Good morning, Hub readers!
Last week, we asked you to choose the first line (or lines) from a YA book that make you want to keep reading. In the lead with 20% of the vote were the first lines of Winger by Andrew Smith: “I said a silent prayer. Actually, silent is probably the only type of prayer a guy should attempt when his head’s in a toilet.” Coming in second with 16% of the vote was the first line from The Raven Boys, by Maggie Stiefvater: “Blue Sargent had forgotten how many times she’s been told she would kill her true love.”
We also got several great write-in suggestions in the comments:
- From Scorch by Gina Damico, suggested by Amy: “Lex wondered, for a fleeting moment, what her principal’s head might look like if it were stabbed atop a giant wooden spear.”
- From The Scorpio Races by Maggie Stiefvater, suggested by Jenn: “It is the first day of November and so, today, someone will die.”
- From Feed by M.T. Anderson, suggested by Jessica: “We went to the moon to have fun, but the moon turned out to completely suck.”
You can see detailed results for all of our previous polls in the Polls Archive. Thanks very much to all of you who voted and commented!
This week, in honor of the traditional feasting that accompanies Thanksgiving, we want to know which YA book has the most tantalizing descriptions of food. Which book makes you want to just eat and eat and eat? Vote in the poll below, and please comment if we’ve missed anything delectable.Note: There is a poll embedded within this post, please visit the site to participate in this post's poll.
Given that the film adaptation of Hunger Games: Catching Fire managed to earn $70.5 million dollars in its opening day, I think it’s safe to say that this was a hotly anticipated movie this holiday season.
The first film had a few misses but overall has been viewed favorably by the trilogy fans. Rotten Tomatoes has the average approval rating for the first film at an 81%, a solid B effort. Not bad considering how beloved these books have become and how tricky the subject matter can be translated to the big screen while still keeping the films MPAA accessible to teens. It also made a ton of money, which is a lot to live up to for any sequel, let alone one with a rabid YA fan base.
There was hype, expectation, and excitement– so how did the new filmmakers do with our Catching Fire?
Catching Fire gets a Grade A from this Hunger Games fan, and I’m not alone. Rotten Tomatoes Top Critics’ gave the film an 89% approval rating and their Audience rating is 94%. Jennifer Lawrence, if possible, is even better in this second film. It feels like they really used her expressiveness in the best way possible for this film. Part of what was missing from the first film is the connectedness we want to feel with Katniss. She is the narrator of the books, giving the reader a front row seat to her internal struggles. Catching Fire does a much better job utilizing Lawrence’s talents to give us that front row seat.
The wardrobe department also stepped up their game for this movie. People always used to talk about how cool the costumes were for the Capitol folks in the first film, but I was underwhelmed. It is always a struggle as a reader when these fully developed worlds in your mind are translated on screen and your imagination does not fit the visual style of the people making the film. This can also be the struggle we sometimes have with casting in these movies. I’ve been in many arguments with people over Josh Hutcherson’s casting as Peeta. I personally like him for the role and truly believe the naysayers will be changing their tunes after this film. Maybe it’s the hair change or maybe he just has more to do in this one– but either way, it is working.
There will be people who want to know how close to the book do the filmmakers keep it. Entertainment Weekly wrote a great article about the changes from the book to the movie and why they don’t matter. To be honest, I didn’t pick up on half of these changes. As a rule, I don’t reread books right before the film adaptation comes out. It makes me too critical over small plot points. The last time I read the book Catching Fire was probably over a year ago, which is just enough distance to remember the important details but forget a lot of the small stuff. The movie stayed true to the essence of the book while also making a great movie. This is always the trickiest part of a film adaptation, and Catching Fire was able to come out on top.
What about you, Hunger Games fans? What did you think of Catching Fire?
Also, for anyone truly bummed that we have to wait another year before the first installment of Mockingjay, the first full trailer of Divergent, coming out in March, was attached to Catching Fire. Enjoy!
-Katie Shanahan Yu, currently reading Code Name Verity by Elizabeth Wein
Thanksgiving is just around the corner for our American readers, and with the deliciously long weekend coming up, we thought you might be looking for something to read. Thanks to the Hub readers and bloggers who participated in The Hub’s very first photo challenge, we have some terrific ideas for you!
Earlier this month, we asked you to show us what you’re planning to read over the Thanksgiving break, and we very much appreciate the enthusiastic response. It’s so much fun to see what’s in everyone’s to-read pile, and it gives us some inspiration for good books to curl up with this weekend.
Big thanks to everyone who sent in their pictures, and to Hub Advisory Board member Carli Spina, who spearheaded the challenge!
- From Hub reader Kelsey, who reports that she’s on her third or fourth re-read of Meg Cabot’s Mediator series:
- From Hub reader Lalitha, with a guest appearance from her kitty Sasha:
- From Hub reader and librarian at the Saline District Library, Katie:
- From Hub reader Lydia, 12 years old:
- From Hub reader Becky, 15 years old:
- From Hub blogger Geri Diorio, who says, ”I’ve been reading one fairy tale from the Brothers Grimm each night before bed, and Philip Pullman will continue to tell me a bedtime story over the holiday break! I was lucky enough to get an Advanced Reading Copy of Susan Cooper’s new book Ghost Hawk at BEA back in June but have not had a chance to read it. This long weekend will be that chance. And finally, I splurged on some comics – the first collection of Jim Butcher’s Dresden Files – for my tablet. Those will be nice reading breaks I can grab in between visiting relatives.”
- From Hub blogger Laura Perenic:
- From Hub blogger Faythe Arredondo, who’s looking forward to “finally” diving into this book:
- From Hub blogger Jessica Miller:
- From Hub blogger Carla Land, who has undoubtedly captured the hearts of fellow Doctor Who fans with her choice here:
- From Hub blogger Sharon Rawlins:
- From Hub blogger Molly Wetta, who says, “Spike and I plan on spending a day over Thanksgiving weekend lounging in bed reading John Corey Whaley’s Where Things Come Back.”
- From Hub blogger Carli Spina:
- From Hub blogger Kelly Dickinson (who says these are just “a few” of her to-read books for Thanksgiving!):
Thanks again to everyone who participated in our first photo challenge! We hope you’ve gotten some good ideas for books to add to your to-read piles. Happy Thanksgiving, and happy reading!
-Allison Tran, currently reading Where’d You Go, Bernadette by Maria Semple (a 2013 Alex Award winner)
As Hollywood continues to mine young adult literature in hopes of finding the next big franchise, you can’t turn around without running into another film adaptation of a YA novel. In November alone, Ender’s Game burst into theaters only to be followed by the highly anticipated release of Catching Fire. The Divergent trailer will be analyzed carefully for months and behind the scenes photos from both The Fault in Our Stars and If I Stay bounce around Facebook and Tumblr at rapid speed. However, The Book Thief managed to slip into movie theaters around the world this month with much less fanfare.
In fact, when I asked teens and adults alike about their predictions for this 2007 Printz Honor winner’s big screen treatment, many expressed surprise that a film version was happening at all–let alone that it was premiering in a few days. But once they heard the news, the book’s fans were as anxious as any Hunger Games or Harry Potter devotees. Would the silver screen in some way ruin the book they love so passionately? How could the film will capture the novel’s unique narrator, Death? Will the book’s unusual imagery and strong emotional story somehow become cheesy in translation?
So, did the filmmakers manage to capture Markus Zusak’s expansive yet intimate tale of “a girl, some words, an accordionist, some fanatical Germans, a Jewish fist fighter, and quite a lot of thievery” (5)? I believe they pulled it off–to a degree.
