Thursday, June 10, 2010

The Teen Menu

Welcome to another helping of the Teen Menu.

YA News

We're only 20 days away from the release of Eclipse, the third in the Twilight saga. I've loved how quickly these movies have come out because it doesn't feel like forever between them. Here's the latest trailer. It looks awesome with lots of footage of one of my favorite vamps, Jasper. :)

In other movie news, The Last Airbender opens July 2. See the trailer here.

News recently broke that there's going to be a Harry Potter/Twilight wedding. No, the two mega teen franchises aren't going to merge, but two of their stars got engaged. Bonnie Wright (Ginny Weasley in Harry Potter) and Jamie Campbell Bower (Caius of the Volturi in Twilight and also Gellert Grindlewald in the final two installments of the HP franchise) recently announced their engagement.

YA Reviews

Because I've been reading some non-YA books this month, I'm only sharing a review for one YA this time around. During a recent road trip, I started listening to Along for the Ride by Sarah Dessen, who is a popular author of contemporary teen romance, and finished it while walking on the treadmill. This book explores the new experiences of academically gifted Auden during the summer before she goes off to college. Her plan is to spend the summer with her father and his new family at their beachside home, to get a head start on the reading of her college textbooks. But almost from the moment she arrives, things don't go as planned -- and that turns out to not be a bad thing.

Throughout the summer, Auden experiences things she never has before -- riding a bike, having close girlfriends, kissing a boy and realizing that there's more to learning than what she can find in a book. Growing up is a common theme in teen novels, and it's no different here. Auden not only learns more about herself but also how to speak up about her feelings where she's always been more of a background kind of girl before. Her new-found ability to verbalize what she's truly feeling comes in handy when she asks Eli, the boy she cares more about each day, a very important question and when she finally tells her divorced parents how their breakup affected her, something she hadn't truly realized until this summer.

It's been awhile since I read a straight contemporary YA, but I can see how Dessen has acquired a loyal following. Her characters could be real people, ones we might very well know in our own lives. And that makes watching their journey feel real. It gives hope to those teens who might be facing something similar.


  1. Trish, this book sounds really good. I didn't think of it as a YA book while reading your description, so I think it would appeal to adults, too. Some of us have gone through that awakening stage of knowing there are things in life to be experienced.

  2. One of my young cousins who is an avid reader persuaded me to read Sarah Dessen back in the late 90s and I think I've read all of her books since then. I think she has a real gift for characterization.

  3. Hey, Trish! Another great column!

    My sister is a huge Twilight fan and is counting down the day until the next movie. I'll wait for DVD.

    My huband and son are going to see The Last Airbender when it releases. They loved the cartoon Avatar when it was on TV.

    The kids and I are loking forward to seeing Beezus and Ramona when it comes out. We've read all the books and the movie looks cute!

    And of course, I'm counting down until HP7 part 1 comes out!! Can't wait!!

  4. Deb, I think you're right -- that Dessen's books (and, in fact, a great amount of YA) can be enjoyed by readers well beyond the teen years.

    Janga, I think the next time I read a Dessen book, I'll actually read the printed book rather than listening. Listening was fine, but I'm curious if it would be a lot different experience just reading one.

  5. Andrea, I'm really looking forward to the next HP movie too. Of course, I know one of my favorite moments (the Ron-Hermione kiss) will likely be in the very last movie. Poor Rupert and Emma have said it was weird filming it because they've grown up together and it was a little like kissing one's brother or sister. I'm really hoping that feeling doesn't come through in the finished scene!

  6. Thanks for another great post, Trish!!

    I just saw the trailer yesterday for The Last Airbender. It looks pretty cool. My oldest son was really into the Avatar shows on tv (in fact we have all of the DVDs from it), so I think the family we be seeing that one.