Obviously, most fairy literature is actually targeted toward teen girls. This fact means that girls are the protagonists and tend to be main characters—which is another reason why I thought it would be a good follow up on so much guy lit!
Keeping with this tradition (and more hardcore Irish mythology and folklore) is The Faery Path series by Allan Frewin Jones. The original book series was not believed to be very successful. However, it was released at just the right time to sync up with the fairy YA lit boom. Several new covers were therefore created and another book was released, dividing part of the 4th book then extending upon it. I actually bought these books while this transition was taking place and believe me it was totally confusing to grab what I assumed was a new release in the series to read the end part of what was “my fourth book.” Honestly, it was insane. HOWEVER, the story itself (especially the first book) is great with a very mystical feel embedded with real world elements.
The story begins with a girl named Anita in the modern human realm who has memories of a world she shouldn’t know about and does not seem to fit in. Later she discovers she is actually a reincarnation of a Faerie princess named Tania. Upon this discovery, she becomes torn between the world in which she was raised and the world she is supposed to belong. Also, she is in the middle of a plot that could overthrow the entire Faerie realm.
Bring It to Life (BITL)!
Moon Pocket Craft
Magic, especially emphasis on the moon and stars, plays a large role in all the books of The Faery Path series—the main character is after all the daughter of King Oberon and Queen Titania.
Embracing the moon in this simple craft can link to the story in a very delicate way. It also creates a handy pocket carrier for jewelry, change, or other shiny things that seem to attract the “little people” of Celtic folklore.
2 Colors of Felt
Sequins, buttons, beads
Cotton balls or cotton stuffing
Cut out two full circles from the felt from one of the colors. Then, in the other color, cut a semi-circular half moon shape.
On the half moon, sew on any sequins, buttons, or beads in any design you like. Items can be glued if you want but know that you need to be extra careful with glue and felt. The glue can dry and make the felt look weird if it overflows from the bedazzled piece.
Sew partially around the circular felt to hold the two circles together. Stuff the partially closed circle with the cotton to fill as much as desired.
Put the decorated half moon circle against the unsewn portion of the stuffed full circle. Sew the full circle closed while attaching the half moon pocket.
The Walking Dead has basically become an institution in the zombie literature world. While it is not necessarily a young adult option, many older teens have latched onto the graphic novels. With this idea in mind, I need to point out that some of the themes and scenes can get quite brutal and gory. Therefore, this adult-to-YA crossover should only be reserved for older teens—as in AT LEAST 16 years old.
Ok, with that caveat out of the way, we can really get into it!
The Walking Dead by Robert Kirkman is actually an ongoing series of graphic novels. The story follows police officer Rick Grimes who wakes from a coma after being shot in the line of duty. Rather than being greeted by his wife Lori and son Carl, he finds his town is overrun by walking corpses. The first part of the series follows Rick trying to be reunited with his family, which happens in a rather unexpected way. Then, they must work to survive in this new, vicious world while trying to still have a life. It truly is amazingly written and has stunning artwork, courtesy of artist Tony Moore.
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There are actually two awesome ways to bring this graphic novel to life. The most obvious is of course The Walking Dead television show on AMC. The first season is quite short, but it really does a nice job of presenting this new zombie world and introducing Rick and his family as primary characters. Those who are already familiar with the graphic novels might find the second season to be better though since it picks up at the Greene family farm that is a notable setting in the first stories.
The second way to bring the stories to life is to actually zombify yourself! AMC created several ways for users to turn a picture of themselves into a walker. There is a smartphone app, an email service that chooses good pictures to zombify, and a way to upload fan art zombified self portraits to compete in the Zombify Yourself Challenge to have the picture appear during an episode of The Walking Dead! More information can be found at http://www.amctv.com/shows/the-walking-dead/zombify-yourself-challenge
While there was a little bit of romance in The Forest of Hands and Teeth, it certainly took a back seat. Therefore, I thought I would shake things up with a zombie story where the romance is in the forefront. Obviously, the best example in my opinion is Warm Bodies by Isaac Marion.
The book draws multiple parallels to Romeo and Juliet, and it is obvious that integrating the Shakespeare classic was the main original goal. I mean the main guy’s name is R while the main girl is Julie. Yet, despite the foundation in this tragic romance, things move away greatly from there. The basic arrangement is a zombie named R falling in love with a human named Julie. Now, how R falls for Julie (whether it is just the connection between them, the fact that R ate the brains of Julie’s now dead boyfriend Perry, or some combination of the two) is unknown. The story goes deeper than this love though. It investigates what it means to be human, what are innate human desires and needs, and how love can heal. There is action, drama, and plenty of comedy intricately woven into the book in addition to the romance. Honestly, it is definitely worth a read. Even those who are not interested in zombies or those not interested in romance can find something they enjoy about it. It has become one of my top 10 favorite books of all time. It is also a quick and easy read—which means you can’t duck out of reading it due to not having enough time!
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Watch Warm Bodies!
