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

Fanart Inspired by YA Books

Image by deviantART user AstridRodriguez
Image by deviantART user AstridRodriguez

One of my favorite things to do with YA books, series especially, is to wait until all the books are out and then devour them in a manner of days or weeks. I’ll admit I did this with Harry Potter when I started reading them in . . . 2007, after the final book was finished! When you read series like this it lets them take over your life a little bit. Soon you are thinking in phrases from the books and seeing images from them everywhere. Even if it’s not a series that is finished, if it’s a book I like, I catch myself envisioning the books intersecting with my real life. I’ve wanted to have magical pigeon friends ever since reading Michelle Tea’s Mermaid in Chelsea Creek and I can’t see wishbones or puppets the same after reading Laini Taylor’s Daughter Smoke and Bone (one of the Top Ten 2012 Best Fiction for Young Adults selections).

If I was more artsy, I would allow these book obsessions an artist outlet, but I’m not. Luckily, there this great thing called the Internet and wonderful artists who endeavor to make it more beautiful with art and more inspired by YA books! Fanfiction is a great way to respond to books as well, but I like how fan art opens up many different avenues of interpretations of your favorite characters. It allows us to stretch our visual perceptions of what those characters may be and maybe even help to us envision a world more clearly.

There are tons of places to find great fan art and other visual responses to YA books – even tattoos inspired by YA books as the website Forever Young Adult highlights. Other great places to look are deviantART, a place for digital artists inspired by anything and especially friendly to lots of fandoms. Tumblr is another great place to browse, but be warned that both places, like the unbridled and unexpected wilds of the Interweb, is not always safe for work or school.

Check out some other examples of fanart that I find really lovely…  Continue reading Fanart Inspired by YA Books

Give Mom the Gift of YA Lit

Photo by Flickr user HK Colin
Photo by Flickr user HK Colin

If you are hanging around The Hub, chances are you’re a reader. And if you love to read, statistically speaking, you probably had a mom, or some other motherly figure, who read to you when you were small. (I know, I know, lots of you are screaming that it was your dad. This is Mother’s Day. Wait your turn.) So if you are still looking for a last-minute Mother’s Day gift, why not show your appreciation by introducing her to a YA mom as fabulous as she is? Just match Mom’s style to one of the titles below, each with one of the best mothers in YA and plenty of adult appeal. You may need to include a box of tissues!

DivergentFor the Mess-with-My-Kid-and-I’ll-Take-You-Down mom—Divergent by Veronica Roth (2012 Teens’ Top Ten winner). It’s no secret that adults everywhere are devouring this series, especially since the movie came out, but fierce mothers will have a particular appreciation for Natalie Prior. But…but…Tris’s mom is Abnegation, isn’t she? The picture of selflessness, she supports her children’s choices and wants what is best for them, even if it means watching them walk out of her life. But threaten one of her kids, and…let’s just say a whole other side of her comes out.

  Continue reading Give Mom the Gift of YA Lit

Teen Tech Week: YA Lit Characters on Pinterest

TTW14_featureslideIn honor of YALSA’s Teen Tech Week, I wanted to imagine some YA book characters using one of my favorite social media tools: Pinterest. Pinterest is a great way to create nice looking collections of Web sites you want to remember or images that inspire you.

Some of my fellow Hub bloggers and I had fun getting creative with this– take a look at some of our boards inspired by a few books and series. Click on the links or the pictures to see more pins!

Geri Diorio’s page for Graffiti Moon by Cath Crowley

Graffiti Moon

  Continue reading Teen Tech Week: YA Lit Characters on Pinterest

One Thing Leads to Another: An Interview with Maggie Stiefvater

Check out previous interviews in the One Thing Leads to Another series here.

Here’s a personal story. Almost five years ago now I was just finishing up back-to-back stints on selection committees as a member of the 2008 Michael L. Printz Award committee and then the 2009 Robert F. Sibert Information Book Medal committee.  It was a heady time, made slightly more mad by the arrival of a new baby (our first–this is important) right in the middle of the process.  That summer I found myself sitting in Chicago at a dinner hosted by Scholastic, trying desperately to engage in articulate adult conversation while totally consumed by the thought of my tiny daughter being so far away (ok, back at the hotel) in addition to being really, really tired and mostly incoherent.  I was seated next to a very  interesting author whose name sounded so familiar–I was sure I had a book or two waiting for me at home in the stacks of titles I’d had to hold off on reading while I finished committee work.  She was young and cool and her editor was so excited about her forthcoming book (which sounded awesome) that even my unfounded parental worry couldn’t dampen his enthusiasm.

Obviously that author was Maggie Stiefvater, and obviously being completely freaked out about being away from my (new) baby for so long meant that I didn’t take advantage of the moment to hit her up for some awkward dinner conversation or polite small talk, which is just sad.  Mostly I remember (through new mother haze) being sort of jealously appalled that someone who could draw so well (I think she was doing it at the table) was there to be honored for her writing.  (I should also note that Maggie’s editor is David Levithan, who was sitting across from me.  Hello missed opportunity!)

Anyway, after the conference I went home and dug Lament out of a pile of books and felt very sad indeed, because it was Excellent and I was sitting right next to her and could have said so, had I been capable of thought and/or speech.  And that was before The Scorpio Races and The Raven Boys and all the rest.  It was also before I fully realized the extent of Maggie Stiefvater’s ridiculous talent, so maybe it was for the best–I probably would have babbled.  I mean, have you seen her book trailers?

Thank you, Maggie, for taking the time to answer my questions (especially the forty-point ones) and sorry for the terrible dinner conversation back in Chicago.  I love your work.

Always Something There to Remind Me

Maggie Stiefvater. Photo by Robert Severi.
Maggie Stiefvater. Photo by Robert Severi.

Please describe your teenage self.

Sulky. Effervescent. Pugnacious. Push-over. Gloomy. Elated. Musical. Musical. Musical. I was a creature of opposites: black-hearted and belligerent or funny and warm — no one got both sides of me.

What did you want to be when you grew up?

The first thing I remembering wanting to be was a writer — books, especially, because books pleased me, and in my family, there was no difference between consuming a thing and making a thing. But I also wanted to be a screenwriter, because movies pleased me, and a cartoonist, because cartoons pleased me, and an animator, because animated movies pleased me, and a soundtrack composer and a pilot and a radio personality and a pastry chef and a rose breeder and — I wanted to be lots of things.

What were your high school years like?

Technically speaking, I had no high school years. I sort of had high school months, but those barely even counted. I was home-schooled from sixth grade on, and by the time I got to high school I was bored with it — school felt like practice for real life, and I’d wanted to start real life for a very long time. My high school books arrived and I just thought: no. I tested out of school (can you do that now? It sounds fishy) and went to college at age 16. That . . . was a thing.

I had a rather rough time with a lot of the men I encountered in positions of college power at the time, but I did have one history professor who was incredibly influential. I recall that in one of my classes, he gave me a B on a paper, and I marched into his office and hurled it on the desk and said “B!” He concurred. I spat, “Tell me anyone else in that class wrote a better paper than I did!” He said that he couldn’t. I said, “Then why!? Why did I get a B?” And he replied, “Because you could write a better paper.”

I’ve never forgotten that I’m only in competition with myself.

Continue reading One Thing Leads to Another: An Interview with Maggie Stiefvater