Steampunk, believe it or not, is a term that has been round since the late 1980s. It is usually defined as a sub-genre of science fiction and features a late 19th century or early 20th century setting, but with steam-powered and clockwork inventions and machines. Steampunk can also be identified as a sub-genre of speculative fiction and is often described as alternate history. Most steampunk novels are set in Victorian England or America, but are also known to be set in the Wild West of America.
Steampunk is often characterized by the setting of the story and inventions that are fantastical and magical. Steampunk uses a lot of visual descriptions, especially when it comes to the machinery and fashion. Oftentimes, a lot of description will go into how a machine works. Supernatural elements are typically included in a steampunk story. Steampunk plots are adventure-driven stories, where machines play the part of moving the adventure along. Since there is so much action packed into most steampunk novels, the pacing is usually fast.
The characters of steampunk novels are quirky and include inventors, mad scientists, or the like. Characters in steampunk novels also take on the punk mentality. Usually the main character or characters is individualistic often goes against the mainstream, and he or she may be fighting for a cause or movement. Many times the plot of a steampunk novel involves good vs. evil, where the good guys and bad guys are clearly defined. Continue reading Genre Guide: Steampunk for Teens
It’s Valentine’s Day and love is in the air! Then again, when it comes to YA books, love is always in the air around here.
Inspired by the Blind Date with a Book displays that are popping up in libraries this week, we are sharing some YA book singles ads with you. Read the blurb and try to guess which which book is looking for a reader. Answers will appear after the break.
Feel free to share your own blurbs in the comments!
1. “Historical fiction seeks reader for a look at the effect of WWII on a Lithuanian family. This is a date for fans of beautifully written stories of hope during the toughest of times.”
2. “Contemporary YA novel seeks reader as date for school trip to England. Shakespeare, mobile phones, and love await you.”
3. “Modern update on classic story seeks reader to flashback to New York’s rock scene in the eighties. Must be willing to jump between timelines to solve a mystery.”
4. “Totally rockin’ graphic novel seeks reader to, you know, just, like, hang out. An interest in music and old school video games would be a total plus. May be required to travel through Subspace.”
5. “Sweet and funny romance seeks reader who loves film and Parisian travel.”
6. “Modern fantasy seeks reader to explore the magical possibilities of origami, sentient textbooks, and folding reality.”
7. “Collection of short stories seeks reader with a wide range of esoteric interests ranging from raising the dead to ethnography of magicians to television shows about libraries and boys who inherit phone booths to handbags with entire fairy realms inside.”
8. “Suspenseful dystopian novel seeks reader to resist the alien invasion while reminiscing about the past and keeping alive the vow to rescue a sibling.”
9. “Heartbreakingly realistic boarding school novel seeks reader who can handle rugby, violence, sexual fantasies, and growing pains. Enjoying comics is a plus.”
10. “Award winning book linking seven stories across time and space seeks speculative fiction loving reader who wants to puzzle out the mysteries of love, family, and sacrifice.”
11. “Like fairy tales? Like ghost stories? How about mysteries? Acclaimed YA novel combining all these elements seeks reader who is open to the idea of spirits from the past guiding us in the present. Must have courage and ability to resist pastries.”
12. “Modern retelling of Shakespearian play seeks reader who is open to seeing what the minor characters can do. Love of fencing, thievery, an unrequited love a huge plus.”
13. “The family next door has always been off limits, but that was before girl met boy. Now they secretly date.”
14. “Girl has a gift and a curse. Someone wants to use her for a weapon, but she’s about to fight back.”
15. “Girl gets sucked into dreams – one boy in particular has nightmares that could come true.”
16. “Girl’s BFF moves away. She’s devestated until an interesting boy crosses her path.”
With the upcoming release of what is sure to be a wonderful short story anthology edited by Neil Gaiman, Unnatural Creatures, I’ve seen many interesting new short storiy anthologies geared towards young adults. Inspired and intrigued by this new spate of collections, I’ve investigated some of the newest and most appealing.
The short story can appeal to the voracious, if slightly scattered reader: it gives you just enough to keep you engaged and excited but leaves you wanting more. One could say anthologies of this kind are like tapas: multiple little delicious appetizers that by themselves wouldn’t fill you up, but put them together and they make a satisfying meal. I’ve spent my time reading through these great new short story anthologies for your tasting pleasure.
After: Nineteen Stories of Apocalypse and Dystopia, edited by Ellen Datlow and Terri Windling
This is the perfect book for the reader who just can’t get enough dystopian or post-apocalyptic fiction. All of the selections are set after various terrible and world-ending events have taken place. Whether it be a terrible disease that turns people into vampires who hunt in packs or beetles who eat all metal (including the fillings in your teeth) or a dispatch from a resident of a world where education has deteriorated to the point of nonexistence, all are thought-provoking. This book also includes a story set in the world of Beth Revis’s Across the Universe trilogy, a treat for fans! My highlight of the book? “The Segment” by Genevieve Valentine, where news broadcasts are scripted and cast as precisely as a Hollywood blockbuster, and a popular news story brings an actor the danger of worldwide recognition.
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.
There are still many people who aren’t familiar with the term steampunk, but when you describe a book with steampunk elements in it they understand. It’s a sub-genre of science fiction and fantasy and usually contains elements of alternate history, the paranormal, and romance. The covers or illustrations often depict clockwork gears, goggles, steam engines representing the Victorian era, and dirigibles or other flying machines. Traditionally, steampunk novels are set mainly during the Victorian and Edwardian eras in London, or in the American Wild West, but there are many exceptions such as Scott Westerfeld’s Leviathan series, which is set in an alternate World War I in Europe.
Coincidentally, as I’m writing this, I’m watching Steamboy, the animated Japanese 2004 steampunk film that incorporates all the elements found in the best steampunk fiction. I just missed posting this last week during book publisher Tor’s 4th annual Steampunk Week. Tor had lots of great posts, articles, short stories, and sweepstake offers on its website.
Of all the many booklists YALSA puts out every year, Popular Paperbacks for Young Adults (or PPYA) might be my favorite. It’s not that I don’t love the literary excellence recognized by the Printz or get excited by the new voices in YA literature lauded by the Morris. It’s just that PPYA is so useful. I spend a lot of time reading and thinking about YA literature. When awards season comes around, I’ve heard about and read many of the Best Fiction for Young Adultstitles and the Printz titles. Last year I managed to read all five Morris finalists before the winner was announced. PPYA, on the other hand, always brings something new to the table. Maybe it’s something that came out before I was a librarian. Maybe it’s something that slipped under my radar when it was first published. Either way, I can always count on PPYA when I want to find something new.
With my love of PPYA in mind, I decided to revisit an older list that I think could use some serious updating. One of the PPYA categories from 2000 is Short Takes. That list features 25 collections of short fiction and nonfiction that cover a huge range of topics–everything from horror to undergraduate life to prom night to multiculturalism. There are collections of stories by a single writer, like Chris Crutcher’s Athletic Shorts: Six Short Stories, and anthologies containing the work of many authors, like Stay True: Short Stories for Girls. It’s a great list, but all of the titles on it were published between ten and twenty years ago. It’s time for an update! With the diversity of the original list in mind, I present to you fifteen short story collections, published in the last ten years, now available in paperback–PPYA Short Takes for a new decade!