YA

J.K. Rowling to pen three ‘Harry Potter’ spin-off movies

31 March 2014

From the Daily News:

Muggles, rejoice! More wizarding movies are on the way.

J.K. Rowling has teamed up with Warner Bros. CEO Kevin Tsujihara to write three new films based on the world of Harry Potter.

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The main character of the trilogy will be Newt Scamander, a “magizoologist.” The spin-off will be set before Potter’s adventures.

Link to the rest at the Daily News and thanks to Barb for the tip.

4 Cliche Things Every Dystopian Young Adult Movie Does

31 March 2014

From Cracked:

This year, fans of the young adult dystopian film genre will have four different movies from four different franchises playing in theaters. Besides the second Hunger Games, there’s Divergent, Maze Runner, and The Giver, all based on novels from the same section of your local Books-A-Million. But don’t worry if you can’t afford to watch all of them — if you’ve seen one, you can guess how the others go.

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#4. Every Movie Begins With Youngsters in Drab Clothing Riding Trains

Apart from the love triangles and the overabundance of grayscale, the first surefire sign that you’re about to watch YA dystopian sci-fi is to have a bunch of forlorn-looking teens standing around, all wearing the same grim clothes.

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Heaven forbid they fly to their destinations, which might cut down on the two-and-a-half-hour runtime all of these movies insist on having.

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#1. All of the Authors Are Pyromaniacs

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Link to the rest at Cracked and thanks to Shantnu for the tip.

A Beginner’s Guide to YA Dystopian Novels

28 March 2014

From GroupThink:

If you hadn’t noticed, YA scifi/fantasy—and more specifically, YA dystopia—is having something of a moment lately. The Hunger Games: Catching Fire was the most successful film of 2013, and there are more than 50 million print and digital copies of the books available in the US alone. Divergentdominated the box office when it opened last weekend. And if Wikipedia is anything to go by (debatable), the sheer number of dystopian works has increased dramatically since the turn of the century. These books may be written for teens, but that doesn’t mean they can’t be worthwhile even once you’ve left high school behind.

But some novels are more equal than others, and there’s a lot of variation within this genre. The following is simply an introduction to this brave new world, focusing on relatively recent releases.

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We’ll start off with the obvious. The Hunger Games, written by Suzanne Collins, is pretty much the poster child for YA dystopia at this point. If you haven’t heard about it, you’ve probably been hiding under a rock; please contact your nearest teenager for a heavy sigh, an eye-roll, and a plot summary before continuing. The series has a complex protagonist—and the first female character to lead a movie to the top of the box office rankings in 40 years—in Katniss Everdeen, and the books tackle serious issues surrounding race, class, and other topics far darker than most people expect from a book geared toward the lip gloss- and Axe-wearing crowd. Are they the best-written books I’ve ever written? No, but they’re worthwhile anyway.

. . . .

Ally Condie’s Matched takes place in a society where the government determines the spouse of every citizen. 17-year-old Cassia is matched with her best friend—but when she goes to view his information, another person shows up on the screen for an instant, forcing Cassia to question the accuracy of her match and, ultimately, her faith in the creatively-named Society. The series is lighter than The Hunger Games, but it’s still a good read (as long as you can handle the fact that the premise is basically set up to create a love triangle). Matchedhasn’t been made into a movie yet, but it’s on the way—Disney bought the rights before the book was even released, and supposedly production has begun.

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Let’s cleanse our palates with something good, shall we? M.T. Anderson’s Feed is a reminder, more than anything else on this list, that YA literature can be for adults as well. Feed is a more classic dystopia than the others here, following in the footsteps of Huxley or Orwell, and takes place in a future where everything is controlled by corporations, everyone follows trends like zombies, and the Internet-like “feed” is implanted directly into people’s brains. There’s a romance here, but make no mistake—this is not a light story. The end ofMockingjay is downright cheerful by comparison. Anderson makes some heavy critiques of modern society, but he clearly knows his craft and. Read it.

Link to the rest at GroupThink

Please Tell Me You Didn’t Cut That Part

21 March 2014

From The New York Times:

There’s a scene in the 2010 film “The Twilight Saga: Eclipse” in which Bella (Kristen Stewart), the movie’s teenage heroine, gets on the back of a motorcycle owned by Jacob, a werewolf. She does so unprompted, at least in part to get under the skin of her beau, Edward, who is a vampire. In the book, however, Jacob has to persuade Bella to get on his motorcycle, which she does. See the difference? If you’re a young or even not-so-young fan of the wildly popular “Twilight” series, you sure do.

