Over 32,000 teen readers cast their vote for the 2013 Teens’ Top Ten, and The Hub is celebrating their choices! Today we feature Kresley Cole, whose book Poison Princess is #5 on this year’s Teen’s Top Ten list.
Poison Princess is a delectable post-apocalyptic romance story that follows Evie, a sweet, well-to-do southern girl from Louisiana, whosuffers from horrible hallucinations of death and destruction. Evie soon realizes her hallucinations are anything but that; they are visions of the future. The apocalyptic event that destroys the world around her has started a war, an ancient prophecy Evie’s grandmother once told her about. Twenty-two teens, the Major Arcana, must now battle each other in the ultimate war of good and evil.
Now Evie’s on the run to the one person who may have some answers for her, but she is not alone… Jack Deveaux, an antagonistic classmate from the other side of the bayou, promised he would protect her on this journey. Now they are bound together in a fight to stay alive and find the truth.
Check Simon & Schuster’s website for a video in which Kresley Cole reveals the inspiration for Poison Princess, and read on for my interview with this charismatic author.
What’s a typical work day like for you?
When I’m on deadline, I wake up before sunrise (though I’m not a morning person!). Once I’m at the desk, I turn on fast bpm music, caffeinate myself liberally, then write for several hours. If I’m flagging by late afternoon, I make myself go exercise (blech).
After that, I have the dreaded second shift at the desk, one that runs well into the night. I call it the time-to-make-the-donuts shift (i.e., http://bit.ly/1exSqWq).
On those rare occasions when I’m not on deadline, I enjoy doing things like “emerge from house” and “experience sunlight.”
I love the cover art on all of your books. Are you involved in the creative process for the art? If so, what is that process like?
Thank you—I love them too! While I wish I could take credit for these incredible covers, all kudos go to the very talented people at Simon & Schuster. I can’t wait to unveil the cover for the third book in the series!
If you had to pick a theme song for Poison Princess, what would it be and why?
I first heard about the song “Run Away” by Sarah Jarosz when a friend saw her play at the House of Blues in New Orleans. Since then, I’ve been struck by how the lyrics touch on characters in Poison Princess and dovetail with more than one specific incident. I can imagine this song playing in the background as Jack and Evie drive away from Haven that one fateful day.
What challenges have you encountered while writing the Arcana Chronicles?
Writing in first person was new. Prior to this series, I had penned seventeen paranormal and historical romances, which were all in third person. Fortunately, the jump to first person went relatively well.
A bigger challenge was setting up an entirely new fictional world with its own rules and boundaries. I have countless spreadsheets on everything from the timeline, to the weather, to the animals, to different Tarot interpretations. When I included that player chart in Endless Knight, I took it straight from a spreadsheet called “Arcana Formal Titles.”
What is the one question you wish people would ask you and how would you answer it?
Hmmm. If anyone asked me which card I’d most like to be in this game (of the cards revealed in the series so far), I’d probably say The World. Her abilities are as wild as they are powerful!
The newest installment of the Arcana Chronicles, Endless Knight, was recently released, and you can watch the book trailer here:
-Katie Shanahan Yu, currently reading Code Name Verity by Elizabeth Wein
Have you ever known a really successful person who, now that you think of it, is also a musician? A recent New York Times piece explores this very phenomenon and finds that the link is not exactly a coincidence.
“Strikingly, many high achievers told me music opened up the pathways to creative thinking. And their experiences suggest that music training sharpens other qualities: Collaboration. The ability to listen. A way of thinking that weaves together disparate ideas. The power to focus on the present and the future simultaneously.”
This article got me thinking: how many authors of teen literature are musicians themselves? As successes in their field, it would stand to reason there would be quite a few. Below are the ones I was able to come up with; I am sure there are more. Let me know who I’ve missed in the comments!
- Maggie Stiefvater (The Shiver trilogy, the Raven Cycle, The Scorpio Races) plays the bagpipes, along with several other instruments. Wikipedia notes that she “played the highland bagpipes competitively while in college, and began a Celtic band, Ballynoola, that toured on the eastern seaboard.” According to her web site, this 2012 Printz Honor winning author also composes the music for all of her book trailers.
- Daniel Handler aka Lemony Snicket (2012 Printz Honor book Why We Broke Up, A Series of Unfortunate Events, All the Wrong Questions series) plays the accordion and has done so as a part-time member of The Magnetic Fields and other Stephin Merritt projects. On NPR’s Fresh Air, he mentions, “I had a very, very strict and traditional musical upbringing.”
- Colin Meloy (Wildwood Chronicles series) almost didn’t get the first book written when his band, The Decemberists, really took off.
- Frank Portman (King Dork, Andromeda Klein) boasts a prolific output as Dr. Frank of The Mr. T Experience.
- Gretchen McNeil (Possess, Ten, 3:59) is an opera singer. According to her web site, she “is a former coloratura soprano, the voice of Mary on G4′s Code Monkeys and she sings with the LA-based circus troupe Cirque Berzerk.”
- Antony John (Five Flavors of Dumb, The Elemental series) studied classical music for all of his early career, and even has a PhD in musical composition.
- Chris Colfer (The Land of Stories series) has performed in high school, community theater, and TV’s Glee as a singer.
- Charles de Lint (recently interviewed on the Hub) states,”My love of music has gone hand-in-hand with my love for books from very early on, the former often providing the soundtrack for the latter, which is how I got into traditional Celtic music.” He has followed this passion in and out of professional gigs over the decades.
-Becky O’Neil, currently reading The Boy on the Bridge, by Natalie Standiford
Over 32,000 teen readers cast their vote for the 2013 Teens’ Top Ten, and The Hub is celebrating their choices! Today we feature Maggie Stiefvater whose book The Dream Thieves is #6 on this year’s Teen’s Top Ten list.
Apparently, there are readers out there who haven’t yet read a Maggie Stiefvater book. Don’t worry, I get it. We’ve all got endless TBR lists, right? Sometimes, I myself have come across an author I still haven’t read, despite his or her books being popular and critically acclaimed (as Maggie Stiefvater’s certainly are), so I understand how intimidating it can be to choose which book to try out first. The question is, how to decide?
The answer: a flowchart. In order to assist those who have yet to experience the magical and lyrical worlds Maggie Stiefvater creates, I have a guide to selecting the one that’s the best fit for you. Chances are, after trying one, you’ll be back for more (view a larger image here).