The novel runs just a little under 600 pages, includes several intertwined but distinct narrative threads, and is narrated by the wry and omniscient Death. So it seemed obvious there would be cuts and alterations made when the story jumped from page to screen. Happily, the filmmakers generally made appropriate choices when selecting characters, scenes, and story lines to trim, cut, or condense. Readers will certainly miss hearing the story of Max’s life before he arrived in Molching as well as his first two story gifts to Liesel, told in the novel through his drawings and handwritten text. Faithful fans will also notice the disappearance of certain secondary characters and the condensing of certain scenes. However, the film manages to remain a complete story; overall, the edits do not create gaping narrative or thematic holes.
However, the changes to book’s complex narrative would been much more problematic without the support of the film’s strong cast. The casting can frequently make or break a film adaptation. After all, readers have been developing and living with particular images of the characters in their heads; when a film version fails to connect with readers’ expectations for the characters, it can ruin the experience. And in this case, I think the casting is a key factor in the film’s success. As Liesel’s foster parents Hans and Rosa Hubermann, Geoffrey Rush and Emily Watson bring both star power and emotionally anchoring performances. The almost saintly Hans and brusque but large-hearted Rosa could easily become one dimensional stock characters in the wrong hands but thankfully, Rush and Watson bring great depth, complexity, and humanity to their roles. Nico Liersch as Rudy, Liesel’s best friend, and Ben Schnetzer as Max, the Jewish man hidden by Liesel’s family, are both excellent as well. Liersch’s expressive face and wiry build exude Rudy’s energy and open emotions. Schnetzer captures Max’s anger, despair, intelligence, and hope and his performance, especially in his scenes with Sophie Nelisse as Liesel, almost makes up for the loss of his character’s back story.
But it’s clear that Sophie Nelisse as Liesel Meminger, the book thief herself, will likely be the film’s breakout star. Liesel is the lynchpin of the narrative; she acts as a connecting point for the other characters’ stories and her book thefts and interactions with Death provide a framework for the sprawling tale. Luckily, Sophie Nelisse turns out to be an outstanding Liesel. She can be tough, guarded, and sullen as well as highly emotive, joyful, and enthusiastic. From her delicately shifting expression during the Nazi Party rally to her awe in the mayor’s library to her despair in the face of her friend’s death, Nelisse brings Liesel to life. Her performance especially helps the film capture one of the book’s primary themes: the power of books, stories, and words. As a reader, I couldn’t help but respond to Liesel’s discovery of reading and stories when watching Nelisse’s expressive but subtle performance.
Additionally, the film makes a valiant if not entirely successful attempt to recreate Zusak’s unusual narration and structure. While we did hear from Death through a voice-over, this device was used sparingly–a smart choice since voice-overs can become distracting rather than enriching on film. The color saturated, almost dream-like cinematography worked well in many scenes but occasionally, the film’s version of Molching became a little too beautiful. As other reviewers have pointed out, the film’s vision of Molching needed a little more dirt and grit at times. Portraying the bombing of Himmel Street though images of its sleeping inhabitants with Death’s gentle narration worked well on screen. However, the film’s concluding scenes of Liesel’s future apartment with Death’s narration moved into cheesy territory, primarily due to slight but significant changes made to his final lines.
Overall, fans of the novel will likely leave the theater generally pleased–but with the overwhelming urge to reread the book. Hopefully, viewers who have yet to read the book will leave the theater intrigued and eager to pick up a copy from a local library or bookshop. While composing this review, it struck me that the filmmakers had taken on a nearly impossible task in trying to translate this particular novel to film. The Book Thief is a book about books. From its narration and structure to its major themes, it is a novel absolutely rooted in the written word. And in the end, it’s a story that remains the most complete and satisfying in its original format.
What did you think about The Book Thief’s translation to the big screen?
-Kelly Dickinson, currently reading Rags & Bones: New Twists on Timeless Tales edited by Melissa Marr and Tim Pratt
As usual, Twitter has been busy this week with YA related news, events, giveaways and more. Here are some of the highlights, in case you missed anything…
Contests and Giveaways
- Enter to win an advance copy of ASHES TO ASHES by @melissacwalker ––> http://shrd.by/7GnfH5 -@harperteen
- Morning! Here’s a giveaway to start your day —> http://shrd.by/kPn3C7 via @ryangraudin-@haperteen
- Available now! For free! My short story, “The Turing Test,” from @LightspeedMag! Go! Read! Free! Exclamation mark! http://www.lightspeedmagazine.com/fiction/the-turing-test/ …-@bethrevis
- Read an excerpt fr @marburyjack‘s #GrasshopperJungle http://bit.ly/GrasshopperJungle … & tweet the link 2 win a prize pack! pic.twitter.com/UPFf7jscOZ-@PenguinTeen
- Follow the tour for JAVA MAN by @HarrisandGray & enter to win a #KindleFireHD, $50 GC, signed copy & more! Enter: http://publicity.bookandlatte.com/2013/11/tour-java-man-harris-gray/ …-@yaReads
- Want to get your hands on @ryangraudin‘s ALL THAT GLOWS before on sale? Enter the giveaway ––> http://shrd.by/XztLGR http://shrd.by/1r7Sgm -@harperteen
- Coming tomorrow at noon-the brand new trailer for PAWN by @aimee_carter and giveaway! pic.twitter.com/wPoACJenFK-@HarlequinTeen
- To celebrate PAWN’s release in FIVE DAYS, I’m giving away a one-of-a-kind annotated copy and a silver pawn necklace. http://www.aimeecarter.blogspot.com/2013/11/win-annotated-copy-of-pawn-and-pawn.html …-@aimee_carter
- :) RT @Gryphongirl2007: Happy book birthday to @AlysonNoel and Horizon! I can’t wait to see how it all ends in the final book of this…-@AlysonNoel
- Attn #Bloodlines fans! #TheFieryHeart is out TODAY & we are so so excited! Do you have your copy? http://bit.ly/1cnYlbQ @RichelleMead-@PenguinTeen
- Happy book birthday to HE SAID, SHE SAID by @kwamealexander! Start reading now ––> http://shrd.by/ny9zVh -@harperteen
News and Events
- A great interview with cartoonist @geneluenyang at @comicsreporter: http://ow.ly/qVGDQ -@CasualOptimist
- ! RT @TIME: #CatchingFire creator Suzanne Collins talks about the secrets behind the next @TheHungerGames movie http://ti.me/1alPp8i -@Scholastic
- White House Names Librarian as Connected Educator “Champion of Change” http://ow.ly/r0EKg -@sljournal
- National Book Award winners 2013 http://huff.to/1ejaSzv -@HuffPostBooks
Just For Fun
- Cute! RT @BookRiot: 7 DIY Bookish Thanksgiving Decor Ideas: http://ow.ly/qVJ4M -@Scholastic
- The Hungry Games: Catching Fur. http://bit.ly/19EXi4q -@bkshelvesofdoom
- Who needs function when they’re so pretty? :) RT @BookRiot: 9 Beautiful Bookshelves of Questionable Functionality: http://ow.ly/r1zIK -@Scholastic
- Whitney Etchison, currently reading The Waking Dark by Robin Wasserman
Happy Geography Awareness Week!
Geography Awareness Week, also known as GeoWeek, is an annual public awareness celebration organized by National Geographic Education Programs (NGEP). This year the theme is Geography and the New Age of Exploration.
Geography plays an important role in many YA titles. Whether it’s the futuristic Chicago in Veronica Roth’s Divergent series or modern day New York City in David Levithan and Rachel Cohn’s Dash & Lily’s Book of Dares, authors use geography and location in order to develop their worlds. Road trip and travel stories, in particular, move their characters through their story lines by moving them around geographically.
