Sunday, December 27, 2009

YA Lit Update: The Good, The Bad, The Ugly

The GOOD:  
    My students nearly wet their pants today when they found out that Hunger Games (by S. Collins) sold the movie rights to Lionsgate.  Most of my students read Hunger Games and the hugely successful sequel, Catching Fire, within a few days. They were beyond engrossed.  If you have no idea about the craze that is Hunger Games, check out this link  This page lists all of the impressive awards. It’s truly remarkable. 
    Back to my students---I caught them reading this novel in homeroom, during class, and even in the cafeteria! I am mortified to say that I haven’t read either book, even though they have been on my “To Read” list for awhile.  To be honest with you, I can’t even get my hands on the copy I bought! I brought my copy into my classroom back in September....big mistake! I can’t keep it on my shelf. More and more students ask to sign it out. I even have a waiting list!  Stephanie Meyer, author of the Twilight series, has openly expressed her love of the Hunger Games.  She said that she brought it to a restaurant and secretly hid it on her lap so she could read it during dinner! Stephen King has also said how much he has enjoyed this series and even one of my favorite adult fantasy authors, Charlaine Harris praised it.  Rick Riordan, author of the Percy Jackson series and 39 Clues said it was the “perfect adventure novel.” Needless to say, this is huge....think Harry Potter huge.  Word on the literary street is that the third book, currently unnamed, will come out in August of 2010.  

More Good:  
    Riordan’s Percy Jackson series has been finally made into a movie and will come out in February of 2010.  There’s been a lot of talk about this at my school.  I showed the movie trailer in class and encouraged my students to read the book before they see the movie. Plus, the book/movie includes a lot of mythological characters and it will definitely help them when we study mythology this spring. I highly recommend this series and I am really looking forward to the movie.  It will definitely fill my Harry Potter void.  Check out the trailer here:

    Lastly, I also read an article about the “next” Twilight series. I guess publishers and directors are keeping their eye out for the next big series since the Harry Potter and Twilight novels have officially come to an end and pretty soon the movies will be too.  Well, literary critics are saying that Garcia and Stohl’s novel, Beautiful Creatures, could be the next Twilight.  I was thrilled to learn that Garcia was a middle school English teacher and a reading specialist. WOO HOO! On the other hand, I was skeptical since the novel is getting so much attention so soon.  Well, that was until I read that Warner Brothers bought the rights to it and the writer/director of P.S. I Love You and Freedom Writers will be directing it.  Wow!  Huge leap there, Warner Brothers. There’s no built in fan base since this is the first book out of five in the series; plus, Beautiful Creatures just came out this week. I find it interesting that WB is taking such a big risk....perhaps it really is worthy and they too need to fill a void left by Harry? I am definitely going to be picking up this book mainly out of curiosity.  Check out the book trailer (yes, books have trailers....Weird, I know) and let me know what you think!

The Bad: 
    I’ve been excited to read Wings by Aprilynne Pike. I’m sure you have seen the captivating cover when browsing in Barnes and Noble.  If not, definitely check out the website here:  My students said good things about Pike’s debut novel, which is about faeries. I like the idea of an ordinary girl who realizes she’s a fairy. There isn’t much out there on that topic and the second in the series, Spell, just came out and received good reviews.  I was sold!  But just as I was going to pick up a copy of this delightful novel, I found out something upsetting.  Disney bought the movie rights to this series.  You are probably wondering why I would think it’s a bad idea for Disney to buy the rights, because after all, I do love Disney.  However, Disney always casts annoying robots like Selena Gomez and Vanessa Hudgens.  Well, I was right.  They casted the queen robot--the lover of the peace sign..... MILEY CYRUS.  Seriously? Can she be anymore annoying? Miley said in an interview that Twilight was “totally gay.”  Hmm.  Very profound. My question to Miley --vampires and werewolves are “gay,” but faeries aren’t? I’m not sure Miley is the right gal for this movie.  
    My love hate relationship with Stephanie Meyer continues.  I recently read that she was sued for plagiarism.  Jordan Scott, the author of The Nocturne, felt that Meyer plagiarized part of his novel, specifically in Breaking Dawn.  This made me giggle as I feel Meyer is a bit of a fraud although I do respect her success.  To make a long story short, the judge felt that Meyer didn’t plagiarized; however, I bet that in the future, we will be seeing more of Mrs. Meyer in court. I wrote part of a book review on this very topic not too long ago.  Here it is:  One thing that I find extremely irritating about Stephanie Meyer is that she claims to have never read a vampire book and that the idea for Twilight came to her in a dream. Really? You expect us to believe that? I think not. Between the Vampire Diaries series, Anne Rice, and the Sookie Stackhouse series, I think it's safe to say she got a few ideas from her predecessors--which is fine, because she developed the idea and some feel she made it even better.......but she should give credit where credit is due and not claim to have obtained her idea through osmosis.

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