– Molly Wetta, currently reading Lily and Taylor by Elise Moser and listening to Imaginary Girls by Nova Ren Suma
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
- A lovely Sorrow’s Knot review and a #giveaway on Best Books Ever: http://www.thebestbooksever.com/2013/10/sorrows-knot-review-giveaway.html …-@erinbowbooks
- The thrilling conclusion to the EVERNEATH series is almost here. Enter to win an ARC of EVERTRUE: http://shrd.by/qCZzhq -@harperteen
- Today’s the first day for the PAWN blog tour! Want to win copies of PAWN, along with an awesome grand prize pack? http://theirishbanana.blogspot.com/2013/11/blog-tour-pawn-by-aimee-carter.html?spref=tw …-@aimee_carter
- Just 10 min of your time could mean winning a STELLAR YA book. And talking about covers is fun anyway, right??? http://ow.ly/qtVu7 -@TeenReads
- It’s live!! Cover Reveal: The Rules for Breaking by Ashley Elston + Giveaway (US/Canada) http://ow.ly/qvYrO @DisneyHyperion-@yabookscentral
- And if you want to win a copy of PAWN, make sure to read the entire post and comment! http://harlequinblog.com/2013/11/youll-never-get-bored-reading-pawn-behind-the-scenes-of-aimee-carters-pawn/ …-@aimee_carter
- Giveaway alert! Enter for a chance to win SIX books that burn with rebellion… http://shrd.by/ocDs5h -@harperteen
- ‘Game of Thrones’ Meets ‘The Terminator’ in ‘Scorched’ | Giveaway http://ow.ly/qyWOv SLJTeen-@sljournal
- Champion is out today, and I feel rather wistful. Few quick words here: http://marielubooks.tumblr.com/post/66084989137/above-me-and-my-inspiration-for-ollie-well …-@Marie_lu
- Morganville fans unite!!! “@MightyMouse118: Happy Release Day to my fabulous boss/friend @rachelcaine!! #Daylighters is out today!”-@heatherbrewer
- Happy Book Birthday to @jasouders‘ REVELATIONS! http://bit.ly/16JdjWM -@torteen
- You can be improved… Intrigued? The wait is over. TWINMAKER from @adelaidesean is on sale now: http://shrd.by/XBstwp -@harperteen
- Go wish a happy #BookBirthday to @jenlynnbarnes and THE NATURALS! Then check out the first 50 pages here: http://un-requiredreading.com/books/the-naturals …-@HyperionTeens
News and Events
- The polls are open! Announcing the nominees for the 2013 #GoodreadsChoice Awards! Choose the best books of the year: http://bit.ly/1b643ND -@Goodreads
- Holy wow. RT @catagator Do women dominate YA? A breakdown of the NYT YA Bestseller list by gender & more: http://www.stackedbooks.org/2013/11/a-closer-look-at-new-york-times-ya.html …-@raecarson
- here it is! FRACTURE ME bridges the gap between UNRAVEL ME and IGNITE ME, and it’s told from Adam’s POV; out Dec 17! pic.twitter.com/ce9zF0ZOU2-@TaherehMafi
Just For Fun
- Wow! @EW comes out swinging with their 1st round of voting for Best YA Novel! Have you voted? It’s tough! http://popwatch.ew.com/2013/11/04/best-ya-novel-round-one/ …-@Scholastic
- Whitney Etchison, currently reading The Panopticon by Jenni Fagan
Over 32,000 teen readers cast their vote for the 2013 Teens’ Top Ten, and The Hub is celebrating their choices! Today we feature Gennifer Albin, whose book Crewel is #7 on this year’s Teen’s Top Ten list.
Sixteen-year-old Adelice can “manipulate” reality – weaving it like threads in a tapestry – a remarkable gift that only Spinsters possess. When her ability is discovered by the all-powerful Guild, she is torn from her family and thrust into a pampered and privileged but tightly controlled new life. She finds herself caught in a web of lies and intrigue and isn’t sure who she can trust.
There are a lot of similar dystopian books being published but yours stands out for its unique plot and setting. What inspired you to write Crewel?
The idea for the novel stems from a painting by Remedios Varo where girls sit in a tower and embroider the world. I built on that by adding more traditionally female arts like weaving and spinning. It’s been tricky to create a woven world, and even trickier to get the idea out of my head and onto the page, but I’m finding that there’s a lot of room for expansion on the concept. In book two, we’ll meet characters with different powerful skills that can affect the fabric of reality.
I think that what makes Crewel stand out from dystopians is that it’s not so much a dystopian novel. It contains some of the elements, but it’s more science fiction and fantasy with lots of what could be called supernatural elements.
Adelice’s outspokenness and sassiness get her in a lot of trouble throughout Crewel. How important is it to you to portray strong, independent females in your books?
That’s tricky. I personally love empowered female leads and you’re always going to get a confident female in my books, but I think empowerment comes in a lot of forms: intelligence, courage, curiosity, etc. My goal is always to give you a real character with problems and flaws and strengths. It’s funny because in a way Adelice’s sassiness is one of her biggest weaknesses, too, even though it makes her independent. I never want to write a blank slate character, but I imagine I’ll write a girl who is searching for empowerment someday. The most important thing is to write a character that a reader can relate to, because often through her choices it reminds us that we can be empowered too.
Do you have a writing ritual? (Or writing routine?)
I wish I did. I am not a creature of habit. The most habitual thing I do is brush my teeth everyday. II do try to write or read everyday, and I certainly think about writing all the time. I’m always jotting things down in notebooks or on napkins. One of my goals for the new writing year is to develop more of a routine, but we’ll see how that goes.
What books or authors have inspired you as a writer?
I’ve always found J.K. Rowling inspiring. Not only because her books are amazing and amongst my favorites ever written, but also because she had to fight for her writing career.
I studied English lit in college and grad school, so I feel fortunate to have read so many amazing authors, particularly early female novelists like Eliza Haywood and Mary Wollstonecraft. I find inspiration in too many genres to catalogue.
What was the strangest thing a teen said to you about your book?
A lot of readers inform me that I spelled Crewel incorrectly, which is funny for a couple of reasons. 1) Because it’s a real word that refers to a style of needlework. 2) Because it’s fiction, so I feel like I could make up a word if I wanted to. 3) Because I hope my publisher or agent would have said something to me if I meant to spell cruel and messed it up.
I wanted to add a big thank you to the YALSA groups for reading Crewel and sending in reviews. I can’t really express how much it’s meant to me.
-Sharon Rawlins, currently reading Far Far Away by Tom McNeal
Over 32,000 teen readers cast their vote for the 2013 Teens’ Top Ten, and The Hub is celebrating their choices! Today we feature David Levithan, whose book Every Day is #8 on this year’s Teen’s Top Ten list.
David Levithan has been such an instrumental part of making LGBTQ stories a forefront for YA literature, and he has been writing for long enough that I was lucky enough to read some of it when I was still a teen. In 2003 YA literature, while still flourishing, looked a bit different than it does now, and LGBTQ-themed novels where nobody died or came out dramatically were hard to come by. As someone who did not die or come out dramatically, Levithan’s work was in many ways lifesaving for me. I like Levithan in part because I like a male author who writes female characters well, and I especially like a male author who paints queer female characters with the same careful, intricate brushstrokes he lends to their queer male counterparts. In short, Levithan’s work played a huge role in my adolescent years, and I’m always a bit baffled when people tell me they have not yet read anything by someone who constitutes a veritable giant in YA literature.
The Hub featured an interview with David Levithan not too long ago, so to celebrate his Teens’ Top Ten win, I’ve put together a “primer” or introduction to some of his most significant and diverse contributions to YA literature.
- Boy Meets Boy, 2003 (Winner of the Lambda Literary Award)
The first novel Levithan published is also one of the first books I suggest to anyone looking to become familiar with Levithan’s work, because it is ultimately very “classic” Levithan. Like many of his novels it is part speculative, and takes place in a world where bigotry based on one’s sexual orientation or gender expression simply does not exist. Boy Meets Boy is, at its core, simply a love story between two high school boys, but it is also a fun take on the romantic comedy “boy meets girl” plotline most of us are familiar with. Boy Meets Boy is a 2004 Best Books for Young Adults selection.