In order to connect with the theme of the New Age of Exploration, I have selected two books, one domestic road trip and one international travel story, and created Google Maps of some of the important geographic landmarks in the stories. These maps follow the journeys taking place on the page, providing a visual way to track the trips.
Heads up for those concerned about SPOILERS: I tried to keep all plot spoilers to a minimum in my location notes, but I do highlight locations that are mentioned from the beginning to the end of each book.
Let’s start with our domestic road trip. In Amy & Roger’s Epic Detour by Morgan Matson (2011 Top Ten Best Fiction for Young Adults, 2012 Popular Paperback for Young Adults), our characters goal is to get from Southern California to Connecticut. They start out with a well planned itinerary from Amy’s mother, but very early into the trip, as the title implies, they decide to take advantage of the open road.
View Amy & Roger’s Epic Detour Map in a larger map
Moving overseas, we have Maureen Johnson’s 13 Little Blue Envelopes (2006 Teens’ Top Ten, 2006 Best Book for Young Adults). Ginny’s journey begins with a trip to New York City and then heads overseas where she travels around Europe based on the directions of her recently deceased aunt, left for her in a series of thirteen letters. This map notes the major places Ginny visits on her adventures.
View 13 Little Blue Envelopes Map in a larger map
Have you learned about geography from any YA titles? Is there a book that you would like to see mapped out geographically?
- Jessica Lind, currently reading Catherine by April Lindner
YALSA-bk is a listserv with lively discussions among librarians, educators, and beyond about all things YA lit. Sometimes one listserv member will ask for help finding books around a certain theme or readalikes for a particular title. This post is a compilation of responses for one such request.
The original request
My local high school is attempting to do a “One Book One Read” for their required summer reading, where every student — grades 9-12 — will read the same book. Last year they chose I Am the Messenger by Markus Zusak and received a lot of parent complaints about the content (primarily concerning sex and violence).
They would like to try again this year and have asked for my help in finding The Holy Grail of Books. They’re looking for a book that:
- Is appropriate for all grades (again, 9-12)
- Students haven’t already read [for class]
- Does not contain strong language, violence, sex, allusions to drugs or alcohol
- “Has a good (but NOT religious) message”
These students are annually assigned to read The Book Thief by Markus Zusak and Hiroshima by John Hersey and the teens absolutely LOVE THEM — to point where many of them read the books before they have been assigned, because they’ve heard they’re so good. Steampunk and dystopian series also circulate very well at my branch.
I’m going through the server archives to see what has already been suggested, but I’ve noticed most of the “clean reads” list are gender-specific and geared more toward middle schoolers.
- Legacy of the Clockword Key by Kristin Bailey
- Hate List by Jennifer Brown
- Airman by Eoin Colfer
- Skinny by Donna Cooner
- Bog Child by Siobhan Dowd
- Ten Miles Past Normal by Frances Dowell
- Better Nate Than Ever by Tim Federle
- Hole in My Life by Jack Gantos
- Kindness for Weakness by Shawn Goodman
- Tangle of Knots by Lisa Graff
- Prisoner B-3087 by Alan Gratz
- The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time by Mark Haddon
- Schooled by Gordon Korman
- Yaqui Delgado Wants to Kick Your Ass by Meg Medina
- Never Fall Down by Patricia McCormick
- Far Far Away by Tom McNeal
- Dairy Queen by Catherine Gilbert Murdock
- Monster by Walter Dean Myers
- The Reluctant Journal of Henry K. Larsen by Susin Nielsen
- Wonder by R. J. Palacio
- Hatchet by Gary Paulsen
- Tamar by Mal Peet
- Divergent by Veronica Roth
- The Rithmatist by Brandon Sanderson
- Endangered by Eliot Schrefer
- Okay for Now by Gary D. Schmidt
- Keeping Corner by Kashmina Sheth
- Unwind by Neal Shusterman
- MAUS by Art Spiegelman
- The Scorpio Races by Maggie Stiefvater
- Reboot by Amy Tintera
- Pod by Stephen Wallenfels
- Code Name Verity by Elizabeth Wein
- Leviathan by Scott Westerfeld
- 5th Wave by Rick Yancey
- Elsewhere by Gabrielle Zevin
- Carl Hiaasen
Have more titles you think should belong on these lists? Add them on the YALSA wiki or leave a comment! Looking for more compiled booklists? Check out the YALSA wiki or other booklists here at The Hub.
– Gretchen Kolderup, currently reading an ever-rotating selection of books and articles about management
Some readers may recognize the title of this post as a reference to the classic ‘80s movie War Games, but even if you don’t, you likely relate to the sentiment of gathering with friends to play a game. This summer, researchers uncovered game pieces from over 5,000 years ago and there were probably simple games in existence far before then. Earlier this month, the movie version of Ender’s Game came out and this weekend will see the release of Catching Fire, the second Hunger Games movie, both of which take place in worlds where games and competitions are central. With games being such a universal theme across time, it is no surprise that they are also a recurring theme in literature. If you enjoy games and think it would be fun to read books that center around them, check out one of these great options.
Ready Player One by Ernest Cline – This 2012 Alex Award winner takes place largely inside a virtual world known as OASIS. Within this virtual world, a heated competition has begun to solve the puzzles that the game’s creator has hidden within it to win the ultimate prize for the person who manages to unlock all of his secrets. The book combines futuristic virtual reality with tons and tons of references to 1980s pop culture and, in particular, early video games. It is the perfect novel for fans of retro games or dystopian futures.
The Westing Game by Ellen Raskin – This classic, which won the 1979 Newbery Award, follows sixteen of Samuel W. Westing’s heirs as they try to complete the challenge that he leaves for them in his will. As a wintery storm traps most of the game participants in the apartment building on Westing’s property and explosions rock the building, the mysteries compound. The characters must compete against each other for a chance to uncover the person who ended Westing’s life in order to win his fortune.
The Other Normals by Ned Vizzini – Perry Eckert (full name: Peregrine) is a big fan of Creatures & Caverns, a fantastical role playing game. There is only one problem: he doesn’t really have any friends to play the game with him. But, just as he strikes up a tentative friendship with another Creatures & Caverns fan, his parents decide to ship him off to summer camp so that he can become more social. While wandering in the woods surrounding the camp after a disastrous first meeting with some other campers, Perry discovers Mortin Enaw, who looks exactly like one of the creatures from Creatures & Caverns. This chance meeting leads him to discover a whole other universe, the World of the Other Normals. This book will appeal to fans of fantasy and roleplaying games alike.
This is Not A Game by Walter Jon Williams – Set in the near future, this book is the first in a series of books about Dagmar Shaw, a designer of alternate reality games that mixes the stories and challenges that she creates with the real world to create a unique experience for players. As Dagmar gets caught up in real-life unrest while abroad for one of her games, she must rely on the network of players that she has met over the year to plot an escape. But, as the line between reality and the game becomes a bit unclear to even Dagmar, she will struggle with everything that she sees. While not marketed as a young adult book, This is Not a Game will appeal to older teens who are game fans.
Level Up by Gene Luen Yang with art by Thien Pham – This Great Graphic Novels 2012 pick is a fun story about the conflicts between parental expectations and a person’s own desires. Dennis has always loved video games, but his father thinks that they are frivolous. He wants Dennis to become a gastroenterologist instead. When Dennis flunks out of college, four angels pop into his life to make sure that he fulfills his destiny to become a doctor. A story of finding what you should do with your life, living up to your family’s wishes and, perhaps most of all, video games, this is a great read for anyone whose fondest memories involve playing games.