“That got some flak,” said Melissa Rosenberg, who wrote the screenplays for all five of the “Twilight” films, which are based on a series of books by Stephenie Meyer. “Some fans were like, ‘She would never do that to Edward!’ People become very attached to a certain moment in a book, and then if you change it, it’s very upsetting to them.”

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If, as the common wisdom goes, the book is always better, why do so many studios keep making movies out of them? One reason, of course, is that built-in audiences of devoted readers will rush out to see their favorite texts brought to life on screen, even as they complain about every casting decision and plot tweak. Few fans are more devoted — and, perhaps most important to studio executives, plentiful — than the readers of young adult fiction, whose numbers have made film series like “The Twilight Saga” and “The Hunger Games” movies into multibillion-dollar franchises.

Such devotion, however, comes with its own special challenges. How do screenwriters adapt these stories so that they will appeal to a broad swath of moviegoers, readers and nonreaders alike, without alienating the fans who consider the books holy writ? “You can go on any ‘Twilight’ website in the world, and 50 percent of the people say, ‘Oh, the adaptation was incredibly faithful,’ and the other half will say that I butchered the book, and my hands should be cut off,” Ms. Rosenberg said. “One changes things at great peril.”

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 Casting, as one might expect, is one of the biggest of fan concerns. Nose around some of the most popular young adult-book fan sites, and you’ll find commenters as mean as snakes, and missives that range from creepily specific to nonsensical. “We’ve learned not to be too reactive about some of their initial responses,” said Erik Feig, co-president of the Lionsgate Motion Picture Group, who has overseen such projects as “Divergent,” “The Hunger Games: Catching Fire” and the “Twilight” series. “At first, fans said that Rob Pattinson was the worst Edward ever: ‘How could you have cast him?’ ” he said. “Or that Shailene Woodley would be terrible as Tris. A lot of times we want to say, ‘Trust us.’ It’s like a pot roast. Don’t try to eat it until it’s all cooked.”

. . . .

And it’s not just casting, Mr. Feig said. Fans often have a list of elements from the books that they feel the films can’t do without. While working on “Twilight,” he and a few of his colleagues sat down with Ms. Meyer and came up with their own list. Informally called the “Stephenie Meyer Bill of Rights,” it ranged from character details (“Jacob is an amazing mechanic”) to essential scenes. “That became a rider to the contract,” Mr. Feig said.

He has made similar lists for several of his recent films. “The Finnick sugar-cube scene from ‘Catching Fire,’ ” Mr. Feig said. “That had to be there. The zip-line scene in ‘Divergent.’ ‘How long have you been 17?’ from ‘Twilight.’ Can you imagine an adaptation that wouldn’t have those scenes?”

Link to the rest at The New York Times

Divergent

18 March 2014

A new movie based on Veronica Roth’s book, Divergent, opens later this week.

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A movie based on James Dashner’s The Maze Runner is scheduled for release in September.
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Following The Hunger Games, dystopian YA continues to generate interest from Hollywood.

R.L. Stine and the return of teen horror

26 November 2013

From CNN:

Author R.L. Stine is returning to the evil street that made him famous in the 1990s, and fans are looking forward to the new ways he’ll terrorize Shadyside High School teenagers on “Fear Street.”

Stine, 70, is the author of more than 300 novels for children and teens, including the much-loved “Goosebumps” and “Fear Street” series. The latter was a major hit, selling 80 million copies and building a fan base that for years has been asking him to revive the spooky series.

Stine announced a few weeks ago that he has signed on to write three “Fear Street” books, beginning with “Party Games” in October 2014. The premise: When Shadyside High School senior Brendan Fear has a birthday party at his parent’s summer house on Fear Island, things go from bad to worse.

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The definition of teen horror can be difficult to pinpoint, especially as new authors broaden the range of topics contained within the genre. In the broadest sense, it embodies the disturbing, imaginative manifestations of fear and dread, life-or-death situations, thrilling surprises and a loss of control, authors and literary observers say.

