aka YA Literature

Saturday, March 28, 2009

TLA Dreams

I'm going to the Texas Library Association conference tomorrow. It's one of (or maybe the?) the largest state conferences. First, a list of some of the YA authors I know I'm excited to see:

Joan Bauer
Meg Cabot
Cassandra Clare
John Green
Justina Chen Headley
Justine Larbalestier
Cynthia Leitich-Smith
Melissa Marr
Walter Dean Myers
Judson Roberts
Neal Shusterman
Nancy Werlin
Scott Westerfeld
Sara Zarr
I'm also excited to see authors I don't even know I'm excited to see! Here is the complete list. One session I was interested to see was the Readergirlz one with Dia Calhoun, Lori Ann Grover, and Justina Chen Headley. But it's scheduled at the same time as Teri Lesesne who is booktalking new YA titles, and her session is always huge. Not good timing.

I love TLA. It makes me excited about librarianship all over again, and I usually get at least one or two really helpful ideas. The vendor area is at least as important as the sessions. I have several booths I know I want to visit to ask some questions about reference titles and databases for next year. Then, of course, there are the publisher booths and ARCs. I can't wait to see what new titles they are promoting! Off the top of my head, the two books that I'd most like to get ARCs of (that I think are realistic hopes anyway) are Matt de la Pena's We Were Here and Frank Portman's Andromeda Klien. Any others I should be on the lookout for?

Movie News

Some movie news from the MTV Movie blog:

1. Chris Columbus has cast Uma Thurman as Medusa, Pierce Brosnan as Cheron, and Sean Bean as Zeus in Percy Jackson.  With such big name producers and cast, I'm thinking this movie might be really good.

2. Baz Luhrmann is going to direct The Great Gatsby.  The MTV blog speculates on Leonardo DiCaprio as a good Nick.  I personally think that'd be a great choice, but any other thoughts on the cast?  I realize this isn't a YA book, but it is actually pretty relevant to YA lit other than just being a book-to-movie adaptation.  Students read this in school, and I think having a contemporary film version will be fantastic for the English teachers.  I think Luhrmann will do a great job with it too.  Can't wait to see the cast.

3. I guess I'm out of it because I didn't realize that World War Z was being made into a movie.  Of course, it's perfect for a movie.  The title alone screams "movie!"  This is an extremely popular title in my library.  I have reluctant readers who read this and love it, and this is not some lightweight thriller.  There's some serious social commentary in it.

4. In even more "I didn't know this movie was in the works" news, Courtney Love is producing a biopic of her life with Kurt Cobain that will star Scarlett Johansson as Courtney and Ryan Gossling as Kurt.  I'm even going to relate this back to YA lit!  I recommend Kurt Cobain's Journals for YA collections.  It has images of Kurt Cobain's actual journals, and students now even really still like him and find this to be an incredibly cool book.  I have to point it out for them to discover it, but they love it once I do.

Thursday, March 26, 2009

What They're Reading for Fun

This article from School Library Journal entitled "What Are They Reading for Fun" inspired this post.  I recently got a list of my most frequently circulated titles from Nov. 11 to Feb. 11.  I wish they could take the manga titles out of the report, but so far they haven't.  It is in order of greatest to least.  Nothing too surprising or illuminating:

Bleach. 1, Strawberry and the soul reapers
Naruto. Vol. 1, The tests of the ninja
Fruits basket. Volume 1
Skip beat!. 10
Fullmetal alchemist. 1
Tsubasa. 10
Chronicles of the cursed sword. Volume 1
Death note. Vol. 1 Boredom
Vampire game. Volume 1
M*ar : M*archen awakens romance. Vol. 13
Mars. Volume 10
Case closed. Volume 1
W Juliet
Breaking dawn
Ceres, celestial legend. Vol. 1, Aya 
Negima!. 6
Love hina. Vol. 14
Faeries' Landing. Volume 11
D.N. Angel. Volume 1

Slightly more interesting are the top authors:
Kubo, Tite
Meyer, Stephenie
Kishimoto, Masashi
Nakamura, Yoshiki
Arakawa, Hiromu
Akamatsu, Ken
Takaya, Natsuki
Ohba, Tsugumi
Cast, P. C.
Anzai, Nobuyuki
Schreiber, Ellen
Shan, Darren
Soryo, Fuyumi
Beop-Ryong, Yeo
Watase, Yuu
Takaya, Natsuki
Aoyama, Gosho Emura
Hopkins, Ellen

Here is the same thing but for all the high schools in my district:
Meyer, Stephenie
Kubo, Tite
Kishimoto, Masashi
Arakawa, Hiromu
Shan, Darren
Akamatsu, Ken
Takahashi, Rumiko
King, Stephen
Takaya, Natsuki
Watsuki, Nobuhiro
Ohba, Tsugumi
Kishimoto, Masashi
Nakamura, Yoshiki
Hatori, Bisco
Hopkins, Ellen
Westerfeld, Scott 
Dessen, Sarah
Soryo, Fuyumi
Pelzer, David J.