The Eye of Minds by James Dashner – This latest release from James Dashner, the author of The Maze Runner, is the latest game-related book to cross my path. It takes place in a world where gamers immerse themselves entirely in the VirtNet, a virtual reality technology that allows players to experience anything and rewards hackers with the ability to take their experience even further. But, everything may not be as harmless as it appears when one player learns how to manipulate the system to dark ends. I haven’t finished the book, but so far it offers a suspenseful take on a virtual world that threatens to kill players in real life.
Which of the games mentioned in these books would you most (or least) want to try? Let us know in the comments!
- Carli Spina, currently reading The Eye of Minds by James Dashner
I was lucky enough to meet M.T. Anderson, 2009 recipient of YALSA’s Best Books For Young Adults, this week at the library where I work. He was gracious enough to grant an interview for The Hub. With dystopian as the hot thing right now, I wanted to know where he thinks we are going, as readers, and how technology is changing us.
Science fiction often says more about the time period it was written than the imagined future society. What parallels do you see between our current social experience and your imagined world?
I wrote the book back in 2001, and, in my mind, it was actually already about the world I saw back then: a world where I didn’t even have to have a chip installed in my skull — I already heard the voice of advertising all the time, speaking in my thoughts and dreams.
Do you feel current technology is catching up with Feed? For example, the way advertising is sent directly to us on our Facebook pages?
Technological experimentation is making “feeds” more possible every day, at a speed that I find somewhat surprising and disconcerting. For several years now, neuro-electrical scans have mapped what a buying frenzy looks like in the brain. And as of this year, we have managed to transfer movement impulses between humans over a cyberlink. We can force rats to “remember” impulses that they’ve never encountered before by digitally, and then neurologically, encoding those impulses. Intel says they want chips in consumers’ heads by 2020. These products could soon be a reality.
How do you think new technology such as ereaders and tablets are changing our habits as readers?
Tough to say. So far, I think that surfing (and therefore using those devices as browsers) makes far more cognitive difference than simply reading something on a screen. I’m not so worried about e-readers per se, but I am worried about the short attention span and distractability that our cyber-culture breeds.
Feed is often referred to as one of the first definitive dystopian novels. What are your thoughts about the current explosion of this genre?
I think that everyone — Democrat and Republican alike — is starting to realize that things are going off the rails. There is an increasingly chilly distance between the haves and the have nots. (This includes the income differential in American society at the moment, which yawns wider than at any time since the Great Depression.) We all know, but try to forget, that our luxuries are predicated on suffering elsewhere. It’s important to us to try to forget that so we can pretend that everything can go on just as it is now. And I think that dystopian fiction is like the return of the repressed, all of those anxieties reappearing, as we ask: What does it mean when you can’t save everyone? What does it mean to try to be moral when it will cost you your life? What does it mean to be immoral when it will cost someone else’s life? And worst of all: Is kindness merely weakness? Terrifying questions. No wonder we replay them again and again.
With all of the invented language in Feed, why not have new swear words?
The old ones have stood us quite well since an age when warriors in chainmail bellowed them while swinging their broadswords and slicing my monastic Irish forebears in half*. So why switch now?
*On second thought: If my Irish forebears were monastic, I, in theory, shouldn’t be here now. Hmmm.
Violet’s father has an unusual way of speaking because he wants to preserve language. With texting and acronyms such as LOL and TTYL where do you think our use of language is going?
I was more worried about the decay of language when I wrote Feed than I am now. But since then, there has actually been evidence of a slight uptick in literacy among young people. The generation who now are in college have been reading sagas that are thousands of pages long for all of their teenage years. I have great faith in them as readers. I am more worried about my faith in everyone else as humans.
In Octavian Nothing books you use a series of made up letters and documents. What is your inspiration for this?
I love history! And it is built of documents. That’s what survives. That’s what’s left. And I love American history. I’m the sort of person who gets weepy on election day, I love this country and what it instituted so much. But documents also show the confusions and mis-steps of history, things that are easy to see in hindsight but impossible to see in the heat of battle or congressional argument. So they are, in other words, the perfect medium to explore our own imperfect selves.
Who are some of your favorite authors and what are you reading right now?
I can’t even figure out who my favorite authors are any more … I almost never read something without learning something. At the moment, I’m reading and loving the Russian experimentalists of the 1920s and 1930s (I’m working on a book about Leningrad in that era): so Evgeny Zamyatin (writer of one of the prototype dystopian novels — the exquisitely beautiful We), Yuri Olesha, Daniil Kharms, Boris Pilnyak, and the rollicking, cruel, sad comedians known as Ilf and Petrov. These are people whose work I’d never even heard of before, and now I can’t believe I lived without them. Stumbling on stuff like this is one of the great joys not just of reading, but of life.
Kris Hickey is currently reading, Out of Nowhere by Maria Padian.
Call him cynical, call him unfeeling, but don’t ever call him dull. Ritchie’s keen, restless wit drives this hilarious narrative as it speeds down two paths. The first is the story of Ritchie, his friend Elliot, his not-girlfriend Lacy, and an incredible bongo drummer called Chaos (“Chowus” to you) clumsily form a band. In alternating chapters, Ritchie is in a juvenile detention center writing out his story as part of a therapy project. At first he takes the assignment as a joke. But Ritchie is intelligent and eloquent, a natural writer, and eventually he is able to release his emotions through words.
The book is jammed full of musical references. There’s the music Ritchie likes, the music he mocks, the music he plays, the music he writes, the music of his ring tones, etc. At the end of the story, Beaudoin adds some extras, such as Ritchie’s list of 25 Worst Band Names Ever, and a discography of the book. It was hard to select just one song for Jukebooks, but led by my interest in the perverse, I selected What We Do Is Secret by the Germs.
Elliot plays the Germs while driving quite recklessly in his car. Ritchie describes the sound as “…something that’s hard and fast and harsh and fast and awesome and fast and loud and fast and fast and fast.” (p137) But he pretends he doesn’t know the band, nor its lead singer, Darby Crash. This gives Elliot the chance to explain that Darby Crash fell apart and overdosed on heroin, hence only one album. Crash’s sad story and sadder death were completely overshadowed in the news however, when John Lennon was murdered just hours later. As Ritchie says, “‘Total punk timing.’”
A film biopic, What We Do Is Secret, spent fifteen years in production prior to it’s 2007 release. Producer/director Rodger Grossman focuses on Darby Crash as he builds his band and then gradually self-destructs. Crash and the Germs also appear in a segment of The Decline of Western Civilization, a documentary about the punk scene in LA, 1979-1980.
The video clip below shows a live performance of the song, What We Do Is Secret.
-Diane Colson, currently reading This is the Story of a Happy Marriage by Ann Patchett and listening to Spillover: Animal Infections and the Next Human Pandemic by David Quamman and read by Jonathan Yen
I often spend a lot of my time recommending books to people. I got to thinking: what books would I recommend to my favorite TV and movies characters? There are so many different characters to choose from, but I knew that I would need to first look at a group of nerds with whom I would love to spend time discussing the finer things of the book shelves. I decided to closely examine the possible reading tastes of the ensemble of The Big Bang Theory. Some of the characters may be pretty obvious in their reading preferences. I mean, how many times have we heard Raj talk about Twilight? So now, with no further delay, here are my recommendations for our nerdy male friends in The Big Bang Theory.
