Remembering Robin Williams

Credit: Flickr user Global Panorama, Image Courtesy: Eva Rinaldi
Credit: Flickr user Global Panorama, Image Courtesy: Eva Rinaldi

The loss of actor Robin Williams this week has been both shocking and sad for so many of us. He was always so full of life in his interviews and stand-up

performances. You always felt like you were watching someone special. He is probably best known for his television and movie performances. Today’s teens might not remember him in Mork and Mindy, but I encourage them and you to Youtube those old episodes. It’s a show from a long-ago TV era, but one that has special place in my heart alongside I Love Lucy from the Nick at Night of yesteryear. His comedic talents and sheer charisma in the show are timeless, so is his impressive work in film.

Two of his many films he made were selected for YALSA’s Fabulous Films for Young Adults â€“ Dead Poet’s Society and Good Will Hunting, both 2010 selections. Williams was an artist who connected with many people and across many generations. Look to the sheer volume and diversity of people responding to his death on social media, in the news and on television. Just look at what’s been happening at the bench in Boston where they filmed Good Will Hunting. The cynics among us may believe this is just another example of a society obsessed with celebrity, but I believe it’s more than that. I believe he was one of the rare artists who touched our hearts and souls with the joy and love he infused in his work.

He was a teacher that showed his students that words and ideas could change the world and asked his students to find their voice before it was too late.  He was a straight shooting psychologist that helped a lost genius reconcile his anger and grief and asked him to make a move because someone can’t do everything for you. He was a wish granting genie and a best friend to a street rat. He was Peter Pan, a crossdressing father trying to see his kids, a night club owning gay dad pretending to be straight for the parents of his son’s fiancé, and a US president who comes to life afterhours in a museum. Robin Williams was all of these people to us because he brought them to life with his talent. He had the ability to make us believe in him and laugh with him. Just watch this moving tribute from super fan Jimmy Fallon:

Continue reading Remembering Robin Williams

Tweets of the Week: August 1st

Happy first day of August! Lots of things going on in the Twitterverse this week. The first trailer for Mockingjay Part 1 was released. Harry Potter and J.K. Rowling celebrated their birthdays while LeakyCon was happening in Orlando, FL. Lots of authors and YA lit fans at this conference, so feel free to follow the hash tag #LeakyCon to see what’s happening.  There was also the release of Kindle Unlimited which has stirred up quite the chatter on the interwebs. Here’s a roundup of what you might have missed this week on Twitter:

tweets of the week | the hub

Books 

Where Are They Now? Morris Award Finalists & Winners

yalsa morris winnerHave you ever wondered what YALSA’s Morris Award winning authors have been up to today since they were recognized for their first novels? Well then, this post is the one for you.

For a little background, YALSA has been giving out the Morris award since 2009, which honors debut young adult authors with impressive new voices. This post is not intended to be a comprehensive list of  what all of the finalists and winners have been up to, but it’ll give you an idea of what some of our Morris winners and finalists have been writing since winning their awards. (Be sure to take a look at the full list of Morris winners and finalists.)

Then: 2009 Awards 

  • 2009 Winner – A Curse Dark As Gold by Elizabeth C. Bunce
  • 2009 Finalist  – Graceling by Kristin Cashore

Continue reading Where Are They Now? Morris Award Finalists & Winners

Tweets of the Week: June 27th

The YA lit world has suffered a great loss this week with the passing of Annie on My Mind author, Nancy Garden. Her stories and honesty touched and inspired many readers. She will be missed. This week we start with the Twitter tributes to her. Here is a round up of what’s been happening in the Twitter-verse:

tweets of the week | the hub

 

RIP Nancy Garden 

Continue reading Tweets of the Week: June 27th

Page to Screen: The Fault in our Stars

tfios poster

All right fellow YA lovers and nerdfighters, this past weekend was a big one for us. The much anticipated movie adaptation of 2012 Teens’ Top Ten pick The Fault in our Stars came out on Friday with some theaters even previewing it on Thursday night. This heavily anticipated film has received a lot of media coverage as of late because of the book (and certainly John Green’s) large fandom.

Fans of the book and Green have been very vocal about their anticipation and expectations for this film. John Green made the film seem like a collaborative process to get from page to screen, and the filmmakers were pretty vocal about their love of the source material. The collaborative aspect with Green in and of itself is rare since authors usually get NO say whatsoever once the film rights have been sold to the book, so this was huge and something that made me as a fan pretty hopeful for the adaptation.