As little as seven years ago, collaborative fiction between YA authors was far less common than it is now. Nick and Nora’s Infinite Playlist was the first book I ever read that was written by two authors who write alternating perspectives about two main characters, and I remember thinking that it was a genius way to tell a love story. Which, like most of Levithan’s work, is what Nick and Nora’s Infinite Playlist turns out to be. Plus, it was adapted into a movie that was actually pretty good. This title was named a Top Ten Quick Picks and Best Books for Young Adults selection in 2007.
Set in the near future, Wide Awake’s world is one in which a gay Jewish man has been elected president of the United States, until there is, more or less, a recall, and a young gay couple decides to rally in support. This book feels intensely personal and will, I suspect, resonate with any young activist. I read it in college when I did my fair share of protesting and rallying, and I never forgot how Levithan managed to capture the exact way you feel when you realize how much an election is going to impact your own life.
If you read these three books, you are going to want to read more David Levithan, which is excellent, because he has written a lot more. And if you’ve never read anything by this author whose work helped shape a genre, I humbly submit these three novels as your introduction.
-Chelsea Condren, currently reading Quiverfull: Inside the Christian Patriarchy Movement by Kathryn Joyce
Elise Dembowski has been the butt of countless not-funny jokes, the guileless victim of cruel, imaginative bullies, and the woebegone teen who even fails at suicide. But something different happens when she stumbles on an underground dance club. Elise is accepted. She makes friends. And she learns how to DJ.
Author Sales has written a powerful novel that addresses issues such as bullying, the inflated cost of popularity, and release found in self-expression.
The book’s publisher, MacMillan, has compiled a thirty-one song playlist to accompany This Song Will Save Your Life. For Jukebooks, I chose one of the songs on the playlist - Rush by Big Audio Dynamite.
-Diane Colson, currently listening to Left for Dead: Surviving the Deadliest Storm in Modern Sailing History by Nick Ward, narrated by Simon Vance
Well, here’s a topic that’s going to make everyone’s day more cheerful…
Although we all have to face death at some point, many of us get through our day-to-day lives by putting it at the back of our minds. That doesn’t always work, though, and it’s not always what we need to do. Many churches honor All Saints’ Day on the first Sunday of November (All Saints’ Day being November 1) in part by reading a list of everyone among congregation members, friends, and family who have died in the last year. This year’s list at my church included my husband’s grandfather, my uncle, and a childhood classmate, bringing death squarely to the forefront of my mind right now.
As for many other difficult topics, there are tons of YA books that look death squarely in the face. In many cases, it’s just by including the death of a beloved character or having the protagonist face the very real possibility of death (The Hunger Games, anyone?). However, if you, like me, sometimes need to wrestle with death beyond acknowledging that it’s part of life, consider one of the following:
Death stinks. And while I’ve pretty well decided there’s no good way to go, death by cancer, when you’re a teenager, pretty much takes the cake for rottenness. The Fault in Our Stars acknowledges this right off and it shows snapshots of the horror of dying–but it doesn’t stop with these. Even while not skirting around their illnesses or death, Hazel and Augustus still focus their energy on the business of living. One of my favorite scenes in the book is their dinner in Amsterdam, with champagne that tastes like stars and a snowstorm of spring blossoms. It’s these descriptions of the beauty of life juxtaposed with the ugliness of death that make this book so poignant.
Incarnate by Jodi Meadows
A work of fantasy rather than realism, Incarnate introduces a world in which everyone but the protagonist, Ana, has been reborn. Hundreds of times. And instead of being reborn into a different form or a different class of society, people basically wait until they are old enough to take care of their basic needs and then continue on with their previous lives. They may change appearances, even genders, but they remain basically the same person.
What fascinated me about Incarnate was that while a central feature of death–nonexistence–has been essentially removed from the equation for most of the characters, they don’t fear death any less. In fact, having died so many times, it almost seems like Ana’s friend and protector Sam fears death more than Ana, because he knows what’s coming. Additionally, we find out later in the book that reincarnation is not 100% certain, so there is still the chance that when people die, they will disappear forever. If you like Incarnate, you’ll want to continue on to the other books in the trilogy, Asunder and Infinite.
Death abounds in Harry Potter–two important characters are killed off in the first chapter of the first book, not to mention the many battles, deaths, and near-misses that occur throughout the series. I mention the series, here, though, because death plays such an important role in the ultimate conflict between Harry and Voldemort. First, as Harry finds out over the course of lessons with Dumbledore, eluding death is one of Voldemort’s primary motivations. Behind all of his acts of cruelty is his desire to become immortal. Later on, Harry learns that he himself must embrace death in order to defeat Voldemort–and, as turns out–to have a shot at his own survival.
This book returns to a real-world look at death, although admittedly with the added fantastical element of the protagonist, Mia, able to watch and think while her gravely injured body is tended after a car accident. Mia ponders whether to fight for life or surrender to death, considering all she’s already lost (her parents are killed instantly in the crash) and whether continuing to live is worthwhile. Like in The Fault in Our Stars, it’s the vivid details of Mia’s life that makes her potential death–and the deaths of her loved ones–so hard-hitting.
The Book Thief by Markus Zusak (2007 Printz Award Honor Book, 2007 Top Ten Best Books for Young Adults, 2007 Best Fiction for Young Adults, 2009 Popular Paperbacks for Young Adults, Ultimate Teen Bookshelf)
My last choice for this list features Death in a unique way: he is the narrator of the story, and a much more kindly character than one might expect. Although The Book Thief doesn’t feature humans dealing with death in quite the same way as the other books mentioned here, it reminds us both how encounters with death throughout our lives shape each of us, just as we see them shape protagonist Liesel. Also, Death’s commentary forms a stark reminder of how death is more present and visible for some–in this case, Europeans enduring World War II–than it may be for us.
Since death is something that we all have to deal with, it can be nice to know that it’s on other people’s mind, too. Whether you want to consider the philosophical reality of death and life after, or just know that others wrestle with loss, too, these (and many other!) books can be part of the process.
I know I’ve barely scratched the surface with this list. For a few more books on dealing with death, see Faythe Arredondo’s post on characters who have to deal with a friend’s death. What else can you suggest that fits in with this topic?
-Libby Gorman, currently reading Les yeux jaunes des crocodiles by Katherine Pancol
Over 32,000 teen readers cast their vote for the 2013 Teens’ Top Ten, and The Hub is celebrating their choices! Today we feature Sarah Cross, whose book Kill Me Softly is #9 on this year’s Teen’s Top Ten list.
We all know that life is no fairy tale–unless you live in Beau Rivage, a city of secrets and curses where familiar stories come dangerously to life. In Kill Me Softly, Mirabelle runs away to Beau Rivage seeking answers about her parents’ death and instead discovers the truth about herself. Like the other inhabitants of the city, Mira is caught between the promise of happily ever after and the power to determine her own destiny–if she can survive that long.
Here is my interview with author Sarah Cross:
If you were a fairy tale character, who would you be?
Maybe Gretel from “Hansel and Gretel.” I have the same lack of common sense (eating someone’s house? It seemed like a good idea at the time …) and I was always really protective of my little brother, who was definitely the type to get himself locked in a cage by a witch. Although I really like the princess from Hans Christian Andersen’s “The Traveling Companion.” Her garden is full of the skeletons of suitors who have failed to solve her riddles. It’s one thing to have your suitors killed in fairy tales, but this girl has their bones hanging everywhere like Christmas tree ornaments. And she’s not even an evil queen yet.
