aka YA Literature
Thursday, January 31, 2008
Cody is probably rolling his eyes, but I know Holly will be happy to hear this.
Saturday, January 26, 2008
1. Holly Black commented and pointed out that, hello?, these are not the only two people writing about faeries! And no one has a monopoly on writing about them either, just like no one has a monopoly on writing about vampires or vampire hunters or souls who inhabit living humans' bodies.
2. Having said that, I guess if you are not a connoisseur of any of these genres, then you might think they are all "pretty much the same." I don't think that, but I can see how people would. (Hot vampire who is centuries old attracts a young human female who wants to turn vampire to be with him, the love of her life.)
3. I totally do not get the cover art comparison at all. Only in the broadest, most utterly general sense would I say the covers look anything alike. And I know Marr's art was designed specifically based upon events in the book and that her own tattoo artist designed the tattoo (which appears in the book). For examples of how similar book covers can look, just take a look at a couple of the examples on Jacket Whys (or anywhere else, really). Seriously, I think Henderson is really stretching on this one, and/or really didn't think too long about it before posting.
4. I haven't read Ink Exchange yet (but I'd love an ARC!), but although Wicked Lovely did have a little romance, it was far from erotic. Let me direct Henderson to Nick & Norah's Infinite Playlist and others if she wants some hot YA action.
So anyway, I have really been looking forward to this year and to the announcement of who would be presenting. Jenna Bush is one of the featured speakers, so that has been posted for a while now, but that doesn't excite me. But now that the daily schedules are up, I am now excited about the authors coming! Here is who I am most excited about, although there are other YA authors coming and possibly some I missed in my frantic excitement:
Catherine Gilbert Murdock
However, I am distressed about two things. First, Libba Bray is speaking on Tuesday, and I wasn't planning to get there until Tuesday night (I mean, that is three days out of school right there). Second, Brent Hartinger and Perry Moore are speaking on a panel with Steven Berman about GLBT YA literature during the same time that Joyce freaking Valenza is talking in another session about designing school library websites. Anyone who works with me knows that I simply cannot miss Valenza's session because I am totally into the design and maintenance of our library website and it is JOYCE VALENZA. The good thing is that Brent Hartinger is on like 20 different panels, so I can see him talk at another one. But I'd really like to hear the other panelists and that particular topic. Why do the conference planners do this to me?
Last year, when we got back home from the conference, Holly had all these messages from her friend who is a publishing rep. Holly had spoken to her at the conference, and the friend was trying to get in touch with Holly to invite her/us to a dinner with a bunch of authors like Holly's boyfriend (aka John Green). And we missed it! Is that not incredibly sad? So if any authors want to have dinner this year, let me know. I will not miss it, I promise! Also, I am "a blast!" Oh, and if you are a YA author who lives in NYC, I will be there in March, just in case you want to get together. I promised I would let you know.
Holly, I know you're not librarianing right now, but you should come with me!
Thursday, January 24, 2008
Brande, Robin. Evolution, Me, & Other Freaks of Nature
Haddix, Margaret Peterson. Uprising
Lott, Tim. Fearless
Martinez, A. Lee. A Nameless Witch
Sayres, Meghan Nuttall. Anahita's Woven Riddle
Tallman, Shirley. The Cliff House Strangler
Bollmann, Stefan. Women Who Write
Bravo, Ellen. Taking on the Big Boys: Or Why Feminism is Good for Families, Business, and the Nation
Castelluci, Cecil and Jim Rugg. The Plain Janes
Chicago, Judy. The Dinner Party: from Creation to Preservation
Ensler, Eve. Insecure at Last: Losing It in Our Security Obsessed World
Ganz, Nicholas. Graffiti Women: Street Art from Five Continents
Hirsi Ali, Ayaan. Infidel
Levine, Ellen. Rachel Carson: a Twentieth Century Life
Valenti, Jessica. Full Frontal Feminism: A Young Woman's Guide to Why Feminism Matters
I was very happy with the Rainbow List. Lots of good books on here (including my favorite, Freak Show)!
Berman, Steve. Vintage: A Ghost Story
Cameron, Peter. Someday This Pain Will Be Useful to You
Davis, Will. My Side of the Story
Garden, Nancy. Hear Us Out!: Lesbian and Gay Stories of Struggle, Progress, and Hope, 1950 to the Present
Lindenbaum, Pija. Mini Mia and Her Darling Uncle
Moore, Perry. Hero: A Novel
Peters, Julie Anne. grl2grl
St. James, James. Freak Show
Vickers, Lu. Breathing Underwater
Wittlinger, Ellen. Parrotfish
We have an LGBQT book display at the library right now, and we have all of these books except the Berman, Davis, and Lindenbaum books. We also have Dramarama on there.