If I were going by observation of what people are checking out and asking for a lot, I'd say the P.C. and Kristin Cast series, The Mortal Instruments series, and Sarah Dessen.

By the way, my most circulated title, Bleach vol. 1, circulated 166 times in that 90 day period.  That is one copy checked out 166 times in a 90-day period.  That gives you an idea of how they read manga.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Book Covers

In thinking about the repackaging of Judy Blume's books (and others), it has me thinking about how ruthless I've become about book covers. I know the saying is "never judge a book by its cover," but people obviously do. I have lots of books that I'm sure are great that no one ever checks out because the cover doesn't attract them. I've already mentioned several times how I have to practically beg people to read Lockhart's The Disreputable History of Frankie Landau-Banks because of the cover (hopefully the paperback will have a better cover).* Therefore, unless it's an already-popular author or series, I pretty much always consider the cover before I decide to buy something now. As I go through my review magazines and circle the books I want to order, on many of them I write "cover." On those, I look at the cover before I decide if I want to add it to my Follett list. There have been some books here recently that I wish I had the paperback version of instead of the hardback just because of the cover (examples: Dairy Queen and How to Ditch Your Fairy). I agree with pretty much everything that Jennifer at YAbooknerd said in this post about the topic. The only thing I disagree with is the preference for the original DQ cover. Someone else's blog (I forgot who!) was also saying recently that they liked the original Audrey, Wait cover better than the paperback because the paperback is just like all the other girly YA books. The girly covers are pretty popular with my students. They are attracted to those because they know those "types" of books are the ones they enjoy. I haven't seen anyone checkout out Dairy Queen all year, but I know a lot of my Sarah Dessen fans would enjoy it. They have no interest in it, though, because the cover doesn't give you any hint that it might appeal to that kind of reader.

* [Side note: I'm sure no one else reading this ever watches "Platinum Weddings" on WE, but the art from Frankie is the same as that on "Platinum Weddings."]

Friday, March 20, 2009

Why Post Reviews?

This is an extremely interesting article from The Economist called "Fair Comment: The internet: Books and other products sold by online retailers can attract thousands of reviews. Why are they worth reading—or writing?" Although the whole article is really worth reading, the bottom line of the article is that more reviews on sites like Amazon equate to more purchases, even if there are bad reviews. Once you get into the double digits of number of reviews, people are more willing to buy the product. And even when there are hundreds of reviews for a book, such as Harry Potter, people continue to post reviews and they apparently tend to have some effect (by sheer number, if nothing else) on the book being purchased. Actually, the study claims, a small number of poor reviews makes it more likely that an item will be purchased if there are a good number of reviews.

I have to wonder if people are more likely to buy a product with a lot of reviews because that product is just popular (thus the reason so many people have reviewed it, because it's popular and been read by a lot of people). It also makes me think about my book reviews on this blog. I often don't review books I read because I think, "This has been out so long and other people have already reviewed it." Although blogs are different from the attached product reviews the article discusses, I think it is relevant and makes me rethink my mindset some. I know there are books that I might not have thought too much about, but after I see many people have liked it and talked about it, it makes me want to read it and/or buy it. And I like to read reviews by people who tend to like the same books I do (at least when it comes to choosing my own books to read).


Hunted by P.C. and Kristin Cast is #1 on the USA Today's best-seller list, ahead of Twilight. I'm going to be honest, this series is very popular at my library and I have students clamoring for this latest one, but I think it's mediocre. It's in the lower half of of my list of vampire romances (which I binged on for a while there). Now, what I'm anxious for is City of Glass! I know what I'm buying myself for my birthday...