Kill Me Softly is definitely a departure from the typical fairy tale retelling or mash-up. How did you come up with the idea of a town full of people doomed to live out fairy tales?
I knew I wanted to incorporate multiple fairy tales, but I didn’t want any of the characters to be the one-and-only Snow White or Cinderella, because who is that, really? There are so many fairy tale variants; there’s no one definitive Cinderella tale, just versions that are more or less familiar to us. And so I liked the idea of fairy tale curses, because you can have more than one version of these characters and their stories can play out a little differently. And since the cursed characters know their stories and have these fates hanging over their heads, some feel like there’s no way out, while others are fighting to have the life they want, instead of the one they’ve been promised by their fairy tale curse. Happy endings are subjective, after all, and not everybody gets one.
I love the clever nods to the Disney versions and, of course, the details from the original fairy tales. Why do you think these stories continue to have such a hold on readers through the centuries?
I think fairy tales have lasted as long as they have because they’re so flexible. They’re short and full of imagery that sticks with you, and because the characters are so flat, their stories are ripe for adaptation. Every generation can have a Snow White that appeals to them, and the core of the story never has to change. Disney’s 1937 Snow White, the vampiric Snow White of Neil Gaiman’s “Snow, Glass, Apples,” the warrior-princess Snow White of ABC’s Once Upon a Time, Ever After High’s blonde fashionista Apple White, the Spanish toreador Snow White of the 2012 silent film Blancanieves… they’re all Snow White. Fairy tales are too alive to ever really get old.
You mention on your website that you are working on a companion novel about Viv. What else can we expect from Beau Rivage? Are there any other characters whose stories you want to explore more fully?
I’d love to introduce Beau Rivage’s Rapunzel, and also to write Layla’s story (Beauty and the Beast). The fun thing about working with a city full of people who are cursed to live out fairy tales is that the fairy tales overlap, so even when you’re telling one or two main tales, you’re brushing up against the other stories as the cursed characters go about their lives. So there’s room for a lot of cameos. You might see the Twelve Dancing Princesses eating breakfast at a diner in the morning, before they’ve even bothered to change their worn-out shoes. Or you might get a text from a girl with a Wild Swans curse, because she needs a ride to the graveyard to collect more nettles for those jackets she’s knitting to save her brothers’ lives. Just another day in Beau Rivage.
What is one weird thing you do when you are writing–a part of your process that is uniquely yours?
Okay, this is pretty weird–I don’t know if I’m the only person who does this but it definitely feels unique to my process. When I’m drafting, very often I’ll write a word or a partial line, and then right away I’ll think of another word or phrase that I might like better. So instead of stopping the flow of words to decide on one of them, I’ll type a forward slash, then type the alternate text right after it. I do this constantly. It’s actually kind of annoying, because it means no one but me can make sense of my drafts until I go back and clean them up. Every few lines there will be, like, a sentence within a sentence within a sentence. But that’s the way my mind works. I like to leave my options open.
If, like me, you cannot bear to wait for Sarah’s next book, you can find a short story set in Beau Rivage on her website!
-Wendy Daughdrill, currently reading The Wednesday Wars by Gary Schmidt
Good morning, Hub readers!
Last week, in honor of Halloween, we asked about your favorite ghost story in YA lit. The Name of the Star by Maureen Johnson came in first with 24% of the vote, with Kendare Blake’s Anna Dressed in Blood not far behind with 18%. In third place, we had a tie: The Mediator series by Meg Cabot and Anya’s Ghost by Vera Brosgol both garnered 14% 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!
Did you know November is National Adoption Month? In honor of this important topic that’s near and dear to many of our hearts, we’d like to know which fictional family from YA lit you’d want to adopt you. Vote in the poll below, and be sure to comment if we’ve missed your favorite fictional family.Note: There is a poll embedded within this post, please visit the site to participate in this post's poll.
Now that ghosts and ghouls have had their day, it seems appropriate to turn to beneficent supernatural beings. In fact, there’s a long tradition of honoring saints (All Saints’ Day) and praying for the souls of departed loved ones (All Souls Day) just after Halloween.
In recent years, we’ve seen countless permutations of teen characters with paranormal qualities. Good vampires, tormented werewolves, hilarious zombies… and so many more. Perhaps it was inevitable that angels, traditionally sacred creatures busy with the work of God, should be incorporated into YA fiction. Hierarchies of angelic responsibilities were created centuries ago by at least four major religions: Christian, Jewish, Islamic, and Zoroastrian. It’s interesting to see what sort of worlds are created for today’s teen angels.
Kissed by an Angel series by Elizabeth Chandler
This is an enduring series that focuses on the relationship between Tristan and Ivy, two beautiful teens who are tragically separated by Tristan’s death. Ivy is completely devastated, but she still feels Tristan’s presence, even feels the touch of his hand. This is because Tristan has returned to Ivy as her guardian angel. His task is protect Ivy from danger, particularly as they team up to track down Tristan’s killer. The first three books in the original trilogy are now published in one volume, Kissed by an Angel. Kissed by an Angel is an early entry in the realm of transcendental love affairs.
A good love story is hard to end, so after the first “arc” of the Kissed by an Angel series ends, Chandler returns with Evercrossed, which picks up after Ivy has moved on with her life and is content with her reliable boyfriend, Will. Tristan is still the love of her life, however, and in the subsequent books, Everlasting and Everafter, Tristan and Ivy continue their fight to be together, despite formidable dark forces that threaten them both.
In this series, angels are supernatural, and governed by absolute laws. Chandler adds some twists that fall outside traditional angel lore, such as fallen angels who are able to inhabit human bodies. This creates tense situations for the characters. As Ivy explains to a bewildered Will in Everafter, “Gregory is in Bryan the same way Tristan is in Luke.” Like many of the angel books below, the main point of interest is the romance, which in this case, is to die for.
Hush, Hush series by Becca Fitzpatrick
Nora’s biology class becomes infinitely more interesting when the sexiest guy in the senior class, Patch Ciprian0, is assigned to sit with her. Coyly, Nora pretends to have no interest in Patch, even as she is increasingly drawn to him. She suspects that Patch is not the total bad boy he seems to be, although that might be wishful thinking. There is another boy interested in Nora, Elliot, who may have a terrible crime in his past. There seems to be no one Nora can trust.
Fitzpatrick says that she started building this fantasy with the notion of Patch, a boy who was once good but has somehow turned very bad. As she pondered what sort of circumstances would alter a character so thoroughly, Fitzpatrick hit on the idea of a fallen angel. There’s quite a bit more mythology built around Patch – who he is, what he wants, how that effects Nora. Readers will either love Patch for his rakish ways, or despise him for his capacity for real evil.
Fallen Series by Lauren Kate
Readers meet Luce in Fallen when she is sent to Sword & Cross, a reform school for fallen angels. There Luce, who is human, is pulled into the battle between angels on the side of God, and angels who bat for Satan. It is evident that Luce has been involved in this struggle through countless lifetimes, which she can barely remember. The immediate and intense attraction she feel for one of the boys, Daniel Grigori, emphasizes her eternal connections to fallen angels. For his part, Daniel goes out of his way to spurn her. He has insider knowledge of the danger in hooking up with Luce, and is determined to keep her away.
