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Tag: George R.R. Martin

Is This Just Fantasy?: Fantastic Adult Fiction For The Voracious YA Fantasy Fan

Just Fantasy crossover 1.jpgI love sharing, discussing, and contemplating fantasy fiction–especially with fellow fans and readers. Happily, opportunities for such conversations happen on an almost daily basis for me.  Many of the most voracious readers among my students are fantasy fans; even as their tastes expand, these readers return again and again to this genre.  So where’s an ardent fantasy reader to turn when she exhausts her local library’s supply of young adult fantasy? One solution is to expand the search area–into the  world of adult fantasy fiction.

ocean at the end of the laneFor some, the easiest entry into a new area of fiction is through an author. For example, Neil Gaiman writes highly imaginative fiction imbued with dark beauty and twisted humor; his adult fiction is highly popular with teens at my library. Fans of unusual fairytale retellings might start with delightful Stardust (2000 Alex Award) while urban and offbeat high fantasy readers should investigate American Gods or Neverwhere.   And frankly, all fantasy readers should read his most recent release, the enchanting The Ocean At The End of The Lane.  

Let’s Celebrate Some Lovable YA Characters for Sweetest Day!

Have you heard of Sweetest Day?  You may not have if you don’t live in the Northeast or Great Lakes regions of the United States.  This holiday originated in Cleveland, Ohio in 1921 and is an “occasion which offers all of us an opportunity to remember the sick, aged and orphaned, but also friends, relatives and associates whose helpfulness and kindness we have enjoyed.”  Similar to Valentine’s Day, on the third Saturday in October, friends and relatives celebrate those sweet people in their lives, most often with candy or flowers.

I thought it might be fun for us to take a day this year to celebrate our favorite YA characters. They may not always be delightfully dispositioned, but we sure are grateful they have come into our lives. I asked my fellow Hub bloggers to think of their favorite YA characters and to try to match a sweet treat to them.  Little virtual treats to show our appreciation for their existence in the world.


photo by flickr user Vegan Feast Catering

Diane Colson – I love the character of Ezra in The Beginning of Everything by Robin Schneider. He’s a clueless nice guy until he’s badly injured. Then his popular friends seem to desert him and he spends a lonely summer recuperating. When Ezra returns to school, he begins to live his life differently. That’s when the real sweetness emerges!
For a corresponding dessert, I would choose Chocolate Marshmallow Bark. My reasoning is that Ezra is a little tough like bark and a little bitter like dark chocolate because of his injury. But once people get to know him they find him sweet and funny, like mini-marshmallows.

Discovering Your “Brand” of Fantasy

fantasyHave you ever picked up a fantasy book and loved it, then tried to follow-up with another, only to find that it’s just not working for you? Have your friends ever complained that they just couldn’t get into fantasy, but when you ask, they’ve only tried one or two books before giving up on the whole genre? If you answered yes to either question, you or someone you know may need to discover their “brand” of fantasy!

Fantasy is a huge genre, divided into many distinct and varied sub-genres. While some readers may love to delve into any type of fantasy, others may find themselves loving one book, then being utterly bored or bewildered by the next. Some readers may even be amazed to discover that they are reading a fantasy because the fantastic elements might be so subtle within the novel.

For example, one reader could love Alice Sebold’s The Lovely Bones but be unable to finish Christopher Paolini’s Eragon. Another could love Eragon but immediately dislike Neil Gaiman’s Neverwhere. Yet another could love Neil Gaiman’s Neverwhere, but be put off by Erin Morgenstern’s The Night Circus.

So how would a reader discover what fantasies they do like?

The Next Big Thing in Fantasy

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.

swordThere were a few years there where fantasy seemed like it was on the outs, relegated to the back table with the Dungeons and Dragons players and fairy-tale enthusiasts. There were a few breakthrough series such as the Eragon books, but for the most part, supernatural titles featuring vampires, wizards, zombies, fairies, and werewolves were taking up prime real estate on library shelves.

The lackluster popularity of fantasy has started to shift over the past few years with authors such as Kristen Cashore and John Flanagan rising in popularity. But even now, the top titles on Amazon in the Teens Fantasy category are all occupied by science fiction and supernatural blockbusters. That’s all about to change. Here’s why:

What Teens are Saying About What They Are Reading

To help teen readers find good books even when I am not around to give them ideas, the Middletown Public Library uses a form called Teen Choice Best Books. After teens complete the form, it is posted on the bulletin board with a copy of the book cover. Ideally in just a few words or phrases, they can capture what makes these books great and sell them to other teen readers looking for something new. I like the “don’t take my word for it” aspect of the display because I’m an adult, so I could be wrong, but peers should should have more insight. Here are some of the books our teens are reading along with their personal spin on why you should read them too.

Serena, 17: A Game of Thrones by George R. R. Martin