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Tag: Ellen Hopkins

Novels in Verse for Poetry Month

national-poetry-monthYou 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 mybookoflifebyangel
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.

freakboyFreakboy – 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.


ALA 2013: Teen Tastemakers Reception

Burned(hopkins)On Friday, June 28, Simon and Schuster held what it hoped would be the first of many “Teen Tastemakers” receptions at ALA in Chicago. The first guest of honor was Ellen Hopkins, who was there to promote her book Smoke, the sequel to her 2006 book Burned. Before the event, all the teens in attendance were given Burned to read so they would be able to ask Hopkins questions later in the evening.

When the event started, teens and their librarian advisors were given passports. The passports were stamped while teens mingled, enjoyed appetizers and drinks, and spoke with each other and Hopkins. The teens learned about PulseIt, were given five free books (Smoke among them), watched the City of Bones trailer, received movie paraphernalia, and voted on book covers.

After mingling, Hopkins went to the front of the room to talk about her writing process, what she was working on, and her charity Ventana Sierra.


Across the Uni-Verse: Novels in Poetry, Part 2

4703932712_b3b6867d25There are a lot of things I appreciate that I can’t do. I think roller coasters are amazing, but they scare me. I also get wicked sick when I ride them. I love poetry but my attempts at verse are sadly lacking. I love novels written in verse. I actively seek them out to buy, read and share with others. It’s all a good outlet for lack of artistic prowess. To me it seems like books in verse transcend genre; they are their own format like graphic novels. The sparseness of the words allows the reader to get right to the heart of the story and all it’s emotional content.

I’ve already done one booklist of some of my favorite novels written with poetry, Across the Uni-Verse: Novels in Poetry. Here are some new books in verse to enjoy.

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Connecting with Authors on Twitter

In 140-character messages called tweets, Twitter allows people from all walks of life to share thoughts, links to webpages, and images. Add a select group of followers and you can keep your messages between friends — or add celebrities, organizations, and movements whose messages will take your feed to a bigger scale. You can follow people with mundane insights like me @LPerenic, or learn about major political change from President Obama (@BarackObama). If you aren’t sure where to begin and browsing is how you often stumble upon new things, a good place to start is the discover feature on Twitter, where you have the option to browse categories, including books. This category has 60-some rotating suggestions of book-related tweeters (twits? tweeps?) who might be fun to follow.


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Teen Perspective: Three Reasons to Read

[Today’s post is by Lauren, an 8th grader. Thanks for sharing your perspective with our readers, Lauren!]

ya fictionIt’s not really a big deal when someone says to me, “I don’t really read books that often.” Alright, so it might be a small deal. But when I hear a fellow classmate say, “Books,” (pause for obnoxious laughter), “who reads those!” I feel like grumbling. Grumbling is not particularly attractive, mind you, therefore I try not to do it.

When people insult the thing I spend most of my free time doing, my grumbling feels slightly justified. How can someone disregard the slight whoosh when strolling through the automatic doors of the totally not dusty and old but actually super amazing library? The overwhelming sense of being surrounded by so many lives full of emotion and tragedy and inside jokes? How can someone not be in awe of how these incredible people called writers have managed to harness meaningless words and turn them into your best friends?

In case you are one of those people who are unfamiliar with these feelings, I’ll give three reasons why reading is cool and two books worth checking out.


Quick Booktalks for Quick Picks

YALSA recently released its 2013 Quick Picks for Reluctant Readers book list. Thoughtfully selected by a committee who read hundreds of titles over the past year, the list suggests books that teens will pick up on their own and read for pleasure — even if they don’t necessarily like to read.

Though this list is officially geared toward “reluctant readers,” the selected titles are likely to appeal to just about anyone. And since half the fun of reading is sharing your love of a good book with someone else, here are a few handy elevator speeches you can use to convince others to read some of these books — in 30 seconds or less, guaranteed!

meandearlMe and Earl and the Dying Girl by Jesse Andrews

When Greg’s old childhood friend, Rachel, is diagnosed with leukemia, his mom insists he should rekindle his friendship with her to show support. I know what you’re thinking — not another depressing cancer book … right? But wait, this one is funny! Seriously. No tissues necessary.

Girl of Nightmares by Kendare Blake

In the predecessor to this book, Anna Dressed in Blood, the ghost of a beautiful young girl literally went to hell to save the ghost hunter who was supposed to wipe her out — but kind of fell in love with her instead. (Did you get all that?) Now he’s determined to rescue her, because you can’t just leave a nice girl in hell, right? The journey will take him halfway around the world. Oh, and it involves a stroll through a suicide forest, so keep all the lights on while you read, okay?


Beyond Young Adult Literature

There has been a lot of buzz in the world of young adult literature about a possible new category: new adult fiction. This is designed to “bridge a gap” between young adult fiction and adult fiction and is often characterized as featuring college-aged protagonists. Some say it’s a niche thing that will never really gain enough traction to make it a big deal. Some call it a marketing ploy. Others, especially readers on the Internet and those who note the percentage of adults who read young adult fiction, think it’s a category with a lot of potential.

adult cereals by flickr user yadniloc
adult cereals by flickr user yadniloc

Whether or not new adult literature becomes a widely accepted category (the way young adult fiction has) is not the point of this post, however. Instead, I want to share books written for the adult market by popular young adult authors and books that are shelved in the adult literature section but that are about teenage protagonists and would appeal to fans of YA.


Twintastic Teen Tomes!

If you happen to be Twinsburg, Ohio this weekend, you’ll notice that the city is definitely living up to its name. That’s because Twinsburg hosts an annual Twins Day Festival on the first weekend of the August. In honor of what the Guinness Book of World Records has titled as the largest gathering of twins in the world, here’s a retrospective of teen books with twins that helped define the past thirty years.

Classic cover of Flowers in the Attic by VC AndrewsFlowers in the Attic by V.C. Andrews
This book hit the scene in 1979 and definitely made some waves. While it wasn’t published specifically as young adult lit, this bestseller features four siblings: Cathy, Chris, and twins Cory and Carie. When their mother can’t afford to take care of them anymore, the family moves in with their grandmother. Weirdly, their grandmother banishes them to a locked attic. Things get stranger and stranger from there, in this book that scandalized many and has been passed around school yards for over thirty years because of its voyeristic and incestious content.

Sweet Valley High by Francine Pascal
If you ask the random person on the street to name the quintessential teen book that featured twins, they would probably not hesitate before naming this uber-popular book series. Created by Francine Pascal (but shhh — she used ghost-writers for many of the books), this series featured the pretty and popular identical twins Elizabeth and Jessica Wakefield. Over the twenty years they were in print, readers were treated to 152 Sweet Valley High books. Whether you identify with Jessica, the social butterfly who loves fashion, or Elizabeth, the sensible bookworm, these California girls were the talk of the lockers in the 80s.