Sheldon – Sheldon is one of the more difficult, yet simplest person to please with books. Obviously if you’ve watched at least one random episode, you will easily notice the love of comic books and graphic novels. Sheldon has an affinity for Batman as he states that he could be Batman given the right amount of financial backing. Given those interests, I would recommend Batman: Year One by Frank Miller and David Muzzuchelli. As for a traditionally-formatted teen novel, I would suggest The Adoration of Jenna Fox by Mary Pearson (2009 Best Books for Young Adults, 2009 Amazing Audiobooks for Young Adults). In this book, Jenna discovers that after she experiences a traumatic accident, she is only alive due to vast amounts of artificial medical materials. This leaves Jenna debating whether or not she is still human or now some kind of medical creation. Sheldon would be interested in the ethics of science as well as the procedures created for the book. Not to mention, it is mentioned quite frequently that Sheldon is not quite human. I would also throw the modern-day classic, Ender’s Game by 2008 Edwards Award winner Orson Scott Card at Sheldon as well. He would definitely be able to relate to the young genius protagonist. Also, the science fiction elements fit into Sheldon’s established preferred genre.
Leonard – Leonard is the cross-section of the group. While his girlfriend Penny is definitely more of the traditional, normal kind of person, he is also able to hang on to his nerd roots. Dealing with his roommate, Sheldon, is a completely separate and bizarre relationship. I would definitely recommend Leonard The 5th Wave by Rick Yancey. In this book, there is an alien invasion that wipes out a majority of the global population. Of the remaining people, it’s impossible to tell who is an alien and who is not. This would be an interesting read due to the statements that Sheldon might actually be an alien. Another book I would definitely give Leonard is the winner of the 2010 Printz Award: Going Bovine by Libba Bray. Going Bovine is an epic, yet bizarre, hero’s tale about a teen named Cameron who is diagnosed with Mad Cow disease. He is visited by an angel while at the hospital and is told that he must journey from Texas to Disney World to get the cure while saving the universe from destruction at the hands of an evil genius called Dr. X. Going Bovine has several references to physics including Schrödinger’s Cat and the Copenhagen Interpretation. Actually, I wouldn’t be surprised if Leonard passed it along to Sheldon when he is through with it.
Howard – Howard has only recently moved past his obsession with picking up girls. Now that he is married to Bernadette, he is strictly a one-woman guy. Although, I could still see Howard looking back at a time when he was a semi-professional girl chaser. The first book that entered my mind is Swim the Fly by Don Calame. In this book, three high school boys plan their summer goal, as they have for the past several years. This year, as they grow older, they decide to make the ultimate goal seeing a naked girl, live and in person. No internet. No TV/movies. Howard has quite the sense of humor and I feel that he would definitely enjoy this book, which is the first in a series. Pre-Bernadette Howard could relate to the struggle of the main characters and maybe learn a few tricks. Although, it’s safe to admit that the three boys are not all that successful, which mirrors Howard’s past experiences. As Howard is now an experienced astronaut, I would recommend 172 Hours on the Moon by Johan Harstad. In this book, three teens are chosen from a worldwide lottery to be the first teens in space. Howard will feel at home with the space references as well as relate to the apprehension felt by the teens throughout their experience.
Raj – As I stated earlier, Raj has not been shy with his feelings about paranormal romances such as the Twilight saga by Stephenie Meyer. Using his previous book selections as a guide, I could easily suggest a number of paranormal/supernatural romances for Raj. However, I would specifically suggest Firelight by Sophie Jordan. Firelight is the first book in a series about a girl who is a drakki, a race of dragon people who can switch from human to dragon. Jacinda and her family leave her drakki people and her betrothed to live among the humans where she falls for a boy from a line a dragon hunters. The star-crossed lovers and love triangle will definitely fulfill Raj’s need for a Twilight-esque story. Also, I would love for Raj to read Shrinking Violent by Danielle Joseph. In this book, Teresa is so shy that she won’t speak to anyone. However, she dreams of being a DJ and practices in her room. When a slot opens up at the local radio station owned by her step-father, Teresa becomes Sweet T, a mysterious and well-loved DJ. Raj can relate to Teresa due to his own issues talking to girls. Raj can talk to girls with the help of alcohol while Teresa can talk to people through the anonymity of the radio.
Check in next month when I tackle the ladies of The Big Bang Theory.
Currently Reading: September Girls by Bennett Madison & I am Messenger by Markus Zusak
Last week, we wanted to know which version of the afterlife you would want to experience, as depicted in YA lit. Lots of readers must like the idea of aging backwards, because the clear preference was the afterlife described in Elsewhere by Gabrielle Zevin, with 70% of the vote. You can see detailed results for all of our previous polls in the Polls Archive. Thanks to all of you who voted and commented!
This week, we’re asking you to choose the first lines of a book that make you want to keep reading. We’ve picked out some compelling choices for you, so vote in the poll below, and please comment if we’ve missed your favorite first lines.Note: There is a poll embedded within this post, please visit the site to participate in this post's poll.
We love reading challenges here at The Hub, and we hope you do, too, because it’s almost time for the second annual Morris/Nonfiction Reading Challenge! Did you participate in last year’s challenge? Did you wish you had? Well, now’s your chance!
On Monday, December 9, YALSA’s 2014 Morris/Nonfiction Reading Challenge will begin. The finalists for the William C. Morris YA Debut Award and the YALSA Award for Excellence in Nonfiction will have been announced, and you’ll have seven weeks — until the Youth Media Awards announcement on January 27th when the award winners will be revealed — to read all of the finalists for the awards. You may choose to read just the titles on the Morris Award shortlist or just the ones on the Nonfiction Award shortlist — or if you’re feeling ambitious, you may do both.
Everyone who completes the challenge by reading either all of the Morris Award finalists or all of the Nonfiction Award finalists will be permitted to count those titles toward our 2014 Hub Reading Challenge, which starts in February. (Normally you may not count books you’ve already read toward the Hub Reading Challenge.) This will give finishers for the Morris/Nonfiction Reading Challenge a leg up and get them that many books closer to being eligible to win the Hub Reading Challenge prize!
Are you up for the challenge? Keep an eye on The Hub for more details and to participate.
-Allison Tran, currently listening to the audiobook of Crewel by Gennifer Albin, narrated by Amanda Dolan
Julie Halpern has a knack of taking you back to high school by pulling out our best and worst memories of that time through her writing. Her spot on comedic tone and skilful weaving of a story, perfectly channels the essence of the high school experience. She has been recognized on YALSA’s Best Fiction for Young Adults lists twice: in 2010 for Into the Wild Nerd Yonder and 2013 for Have a Nice Day.
The F-It List is Halpern’s fifth novel for teens, and it has laugh out loud humor while at the same time delivering an emotional punch to the gut. The F-It List hit bookshelves this past Tuesday, November 12, and centers on the friendship of Alex and Becca. When Alex’s father passed away, her best friend Becca made a poor choice and slept with Alex’s then boyfriend. Needing a break from the drama, Alex spends a summer keeping away from Becca. When she is ready to forgive at the start of the next school year, Alex discovers that Becca has cancer. Together they rebuild their friendship while trying to complete Becca’s bucket list, or as they call it the F-It list. Through this process Alex discovers a lot about grieving, love, friendship, and even herself. Visit Julie Halpern’s website, juliehalpern.com, to learn more about her work.
This is your fifth novel for teen readers. Has your writing style or writing process changed since your first novel was published? What has stayed the same?
I don’t know how much my style has changed, except that (hopefully) it has improved! Practice makes perfect, and all. I have had a similar writing process for all five books, where I tend to write the first few chapters and then let them sit for a bit before I continue writing the book. I don’t outline, but I do make a list of important events (sometimes the list looks neat, sometimes it’s randomly-placed post-its) that I need to include. I tend to write my books on a schedule, meaning that the events in the book take place over a certain amount of time and I need to figure out how to make the schedule work in order to keep the book organized. Otherwise, I write my books through the eyes of the main character, and the characters dictate the words. Also, in terms of process, I hand-write all of my books into notebooks with a pen, and when I finish the first draft I have to type it all in (which becomes my second draft). By now I know that I usually require two or three revisions after the second draft before I’m comfortable sending it to my editor. No one sees it before then.
