Tuesday, May 10, 2011

The Teen Menu

YA News

Another role has been cast for next year's The Hunger Games. Wes Bentley, who was in American Beauty, will fill the role of Seneca Crane, the Head Gamemaker for the 74th Hunger Games. Though not official, there is speculation that the role of Haymitch might be placed by John C. Reilly.

Fans of Stephenie Meyer's The Host will be happy to hear that the movie rights have been acquired. Three producers used their own money to acquire the rights and want Meyer to be involved in the movie adaptation.

YA Reviews

Cleopatra's Daughter by Michelle Moran

Though this book is not classified as young adult fiction, it could be because the central character, Cleopatra Selene, the daughter of Queen Cleopatra and Marc Antony, grows into her mid teenage years during the course of this book. After the death of her parents as Octavian Caesar's troops advance on Alexandria, Egypt, Selene, her twin brother Alexander, and their younger brother Ptolemy are spared. They are taken captive to be returned to Rome. Though Ptolemy does not survive the voyage, Selene and Alexander are to live with Octavian's sister, Octavia, after Octavian parades them through Rome to show his power.

As Selene grows accustomed to life in Rome, she still dreams of returning to Alexandria. But she has to be careful who she trusts because the very real threat of angering Octavian and being killed is always with her. Despite her desire to return to Egypt, she does grow to care for several of the people around her. And one person is always looking out for her even though she doesn't know this until late in the novel. As Selene's story is told, we also learn more about the daily life and the unimaginable cruelties that were reality in ancient Rome. After reading this novel, I am eager to read more of Moran's work including novels about Nefertiti, Nefertari and Madame Tussaud. This book, along with the Tudor works of Phillipa Gregory, have increased my interest in novels that are richly steeped in actual history. Again, these books are not classified as YA, but the ages of the characters in many of them could make them of interest to readers of YA.

The Scorch Trials by James Dashner

After reading The Maze Runner, I went right out and got the sequel, The Scorch Trials. This second in the trilogy picks up where The Maze Runner leaves off, after main character Thomas and the rest of the Gladers (the boys and one girl who survived the trial in the Maze) have escaped the Maze. But their relief is short-lived when they realize they've just been thrust into another trial by WICKED, the group that thrust them into their first trial in the Maze. And this trial makes their life in the Glade and Maze look easy by comparison.

They've been thrust back into the real world (maybe; I've got doubts about that and won't know the answers until book three), and it's a world that's been decimated by sun flares. It's blazing hot, barren, supplies for survival are limited, and a disease called the Flare infects everyone and eventually drives them to become mad, zombie-like creatures. The powers that be tell the boys that they've all been infected with the Flare and they'll only get the cure if they successfully cross a great distance to a safe haven. Left with little choice, they set off, encountering one life-threatening situation after another.

Just like The Maze Runner, The Scorch Trials left me ready to immediately start the next book. Alas, I'll have to wait until Oct. 11 for the release of the final book in the trilogy, The Death Cure.


  1. Thanks for the warning about "The Scorch Trials"! I read "The Maze Runner" when it came out but so far I have resisted "The Scorch Trials". I'll wait until the trilogy is finished to read it. I have too many books in my TBR pile (romances and YA) anyway.

  2. Outside of Jennifer for Katniss, I'm not pleased with the Hunger Games casting at all so far. I definitely don't see John C. Reilly as Haymitch either :-/
    oh well, at least I can always re-read the books

  3. Sheree, it's always hard to resist reading a book in a series until the next comes out, but I certainly understand.

    Bella, I'm reserving judgement on the Hunger Games casting. I remember when Robert Pattinson was cast as Edward Cullen in Twilight, there were howls of outrage. But now, the guy can't go anywhere without all the Edward fangirls all over him. I was a little surprised by the John C. Reilly thing, but it's not a done deal yet.

  4. Trish, I put Cleopatra's Daughter on hold at the library. It sounds fascinating. Thanks for the recommendation.

    The YA books I'm most excited about this month are the new releases by Sarah Dessen and Libba Bray.

  5. Hi Trish!
    Cleopatra's Daughter sounds like a really interesting book! I'll have to check that one out.

  6. Hey Trish!!!

    I have to say that I love the sound and the look of CLEOPATRA'S DAUGHTER. It would be interesting to see how day to day life was back in ancient Roman times.

  7. Janga, hope you enjoy Cleopatra's Daughter.

    I just saw a mention of Libba Bray's new book yesterday. I'm sure I'll enjoy that one to when I get to it. I love her Gemma Doyle trilogy.

  8. Trisha and Buffie, it was really interesting, the mixture of fiction and truth in Cleopatra's Daughter. I like that combination.

  9. Trish, I love the cover for Cleopatra's Daughter...and it sounds good, too.

    Looking forward to the Hunger Games movies!!

  10. Andrea, I'm looking forward to those too. I really hope they do a good job with them.

  11. @Trish- Just heard they cast Woody Harrelson for Haymitch! lol I'm actually ok with that; he's a good actor and I like his dramatic and comedy work so I'm good. As for Robert P, he's an ok actor but I personally just never liked the movies themselves:-/ But the Harry Potter flix lived up to expectations for me for the most part so I'm looking forward to Hunger Games:)

  12. Trish, you always leave me with a longer list of books to read! Thanks for the run down. I'm going to have to check these out!

  13. Sorry I missed commenting yesterday, Trish. :-( Both of these books sound great. The cover of Cleopatra's Daughter is really lovely.

  14. Bella, Woody Harrelson, huh? I can totally see him playing Haymitch.

    LOL, Deb. That's my crafty plan. :)

    No problem, Gannon. Sometimes there are only so many hours in a day.

  15. YA has so much to offer us all. Some of the most innovative, creative and quality writing being done today is in this broad genre. Much of it more than worth reading, even if you are well past your teen years. It has lead to some interesting movies based on the books. I am looking forward to seeing what they do with HUNGER GAMES.