John Green really gave me hope for this movie, and I daresay this film might just be one of the truest adaptations of a book that I’ve seen in a long time. Now there were changes made from page to screen and for a full rundown of those you can check out this EW article, but the heart of the book was all there. John Green’s words were there.  Continue reading Page to Screen: The Fault in our Stars

What Would They Read? X-Men: Days of Future Past Edition

Xmen-Character-Mashup

X-Men: Days of Future Past was certainly the big hit at the box office this holiday weekend, raking in $111 million dollars over four days.

This makes it the fifth biggest Memorial Day weekend opening ever, which is quite the accomplishment for my favorite band of ragtag mutants. We first heard of the premise for Days of Future Past during the credits of the last Wolverine movie. This new X-Men film brings together our old cast of characters that we were introduced to 14 years ago with the new ones from X-Men: First Class (2011), who just happen to be the younger versions of the characters from 14 years ago… Confused yet? Just wait until you get to the end of Days of Future Past. In fact, for an in-depth analysis of the ending to Days of Future Past and its timeline implications, check out this article from Entertainment Weekly.

The basic premise of the film is that the future has gone all-out genocidal on mutants and those that support mutant rights. The government started the Sentinel program as a way to specifically target the mutant gene, and thus kill mutants without collateral damage; however, the program pretty much led to the destruction of humanity as we know it. Pretty bleak future, so the X-Men send Wolverine back in time to try and alter it for the better of mankind and mutants alike. Wolverine is tasked with getting Magneto and Professor X to work together (no small feat there) to stop Raven/Mystique from killing Trask, the founder of the Sentinel program, which is apparently the catalyst for all of the future bad. As with any movie that involves time travel and the butterfly effect, the ending can make your brain hurt while you try to calculate just how much of the original X-Men timeline was impacted by this one movie. Although I have to say even with the brain freeze feeling it left me with, I was pretty satisfied with the whole shebang.

The trailer for the movie is here:

Since the X-Men films in general have never really stuck too close to their source material, I thought it would be more fun to do a “What Would They Read?” list of YA lit for my favorite band of mutants. The characters chosen for the list were the ones heavily featured in this particular film, so I apologize in advance to all of my fellow Rogue fans!

  • Magneto –The Nazi Hunters: How a Team of Spies and Survivors Captured the World’s Most Notorious Nazi by Neal The Nazi HuntersBascomb (2014 YALSA Nonfiction Award) & “The President Has Been Shot!”: The Assassination of John F. Kennedy by James L. Swanson (2014 YALSA Nonfiction FinalistWhen we first encounter Magneto in the film, he is stuck in a concrete prison underneath the Pentagon. For the simple reason that he has copious amounts of time, he gets two books on this list! The Nazi Hunters tells the story of Adolf Eichmann’s capture. Eichmann was the head of operations for the Nazi’s final solution and was finally found in Argentina 16 years later by Israeli spies. Given that Magneto’s background story is deeply entrenched in the WWII era as well as the Nazi concentration camps, this seems like the perfect read for him. Eric/Magneto dedicated his life to righting the wrongs done to him and others in those concentration camps, and it strongly shaped his distrust in governmental organizations. It seems only fitting that he would enjoy the story of how spies and survivors finally brought Eichmann to justice.The second book chosen for Magneto, “The President Has Been Shot!” has more to do with his Days of Future Past plot line and why when we first encounter Magneto he is imprisoned underneath the Pentagon. Let’s just say that he would definitely enjoy this dramatic retelling of the events surrounding the Kennedy assassination.  Continue reading What Would They Read? X-Men: Days of Future Past Edition

What Would They Read? Captain America: The Winter Soldier

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.  Continue reading What Would They Read? Captain America: The Winter Soldier

From Page to Screen: Divergent

The film adaptation of the first book in Veronica Roth’s bestselling and Teens’ Top Ten winning Divergent trilogy has been widely hyped over the past couple of weeks. The Internet Divergent-posterat large has been chattering for weeks now about Divergent stars Shailene Woodley and Theo James and what is sure to be their blockbuster, star creating roles. If you want to play a fun game, then you should YouTube all recent interviews with the actors and see how long it takes the interviewer to ask them about accepting a role in such a huge movie. It seems fairly odd, given the movie hadn’t been released until this past Friday, so unless they were fortune tellers, there was no real way to know whether or not this movie would succeed critically or financially.