Your main characters are high schoolers and I have noticed that a lot of what you write about is something that is more relevant to older teens’ lives. Is this something that happens naturally in your writing process or is it something that you set out to do intentionally?
Actually, I feel like most of my characters have been on the more immature, inexperienced side compared to today’s teens. I remember reading teen reviews of Get Well Soon (2008 Quick Picks for Reluctant Young Adult Readers), and some of the complaints were that Anna was naive. I think the age ends up being dictated by whether or not I need the characters to drive. In The F-It List, I knew college was looming, and I also wanted driving and sex. I made the characters older, so those things weren’t new experiences for them.
How would you describe your teenage self? Was there anything that you experienced as a teen that you think made you the writer you are today?–or that made you the person that you are today?
I was funny and depressed and music obsessed. Get Well Soon is very much based on my own experiences, so that’s pretty much how I was as a teenager (without the revelatory parts. I think I needed age to reflect on what was really going on in my life). I don’t think I’m all that different than from when I was a teen, except that I am much more confident and certain about what it is I want to do with my (half over) life.
What is it that you like about writing for teen readers? Is there anything you dislike about it? Have you ever thought about writing for younger readers (Halpern has published a children’s picture book, Toby and the Snowflakes) or adults?
I like the straightforward nature of teenagers and books for this audience. I don’t feel like I have to froof around with format and pretty sentences to make it “literature”. It feels more direct and immediate than that. If I wrote adult books, they would feel very similar to my teen books except they would probably be extra vulgar. I have tried writing more books for younger readers. It’s not easy, although I would love to write more pictures books so my husband (Matthew Cordell) could illustrate them. And so I could get more school visits. I love interacting with my readers!
One major theme in The F-It List is the main character Alex is trying to support best friend Becca through her cancer treatment, and Alex struggles with feeling guilty about going on with life while Becca is so sick. What made you take on the subject of a best friend dealing with cancer? What was your research process when tackling this theme?
I have a good friend who had cancer, so I was coming from that point of view. I was going through a lot of my own health problems before and during the writing of the novel, so I channeled that for the questioning of why and who gets sick. I also spoke with a teenager, a friend of an old student of mine, who was going through cancer treatment. She and I met several times and built a friendship while I wrote the book. She is doing great, by the way, and so is my good friend.
You often tackle some pretty heavy themes in your writing. Does writing ever take its toll on you? What do you do if you need a fun break?
I use humor in all of my books which is how I survive writing anything heavy. In my new book, I added a bunch of sex scenes because they were so fun to write compared to the scenes about cancer! Plus, I chew a lot of fun-flavored gum while I write.
Main character, Alex, is a huge fan of horror movies and she uses them to escape from the horrors of her reality. Did you have to do research for this part of Alex’s life or are you a fellow horror movie buff? If so, what are some of your favorites and why?
I did no research whatsoever, since I’ve been a huge horror fan since I was a teen. The only new research I did was attend ScareFest in Lexington, Kentucky with my friend, Tracy (the Tracy featured in my books Get Well Soon and Have a Nice Day). I used some of the experiences there when Alex and Becca go to Dead of Winter Con. I actually list all of my favorite movies in the book! I’d have to go back and re-read it to give you the full list :)
Do you have an F-It list? If not, what would be something you would put on it?
Nah. I’m a believer of wanting to do something and doing it. Of course, I’d love to travel more, and I would like to try the flying trapeze. Both of those would require time and money. Lots of money. I suppose that’s on my F-It list: acquire lots of money. So I can travel. And fly on the trapeze.
To feed off that last question, what are some things you’ve done in your life that are F-It list worthy, or that someone may not have yet crossed off on their bucket list?
I lived in Australia after college. I worked on my favorite TV show, The Adventures of Pete and Pete, and I’ve written five novels. I was a really good school librarian. Do people have that on their bucket lists?
There are a lot of great themes running through The F-It List, and in the end I think the reader really gets a sense of hope and that you should never hold yourself back in anything that you do in life. Was there a message that you wanted your reader to leave with when they turned that last page?
I don’t know if I want to talk about the last page, as that gives a hint about the future for the characters. But I do want people to take away that there are choices in life to do interesting things or to sit around and think about doing interesting things. I have to remind myself of this more often the older I get.
Before you became a writer full time, you were a middle school librarian. I had the pleasure of being your assistant for a couple of years and it was while working with you that I discovered the awesome-ness of working with teens in a library setting and decided to become a teen librarian myself. Knowing what I know about working with teens, I was wondering if you thought that having that insight of how teens read and why has helped your writing? Also, do you think you’ll ever return to working as a librarian?
You were a great assistant! That’s a good question, but I don’t really know the answer. I’m not working with teens anymore, so it will be interesting to see if I still have that insight. Or maybe I have more freedom, since I don’t have that daily interaction. I never would have written a sex scene if I were currently working in a middle school library. Will I ever go back? I’d like to. We’ll see where life takes me! For all I know, I could join the circus.
Thanks, Julie, for taking the time to participate in this interview. I strongly encourage readers to pick up The F-it List!
–Colleen Seisser, currently reading Relic by Renee Collins
Thanksgiving offers the perfect opportunity to appreciate the experiences of young people who have immigrated to the United States. Like the Pilgrims, who came to America in search of freedoms they did not have at home, families from every part of the world have sought safety on American soil. Some of these families were welcomed, like the Pilgrims. Others have faced language barriers, poverty, and prejudice to make their homes in America.
All of the books below have appeared on select YALSA lists as noted. They are true accounts; memoirs, biographies, and third person accounts. There are also many great YA novels that explore the difficulty teens face when first encountering American culture. For some great suggestions, check out YALSA’s 2013 Popular Paperback list, I’m New Here Myself.
Born in Afghanistan during the war against the Soviets, Farah Ahmedi had a child’s knowledge of danger. Rockets were a familiar sight in the night sky; bombs a familiar noise in the countryside. Nevertheless, she was excited to be going to school and loved her teacher. One day, however, Farah took a shortcut to school that cut across a field…and stepped on a mine, losing her leg. Assimilating to a new culture is always difficult, but when Farah finally gets to the United States she has more than her share of obstacles.
Ishmael was fond of entertaining his friends with his interpretations of American rap songs, even as the civil war in Sierra Leone grew increasingly violent around them. At twelve, he was captured and forced to become a child soldier. Ishmael spares no details as he describes killing people while drugged up with “bang bang.” It was no small effort for this boy to make his way back to humanity, both physically and psychologically. In the end, Ishmael arrives in New York City to start again.
Chang Yu-i was born in China in 1900, a time when great traditions were clashing with Western influence. At the age of three, Yu-i refused to allow her mother to bind her feet, thus asserting her own opinion, and not for the last time. Yu-i tells the story of her long and eventful life to her great niece, the author Pang-Mei Chang. As Pang-Mei relates the story of her aunt’s life, she inserts her own experiences as a first generation Chinese-American.
China’s Cultural Revolution turned society upside down; those who were respected as landowners and business leaders were now subjected to power of the working people. For twelve year-old Ji-li, whose grandfather had owned land, it meant that her family and her past must be eradicated. Ji-li’s story puts a face on the millions of Chinese affected by Chairman Mao’s bloodthirsty drive to create a Communist nation.
In 1975, the Khmer Rouge Communist Party took control of Cambodia. Over the next four years, this regime killed an estimated 1.7 million people, leading some to refer to this time period as the Cambodian genocide. This is where Loung spent her childhood before finally escaping and making it to the United States.