The fallen angels in the series, which continues with Torment, Passion, Rapture, and Fallen in Love, basically behave like kids in school with the same social issues – crushes, jealousy, unrequited love. Things are a bit more life and death, however, considering the fight between good and bad fallen angels. As the series progresses, more beings are introduced. There are Nephilim (half-angel, half-human,) Elders (those who manipulate the balance of power between good fallen angels and bad fallen angels,) Outcasts (turncoats who joined Lucifer in his defiance of God but didn’t accompany him to the otherworld,) and some minor angels. Great drama, but no relation to traditional angelology.
It’s probably fair to say that the intense passions between the central characters is more significant than the fact that they are angels. But many teen readers are hooked on the concept of love that lasts forever. Fallen is being made into a movie that is expected to be released in 2014.
Threshold series by Christa Kinde
In The Blue Door, fourteen year-old Prissie discovers that she is able to see beings that are usually invisible to humans. It’s quickly revealed that these are angels, and that many of the people she knows are angels as well. Kinde uses the Scriptures as inspiration for the hierarchy of these angels, which she helpfully shares on her web site. Kinde translates the esoteric descriptions of angels found in ancient scriptures into language that is meaningful for contemporary readers.
For example, Cherubim are traditionally described as winged creatures with the head of a lion, or sometimes as winged creatures with four heads, that of a man, a lion, an ox, and an eagle. Their main task is to magnify the glory of the Almighty. They also show up guarding the way to the Garden of Eden. Kinde calls these beings, “Protectors.” The Protectors are also primarily occupied by singing the praises of God, but they are the angels who combat the fallen. Kinde describes her Protectors as, “Taller than humanly possible, these muscular warriors are well equipped for battle.”
Prissie is increasingly drawn into the world of the angels over the course of the series, which continues in The Hidden Deep and The Broken Window. Despite the ongoing battles between the angels and the fallen, the series respects the inherent sanctity of the angel population. The characters are friends rather than lovers, making it a good choice for teens who prefer their angels focused on God.
Angelfire series by Courtney Allison Moulton
For most of us, bad dreams are temporal experiences, pretty much over when we wake up. But Ellie’s bad dreams are memories from former lives, when Ellie was something more than human. In her human form she is powerful, but unable to express the magnificence of her true archangel form. In Moulton’s angel world, Archangels are the highest order of angel and the closest to God. There are also Soldier Angels, which sound somewhat like the Cherubim/Protector angels in the Threshold trilogy.
But things get quite complicated when the fallen angels are pulled into the mix. “Reapers” are descended from angels, and their moral inclinations are determined through maternal lineage. If the mother is of an angelic nature, so will the child. The child of a demonic mother, one that has herself descended from fallen angels, will inherit a demonic nature. This allows Moulton to really mix things up in the unavoidable battle between the two groups. Angelfire is followed by Wings of the Wicked, Shadows in the Silence, and A Dance with Darkness.
Sixteen-year-old Clara is a Quartarius, one-quarter angel. With the loving guidance of her mom, Clara is learning what this means in her life, starting with discovering her purpose. Clara is drawn to a lovely, handsome boy named Christian, and comes to believe that saving him (from what, she doesn’t yet know,) may be part of her purpose. But there’s also Tucker, very hot and possessed of a devilish grin. This triangle is familiar to fans of paranormal romances. Clara is deeply involved in the destinies of both these boys. By the end of the first book in the series, Unearthly, Clara comes to learn the tremendous responsibility that comes with angel blood.
When Hand was asked about her angel creations, she responded, “I think Unearthly is different from the other angel-related books in that it is, at heart, a human story. My characters aren’t angels; they’re humans with a bit of angel blood in them.” Nevertheless, the series enjoys comparable popularity in the field of angel lit. The story continues in Hallowed, Radiant, and Boundless.
The Sweet trilogy by Wendy Higgins
Anna is sixteen when she learns that she is a Nephilim, a child born of angelic or demonic parents. In Anna’s case, her parentage is mixed: Mom’s a guardian angel, and Dad’s the demon Belial, The Duke of Substance Abuse. In Sweet Evil, Anna learns that Nephilim are pulled to follow the nature of their parents, which in her case, are completely opposite directions. She’s being schooled in the details of angels and demons by the devastatingly handsome son of The Duke of Lust, Kaiden. Unsurprisingly, there is an attraction between them.
Wiggins took the time to set up her celestial world. The earthly dimension is filled with Dukes and their fiendish Legionaires, also known as “whisperers.” A list of all the Dukes, with descriptions of their evil responsibility, is included at the end of the book. The series continues with Sweet Peril.
Mercy series by Rebecca Lim
Angels that chose the wrong side in the battle between the Fallen and the Loyal may end up doomed to reside in human bodies on Earth, with no memory of their true identity. This is the fate that befalls Mercy, who knows that she is weirdly different from her classmates but doesn’t know why. As it turns out, Mercy is one of the angels who fell with Lucifer, her very own ancient lover, and now must atone for this grievous transgression. Lim doesn’t put much emphasis on the God aspect of angelhood, except to underscore all that is at stake. In the first book in the series, Mercy, Mercy is in the body of a girl named Carmen. While in Carmen’s body, Mercy meets a guy named Ryan, whose younger sister has been abducted. Her angelhood gives Mercy special gifts that she uses to help Ryan find his sister.
Violet Eden Chapters by Jessica Shirvington
Violet has only been seventeen for a few hours when her sort-of boyfriend, Lincoln, reveals that both of them are Grigori -part angel, part human. And that they are meant to be partners. Violet finds this so disturbing that she blames Lincoln for delivering the news. When the two of them go out that night, Violet becomes aware of a very hot guy staring at her. She is strongly attracted to him. He is, of course, a BAD angel, known as Phoenix. With the three central characters poised for a romantic triangle, the scene is set for an epic battle.
Shirvington does set up a backstory for her angels. It begins in the usual way, with all angels serving in the highest realm. As soon as angels begin to desire servants of their own, they are exiled from the kingdom. These exiled angels are able to assume a human form, retaining supernatural abilities and their own immortality. It’s not an ideal situation for them, however. Spiritual beings fit awkwardly in bodies of earthly elements, and the strain of maintaining a human presence can affect their minds for the worse. Both light and dark angels, forever at war with each other, can fall into exile, bringing their terrible battles to earth. To Violet’s annoyance, both light and dark angels hate Grigori.
On her web site, Shirvington address the connection between religious belief and angels. “I find the role of religion fascinating and the power it wields quite frightening,” she says, “but really the story in THE VIOLET EDEN CHAPTERS comes from the mythology and the fantastical more than anything else.”
My Totally Awkward Supernatural Crush by Laura Toffler-Corrie
Angels are mysterious creatures, but who knew you could find one waiting tables at Cowboy Clems Chow House? Jenna is appalled when her family takes her to Clems for her fourteenth birthday, until Cowboy Luke shows up to take their order. He. Is. Gorgeous. When Jenna’s mom gives Jenna a perfectly ugly heirloom necklace for her birthday, Luke is suddenly all in her business. Not just Luke, however, but also a scary-looking boy named Adam. This is a lighthearted parody of supernatural love triangles perfect for younger teens and tweens, though the angel authenticity rating is low.
Level 2 by Lenore Appelhans (Book 1 of the Memory Chronicles)
Lenore died the day before she would have turned eighteen. Since then, she has resided in Level 2, a stark environment where souls are virtually imprisoned by guardians. In Level 2, Lenore is able to play back scenes from her life. Gradually Lenore discovers that there are many factions in this otherworld, some divine and some evil. There is a sense of a hierarchy here, but it’s mostly used as a structure for intrigue and battle. This is another “angel” book that could be re-staged with any sort of magical effects with equal success.