Tuesday, January 22, 2008
I read this article by Kristen Nichols mentioned on Ypulse a few weeks ago and thought it was very relevant to the issue of choice as depicted in YA lit. The article is from ALAN Review and is called "Facts and Fictions: Teen Pregnancy in Young Adult Literature." It's a very interesting article all around. Nichols looked at how teen pregnancy is depicted in YA lit, and one of the things she found is that abortion is not depicted in YA lit in proportion to the percentage of real teens who actually choose it (about 40% of pregnant teens choose abortions, whereas only 20% of the books she evaluated did, and then one of those 2 books had the main character forced to have an abortion against her will). Also, the books inaccurately portray the class issues around who chooses to get an abortion. In reality, it is mostly white, middle- and upper-class teens who choose to get abortions, and this is not reflected in YA lit.
I think it's great that girls can see that there are viable choices besides abortion available to them, but I think that we probably need more books that depict abortion as it really happens too. From the retrospective literature review at the beginning of the article, it seems that teen fathers were not widely depicted as participating in teen pregnancy issues, but I think that with newer books like Slam, this is changing. YA lit should reflect the experiences of real teens, and teens should be able to see themselves in the books they read.
Monday, January 21, 2008
It occurred to me in reading this book that the only thing that separates this from a paranormal romance novel is the teen-age of the characters and the lack of sex scenes. I don't say this negatively since, hey, I like romance novels. I am just noting it because I can see how people who liked this book and others like it as teens may grow up to like romance novels. Or I can see how adults who like romance novels would like this book. I never thought I liked sci-fi or fantasy, but apparently I now find myself liking "urban fantasy."
Saturday, January 19, 2008
"Author blogs and web sites are not so much for an author’s current readers but serve as a strategy for attracting new readers."
I don't know, maybe this is the authors' hope (not too sure about even that, though), but from what I have seen, it is the authors' fans who read their blogs. I do read Meg Cabot's blog even though I don't read her books, but otherwise, I don't read the blogs of any authors I haven't read. I read blogs for a myriad of reasons, from waiting breathlessly for news of upcoming books to getting insight on their writing process to enjoying the random and interesting comments.
"Most people are never very interested in blogs that are too personal. No one really cares about what you had for dinner last night or seeing photos of your cat. Blogs are not for writing about your interesting life."
Again, I really disagree. I find the personal stuff very interesting. I love hearing about Meg Cabot's ailments and favorite movies and love for cupcakes. I like to read about Sarah Dessen's new baby. The incestuous world of NYC YA authors fascinates me (Oh, Scott Westerfeld, Justine Larbalestier, and Maureen Johnson had dinner with Libba Bray? Fascinating!). All this lets me feel like I "know" them better. It personalizes them and makes me care about the success of their writing. Plus, these people are writers! They have clever turns-of-phrase and jokes and such that are entertaining.
Oh, and I am VERY interested in seeing pictures of authors' cats! Indeed, if any YA authors read this, post pictures of your cats! (I'll accept other animals as well, but they will not be as adorable to me as cats.) Maybe I should start a blog just posting pictures of YA author pets...
Friday, January 18, 2008
Rat Life by Tedd Arnold
Diamonds in the Shadow by Caroline B. Cooney
Touching Snow by M. Sindy Felin
Blood Brothers by S.A. Harazin
Fragments by Jeffry W. Johnston
Romantic Times YA Nominees:
The Nature of Jade by Deb Caletti
Marked by P.C. Cast
Girl at Sea by Maureen Johnson
Something Rotten by Alan Gratz
I did read Marked and liked it okay but didn't love it. The romance wasn't a huge element in that, IMO. I am waiting to read Nature of Jade once it is checked in. I never realized there was a strong romantic element to Something Rotten. I do love how many categories RT has for their awards. I would love to see something like this for YA awards. What is the best YA romance of the year, for example? I kind of liked The Off Season, although it isn't a traditional romance with HEA. Last year, Nick & Norah's Infinite Playlist won. I can't think of a better, more fitting winner.
Tuesday, January 15, 2008
Monday, January 14, 2008
I am also a little surprised by the Alex Awards. I thought Nineteen Minutes would be a good candidate, as would The Zookeeper's Wife.
Friday, January 11, 2008
This is a big year for YA books being made into movies. I'm most excited about Nick & Norah's Infinite Playlist. I really liked Michael Cera in Juno.
