Eeden, Russell Braun & Jose Luis Garcia-Lopez:  So, I’m actually pretty embarrassed admitting this, but I had never read this Batman story, even though I noticed it quite a few times as I was going through my graphic novel collection.  Well, lucky for me, this class forced me to read it, and it was quite a good book.  Basic story: Batman is helpless to save a little girl’s life because he just can’t physically lift the weight to free her.  So, he turns to Venom pills (which will soon make an appearance for the worse when Bane gets ahold of them) which turn him into the crazy, mad psycho type that is hell-bent on giving the baddies their due with his new superhuman strength.  But at what cost?  His health?  His sanity?  This was an enlightening read that I liked because Batman really is just a regular human guy; it sometimes is helpful to see that even those who are the strongest have their weaknesses, as well.  Poor Batman, and boy does that cover creep me out every time I look at it.  I’m turning it over now, and moving on to…  read more…

Russia-Infused YA Lit

2014 April 9
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Photo by Jessica Lind

Photo by Jessica Lind

One year ago today, my first post for The Hub, From Russia with YA, went live. Today, I am celebrating my blogiversary with another Russian-related topic: the abundance of YA lit being published with a Russian connection.

Over the past couple of years, it seems that Russia (or the USSR) has been popping up everywhere! At first, I thought I was only noticing this theme because I moved here, much like how the world felt like it was suddenly filled with weddings as soon as I got engaged. I had a few conversations with friends who did not have the same connection and they had noticed it, too.

What is it about Russia that makes for such an interesting background in YA lit? Is it simply because it is a country that has such a long history filled with royalty, religion, and rebellion? Did the Cold War draw a clear line between the cultures of the US and the USSR, making life in Russia seem even more distant and distinct, a novelty?

The books that I have included in this post focus on various aspects of Russian history and culture, across a range of historical time periods. None of these books are contemporary stories (the most recent occur during the Soviet Union) and most include elements of fantasy and the supernatural. It seems that something about Russia cries out for the inclusion of magic – even a story of spies and ballet is open to a supernatural addition!

  • shadow_and_bone_coverThe Grisha Trilogy by Leigh Bardugo (Shadow and Bone2013 Best Fiction for Young Adults, 2013 Readers’ Choice)
    • The Grisha trilogy is a Russian-influenced high-fantasy series based on magical powers and battles between light and dark. Bardugo used elements of Russian culture and language to create a completely new world. Some readers have expressed frustration with her departure from the traditional rules and customs of Russia, for example not following the proper gendering of surnames, but the Grisha trilogy is a separate fantasy world, not an attempt to recreate the actual culture.  read more…

Jukebooks: Coda by Emma Trevayne

2014 April 9
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Coda Final CoverKaz_Coda-cvrIn Anthem’s world, music is a dangerous, addictive drug, produced by an ominous Corporation. The sound is coded to create a craving in the listener, a craving so strong that it can a person can literally overdose and die.  But Anthem develops a more personal relationship with music when he begins playing guitar with a band. Unsurprisingly, the powerful Corporation has no use for Anthem and his band. And that’s precisely why it’s important for Anthem to keep playing.

Emma Travayne was asked in an interview what sort of music Anthem and his band would be playing. Her reply, “Electro-industrial, the unofficial sponsor of cyberpunks everywhere.” I chose a familiar band, Nine Inch Nails, to represent the genre. Here they are, playing Head Like a Hole:

-Diane Colson, currently reading Dorothy Must Die by Danielle Paige

Young Adult Fiction for Starry Nights

2014 April 8
by Molly Wetta
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YA fiction for starry nights title“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.

 

YA fiction for starry nights

 

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What Would They Read? Captain America: The Winter Soldier

2014 April 7
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captainamerica

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…

The Monday Poll: Realistic YA Lit on the Big Screen

2014 April 7
by Allison Tran
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photo by flickr user Omar Omar

photo by flickr user Omar Omar

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

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2014 Hub Reading Challenge Check-in #9

2014 April 6
by Carli Spina
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Hub Reading Challenge logoNot 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 titlesread more…

Is This the Real Life? Coffee Edition

2014 April 4
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Coffee photo by Allison TranThere 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.

confessions_triple_shot_bettyConfessions of a Triple Shot Betty by Jody Gehrman (2010 Popular Paperbacks for Young Adults)

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.

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Tweets of the Week: April 4

2014 April 4
by Jennifer Rummel
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Here are some great bookish tweets from this week:

Books:

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