This is but a brief overview of angel books in YA literature. In addition to these, there are books that have angel characters as part of a broader fantasy world. For many of the books included above, the romance overshadows the angel lore, with just a few imaginative elements that reflect back to the traditional angels and their hierarchies. Few even mention God or heaven, sticking to the exploits of fallen angels, half-angels, and eternal soul mates.
As a final treat, here’s a student-created parody of Becca Fitzpatrick’s Hush,Hush.
-Diane Colson, currently reading Wise Young Fool by Sean Beaudoin
Welcome to The Hub’s first photo challenge! We are asking all of you to send us a photo of the book (or books!) that you can’t wait to read over the upcoming Thanksgiving holiday. Whether you are finally going to tackle a classic novel that you have never read or you are planning to read the latest release, we want to see the photographic evidence!
Here are all of the nitty-gritty rules:
- For privacy reasons, make sure there aren’t any people in your pictures, please! But, aside from this one caveat, feel free to get as creative as you would like.
All entries must be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org by November 24th to be considered.
By submitting your photo, you are consenting to its publication on The Hub, though we are under no obligation to publish all submissions that we receive.
A selection of the best photos from our readers and bloggers will be posted before the holiday weekend, so we’ll all be inspired to find a good read for the Thanksgiving break!
- Carli Spina, Hub Advisory Board member
This is a joint post about marriage in young adult literature. Romance, problems, college, family drama, addiction, and identity are all pretty common themes in YA lit, but marriage is definitely not. So how did we come up with this topic?
Mia: Weddings have been on my mind lately. I got married in September, and like other brides before me I found myself pondering the idea of marriage from lots of different angles, thinking about cultures and traditions and what it means to me personally. But one thing I didn’t consider until Sarah brought it up in an online conversation was how marriage and weddings connect to the world of young adult literature.
Sarah: I was looking through my old books to select one for my “That Was Then, This Is Now” series on The Hub. I was considering one of my favorites- Mr. and Mrs. Bo Jo Jones by Ann Head, which was a particular favorite of mine. It features a young high school couple who has to get married when the girl becomes pregnant. It was the only book I ever read about married teenagers and although it was incredibly dated even when I read it (published 1967) I found it romantic, tragic, and fascinating. While I was considering it Mia’s wedding was on my mind, which was how I started thinking about marriage and weddings and YA lit. I particularly wondered if there are any novels showing realistic youngish people getting married.
We both found ourselves coming back to this topic, sometimes with book suggestions we’d dredged up from long-ago memory, sometimes with recent contemporary examples of young adult friends or fictional characters who were planning their own weddings.
The longer we reflected on this topic, the more we realized that we really couldn’t find many realistic stories about young adults preparing for their weddings or marriage. Then we started to wonder why. There seemed to be enough examples we could cite from fantasy or historical fiction (for example, 2012 Morris Award Finalist and 2012 Best Fiction for Young Adults selection, The Girl of Fire and Thorns by Rae Carson, which features a political marriage of the main character, or Twice Upon a Marigold by Jean Ferris, which is a fun fairytale)– but far fewer to be found depicting real teens thinking about marriage. We could think of many other examples of stories depicting important young adult relationships, big life decisions, and even rituals. But as accustomed as we may have become to equating a happy ending with a wedding in romantic comedies and the fairytales we experienced as young readers, there were hardly any books for teens that lead to vows, veils, and gold rings. Which is not to say that marriage is never, ever addressed.
I Now Pronounce You Someone Else by Erin McCahan is a switched identity romance in which the swept-off-her-feet heroine is proposed to on her 18th birthday. Breaking Dawn by Stephenie Meyer (a 2009 Teens’ Top Ten winner) features the long awaited marriage of Bella and her vampire love, Edward. 2009 Printz Honor book Tender Morsels by Margo Lanagan is a story in which the ultimate marriage proposal may surprise readers. And Kavita Daswani’s Lovetorn addresses the contemporary practice of arrange marriage, with the teenage protagonist torn between her fiance in India and her high school life and boys in the U.S. While all of these titles have engagements/marriage as a significant part of the story, none of them have particularly shining examples of marriage or a happy ending.
We concluded that perhaps YA lit as we know it today really started to emerge at a point when there were more options for life after high school, and it seems like YA books helped to define their audience by highlighting so many of the less-traditional options that were becoming available paths, rather than the traditional ones. So, in older titles such as Beverly Cleary’s Sister of the Bride (1963) and Carson McCuller’s Member of the Wedding (1946), girls with family members getting married consider their own marital futures, whereas YA in the ’70s and ’80s has older teens considering colleges, and whether or not to stay close to home or break out and go far away. Even in Sarah Dessen’s newest novel, The Moon and More,which is set between high school and college, and has a long term couple in it, marriage is not considered as a serious next step.
With the emergence of the “New Adult” novels, perhaps that is where one might find serious relationships where marriage is a possibility. A perfect example is Meg Cabot’s latest Heather Wells mystery–The Bride Wore Size 12. Teens who read Meg Cabot’s decidely young adult novels and then continued on to the the Heather Wells series will be reading about a bride-to-be.
This was a fascinating subject for us to explore and we would love to hear from you in the comments your thoughts and/or title recommendations!
-Sarah Debraski, currently reading The Whole Golden World by Kristina Riggle, and Mia Cabana, currently reading Picture Me Gone by Meg Rosoff
I’m on Twitter a lot and I often see a lot of discussion on what the next big trend will be for YA lit, or people talking about the latest dystopian/paranormal/fantasy/hot new topic, but I don’t often see a lot of talk for contemporary titles by “fringe” authors. I LOVE the contemporary genre and want to see it get more love! I decided I wanted to tackle these books in a new series about contemporary titles for The Hub called: “Is This the Real Life?” (because it pairs so well with Kelly Dickinson’s new series on fantasy: “Is This Just Fantasy?”). I’m going to try and do themes each month (and feel free to suggest a theme in the comments) that will highlight both new and old titles.
In Mexico (and other countries) today is the beginning of the holiday known as Dia de Muertos or Day of the Dead. It is a day when family and friends come together to pray for and to remember those who have died. With this in mind, my post this month is about teens that are “haunted” by the death of a friend or classmate.
The most well-known of this type of book is the 2008 Quick Picks for Reluctant Young Adult Readers and Best Books for Young Adult title, 13 Reasons Why by Jay Asher. This is the story of shy Clay Jensen and his emotional journey as he listens to tapes made by Hannah Baker, explaining all the reasons she killed herself. Clay is shocked by what he hears and why HE is included on this list. He learns that what may seem like harmless actions (or non-actions) to others actually had tragic repercussions.
Newly published Goodbye, Rebel Blue by Shelley Coriel, tells the tale of Rebecca “Rebel” Blue. Often in detention,
Rebel is shocked to find perfect Kennedy Green there one day after school. Their assignment is to create a bucket list for themselves. Kennedy tries to connect with Rebel but fails. Rebel trashes both their assignments and thinks nothing more of the lists as they leave. Rebel is shocked the next day when she learns that Kennedy has died in a car accident and begins to feel guilty about the way she treated Kennedy as she was the last one to see her alive. Rebel hunts down Kennedy’s bucket list and sets out to complete it in hopes that she can find something to connect to as she also is still grieving over the death of her mother and their carefree lifestyle.