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Horror novels by Stine, Christopher Pike and Lois Duncan emerged as a salve to the 1970s and 1980s’ “problem novels” that dealt with divorce, drugs and alcohol abuse. In the early 2000s, authors began began weaving elements of horror into fantasy, such as the “Harry Potter” series. Horror was the umbrella genre that gave birth to popular subgenres such as paranormal and dystopian, Scully said.

“The whole thing happened because of Twitter,” Stine said.

Link to the rest at CNN and thanks to Joshua for the tip.

Did The Cat Eat Your Gymsuit? Then These Books Are For You

1 October 2013

From National Public Radio:

Young adult literature is big business right now; bookstores and movie theaters are full of titles like The Hunger GamesDivergent and The Fault in Our Stars.

So what better time to look at the original golden age of YA literature? Author — and occasional NPR reviewer — Lizzie Skurnick has written for and about teens, and now she’s starting her own imprint, dedicated to publishing beloved and forgotten YA books from the 1930s through the 1980s — including, let’s be truthful, some that made me squeal with excitement when I saw them on her bookshelf. Seriously, I thought I was the only person in the world who remembered Paula Danziger’s The Pistachio Prescription.

” ‘Nobody remembers that one,’ that maybe should be on my gravestone,” Skurnick laughs. Her apartment is lined with shelves piled high with beat-up paperbacks. “Triple stacked,” she says. “Triple shelved and stacked.”

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But Skurnick says there’s much more to classic YA than just ’80s-baby nostalgia. “These were really books about America, about England, about China, about wherever they were set and they were about political movements and emotional movements,” she says. “They were a way that I think many of us learned about something like World War II, or someone like Betty Grable, or the feminist movement.”

. . . .

“We’ve done reprints,” Lasner adds, “but we said, hey, would a classic YA be a good idea?” The answer was yes, and Lasner and Clementson approached Skurnick with an idea: Why not start reprinting the books she loved and wrote about? And while hoping a new generation will pick up these books, they’re also aiming a little higher.

“YA has never had it’s own literary canon, and I think Lizzie is trying to establish that,” Clementson says.

Link to the rest at NPR and thanks to Meryl for the tip.

Ender’s Game

9 May 2013

West Virginia Legislator Wants Mandatory Science Fiction In Schools

18 April 2013

From Giant Freakin Robot:

Republican Delegate Ray Canterbury, of Greenbrier County, West Virginia, has [introduced a bill in the state legislature that would require] “grade-appropriate science fiction literature” be added to the state’s middle-school and high-school curriculum. He’s actually introduced the proposal once before, but he’s resurrecting the bill again in hopes it will either pass outright or at least convince the Board to consider the merits of adding science fiction to schools.

Canterbury is a lifelong science fiction fan, but his reasoning for wanting it introduced to the school system is tied to a problem that’s facing our nation as a whole: namely, that we’re falling behind in the fields of math and science. Many modern scientists cite influences such as Star Trek as inspiring them to pursue a career in the sciences, and Canterbury believes that can happen again if kids are exposed to science fiction early on.

Canterbury told Blastr:

In Southern West Virginia, there’s a bit of a Calvinistic attitude toward life—this is how things are and they’ll never be any different. One of the things about science fiction is that it gives you this perspective that as long as you have an imagination and it’s grounded in some sort of practical knowledge, you can do anything you wanted to. So it serves as a kind of antidote to that fatalistic kind of thinking.

Link to the rest at Giant Freakin Robot

Why YA Lit Matters to Everyone

4 April 2013

From BookRiot:

Young adult literature gets a bad rap because of the immense, insane popularity of certain titles that book snobs around the globe (including myself, sometimes) deem less-than-worthy of a Serious Reader’s attention. Twilight,The Hunger Games, and even much-beloved, less-scoffed-at Harry Potter often earn adult fans a bit of classic side-eye when we’re spotted reading them.

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Even I, one of its biggest proponents, get frustrated with YA lit from time to time. Among my complaints: not enough standalone novels; too many love triangles; an overabundance of manic pixie dream girls; too much dystopia. But then, there are the gems. There are the writers who aren’t afraid to tackle hard topics, sticky ones, misunderstood ones and the books that you just can’t stop thinking about for days, weeks, or years after reading them.

A melancholic person by nature, I am drawn to these books: the ones that hit closest to my painful spots, the bruises on my psyche or ego that go back to the time when I was their target audience, the books that personalize the painful spots in our history on a small or large scale, the ones that explore the problems of our present culture.

Link to the rest at BookRiot

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