If you’ve just arrived in the United States, and are very fortunate, you might attend the Internationsl High School at Prospect Point in Brooklyn. Journalist Brooke Hauser dives into the daily triumphs and struggles of kids who have left behind familiar languages, customs, and possibly years of living in a war zone.
Farewell to Manzanar: A True Story of the Japanese American Experience During and After the World War II Internment by Jeanne Wakatsuki Houston and John D. Houston. (Popular Paperbacks, 1997)
Houston’s tale about her years in an interment camp during World War II is as engaging today as when it was first published in 1973. Although the Wakasuki family was living in the United States prior to the bombing of Pearl Harbor, President Roosevelt ordered that all persons of Japanese descent be imprisoned in the camps.
Houston’s powerful book is often read as a school assignment. To this end, a teacher from California, Chimene Ovalle, produced the following video introducing students to Farewell to Manzanar. Not only is it a beautiful introduction to the book, it’s also a reflection of the prejudice that confronts many young immigrants.
-Diane Colson, currently listening to Storm Kings: The Untold History of America’s First Tornado Chasers by Lee Sandin, narrated by Garman
Over 32,000 teen readers cast their vote for the 2013 Teens’ Top Ten, and The Hub is celebrating their choices! Today we feature Elizabeth Wein whose book Code Name Verity is #1 on this year’s Teens’ Top Ten list.
When Code Name Verity was chosen as a Teens’ Top Ten pick, I wasn’t the least bit surprised. In addition to be a very compelling story of friendship during war, it’s a thrilling spy novel. It has so many appeal factors that ensure it will be a hit with a variety of teen readers.
Because of diverse subjects touched on in Code Name Verity, there are a variety of nonfiction books that may interest fans of this WWII story.
Though these are intended for younger readers, the content is engaging and interesting enough that teen readers can enjoy them, too.
- Ghosts in the Fog: The Untold Story of Alaska’s WWII Invasion by Samantha Seiple
This book recounts the little known story of the Japanese invasion of islands off the cost of Alaska in narrative form. This engrossing account of the terrible conditions both soliders and civilians faced will strike a similiar emotional chord with readers.
- Women Aviators : 26 Stories of Pioneer Flights, Daring Missions, and Record-setting Journeys by Karen Bush Gibson
While Wein’s writing is very rich in historical detail, readers who enjoyed the exploits of women pilots in Code Name Verity may be interested in the true stories of these female pilots.
Young Adult Nonfiction
- Code Name Pauline: Memoires of a World War II Special Agent by Pearl Witherington Cornioley
This true-life story of a female spy who went undercover on sabatage missions against the Nazis will be a hit with fans of the subterfuge of the main characters in Code Name Verity.
- Women Heroes of World War II: 26 Stories of Espionage, Sabotage, Resistance, and Rescue by Kathryn J. Atwood
These women’s stories are as suspenseful as Maddie and Queenie’s fates in Code Name Verity, and highlight the many ways that women actively contributed to the war effort.
- The Nazi Hunters: How a Team of Spies and Survivors Captured the World’s Most Notorious Nazi by Neal Bascomb
This narrative nonfiction recounts the post-war hunt for Nazis and is a thrilling spy story in its own right.
- Jungleland: A Mysterious Lost City, A WWII Spy, and a True Story of Deadly Adventure by Christopher S. Stewart
This book chronicles a modern expedition to find a lost city in Nicaragua, following the footsteps of a famous WWII spy who attempted to assassinate Hitler, and includes many sections on Theodore Morde’s missions during the war.
- Code Talker by Chester Nez with Judith Schiess Avila
Many Navajo served during WWII and contributed greatly to the war effort, but their stories were initially classified. This memoir of one of the few living servicemen whose native language remains the only unbroken code used during warfare.
Historical fiction is a great way to introduce teen readers to different time periods and spark interest in real-life events. These books are interesting and exciting enough to convince even a reluctant reader that history is anything but dull!
View a larger version of the image here.
– Molly Wetta, currently listening to Tumble & Fall by Alexandra Coutts and reading Into the Still Blue by Veronica Rossi
Here’s some news you might have missed this week:
- @TLT16: Rainbow Project Nominees announced http://www.teenlibrariantoolbox.com/2013/11/2014-midwinter-alert-rainbow-project.html?m=1 …
- @catagator: Where is the humor in contemporary YA? Author Maurene Goo talks about why the funny stuff matters: http://stackedbooks.org
- @ElizEulberg: GUYS! The secret’s out! I can finally shout it: I’M WRITING A SEQUEL TO THE LONELY HEARTS CLUB! Learn more here: http://www.elizabetheulberg.com/blog/?p=1451 YAY!
- @PWKidsBookshelf:Sara Zarr and Tara Altebrando talk ROOMIES in the new episode of PW KidsCast. Listen here: http://pwne.ws/19hRrBS
- @sljournal: Random House Spring Kids 2014 | Preview Peek http://ow.ly/qKxyY #RHCBpreview
- @soho_teen: Woohoo! Our Spring ’14 catalog has arrived: http://ow.ly/i/3HEqO Browse it online here: http://ow.ly/qKkMe
- @IceyBooks: Hitting Shelves (96) — November 12th, 2013 http://goo.gl/fb/8CrwM
- @bwkids: Join the spy team! RT @robinbenway: New blog! I talk about @LaurenEMorrill and the AKA Spy Team (!!!) http://robinbenway.com/blog/paperback-release-day-and-a-contest/ …
- @SJMaas: WOOHOO!!! RT @bwkids The cover for The Assassin’s Blade: The Throne of Glass Novellas by @SJMaas has been revealed! pic.twitter.com/whwwXUIwYg
- @catagator: At Book Riot, I continue my “Beyond the Bestsellers” series with Sarah Dessen! http://bookriot.com/2013/11/13/beyond-bestsellers-youve-read-sarah-dessen/ …
- @teralynnchilds: This. Yes. A thousand time yes. Book trailer for PRINCE OF SHADOWS by @rachelcaine. http://vimeo.com/77453902
- @TLT16: The HG cast discusses their favorite YA books of all time http://popwatch.ew.com/2013/11/11/hunger-games-cast-ya-books/ …
- @VeronicaRoth: All the Divergent character posters in one convenient Tumblr post! http://tmblr.co/ZvPTFx_APB03
- @EgmontUSA: New movie poster for Maleficent (starring Angelina Jolie). Are you excited? http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/11/12/angelina-jolie-maleficent-poster_n_4259909.html?utm_hp_ref=books&ir=Books … via @HuffPostBooks
- @hmz1505: Legend has a screenplay and is at the “looking for a director” stage. Marie Lu loves the screenplay :) @LizaWiemer
- @malindalo: I’m giving away 50+ copies of my books to teachers/librarians/those who work with queer youth. Details here: http://www.malindalo.com/?p=8923
- @harperteen: Enter to win an ARC of @rosamundhodge‘s CRUEL BEAUTY ––> http://shrd.by/Yp5e6E <
- @Scholastic: #Teachers, need some #thanksgiving ideas? Check out our Thanksgiving virtual field trips–just hit 20m views! http://oomscholasticblog.com/post/one-milestone-20-million-views …
- @FTBradleyAuthor:Inspiring ideas here: RT @JensBookPage: 10 Things About #KidlitCon@book_nuthttp://ow.ly/qKmqR #mglit#kidlit#yalit
- @pewinternet: ”Cyberbullying 2010: What the Research Tells Us” by @Amanda_Lenharthttp://pewrsr.ch/17RYCXF
- @sljournal: RT @HarmonyInkPress: We’re doing a Young Author Challenge for #LGBT#YAFiction! Looking for 14-21 year old authors. http://harmonyinkpress.com/submission-guidelines/open-calls-for-submission/ …
- @mkeagle: Teens’ brains may have to work harder to rein in their behavior in threatening situations: http://news.sciencemag.org/brain-behavior/2013/11/why-teenagers-are-so-impulsive …
- @ReadingRants: “Students’ social media and digital footprint can sometimes play a role in the admissions process,” http://nyti.ms/1gyWGFY