Printz Award Winner Looking for Alaska by John Green is probably the most highly regarded book of this nature. It has been challenged in schools and is still very popular. Miles “Pudge” Helter leaves his home in Florida to attend a boarding school in Alabama. After he meets his roommate and his friends, some “Weekend Warriors” aka rich kids prank Pudge as payback for something his roommate and friends allegedly did the year before. This makes Pudge part of their group and they go about planning their counter prank. As this happens, Pudge starts falling for the girl of their group, Alaska who is unpredictable and self-destructive. Pudge finally kisses Alsaka and the next day, she dies. What Pudge and his friends try to figure out is if her death was an accident, or if she committed suicide.
Death, Dickinson, and the Demented Life of Frenchie Garcia by Jenny Torres Sanches was published in May. Frenchie lives down the street from a cemetery and is slightly obsessed with death and Emily Dickinson. After the death of classmate Andy Cooper, Frenchie begins to act differently and her friends boil this down to her having trouble accepting her best friend’s new girlfriend. What they don’t know is that Frenchie had a crush on Andy, and actually spent the night with Andy the night before he died. She struggles to find out what purpose she had in Andy’s last night and decides to recreate it with the help of new friend Colin.
William C. Morris Finalist and a YALSA Best Book for Young Adults, Hold Still by Nina LaCour explores the life of Caitlin and how she has to go on with life after her best friend Ingrid kills herself. Ingrid leaves Caitlin her journal letting her know a lot had happened to her that she was unable to tell Caitlin. As Caitlin reads the journal, she begins to see what was really happening to Ingrid and begins life without her.
These are just some of the books that are about teens dealing with the death of a classmate or best friend. I know about Wintergirls by Laure Halse Anderson, but what others did I miss? Let me know in the comments!
-Faythe Arredondo, currently reading Confessions of a Hater by Caprice Crane
Here’s some bookish news you might have missed this week:
- @PitchDarkBooks: Prepare for next month with the 15 most anticipated YA books publishing in November via @EpicReads ––> http://bit.ly/Hfbzyz
- @PitchDarkBooks: Watch @VeronicaRoth discuss her @Divergent series – recorded live from the #Allegiant tour! http://youtu.be/8m588VE4MxQ
- @PublishersWkly: Random House Acquires Figment http://pwne.ws/1amutzA
- @catagator: Spend some time with @malindalo‘s data on LGBTQ YA books and mainstream publishing: http://www.malindalo.com/2013/10/lgbt-young-adult-books-2003-13-a-decade-of-slow-but-steady-change/ …
- @PitchDarkBooks: 12 Creepy YA Books That Should Be Made Into Horror Movies ––> http://bit.ly/1g7Cril
- @catagator: If you didn’t read @courtney_s‘s excellent “Writing for Girls,” you need to. Why girl experiences in fiction matter: http://summerscourtney.tumblr.com/post/65383763099/my-books-usually-come-from-a-place-where-im
- @IceyBooks: Hitting Shelves (94) — October 29th, 2013 http://goo.gl/fb/arXUO
@TLT16: 10 #yalit titles dealing with Mental Illness Source: http://www.teenlibrariantoolbox.com/2012/08/top-10-books …… http://tmblr.co/Z2IpfrytIYPd
- @PWKidsBookshelf: 5 Series You Probably Missed as a Kid (But Should Read as an Adult) | The Millions http://pwne.ws/17rwdVW
- @TLT16: In today’s Sunday Reflections @robinreads discusses empathy, fiction and new book by Laurie Halse Anderson http://www.teenlibrariantoolbox.com/2013/10/sunday-reflections-imagining-others.html?m=1 …
- @sljournal: Remembering JFK : books and websites for students http://ow.ly/qcuKe
- @PWKidsBookshelf: A PW feature: new children’s and YA books tackle bullying http://pwne.ws/1gYIUNP
- @HarlequinTeen: You could win @jkagawa ‘s The Iron Traitor, The Lost Prince and $25 gift cert from GEEKS OF DOOM! http://www.geeksofdoom.com/2013/10/28/contest-25-the-iron-traitor-giveaway?
- @yabooknerd: Tween Tuesday Review (+GIVEAWAY) Double Vision: Code Name 711 by @FTBradleyAuthor -Awesome spy book http://yabooknerd.blogspot.com/2013/10/tween-tuesday-review-double-vision-code.html … @HarperChildrens
- @PWKidsBookshelf: The CW Sets Drama Adaptation Of Sara Shepard Book Series ‘The Perfectionists’ http://pwne.ws/18BRcB9
- @PenguinTeen: Two new #VAMovie stills! Do these little sneak peeks make it harder/easier to wait? Either way we still want them! http://bit.ly/19724vp
- @eonline: #VeronicaMarsMovie teaser footage is here–love triangle alert! Are you Team Logan or Team Piz?! http://eonli.ne/1947asf
- @TLT16: EW has a frame by frame breakdown of the CATCHING FIRE trailer http://tmblr.co/Z2Ipfrytj26b
- @PenguinTeen: The #IfIStay cast poses for pictures & the entire Internet falls in love. Thanks for the inside peek, @gayleforman! http://bit.ly/1aBm4GL
- @seventeenmag: #Divergent fans! We got the juiciest set secrets straight from the cast! Check out our behind-the-scenes video: http://svn.tn/6011bSOZ
- @PenguinTeen: .@Marie_Lu‘s #Champion is full of nonstop action & we have a trailer to prove it! Check it out on @hollywoodcrush: http://on.mtv.com/196EOgN
- @abramskids: Diary of a #WimpyKid Hard Luck hits stores on November 5th. Here’s the official book trailer: http://ow.ly/qggZ3
- @sljournal: Make It @ Your Library Launches Maker Space Project Website http://ow.ly/qg4TG #makerspaces
- @TLT16: GIF 101, I am trying to learn about them, so I thought I would share. http://www.teenlibrariantoolbox.com/2013/10/geek-is-new-black-gif-101.html …
- @Teenreads: Wanna be on our Teen Board? Applications for the January-June 2014 term are up on our site! Apply now! http://ow.ly/qkdo6
- @catagator: Some data from that big book blogger survey that’s worth checking out http://www.rivercityreading.com/2013/10/book-blogging-survey-results-your-blogs.html …
- @catagator: On the blog, a look at book packagers and literary development companies and their role (& growth) in YA fiction http://www.stackedbooks.org/2013/10/on-book-packagers-and-literary.html …
Just for Fun:
- @harperteen: RT @EpicReads: How To Get Rid Of Your #Allegiant Hangover (4 proven methods!) ––> http://shrd.by/GTZlwz
- @brokeandbookish: Top ten Halloween costumes inspired by books I’ve read — @EWein2412 @LeilaSalesBooks @marissa_meyer http://www.perpetualpageturner.com/2013/10/costumes-inspired-by-ya-books.html …
- @Scholastic: What would Shakespeare tweet? How about Emily Dickinson? @BookishHQ imagines 12 literary legends on @Twitter: http://bit.ly/1cqQkaV
- @harperteen: #TheBookShimmyAwards are officially happening! Stay tuned to @EpicReads for details and how you can get involved!
When looking for a small town with more literary history, you could be hard pressed to find a place better than Salem, Massachusetts. Not only is the town the home to such literary classics as The Scarlet Letter and The House of Seven Gables but the site is a font of inspiration for books because of the horrific witch hunts, trials, and general hysteria that took place there in 1692.
