Wednesday, May 9, 2012

The Teen Menu

Welcome to the May edition of The Teen Menu.

YA News

Though this isn't really YA news, Harry Potter author J.K. Rowling has launched a new website in anticipation of the release of her first novel for adults, The Casual Vacancy, this September.

The long wait is over. The Pottermore site for all things Harry Potter has launched. Check it out for all sorts of magical fun and info. It's been reported that more than $4.8 million worth of Harry Potter e-books have been sold in the first month via Pottermore, and more than 5 million new members have been added to the site since it opened April 14. And yes, I'm one of them.

The makers of the movie version of Ender's Game have started a Tumblr feed with shots from the production of the movie.

Director Francis Lawrence (I Am Legend, Water for Elephants) has been announced as the director for Catching Fire, the sequel to the wildly successful The Hunger Games.

Three new photos of the main characters of Breaking Dawn Part II brooding were recently released.

Author Stephenie Meyer will be optioning the rights to Lois Duncan's 1974 YA novel, Down a Dark Hall, along with Fickle Fish Films. But first she has to wrap up her producer duties on the movie version of Shannon Hale's Austenland.

YA Reviews

Back in March, Romance Writers of America announced the finalists for its annual RITA Awards. I always try to read as many of the finalists in the Young Adult category as I can. So over the next few months, I'll be bringing you reviews of these finalists as I finish reading them. Here are the finalists:

Enclave by Ann Aguirre
Flawless by Lara Chapman
Hourglass by Myra McEntire
I'm Not Her by Janet Gurtler
Warped by Maurissa Guibord
Touch of Frost by Jennifer Estep

The winner will be announced at the RWA conference in July.

First up is Janet Gurtler's I'm Not Her. While I love paranormal/dystopian YA, it was nice and refreshing to read a contemporary story about an everyday girl who is thrust into not a fight to save the world but an everyday fight to get through tough times. Tess, the younger of two teenage sisters, is the heroine of this book. She's the smart sister while her older sister, Kristina, is the popular, sporty one. And this isn't a typical tale where there is boatloads of sibling rivalry with the bookish sister desperately wanting to be like her older, popular sister. Tess is fine with who she is, until she is thrust into midst of the high school popular crowd when Kristina is diagnosed with cancer and all her popular friends are constantly asking Tess how she is.

I'm Not Her explores how Tess deals with not only concern about whether Kristina will get better, but also her new visible status at school, interest from boys, and Kristina's sudden desire not to see any of her friends. Tess suddenly not only has to make excuses for Kristina, but also has to step into the role of being the responsible one in the family when her parents don't do the best job of dealing with Kristina's illness. The story feels very real and doesn't fall into some of the cliches we often see in "cancer stories." It's well worth the read.

Watch for my review of another RITA nominee in next month's Teen Menu.


  1. Thanks for the updates. The YA market has been giving us some great books the past 10 to 15 years. It is an exciting to be a teen who like to read and those numbers have increased with the better offerings. I have heard complaints from some that there are too many vampires and werewolves, but they are what is getting teens through the door of their libraries. Once there and once reading, they will find more they will like.

    1. I agree. If teens weren't reading those books, publishers wouldn't put them out. And if they get them reading, I think that's awesome.

  2. Thanks Trish, I know I can count on you for great YA recommendations. I agree with you Librarypat; whatever gets people reading (children, teens, adults) is always a good place to start and then see how many other options are available.

    1. Thanks! The problem is there are so many great YA books, I don't have time to read them all.

  3. I seem to be reading fewer YA books in the past year or so, probably because I rarely read paranormal/dystopia. I have read I'm Not Her, and I thought it was very well done. I didn't like Gurtler's second book, If I Tell nearly as much, although my young cousins who are my personal YA experts liked both books a lot.

    1. This the first book I've read by Janet Gurtler, but I liked it enough that I'll check out the others.

  4. I'm so excited about the new adult novel coming out. Rowling has been so successful with the Harry Potter series, therefore it's nearly a given that this one will be as well-received.

    1. I hope it's a wonderful novel. Harry Potter is so beloved that I fear there may be unfair comparisons between that series and her foray into adult novels. But we'll see.

    2. I think comparisons will be inevitable. I hope they'll be favorable.

  5. Hi Trish! Thanks for another terrific column. I'm Not Her sounds like a book I'd like to read. Have added it to my list and will be looking forward to your reviews of the other RITA finalists in this category. I'd really like to find time to read more YA novels.