- @catagator: Smart, straightforward advice on writing from @courtney_s you should read http://summerscourtney.tumblr.com/post/66859417828/sometimes-it-feels-great-and-turns-out-terrible …
- @bkshelvesofdoom: Session Recap: Blogger Burnout: Suggestions for Getting Your Groove Back http://bit.ly/1eJu0tc
- @jenlynnbarnes: . @sarahreesbrenna has written an awesome article on sexism and self-promotion. http://the-toast.net/2013/11/12/a-female-author-talks-about-sexism-and-self-promotion/ …
- @catagator: We couldn’t overlook love in contemporary YA fiction week, and today, Tiffany Schmidt talks about great romance http://www.stackedbooks.org/2013/11/romance-in-contemporary-ya-fiction.html …
- @catagator: Kicking off contemporary YA week with a discussion of mental illness by Hilary T Smith http://www.stackedbooks.org/2013/11/mental-illness-in-contemporary-ya-guest.html …
Just for Fun:
- @JustinLibrarian: Nintendo Releasing Album Of 8-bit Theme Songs To Celebrate 30 Years Of NES http://feedly.com/k/17Q6yIU
- @PitchDarkBooks: Book nominations are now live for #TheBookShimmyAwards@EpicReads ––> http://bit.ly/1bard95
- @jenbigheart: Learn how to make Butterbeer! Mmmm, delish! http://www.instructables.com/id/How-To-Make-Butterbeer-From-Harry-Potter/ …
- @Scholastic: Who’s going to start collecting stamps now? From @usatoday, “Post Office begins selling Harry Potter stamps” http://www.usatoday.com/story/life/movies/2013/11/12/harry-potter-stamps-on-sale/3491615/ …
~ Jennifer Rummel, currently reading Home for Christmas by Jessica Burkhart
Over 32,000 teen readers cast their vote for the 2013 Teens’ Top Ten, and The Hub is celebrating their choices! Today we feature Jennifer A. Nielsen, whose book The False Prince is #2 on this year’s Teen’s Top Ten list.
The False Prince begins where many other books have: a dismal orphanage full of abandoned children and a terrible caretaker. But after that, nothing in this book is predictable or ordinary. Sage, formerly of said dismal orphanage, is “adopted” by a nobleman named Conner for a devious purpose, train to become the long lost Prince Jaron and assume the throne of Carthya. With more twists and turns than a corn maze in October, Sage navigates the plots and intrigues of not only Conner’s ambitions but also the rumors surrounding Prince Jaron and his tragic royal family. But Sage is no pawn in anyone’s game, and uses his cunning, his sarcasm and his defiance to forge his own way.
But part of what makes The False Prince so great is so what makes it hard to recommend other great books to read next! The False Prince is book one in Nielsen’s Ascendance Trilogy and book two, The Runaway King is out now with book three, The Shadow Throne, being released February 2014. But if you’ve already burned through the first two books (like I have) and are impatiently awaiting book three (like I am), here are some other books that also involve plot twists, courtly intrigues and sassy heroes and heroines.
- Bitterblue by Kristin Cashore
- Changeling by Philippa Gregory
- Delilah Dirk and the Turkish Lieutenant by Tony Cliff
- The Demon King by Cinda Williams Chima
- The False Princess by Eilis O’Neal
- Finnikin of The Rock by Melina Marchetta
- The Girl of Fire and Thorns by Rae Carson
- Grave Mercy by Robin LaFevers
- Reckless by Corneila Funke
- Seraphina by Rachel Hartman
- The Thief by Megan Whalen Turner
- Amanda Margis, reading Are You Going to Kiss Me Now by Sloane Tanen and listening to Sleeping Freshmen Never Lie by David Lubar
I belong to a book club where we do a role call to see what everyone is reading. I am always interested to know what other people are reading or waiting to read- but just knowing what is popular in Ohio or the whole United States no longer satisfies my curiosity. I want to know what teens are reading all over the world.
France is a country of 66,000,000 people. Its capital and largest city, Paris, has a population of 2,200,000 who live in the city limits. If you count all the people living in the suburban read around Paris that’s nearly 12 million people. (France) About 19% of the people in living in France are 14 years old or younger so that’s a lot juvenile and teen readers. What’s really amazing is France has a near 99% literacy rate so all these young readers will grow into lifelong book lovers. Which makes me wonder: what are all of them reading?
Thank you to Celeste Rhoads who has the answers.
- Where did you work?
The American Library in Paris (Paris, France – a private, non-profit library founded by the ALA in 1920)
- What are the most popular titles for teens at your library right now?
House of Hades by Rick Riordan, anything by John Green or Sarah Dessen, the CHERUB series by Robert Muchamore, Divergent Trilogy by Veronica Roth, Leviathan
Trilogy by Scott Westerfeld and the Revenants trilogy by Amy Plum, just to name a few. Amy Plum is local and has done a few workshops for us, so she’s got a fairly large fan base at the American Library in Paris. Manga and graphic novels are especially popular with many of our teens, including anything by Gareth Hinds, and then of course, Naruto by Masashi Kishimoto and Bleach by Tite Kubo.
- What genres are most popular with your library’s teens?
I would say dystopian fiction, fantasy and sci-fi are our most popular genres, and probably in that order.
- What languages are the books in your teen collection?
Books are nearly exclusively available in English in our collection, with very few exceptions. For example, in the Children’s Library we have a small collection of 20 Caldecott award winners and honor books that have recently been translated into French. The French public libraries do a great job, but they really don’t offer much in the way of English language literature. We provide a really special role in the expat and English-speaking community as the largest English language library on the continent.
- Do your teens prefer to read print novels or ebooks?
When asked (and we actually asked many of them during a recent survey), most teens said that they prefer reading a print novel. Many of our teens do read and enjoy e-books though and often talk about the ease of carrying an e-book in their bag when traveling.
I hope to learn and share about teen reading around the world. If you or someone you know lives overseas and works as a teacher or librarian with teens, please message me so I can do a post about the country they live in. To learn more about what teens are reading in Russia, check out my previous post What Are You Reading, Russia? and What Are You Reading, Ukraine?
- Laura C. Perenic, currently reading The Dream Thieves by Maggie Stiefvater (a current nomination for the 2014 Best Fiction for Young Adults list)
Cath has a few things that are bringing her down. First of all, she reluctantly went away for college and her twin sister, Wren, doesn’t want to room with her. So she’s rooming with a girl named Reagan, whose boyfriend, Levi, is constantly stopping by when Reagan isn’t even there. And then there’s her writing. Cath has been writing fanfiction based on the sensational fantasy series Simon Snow for years; she now has a huge following of her own. But her English professor thinks writing fanfiction is plagiarism and gives Cath a big fat F on her paper.
What to do when the world goes so wrong? Throw an Emergency Kanye Party! Normally Cath and Wren would share this cathartic experience, but this time Cath is on her own. Until Levi arrives, that is.
There are a lot of great Kanye West songs, consistently labeled “explicit”. This gives that Emergency Kanye Party a necessary edgy feel. But I chose a cleaned-up version of Stronger because I pretty much love that song. Feel free to share your favorites in the comments below!
-Diane Colson, currently reading Wise Young Fool Sean Beaudoin and listening to Salt Sugar Fat by Micheal Moss, narrated by Scott Brick