Thursday, March 10, 2011

The Teen Menu

YA News

Jay Asher's Thirteen Reasons Why is being made into a movie by Universal Pictures. Selena Gomez is set to star in the film.

Awesome news for Harry Potter fans -- next spring, Warner Brothers will be opening an "Making of Harry Potter" walking tour at Leavesden, England, where the eight movies were filmed. Included on the three-hour tour (and now I have the theme to Gilligan's Island in my head) are props, costumes, and sets such as Dumbledore's office and the Great Hall.

And here's some more cool news for Potter fans. If you live in the UK, you'll be able to affix Potter-themed stamps to your mail, along with those adorned with characters from other favorite series such as C.S. Lewis' Chronicles of Narnia. See more here.

YA Reviews

Ship Breaker by Paolo Bacigalupi was this year's winner of the prestigious Printz Award given by the American Library Association for excellence in young adult literature. This is another in the popular sub-genre of dystopian/post-apocalyptic YA fiction, a type of book I particularly like. Ship Breaker, however, feels more real than some. It takes place in some future time in which humankind's decisions and global warming (though that term is never used in the book) have taken their toll. Coastal cities have been inundated by the sea and are not livable. Even when those cities started over further inland, they present a very different picture than what we're used to today. The gap between haves and have-nots is even wider.

The story's protagonist is a teenage boy named Nailer who is part of a ship-breaking crew along the Gulf Coast. This means that he spends his days crawling through the rusty innards of beached sea vessels of the past, the oceangoing tankers and such that are common today. His job is to rip out the copper wiring for his boss so that he and the rest of his crew can make their meager living. The rest of his time he spends trying to avoid his only relative, his abusive, drug-addicted father.

When a hurricane, much more powerful than our present Category 5 storms (and therefore referred to as city killers), washes over the ship-breaking yards, Nailer and his best friend, Pima, find a fancy clipper ship wrecked. The salvage they can gather from this one vessel will have them set for life if they can just keep it secret, particularly from Nailer's dad and his gang of thugs. But when they find a teenage girl barely clinging to life inside the ship, they have a decision to make -- let her die and be rich enough to escape their hard lives or help her survive and perhaps doom themselves to a life of ship-breaking, if they're lucky. The decision is not as easy as we would like to think.

For Bacagalupi's website, click here.

I listened to Bras and Broomsticks by Sarah Mlynowski on audio last month though it's a few years old now. It's a lot lighter than the YA I normally read, but I thought I'd give it a whirl for a change of pace and because the readers here might start to think that all I read is heavy/dark stuff. :) Bras and Broomsticks is the first in the Magic in Manhattan series which also includes Frogs and French Kisses, Spells and Sleeping Bags, and Parties and Potions.

In this first book, teenage math whiz Rachel Weinstein finds out that her mother and younger sister, Miri, are honest-to-goodness witches. And it doesn't take long for Rachel to figure out that all those witchy powers are lost on her goody-two-shoes, save-the-world sister. If she had power like that, she'd be popular and have a popular boyfriend. And she'd make sure that her father didn't marry her horror of a soon-to-be stepmother. As you might expect, she does convince Miri to use a little magic in direct defiance of their mother's orders and when the initial results are awesome, Rachel is living large. But she's playing with fire, and sometimes that leads to painful burns.

If you're looking for some lighter YA that doesn't take itself too seriously (though it does have some good lessons cloaked in an accessible, non-preachy story), you might want to give this series a try.

For Mlynowski's site, go here.


  1. I read Thirteen Reasons Why and it was such a good book. I was in high school when I read it, so it really had me thinking. Can't wait to see how the movie turns out.

  2. I love books with Witchy powers featured.

    I will check these out.

  3. I LOVED Thirteen REasons Why. I've recommended this book to many of my friends and their kids. I am looking forward to the move.

    The other book sounds good, too. I'll have to give it a try. BUT the Harry Potter tours sounds awesome. Can't wait for that. Might also have to find me some stamps...grin...

    Thanks for a fun review!


  4. Good morning, Trish! Thanks for the great YA updates. :)

    Oh, how cool! A Harry Potter tour!! I've wanted to go to England for awhile now (and do the Jane Austen tour), so this just makes me want to go even more! I'll have to google it for more information. Thanks!

    I like the sound of Bras and Broomsticks. It looks like a fun read!

  5. Hi Trish! Thanks for another great YA update!

  6. Thanks for giving me more books to read, Trish! ;-)

    A Harry Potter tour?! Very cool! One more reason to go back to England. :-)

  7. Hey Trish! Thanks for giving us another great blog about YA stuff.

    I have to say I love the title "Bras and Broomsticks" Had me giggling!

  8. Sorry I'm late to the party, everyone. I've been traveling all day.

    Trisha, I have Asher's book on my shelf, but I haven't gotten to it yet. I heard it was very good.

  9. Marybelle, hope you enjoy it.

    Tami, another endorsement for Thirteen Reasons Why. I'm going to have to move it up my TBR list.

    Andrea, how awesome would a trip including both the Jane Austen and Harry Potter tours be!

  10. PJ, do I have you reading YA yet? :)

    Gannon, always glad to cause TBR piles to teeter. :)

    Buffie, your inner teenager is doing that giggling. :)

  11. I read one of the Magic in Manhattan books and it was fun and cute. I've read some of Sarah Mlynowski's other books and enjoyed them. She's not going to top E. Lockhart in my fave YA authors list but she's pretty close and very fun, too.