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Tag: Angels

Guide to Angels in YA Literature

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Now that ghosts and ghouls have had their day, it seems appropriate to turn to beneficent supernatural beings. In fact, there’s a long tradition of honoring saints (All Saints’ Day) and praying for the souls of departed loved ones (All Souls Day) just after Halloween.

In recent years, we’ve seen countless permutations of teen characters with paranormal qualities. Good vampires, tormented werewolves, hilarious zombies… and so many more. Perhaps it was inevitable that angels, traditionally sacred creatures busy with the work of God, should be incorporated into YA fiction. Hierarchies of angelic responsibilities were created centuries ago by at least four major religions: Christian, Jewish, Islamic, and Zoroastrian. It’s interesting to see what sort of worlds are created for today’s teen angels.

 Kissed by an Angel series by Elizabeth Chandler

This is an enduring series that focuses on the relationship between Tristan and Ivy, two beautiful teens who are tragically separated by Tristan’s death. Ivy is completely devastated, but she still feels Tristan’s presence, even feels the touch of his hand. This is because Tristan has returned to Ivy as her guardian angel. His task is protect Ivy from danger, particularly as they team up to track down Tristan’s killer. The first three books in the original trilogy are now published in one volume, Kissed by an Angel. Kissed by an Angel is an early entry in the realm of transcendental love affairs.

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The Next Big Things That Never Were: Predictions That Haven’t Come True…Yet

YALSA’s upcoming YA Literature Symposium will explore the future of young adult literature. The symposium begins on November 2nd, but we wanted to get a head start here at The Hub, so we’re devoting October to 31 Days of the Next Big Thing. Each day of the month, we’ll bring you forecasts about where YA literature is headed and thoughts on how you can spot trends and predict the future yourself.

As much as we love to look into our crystal ball, not everyone can be Nostradamus. Some predictions just never take off. As we near the YA Literature Symposium, let’s take a moment to look at the trends that didn’t quite get off the ground.

Mermaids

In 2010, as we were sure the vampire trend was waning and the dystopian train was still gathering steam, we began looking for the next big thing. Publishers guessed that paranormal was going to continue to be popular and were looking for the next hot creature. Vampires were old news, werewolves were even a little dated, zombies were hot but had probably hit their peak — mermaids, they decided, were where it was at! Some of the highlights:

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Books That Make Me Wish I Had Wings

Lately I’ve been reading some fantastic fantasy about angels and dragons.  I think my love for these stories is based in my fascination with wings and how it would feel to be able to fly.  This selection of books is perfect for readers who feel the same way.

Hidden is the final book in the Sophie Jordan’s Firelight trilogy. In this series Jacinda is a Draki, which means she can transform into a dragon. The books are full of beautiful flight scenes where Jacinda and members of her pride transform and soar on leathery wings. In this book Jacinda allows herself to be captured by the ENKROS, the cruel scientists who cut up and do experiements on the Draki, not realizing they are part human. This book is full of action from start to finish. When they escape from the ENKROS stronghold they are being tracked and have to use all of their powerful skills to evade and fight back against hunters. Jacinda is dealing with deep emotions. She still loves Will but has stronger feelings for Cassian now that they are bonded. She feels everything he feels. The action made this such a quick and satisfying read. Hidden will be available in September.

Illumiate is Amiee Agresti’s first novel for teens. Haven Terra is tapped to do an internship under the toast of Chicago, the young, beautiful, and highly successful Aurelia Brown. She is the owner of the Lexington Hotel, which was the notorious home of Al Capone. It is about to reopen as the hottest place in town. Haven and her best friend Dante and another classmate named Lance move into the hotel. The employees are ridiculously beautiful and part of an exclusive club called “The Outfit” after Capone’s gang. The three figure out quickly there is something unnatural about the whole thing. When the photos Haven takes of the staff start changing, strange and scary things start to happen. Haven discovers a mysterious blank book with her name on it. When an unknown person or spirit starts writing to her in the book calling her a winged one, her adventure truly begins and turns into an intense battle between good and evil. Agresti is brilliant at world building. She describes this hotel with its deep underground nightclub and tunnels with great detail. I felt like I was there experiencing this rich, luxurious hotel. I even felt a little claustrophobic when she described Haven’s hotel room in the basement. The characters were multidimensional and believable.

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Staking the Vampire

Smile! Your days are numbered!

It’s the beginning of the end, folks–for the Twilight series that is. As any Twi-fan knows, Breaking Dawn, Part 1 premiered last weekend, and it’s only a matter of time until “Part 2” wraps up the series in a happy little bow. Whether they like the Twilight saga or not, astute commentators must agree that those books changed the shape of teen literature, propelling paranormal romance, and vampires, to the top of the charts.

But have the blood-drinking sophisticates started to overstay their welcome? November 14th’s Hub poll determined that of all the trends in teen literature, “Vampires” was the one most Hub readers wanted to see go. So The Hub is here to ask the question “What next?” Towards which creature should we direct our adulation–or mockery? Who will put the stake in the vampire trend? Let’s examine the options.

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Angel Fantasy – Not All Are Divine

Angel fantasy is a little different than your average supernatural romance. I think most of us can agree that vampires and werewolves are not real. However, according to a recent poll featured on NBC News, 75% of Americans believe in the existence of heavenly angels. Many new books have been written in this sub-genre. I believe for angel fantasy to really work, it must have some religion in it. The ones without it feel flat to me. In that spirit, I bring you my favorite new angel fantasy novels.

 

I just finished Unearthly by Cynthia Hand and loved it! Clara is an angel-blood. Her mother is half angel (so Clara is a quarter angel) and over 100 years old. Clara has some amazing powers such as a blinding heavenly light. She has wings and can speak any language including a secret angelic one. At the beginning of the story, she starts having visions. These visions help an angel understand her purpose here on earth. She sees a forest fire, a silver SUV and (prepare to swoon) a ridiculously gorgeous boy. Her family packs up and moves to Wyoming where, on her first day of school, she runs into the boy from her vision. Clara is not sure if she is truly attracted to him, or it is just because her purpose is tied to him. Her powers grow as her purpose comes closer. She is distracted by another boy, Tucker, who irritated her at first. Twilight fans will love how romance blossoms between Clara and the two boys. Cynthia Hand did a beautiful job developing the characters, including Clara’s fascinating half angel mother. The story had enough twists and turns to keep me interested. The heavenly light is described as a way they communicate with God. I truly missed the characters when I was done with the book and can’t wait for the sequel, Hallowed.

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