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Friday, August 10, 2012

The Teen Menu

YA News

National Public Radio recently conducted a poll about the best young adult fiction. More than 75,000 ballots were cast, and the Top 100 list can be seen here. I see a lot of books I've enjoyed a great deal on the list.

J.K. Rowling and Scholastic have teamed up to launch the Harry Potter Reading Club. The site includes a countdown clock to Rowling's global live webcast with fans in October.

The movie version of Mockingjay, the third book in Suzanne Collins' Hunger Games trilogy, will be split into two movies, much as was the final installment of Harry Potter. The first half will hit theaters in November 2014 while the second half will debut November 2015. Also, Philip Seymour Hoffman has been cast as Plutarch Heavensbee in the series' second movie, Catching Fire.

Romance Writers of America recently awarded its annual RITA Awards. Congratulations to Ann Aguirre, whose novel Enclave, won the Young Adult category. You can see my review for Enclave from my June Teen Menu column here.

YA Reviews

Even though the RITA Awards have been given out, I still have a couple of this year's finalists to review. The next book up is Touch of Frost by Jennifer Estep. This is the first in a series about teenager Gwen Frost and her time at Mythos Academy, a "school of myths, magic and warrior whiz kids." It's a classic tale of feeling like you don't fit in. It's one thing to not fit in when all you have to think about is if you're wearing the right clothes and hanging with the right people. It's quite another when your classmates are Spartans, Valkyries and the like. Add in the fact that one of Gwen's classmates is killed in the library when it should have been her, and you have a whole new level of daily stress. Oh, and of course there's a mysterious hot boy to contend with as well. I think I'm tired just reading about Gwen's fictional world.

So far, there are four novels and two e-stories in the Mythos Academy series. I've only had time to read the first book, but I'm really looking forward to reading the rest. Touch of Frost was one of those books that it wasn't easy to set aside. I kept turning pages well past my bedtime so I could find out what happened next. You can read more about the series at Estep's website.

19 comments:

  1. YA is such an exciting category right now.

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    1. I totally agree. I have way more YA books than I can read in a timely fashion.

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  2. I always enjoy your input on YA, Trish. Thanks for keeping us current on this genre. I honestly do not remember books as wonderful as these when I was a YA. Maybe that's why I enjoy them so much now.

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    1. If you're like me (I was a teen in the '80s), there just weren't these types of books then. Not in any great number anyway. The success of Harry Potter and the spillover from that is really what re-energized the YA market.

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  3. I'm so pleased to see the success of many Young Adult novels these days. These are fabulous novels for not just teens, but all ages to read and enjoy. With the success of the Harry Potter series and The Hunger Games, I'm hoping we will be seeing more and more of these books coming on the scene.

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    1. Again, I agree. I read a ton of YA for pure enjoyment, and I'm, um, 42. :)

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  4. Trish, you know I don't read a lot of YA, but I may need to change that. YA seems to have room for many genres and to blend them more than the "adult" market niches permit. I read Estep's superhero novels and thought they were great.

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    1. Nancy, I really think there are a lot of YA novels you would really enjoy. We'll have to chat at Dragon*Con or M&M about titles.

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  5. I find that NPR list fascinating on several levels. First, it calls into question the very definition of "YA fiction" since it includes both books that specifically targeted young adults and those that didn't especially but proved popular with those readers. I've read a lot of complaints that the list was heavily weighted toward more recent titles, but it included some of my favorites from my long-ago young years such as the Betsy-Tacy series and the Anne of Green Gables books (which were also favorites of my mother as a young reader), books my students raved about when I taught high school in the 70s such as Cormier's The Chocolate War, and books as recent as Carrie Ryan's The Forest of Hands and Teeth. I also liked that they counted series as one, so that the Harry Potter books, for example, didn't take seven of the one hundred slots.

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    1. It was an interesting mix of books. I think it makes sense that a lot of newer titles made it for a couple of reasons: 1) Who is most likely to vote in a poll like this? Teens. 2) The resurgence of the YA as a genre, as mentioned above. There are simply more books targeted toward that audience than at any other time during my life.

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  6. I actually have the first book in my tbr pile but in case it was extremely good, I wanted to be able to know I could get the rest in the series (and I'm not sure how many too) without too long a wait. That's where I have a problem with series - I do enjoy them but trilogies seem to work better for me.

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    1. I know what you mean. I just finished a YA book that is the middle book in a trilogy, and I want to know what happens now. Alas, I must wait until January.

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  7. Hey, Trish. I read TOUCH OF FROST, as well as KISS OF FROST. Fun series, isn't it? I'm looking forward to reading the rest. Of course, Jennifer's Elemental Assassin series is, in my opinion, one of the top urban fantasy series!

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    1. Hey, Gannon. I have I believe the first in the Elemental Assassin series and need to read those. So many books, so little time!

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  8. Thanks for all the super news, Trish! What a great list of books! Like Janga, I'm glad they grouped series together to make room for more wonderful books. I'm thrilled that To Kill a Mockingbird so high on the list! It's one of my favorites. :)

    I'm looking forward to finally watching The Hunger Games on DVD, which comes out August 18th!

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    1. I totally forgot to mention the Hunger Games DVD release! Thanks for adding that, Andrea. It's such a good movie.

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  9. I'm seeing so many YA books I want to read now. It's a great thing.

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  10. There have been some great books in the YA field the past 10 years or so. Love the list. I am going to print it out and encourage my grandson to read as many as possible. I'll be working on the ones I've missed.

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  11. Hey Trish! I love your YA news. :)

    I hadn't heard about the two movies for book three. I'm headed over to google when the second movie will be coming out. I hadn't heard about that one, either. Gonna have to add them all to my calendar.

    Touch of Frost sounds pretty cool. I like the part about someone else getting killed when it should have been her. Gonna have to see why, who, what and where. :)

    Thanks for sharing this.

    Tami

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