I am on deadline (book due Nov. 1), so I've only had time to read one YA book this month, Worldshaker by Richard Harland. This story is told from the viewpoint of Col Porpentine, the 16-year-old successor to his grandfather, the supreme commander of the juggernaut Worldshaker. This novel is the first steampunk YA I've read, and I'm looking forward to reading more, including an eventual sequel to Worldshaker. The juggernaut on which Col and his family lives is a giant ship, and we're talking as large as a city with several thousand residents. This ship can travel on land and sea, and is one of several operating around the world. We've got some alternate history going on because Queen Victoria and Prince Albert live on the ship and are portrayed as not being all that bright. Col lives a life of luxury, but he's unaware that he's been lied to his entire life and that his easy existence is made possible by the slave labor of the Filthies in the bowels of the ship. He's heard of Filthies, of course, but he and the others who live anywhere above those bottom decks have been led to believe that the Filthies are sub-human beasts who can't even speak. Nothing could be further from the truth, and Col finds this out when a Filthy girl named Riff hides in his room, trying to avoid being sent to a fate worse than death.
Col is initially quite angry and annoyed about Riff's presence, but as he gets to know her and the plight of her fellow Filthies in the hot and dangerous bottom of the ship where they feed coal to the boilers that keep Worldshaker moving, his feelings start to change -- about Riff, about the Filthies, about his family and his entire way of life. Some research reveals a web of lies that began with the creation of the juggernauts in the aftermath of war and the enslavement of Britain's lower classes, who became the mysterious Filthies. Col grows more and more disillusioned and has to make a big decision about how he's going to live going forward and just how much he wants to help Riff and the other Filthies.
There's been a bit of teen novel-to-movie news lately. First, we have a trailer for I Am Number Four, due out Feb. 18. This science fiction flick is based on the novel by Jobie Hughes and James Frey. The screenplay adaptation was done by Al Gough and Miles Millar, creators of Smallville, which recently began its 10th and final season. The premise is that nine alien children are sent to Earth for their protection from another attacking species. The first three are killed in various spots around the world, and since they can only be killed in the order of the numbers they were assigned, Number Four (also known as John Smith, played by Alex Pettyfer, who played Alex Rider in 2006's Stormbreaker) knows he's next. To protect himself and Numbers Five-Nine, he lives on the run and tries settling in Ohio for awhile, where he attempts to live a normal teenage life and, of course, falls in love with a pretty girl (played by Diana Agron of Glee).
Breaking Dawn, the final chapter in the Twilight saga, got some casting news recently. Renesmee, Edward and Bella's daughter, is going to be played by newcomer Mackenzie Foy. Members of the Denali clan, the only other vampire clan known to not feed from humans, will be played by LOST's Maggie Grace (Irina), MyAnna Buring (Tanya), Casey LaBow (Kate), Mia Maestro (Carmen), and Christian Carmago (Eleazar).
I wasn't able to see the interview with J.K. Rowling on Oprah recently, but evidently she left the possibility open of writing another book about Harry Potter and the gang. Part of me is happy, while part of me thinks the story as told over the seven books is perfect as it stands.
And if you haven't seen the fantastic new trailer for Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Part I, here it is. Only 39 days left until it hits theaters!