aka YA Literature

Saturday, June 21, 2008

Team Edward

Yesterday I strolled into Borders and purchased a second copy of Eclipse. This was difficult for me because, as a librarian, I am normally all why buy the book when you can get it for free at the library?! And certainly you don’t go buy another book when you have a perfectly good hardback copy at home. I blame Stephenie Meyer’s team and their marketing genius. They went and released another hardback copy of Eclipse, this time with iron-on transfers that say “Team Edward” and “Team Jacob.” It also has a poster of Breaking Dawn and the first chapter of the book. All together, it was too much for even my frugal self to resist (hey, at least I got the 20% educator’s discount).

Friday, June 20, 2008

Twilight Questions

Since so many of you have requested these, I've decided to post the questions I created for my Twilight Ball. Before my trivia contest, I divided these questions into 3 seperate groupings: questions that were fairly simple; questions that would be difficult; and questions that I felt were practically impossible to answer.

When I began asking the questions, I started with the middle category; I quickly learned that these were far too easy. In fact, of the 40-50 questions I chose as the most difficult, only 4 resulted in wrong answers. (I believe the only questions that when unanswered were:
  • On what streets was Bella's old dance studio?
  • When Edward broke up with Bella and she got lost in the forest, why couldn't she find her way back?
  • Where did Carlisle teach upon leaving Forks?
  • How many vampires did the Volturi send to clean up the mess in Seattle?

I'd also like to warn that some of the Phoenix specific questions are a little more difficult due to the fact that my audience is from the Phoenix Metro Area. I hope these are helpful. I'd love to hear from anyone who actually uses these!

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Atlas Shrugged Movie

Somewhat old news, but apparently Angelina Jolie is going to be Dagny Taggart in a movie version of Atlas Shrugged. It'll make for an interesting movie, but can I tell you how much I do not like Ayn Rand and anything that glamorizes her philosophy of "objectivism?" I find it weird that Angelina Jolie would be so interested in objectivism; it doesn't really seem to fit her altruistic nature.

*I realize this isn't strictly YA, but (a) it's interesting to me, and (b) lots of students have to read it for school.

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Bad Monkeys by Matt Ruff

I know this has been out for a while, but I just finished reading it. It was an Alex Award winner, and when I read the summary, it sounded like something my students would really like. It's a thriller with science-fiction elements about a young woman named Jane Charlotte who has been detained in a Las Vegas detention facility and is being interviewed by a staff psychologist because when she killed a man, she told the police that she was part of a secret department called "Bad Monkeys" that kills evil people (often with a gun that makes it look like the person died of natural causes). Jane explains to the psychiatrist how she initially got involved with the Bad Monkeys from the time she was a teenager and first discovered that her school janitor was a serial killer. The characters were well-developed, it was suspenseful, and there were lots of twists and turns. It's not my usual fare, but I really enjoyed it. Although the ending had so many twists that it took quite a bit of willing suspension of disbelief, I can't wait to recommend this book to students. Off the top of my head, I know at least 5 specific students who will love it, and I'm sure there are many others I don't know as well who will like it. It has a lot of action and suspense, which I know appeals to a lot of teen readers. This is a must-have (at least for my school). I also really liked the cover; it definitely stands out because it's bright yellow and has a long thin plasticy-type cover. It will certainly attract interest.

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Twilight Ball

Well, I survived my big Ball! We had almost 200 teens show up for our dance/trivia contest!!! I can't even begin to describe how successful this program ended up being. The kids loved the trivia...although they knew the books way too well; they could even answer this question, which I thought was my most difficult - What was the street number of Renee's house in Scottsdale? Smart kids, huh?

The costume contest was also a big hit - though hard to judge. They especially loved that I had signed copies of Twilight as the prizes...you should have heard the winners' screams. The teens were already asking that we do a Harry Potter Yule Ball in December...we'll see about that.

Stephenie Meyer Tour

Probably everyone knows this by now, but I just found out about it today. Stephenie Meyer is going to four cities with Blue October songwriter Justin Furstenfeld.

8/1- NYC
8/5- Chicago
8/7- LA
8/12- Seattle

I have to say that it sounds pretty cool. If I were a super-famous author, this is the kind of thing I'd like to do.

I also read that Pattinson and Hardwicke were allowed to read Midnight Sun to help them understand Edward's character better. A good idea, I think.

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

The Disreputable History of Frankie Landau-Banks

I know this book has been out for a couple of months now, and I wasn't going to blog about it since it's taken me this long to get around to reading it, but I just loved it so much that (a) I keep thinking about it, and (b) I wanted to gush. I think one of the main reasons I liked it so much is that I could really relate to the main character (Frankie). And I loved what she ended up doing, I admire her choices, and I love how Lockhart ended the novel.

I don't think my feminism was quite as developed as Frankie's was when I was her age. Like Zada, it really took college to help me to see the need for feminism, to have the vocabulary for naming and interpreting oppression (even in my everyday life), and and to have the willingness to call myself a feminist. But regardless, I certainly could relate to Frankie's dilemmas between her feminist ideals (even when she wasn't labeling them as such) and her desire to just want friends and a cute boy to like her.

There were so many amazing moments in the book that it's hard to choose favorites, but I think my two favorites were probably when she let Porter have it for telling her not to let herself get taken advantage of (poor guy, I'm sure he was just trying to be nice, but really, I think Frankie was right to point out how patronizing it appeared) and when Frankie dared to sit alone at the senior table. Amazing how such seemingly inconsequential things can actually be so huge and require such courage! Most impressive of all to me was how Lockhart created these situations (that, let's be honest, happen all the time in relationships) where Frankie couldn't just say the first thing that came to mind or felt the most natural; she had to "strategize." It's sad that we have to act this way in relationships, but it's so true. I think this is my very favorite part, when Frankie realizes/thinks that Matt is standing her up because he is mad at her for sitting at the senior table and emasculating him:

When I act the way I acted, Matthew doesn't like me as much as he does when I fall off my bicycle.

Is he breaking up with me?

What can I do? Frankie thought. What can I say? Is there anything I can say that will make him change his mind?

Don't sound whiny. Don't sound defensive. Don't sound pitiful. Don't sound angry.

I can't say any of the things I feel, because none of them are any good.

Can't say, "But you promised."

Can't say, "I put on makeup. I did my nails, I looked forward to it all day."

Can't say, "Are you breaking up with me?"

I can't lose him.

I can't lose them, either.

What will get me what I want?

A couple of other longer great paragraphs follow, but I am too lazy to type them out. Anyway, I adore that part. How many women have not felt this? I am so in awe of Lockhart for capturing this so utterly perfectly. I love this book. This needs to be on the Amelia Bloomer list for sure.

P.S. The characterization in this book is amazing! Even the secondary characters are really complex and well-developed, but I really liked the little fun parts where Frankie adopts INPs from Wodehouse and Trish points out how weird this can be.

Sunday, June 1, 2008

Twilight Movie Scene

MTV posted its debut of the Twilight movie scene here. Seems kind of different from the book already, but I do like James.