Sure, Divergent is a best-selling series, but then again so was City of Bones, Percy Jackson, Vampire Academy and– well, you see where I’m going with this… None of these films were able to capitalize on their source materials success, so how is that Divergent was seen as a forgone conclusion before the film hit theaters? Does it have something to do with the constant comparison to The Hunger Games? Or maybe it has something to do with the enigmatic Shailene Woodley who is apparently the YA book to film “It” girl right now?

I’m wondering about all of the above, because in all seriousness, I really liked the film adaptation of Divergent. As a book and film nerd, this movie is a pretty solid B+ adaptation with a grade A for acting. There is a definite reason Shailene Woodley is the new “it” girl for these films, and she showcases her talents well in Divergent. My filmgirl nerdiness usually means that I understand critics response to movies, which is why the 40% rotten rating from Rotten Tomatoes or this film is pretty baffling to me. It seems a pretty weird trajectory for a movie that has had such non-stop hype and one where the movie is actually a good movie. To be honest, the critical response to Divergent has me wondering if critics are having some YA book-to-movie fatigue. This movie is definitely as good as the first Hunger Games film, which had an 84% rating on Rotten Tomatoes when it was first released.  Continue reading From Page to Screen: Divergent

From Book to Television: Phoenix Island to Intelligence

phoenix islandPhoenix Island, the debut novel of author John Dixon, packs quite the wallop from the actual storyline in the book to the story surrounding the book itself. Dixon is an interesting case of a first-time novelist, if only for the fact that a major television network bought the rights to his first novel before it was even published! I’m adding that exclamation point because that is a huge deal. Actually, it’s beyond a huge deal. It is a rarity in a business that usually only shells out money for surefire moneymaking hits. I mean it’s hard for published book series with established fandoms to get these kind of deals, and Dixon knocked a home run on his first try. His first book and the television show based on Phoenix Island, CBS’s Intelligence (airing Monday nights at 10/9c), were almost simultaneously released to the world at large back in January.  Serious kudos goes to this guy.

Dixon talks more about this incredible story in an interview with his hometown newspaper here.

It was also this story that really drove my desire to write about how the adaptation from book to screen ended up playing out. It seemed especially interesting to me because the television creators would have more freedom in their adaptation because Dixon’s series did not have an established fandom yet. The upside to not having an established fandom behind the book your basing your series around is that you can’t annoy the fandom. Fandoms can be relentless. Look at all the hoopla casting can cause. Twitter trends have been caused by much less. Not to mention when the adapted work finally does see the light of day there are the inevitable articles that break down everything missed, changed, or totally screwed up in the adaptation according to the fandom. CBS and Michael Seitzman, the show’s creator, did not have to worry about this pressure– so how did they do?

Continue reading From Book to Television: Phoenix Island to Intelligence

LGBTQ Parents in YA Novels

A much-needed discussion about the representation of the LGBTQ community is growing in the YA world. Author Malindo Lo does an amazing job of putting a spotlight on the issue by creating a yearly list of published LGBT YA titles and The Hub’s own Molly Wetta put together an impressive guide last year of YA novels with LGBTQ characters. This building conversation and one Stephanie Perkins book later left me wondering where the LGBTQ parents were hiding in the YA world.

Courtesy of Flickr user lewishamdreamer
Courtesy of Flickr user lewishamdreamer

Family relationships are a huge part of young adult literature because of what an important part they are to teens’ lives. Your parents (or lack their of) and the struggle to come to terms with their flaws is a major part of growing up. Parents are pretty much the anchors of your universe, so seeing these relationships and familial conflicts play out in a YA novel is necessary, needed, and in no way restricted to families with heterosexual parents.

So where are the LGBTQ parents in our YA books? With over 7 million LGBTQ parents that have school-aged children in the United States , it’s a question I hope more people will be asking our YA literature community soon, because right now there are too few titles out there representing these families.

This list is by no means comprehensive and did take the full force of my fellow Hub bloggers to help me put together. I tried to stick to books where the parents seemed like more fully-formed characters in the story, as opposed to purely background players. Read on for our guide to main characters in YA novels with LGBTQ parents: Continue reading LGBTQ Parents in YA Novels