Thursday, February 10, 2011

The Teen Menu

YA Reviews

I'm in the midst of judging for RWA's RITA contest, so I wasn't able to read any YA in January. I knew that would likely happen, so I read extra in December. This month, I'd like to talk about two connected books, Leviathan and Behemoth by Scott Westerfeld. I first read Westerfeld's work when I read his Midnighters series, which I really enjoyed. I've also read Uglies, the first in that series of YA novels. Leviathan and Behemoth are the first two in another series, this time steampunk.

In this alternate history world, nations fall into one of two categories -- Clankers (those who use machines for war) and Darwinists (those who use fabricated living beasts). Prince Aleksander is the heir to the Austro-Hungarian empire (Clankers), but he's on the run from those who murdered his parents. In his travels with a few trusted men loyal to his father, circumstances force him to take refuge on board the massive fabricated airship, the Leviathan. It's here that he meets Deryn Sharp, a girl who disguised herself as a boy named Devyn so she could join the British Air Service. Not only is Deryn a talented airman, but she's pretty good at keeping her true identity hidden from her superiors too. And from Alek, which becomes more problematic as time passes. Despite both having dangerous secrets, the two build a friendship that is wary at first. After all, Clankers and Darwinists don't understand why the other lives the way they do. Gradually, they start to realize that neither way of life is all good or all bad as they run from those out to harm them.

In addition to engaging stories and characters, readers get a bonus look at the world Westerfeld has created through the drawings of scenes and characters by artist Keith Thompson. Since the book is set as World War I is breaking out across Europe, the drawings are made to look like books did in 1914 when lots of books were illustrated.

The third book in the series, Goliath, is due out in October.

Visit Scott Westerfeld's site here.

YA News

Lionsgate has announced that it will be releasing the movie version of Suzanne Collins' The Hunger Games on March 23, 2012. Woot! Filming will take place in late spring or summer of this year, though no cast has yet been announced. I know lots of people are eagerly awaiting that casting news.

Only eight more days until I Am Number Four hits theaters. I had hoped to read the book before going to see the movie, but that likely won't happen. I do plan to use a trip to the movie as a reward for when I finish my book this month.

And mark your calendars for March 4. That's when Beastly, based on the novel by Alex Flinn, opens. I'm really looking forward to seeing it. See the trailer and other movie info at the official site.


  1. Oooh, can't wait to find out who they pick for the Hunger Games movie!

    Thanks for the recs, Trish, I might check out Leviathon and see if I can get the kids into it too!

  2. Good morning, Trish! How are things in your white winter wonderland? Ready for spring? *g*

    I really like the covers for Scott Westerfield's books. They're very different and unique.

    Wow, they have a date for The Hunger Games movie? And they haven't even started filming? I haven't read the series, but look forward to the movie. Can't wait to see who they'll cast!

    My husband and I want to see I Am Number Four, but will probably wait until DVD. They release movies to DVD so quickly these days!

  3. Deb, I think this series is good for both boy and girl readers, so that's a plus.

    Andrea, you have no idea how ready for spring I am. When I saw it's supposed to be in the 50s next week, I almost went out into my snow-covered street and did a happy dance. :)

    They do release DVDs a lot faster than they used to. With the possible exception of the previous season of True Blood. Grr.

  4. Thanks for another great update, Trish! The trailers for I am Number Four have looked intriguing. I may have to give that one a try.

  5. Hi Trish!

    Some of my friends are excited for The Hunger Games movie, but others are worried that it won't live up to the books. I may check it out since I haven't read the books.

  6. I always enjoy watching movies that come from books but the book is always better I think. I haven't read a YA book for a while but I do enjoy them. Thanks for the update.

  7. PJ, I think it's going to have a fair bit of action in it.

    Trisha, that's always a worry with books turned into movies. I'm hopeful they'll do a really good job too, but I go in with the idea that it's a different medium with different people at the helm. I really recommend the books. They're great.

    Virginia, I agree. And I think we feel that way because we get to go deeper into the characters in a book, see more detail. I typically like the books better too, but that's not always the case.

  8. Hey there, Trish!!

    A bunch of kids at my kid's school have been talking about I AM NUMBER FOUR. Seems a lot of the kids have read the book and can't wait to see the movie.

  9. Buffie, I started the book but then had to put it aside to read for the RITA. I'll finish it after I'm done judging and review it here, along with the movie.

  10. Thanks for sharing more books with us, Trish.

    I AM NUMBER FOUR looks really interesting, so I may have to check it out when it hits the theater. I really need to read THE HUNGER GAMES series before they make the movie. Everyone just raves about those books.

  11. Gannon, I don't think you'll be disappointed in The Hunger Games.

  12. I'm a huge YA fan. Loved all the book series mentioned. I can't wait to see I Am Number Four on the big screen. Another book series turned movie I can't wait to see is Cassandra Clare's The Immortal Instruments. Happy Reading!

  13. Love the trailer for BEASTLY. It looks like they did a good job with this modern version of an old lesson.

    Westerfeld writes wonderfully for the teen market. His writing fits well into the Steampunk sub-genre. I read the reviews for LEVIATHAN when it cam out and liked the sound of it. BEHEMOTH sounds like a worthy addition to the series. He does a great job of making us all take a serious look at issues and actions. He is one of the reasons YA fiction is such a rich place today.