The novel was converted into a film in 2013. While it did not get a great deal of promotion or widespread notice, the movie is truly amazing. It is actually one of the better book-to-movie conversions. The film holds true to most of the original novel with a few exceptions to make it fit better with the movie format. However, it is incredibly true to the novel. Almost all of the major themes and events are part of it. The only super difference is that the movie decided to enhance and work more with the comedic aspects of Warm Bodies, particularly R’s inner monologue. Despite this shift, I think it makes the film work even better. Get everyone together for a viewing!
I was lucky enough to nab awesome seats at the 8pm November 21st premiere of Catching Fire. As promised, here is my review (I’m going to steer clear of major spoilers).
And the review is……
Pause for suspense…..
You heard me right. That sentence is my response because there are no words good enough for this movie. Honestly, most book to movie transitions have some pretty searing problems that non-fans will tend to steer clear of the franchise. However, Catching Fire shows that it does not have to be the case. There are plenty of nods to Gary Ross’s Hunger Games film through some interesting and gritty cinematography in the districts but high style in the extreme while in the capitol.
There is also PLENTY for the book lovers to enjoy. In fact, there were somethings I was SURE they were going to cut out that they ended up leaving in. Also, there were some quick, subtle nods to themes in the source material (think blood and roses). The movie is not just for book fans though. It flows easily enough that everyone will be able to understand what is going on and be truly influenced by the emotions. I cried about half a dozen times myself (then again that victory tour scene from district 11 always gets to me). The casting of new characters was EXTRAORDINARY. If we’re all going to be truthful here, I could definitely see Jena Malone as Johanna Mason (super angry and boisterous but just a lost little girl). The same goes for Sam Claflin as Finnick–all fun and games until it comes to a certain pair of ladies. As always, Jennifer Lawrence was incredible. Then, Josh Hutcherson has stepped up (I think age might have helped a little) to the point where his character’s inner conflict of loving Katniss but knowing it is mostly an act on her side is truly visible this time around.
Overall, just watch it. Really. Seriously. GO SEE THIS MOVIE!
One of the most popular Hunger Games readalikes over the past few years is Divergent by Veronica Roth. It is set in a dystopian future with several major divisions in society. They are referred to as factions and specifically dictate a person’s role in society and where they live, which is very similar to the idea of the districts. The book is also similar to The Hunger Games in that it has a strong female protagonist. Beatrice (Tris for short) Prior uses her personal strength and courage to completely break from her family and her upbringing to join a new faction when it is time for her to officially become part of society as an adult. This move proves to be even more difficult than she expected when the training she receives puts her body through the ringer. Those who enjoy the fighting and intensity of The Hunger Games will definitely like this portion of the book.
Overall, Divergent is a great look at the life of a strong female protagonist in a dystopian authoritarian future. The book itself is the first story in a trilogy. The second book is Insurgent, and the third book is Allegiant. The third book was only released a few weeks ago on October 22, 2013. ALSO, the Divergent movie will be released in March 2014. The first full trailer was shown just last week (it can be seen here)!
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Take your own aptitude test. In Divergent, young adults must first take an aptitude test before officially declaring themselves on Choosing Day when they select a faction for their future. There are several aptitude tests online that anyone can take to see where they would find themselves in the world of Divergent—Abnegation (selfless), Amity (peaceful), Candor (honest), Dauntless (brave), or Erudite (intelligent).
I just wanted to give a heads up on the current blogging plan. It’s reading week and I have a ridiculous amount of work to catch up on. This means that I won’t be posting any blogs this week.
I feel that the other three weeks of this month would be perfect to honor The Hunger Games. Since Catching Fire is being released on November 22nd, the blogs will embrace the predominant topics of the trilogy and will cover read-alikes.
I have tickets for the 8pm premiere of Catching Fire on November 21st! Therefore, I will be doing a review as soon as I get back home to let everyone know how it is.
(I mean come on. The source material is amazing so at the very least it will be good if not GREAT.)
Check back next week for The Hunger Games Celebration!
Darker fantasy definitely has its place in YA guy lit. One of the best within this subgenre over the last few years is definitely Rick Yancey’s The Monstrumologist. Honestly, it is amazingly awesome. The book even won the 2010 Michael L. Printz Honor Award.
The story itself follows the lead Will Henry and his tutor Dr. Warthrop. The two are a team who work to track down monsters called Anthropophagi and try to control the rise in the monster population. They attempt to save the lives of humans who have been made as hosts to the Anthropophagi fetuses that will soon eat their way out of the human’s body. This premise alone was enough to draw my attention.
The style of the writing itself is a truly wonderful take on gothic adventure. However, rather than being a little bit intense and overbearing like historical gothic adventure literature, The Monstrumologist is a very fast and easy read. It is truly a page turner if there ever was one!
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Make Will’s key!
While I won’t spoil anything about this key, I will say that Will finds one. Yet, it clearly is not just a standard key. The best way to celebrate this book is to decorate a fantastical key of your own.
Antique-looking keys can be found at most stores for decoration. They look great on their own but can be combined to create a work of art. Spray painting them to a stunning color is the easiest way to make them special. Here are some ideas to get you started!