Monday, January 7, 2008
Sunday, January 6, 2008
Beastly by Alex Flinn
A retelling of "Beauty and the Beast" in modern-day NYC with teen characters. I really liked it, finished it quickly, and will definitely be recommending it (Holly, be sure to check it out). I liked the modernization (including the very clever chat logs) and the little twist at the end. Since it was a very faithful retelling of the tale, however, there weren't many surprises and the problems I have with the original story (ex. lucky Beauty, she gets a prince anyway!) are still there. Plus, Beauty/Lindy in this story isn't very beautiful, so while Beast/Kyle learns that he can love someone who isn't beautiful, it seems that Beauty/Lindy doesn't really get to "learn" anything. Still fun, though.
Spanking Shakespeare by Jake Wizner
This was a quick, light read, but do teenage boys really think about sex this much? Shakespeare Shapiro thinks about it pretty much all the time. On the rare moments he isn't thinking about it, he's thinking about college admissions and how to win the school's memoir contest.
Story of a Girl by Sara Zarr
Deanna Lambert is still trying to live down the story (both with her father and her peers) of when her father found her having sex with her brother's 17 year-old friend in a car two years ago when she was 13. Her brother now has a wife and a daughter, and Deanna dreams of being able to earn enough from her summer job so that she can move out of her parents' house along with her brother and his new family. Definitely a book I'm going to recommend, particularly as a Speak read-alike.
Three Bags Full by Leonie Swann
Not a YA book but one that was mentioned with YA interest in a few reviews, this is a cute, unique "sheep dective story." The story opens with some sheep in Ireland whose shepherd has been found murdered. The sheep investigate to discover the murderer. Each sheep has his/her own personality and talents, and they have their own secrets and past to uncover. There are some clever and humorous parts, many based on the sheep's misunderstanding of humans and their language. For instance, they mistakenly believe that the town minister is named "God." When one sheep observes a funeral at a cemetary and reports back to the other sheep: "The sheep stared at one another in horror. Fancy planting dead people in your garden! They liked God less and less."
The Zookeeper's Wife by Diane Ackerman
The true story of a couple who were the keepers of the Warsaw Zoo before WWII. During the war, they were active in the underground resistance, and the book describes how they hid Jews in the former zoo throughout the war to help them escape. The book was engrossing, and this is a popular topic among teens. I highly recommend this book.
Friday, January 4, 2008
Let me take this opportunity to say that I think good book posters are a great promotional item for books. I have already mentioned that I am a big fan of good book t-shirts, but posters are even easier to produce and deliver to readers and librarians. We make posters out of book covers, but I'd like to see some more creative posters that I could put up.
Thursday, January 3, 2008
Title: Boot Camp
Author: Todd Strasser
Garrett Durrell is the child most parents dream of: he was reading at age 3; was in all the gifted programs throughout childhood; and stands at the top of this high school class. The only problem is that it all comes too easily, and he grown bored. He starts skipping class, justifying it by the fact that he can learn in 3 days what it takes most kids to learn in a week; unfortunately, his parents don't feel the same way. However, when Garrett begins dating his teacher (who he feels is his intellectual equal), his parents finally say enough is enough.
So enters Lake Harmony, an exclusive behavior modification camp which guarantees results. Garrett's parents "enroll" him for $4,000/month (signing a waiver absolving the camp from any liability), and then arrange to have him kidnapped and transported to the "camp".
At Lake Harmony, Garrett and the other teens are subjected to extreme physical and psychological abuse until they are broken down and "rebuilt" into the children their parents want. From the beginning, Garrett questions the justification for his imprisonment; after all, his only crimes are skipping school to visit a few museums...and falling in love with someone his parents (and society) don't approve of. Garrett soon befriends two other wrongly-admitted teens, and the three decide they must escape Lake Harmony at any cost...the question is, can they do it???
The Good: Boot Camp was one of the most thought-provoking YA books I have ever read. After reading of the extreme conditions that exist at Lake Harmony Boot Camp, Strasser includes a brief Afterword that explains the truths behind the story. Boot camps actually exist all over the country - and in numerous foreign countries (to escape U.S. laws against mistreatment.) Teens can be sent there for ANY reason provided their parents are willing to pay; their only chance for escape is accepting their parent's views or reaching legal adulthood at 18. Boot Camp provides a fascinating view into these facilities and raises the question of parent/teenage rights. I would highly recommend this book for book club/group discussion. I, also, imagine that this book would be highly popular with guys (especially those that might be troublemakers themselves!)
The Bad: I have nothing critical to say about this work. It was well-written and extremely interesting.