The witch trials, I think, will always be a source of inspiration for writers, and will always draw reader because the hysteria and executions are shocking even as we struggle with our own modern problems of intolerance. It seems unbelievable that something so silly and foolish, and so clearly the product of fear and ignorance, could have happened on our soil even before we were a country.
The Salem Witch Trials of 1692 left 19 people executed and dozens more accused of witchcraft. Dreams and visions were used as trustworthy and legal evidence in a court of law and fear ruled over all. Despite eventually apologizing and attempting to restore the names of the accused and executed, the damage was done. Lives were ruined and the city forever associated with these horrific events. For a brief history of the trials, the Smithsonian has an easy to digest article here. The history of the witch trials lives on in this little city, but in an unexpected way. Witches, Wiccans, and Pagans have taken back the city and every October, the city becomes Halloween central for the whole month. The witch trials are a sad and shameful period in our history, but reading about them is important to understand our own present prejudices and as a way to prevent our own fears from making us cruel.
Witches, magic, and the witch trials in general always make for a popular book, so here are a few titles to keep Halloween going throughout the year.
Witch Child by Celia Rees (a 2002 Best Book for Young Adults selection) - Mary is a girl raised by witches on her way to the New World from England. After seeing her grandmother killed horribly for witchcraft, Mary is determined to make her way in the new colony of Massachusetts. Befriending other lone passengers on the voyage and then Native Americans once she lands, others in the Salem community start to notice. And they start to talk about witchcraft. Set before the hysteria of 1692, this book still is a good example of the fear and mistrust that Mary encounters and that the accused of witchcraft encountered as well. Another great part of this book is an investigation of what life what like in the colonies and how hard it was to be different.
Gallows Hill by Lois Duncan – When Sarah moves to Missouri from California she has trouble fitting in and it doesn’t help that after she volunteers to play a fortune teller at a Halloween fair that she starts to have dreams and visions about Salem, Massachusetts and the witch trials there. While not set in Salem, Sarah’s visions take place there and make the reader curious about the real Gallows Hill. While it is the real place where the witches from the 1692 hysteria were hanged, there is not a consensus on where it actually is located. There is Gallows Hill Park in Salem, but many experts find that the historical description of the place don’t match up to the present location.
The Physick Book of Deliverance Dane by Katharine Howe - Although this is a book in the adult market, it has some great teen appeal. Connie, a young graduate student moves back to her family home in Marblehead after her mother asks her to help deal with Connie’s grandmother’s house. Soon Connie finds herself in the middle of a mystery involving a key, an old family Bible, the name “Deliverance Dane,” and a physick or spell book. Learning more about the history of her ancestors’ connection to the Salem Witch trials, Connie discovers some shocking truths. The author is actually related to two people who were accused of being witches in 1692, and their stories inspired her to write the book.
Pick up one of these books and allow yourself to be transported back to a time when fear and intolerance rules. Sometimes reading about these issues through the lens of history allows us to see how similar they are to our similar situations.
Further reading includes:
-Wicked Girls by Stephanie Hemphill
-The classic, The Witch of Blackbird Pond by Elizabeth George Speare
-Time of the Witches by Anna Myers
-Anna Tschetter, currently reading Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell
Boo! Happy Halloween, Scorpio! This month will mark a good time to take advantage of the opportunities the world offers. It also offers a rare chance to step back and look inward for the next big thing on the horizon. It is also the perfect month to spend time with those spooky (or sometimes spoopy) tales that will stay with you throughout the year.
Lies, Knives, and Girls in Red Dresses by Ron Koertge, illustrated by Andrea Dezso
We all know the original folktales that have been handed down are more terrifying and gory than the versions on TV and in the movies today. Except for these. Thoroughly modern, deliciously cynical, and even more gruesome than anything the Grimm Brothers wrote, Koertge, with a graphic assist by Dezso, takes you to magical worlds that look a little too much like our own. The truth about Bluebird, Little Red Riding Hood and 12 disobedient sisters will leave you enthralled and terrified.
Cas and his mom move to Thunder Bay, Canada for a new start. Actually, Cas is on the hunt for the ghost that killed his father, the man who taught him everything he knows about ghost hunting. What Cas finds is even more dangerous, the ghost of a young woman, Anna who drips blood on her white party dress before she attacks her victims. While hunting her and finding about her tragic past, Cas finds himself reluctant to kill her and begins to wonder where the ghosts he kills go. A perfect horror read for fans of a good, old-fashioned ghost story.
Soon the leaves will be gone, Scorpio, and another season will be starting. Take this special time to immerse yourself in all the world has to offer.
- Amanda Margis, currently reading Bad Kitty by Michele Jaffe and listening to The Watsons Go to Birmingham-1963 by Christopher Paul Curtis, narrated by LeVar Burton
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.
Ukraine is the largest country entirely within Europe. Their nation, like Russia, divides land into provinces they call oblasts. Ukraine is a country of 45,000,000 people. It’s capital and largest city Kiev has a population of 3,000,000 of people. Kiev is home to the Vernadsky National Library of Ukraine. It houses over 15 million items. (Library) Ukrainian is the main language but they recognize 18 regional languages including a lot I had not heard of like Crimean Tatar, Krymchak and Rusyn. (Ukraine) About 7,000,000 people, or 14.5% of the population are 14 years of age or young. Which makes me wonder: what are all of them reading?
- Where do you work?
- What are the most popular titles for teens at your library right now?
- What languages are the books in your teen collection?
- Do your teens prefer to read print novels or ebooks?
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 other teens are reading, check out my previous posts What Are You Reading, Russia?
-Laura C Perenic, currently reading The School for Good and Evil by Soman Chainani
Alice is young and naive in the way teenagers were before technology; she had no idea of the dangers of drugs, date rape, or life on the streets. So when Alice trips on LSD for the first time, it pretty much blows her mind. This is the beginning of an extended bad trip for Alice, as she tumbles down into a life of degradation and addiction.
It’s been over forty years since Alice’s tragic story was published. Originally, the author was listed as “Anonymous,” which lent a spooky air of authenticity to the book. Now the book is attributed to the writer Beatrice Sparks. Sparks authored a number of histrionic novels as “Anonymous,” such as It Happened to Nancy: By an Anonymous Teenager, A True Story from Her Diary , and Annie’s Baby: The Diary of Anonymous, A Pregnant Teenager. We know that. But for many readers, the book still evokes the desperate struggle of a naive girl caught in the nightmare of druggie-culture, circa 1971.
“Go ask Alice” is a line from the song White Rabbit, performed and recorded by the Jefferson Airplane in 1967. The song had been written by their lead singer, Gracie Slick, a few years earlier, before she had even joined the band. Obvious references to Lewis Carroll’s books, Alice in Wonderland and Alice Through the Looking Glass are easily re-interpreted as LSD-induced hallucinations. Here is Gracie Slick performing with the Jefferson Airplane on The Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour in 1967.
Go Ask Alice was also adapted into a movie in 1973. Additionally, the phrase, “Go Ask Alice” was used to title Columbia University’s pioneering question and answer web site, established in 1993. The web site provides a safe place for teens to ask questions about health issues, including drugs, sex, and STDs.
-Diane Colson, currently reading Boxers by Gene Luen Yang and listening to Detroit: An American Autopsy by Charlie LeDuff, read by Eric Martin