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Hunger Games Movie

Lionsgate has acquired the film rights to Hunger Games, and Suzanne Collins is doing the film adaptation. I'm glad to hear she's doing the adaptation. Makes me have high hopes for it turning out well. It's being produced by Nina Jacobson, who is also producing Diary of a Wimpy Kid.  I wonder who they will cast?  Any thoughts on who you'd like to see?  Personally, I hope they get all pretty unknowns to play the parts, and I hope the casting and makeup is a lot better than Twilight.  Could be awesome...

Don't you like how they mention that Stephenie Meyer likes it? I mean, I guess that's all the endorsement you need for (the hopes of) a hit now. I suppose publishers send her copies of all their YA books in hopes of her mentioning it on her blog.

Man, I can't wait for the sequel in September. Anyone know if there will be any ARCs going around? I remember a ton of them available for HG at TLA last year, but now maybe they know it will be hit and don't need so much prepub publicity.  

Friday, March 13, 2009

Fragile Eternity by Melissa Marr

Achtung: Lots of spoilers because I don't know how to talk about the plot at all without giving away a lot.

Aislinn is drawn to Keenan, even in a sexual attraction way, even though she is in love with Seth.  Seth is trying to be understanding and give her space, but he sees how Ash is attracted to Keenan.  Ash is having a hard time with her new life as a faery queen, and Seth is also feeling his mortality acutely since he can't really be there for Ash.  He can't protect her and he knows he's going to get older and die, while she stays young and grows closer and closer to Keenan.  Meanwhile, Keenan wants to be with Ash but also still loves Donia.  Bananach is flitting around to Donia and others stirring up trouble, trying to instigate a war.  Eventually, Bananach takes Seth to meet Sorcha, the High Queen, so that he can try to turn into a faery (even though his friend Niall warns him against it).  Seth knows he'll have to trade something in exchange for becoming a faery and needs to be careful about the terms he agrees to, but he attempts it anyway.  Sorcha does change him, but there are some terms he doesn't realize he has agreed to (although they are not all that bad, in my opinion).  All the time that Seth is with Sorcha, Ash thinks he has left her and she gets closer to Keenan, not realizing that he knows where Seth is (apparently everyone knows except Ash).  So the book is first Seth and Ash trying to deal with Ash's faery life and growing attraction to Keenan and then Ash waiting around unhappily while Seth is with Sorcha while he changes into a faery.  It's mostly a setup for the next book and impending war and chaos that Bananach has been trying to create.  I don't know if Melissa would want to hear this, but it kind of reminded me of New Moon.  Ash spends a lot of the book without Seth, growing closer to Keenan who consoles her, and not a lot really happens in the plot; it's more of a setup for the next book.  

I liked this book about as well as I liked Wicked Lovely, but not as much as Ink Exchange.  Like I said, to me not a lot happened.  Seth still seems a little too perfect, and I wonder if there is a reason why he is so special.  And when he was with Sorcha, he is apparently all artistic and creative, but I wish his artistic process was more detailed (more like the way the tattoo process was so well portrayed in Ink Exchange).  But I will say that it definitely makes me eager for the next book!  It leaves everyone and everything on the brink of some major confrontations and chaos.

Monday, March 9, 2009

Kindle Follow-Up

I posted recently about Kindle and how I think it (and ebooks in general) needs more portability between devices and formats. So the fact that Amazon released a free iPhone app is pretty awesome and just what I was talking about. I'm sure the Kindle reader is much nicer and easier to view, but this opportunity for ebooks to be delivered to other devices you already have and use is just what ebooks need. Personally, I can't imagine reading a book on my phone unless I'm desperate, but obviously not everyone feels that way. And if I could use public transportation to get anywhere, I'd probably like the ability to pull out a book on my phone and read (rather than listening to NPR or books on CD in my car, which is what I do now).

Friday, March 6, 2009

"Gossip Girl" Prequel

Am I out of it or what? Did anyone else know there is going to be a "Gossip Girl" prequel series set in the 80s? Here is the info on the casting from Entertainment Weekly.

* Unrelated to anything on this blog, but I love Anoop on "American Idol!" Now I might watch it regularly.

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

If I Stay

Apparently, Summit Entertainment has bought the rights to Gayle Forman's If I Stay, which hasn't even come out yet. Has anyone read it? And they want Catherine Hardwicke to direct. Really? Because Twilight was pretty crappy, imo. I hope they put a little more budget into this at least. If nothing else, this makes me interested in reading If I Stay. I'm not loving the book's cover at all, though.

A review of If I Stay from Reading Keeps You Sane that affirms my interest in the book