For teens, September means one thing: school. (Well, unless those teens live in a postapocalyptic dystopia, then it probably just means another round of picking off their radioactive scabs. Though, to be honest, scab-picking can be pretty educational, too. But I digress.)
So let's see how we here at Booklandia can help ease the trauma of plunging back down those hallowed halls of knowledge. Associate Editor Ann Kelley has a few back-to-school books to throw at your brain, while Assistant Editor Sarah Hunter investigates that pesky "New Adult" thing we keep hearing about. (Personally, I'm looking forward to a S. E. Hinton-style rumble between these New Adults and plain, old regular Teens.)
Some other stuff, too, but heck, you can read. Yes? No? Back to school indeed.
—Daniel Kraus, Editor, Booklandia (email@example.com)
Q&A with Emily Pohl-Weary
One can't help but be intrigued by Emily Pohl-Weary's inspirations for Not Your Ordinary Wolf Girl, her update on the werewolf myth, which include everything from feminist horror films to '80s rock and superhero comics. It's a strange, unexpected, bold combo—not unlike the book itself. Is it a full moon? Close enough; let's see what side Pohl-Weary shows for this interview.
Question: What were your inspirations for writing this story?
Emily Pohl-Weary: Some movies that inspired me are Ginger Snaps and Jennifer's Body. I'd been reading a lot of fantasy novels and began to wonder why the monsters were always male. Are people so terrified by the prospect of ferocious girls that they can't even conceive of them? When you think of Frankenstein or vampire/werewolf mythologies, monstrous alter-egos are often metaphors for the unleashing of violent, sexual, or taboo aspects of ourselves that we keep clamped down in polite society. In Sam Lee, I wanted to create a teen girl whose inner rage had a physical manifestation—a hairy beast—that demanded to be let out so it could play. And living in a crowded city like New York, where Sam's surrounded at all times by human prey, would really up the ante in terms of needing to get control over herself.
Question: What kind of music/movies/books/comics strongly influenced you as a teen?
Emily Pohl-Weary: Sadly, in terms of music, I was the Top 10–listening teen girl my protagonist Sam would hate. I loved Madonna, Cyndi Lauper, Kate Bush, and Prince, as well as early hip-hop by women like Salt-N-Pepa, Yo-Yo, MC Lyte, and Queen Latifah. My reading was more varied. I devoured fairy tales and folk tales from around the world, Nancy Drew mysteries, superhero comics with women in them (Wonder Woman, Catwoman, Storm), fantasy novels, Jane Austen, the Hernandez brothers' Love and Rockets graphic novels, etc. After exhausting the young adult section of my local library, I moved on to adult fiction and the huge Caribbean literature collection. Earl Lovelace's The Dragon Can't Dance is emblazoned in my memory. So is Margaret Atwood's The Edible Woman.
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Core Collection: YA Romances for New Adults
By Sarah Hunter
"New Adult" may sound new, but Booklist's Michael Cart has been sounding the clarion call of crossover books for years. In his May 1, 2013, feature "Best Books for New Adults," he noted the runaway popularity of such YA love stories as John Green's The Fault in Our Stars and Francesca Lia Block's Weetzie Bat among the 18- to 25-year-old set. We offer below 13 more illuminating, and sometimes sexy, YA romances. After all, as we grow ever older, aren't we really always coming of age?
Better Than Running at Night. By Hillary Frank. 2002. Houghton, $15.95 (9780618250738). Gr. 10–12.
With honesty, wit, and a wild first-person narrative, this first novel breaks boundaries with a story about college freshman Ellie Yelinsky and her search for art, love, sex, and meaning. High-schoolers and college students will recognize the wry self-parody of an insider's wicked take on coming-of-age.
Boy Toy. By Barry Lyga. 2007. Houghton, paper, $8.99 (9780547076348). Gr. 10–12.
Like Lisa Levchuk's Everything Beautiful in the World(2008) and Amanda Grace's The Truth about You & Me (2013), Boy Toy is about a teen's affair with a teacher and offers a realistic depiction of a young person's emotional journey as he navigates a relationship with an adult.
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Teachers, Books, and Dirty Looks
By Ann Kelley
What the heck is going on inside our editors' heads? Find out in this column tracking which books we're obsessing about this month.
As August wanes, you can't help but catch the whiff of sharpened pencils in the air—school is on everyone's radar, not just mine. The following novels capture the excitement and uncertainty of heading back to class and the reinventions associated with starting fresh.
Confessions of a Hater. By Caprice Crane. 2013. Feiwel and Friends, $17.99 (9781250008466). Gr. 9–12.
Hailey Harper, newly relocated from Westchester to Hollywood, is using her older sister's diary to reinvent herself from self-described dork into a fab member of the in-crowd at her new school. Following the diary's rules on "How to Be a Hater," Hailey is accepted by queen bee Skyler but soon realizes she wants nothing to do with them, choosing instead to form her own band of misfits called The Invisibles. The Invisibles set out to hate the haters, and that's when the trouble starts. As Hailey says, "Payback's a bitch."
Curtsies and Conspiracies. By Gail Carriger. Nov. 2013. Little, Brown, $17.99 (9780316190114). Gr. 8–11.
Six months ago, Sophronia was a covert recruit in Mademoiselle Geraldine's Finishing Academy (Etiquette & Espionage, 2013). Now she's earning top marks in such areas as "tea and delusions" and "portion allotment, puddings, and preemptive poisonings." While her etiquette—ahem—still needs work, her naturally curious and calculating mind is so adept at espionage that even the teachers are wary of her. So when the floating school journeys to London to witness a technological breakthrough, Sophronia suspects that this is more than just a field trip.
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In this running Q&A from Booklist's Likely Stories blog, authors face the toughest third degree of their lives—and love every minute of it.
Sean Beaudoin is one crafty son-of-a-goat. He comes at you like "Hi, my name is Sean," but it's spelled S-e-a-n, which we all know should be pronounced Seeeeen, and then he's all like, "My last name is Bwadowuhoin," and it's all like French or something, and you're confused—is he like a voodoo priest or just really adept at making beignets or what?—and while you're puzzling this out, he's probably carrying on in a very clever manner about his very clever books like You Killed Wesley Payne and Wise Young Fool, leaving you weak-kneed and gullible.
Just who do you think you are?
Not nearly enough. Not big enough. Not famous enough. Hardly worshipped, except in certain undesirable municipalities. Barely smart enough, with the exception of geography or movie trivia. So un-Godlike it hurts, unless your bible is a pile of napkins with nonsequiturs written in lipstick. A better question is "Do you think?" The answer is "Not really, I'm sort of quick-twitch reactive." Which, you know, explains the 3-to-5 I did in Leavenworth. I saw the movie Wall Street with this guy named Mike whom I barely knew. There's a part where Charlie Sheen steps out on the balcony of his expensive Manhattan apartment, looks down at the masses teeming in the streets below, and asks himself "Who am I?" Me and Mike burst out laughing at the same time. No one else in the theater did. A bunch of people turned around and gave us dirty looks. I knew then that Mike and I would become best friends. I was right. So that's who I am. Right.
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Issue #3, September 12, 2013
Amazon Publishing Best-Sellers in Teens
- Into That Forest, by Louis Nowra
- Deviants (The Dust Chronicles), by Maureen McGowan
- Out of Breath (The Breathing Series, #3), by Rebecca Donovan
- Reason to Breathe (The Breathing Series, #1), by Rebecca Donovan
- Barely Breathing (The Breathing Series, #2), by Rebecca Donovan
- Compliance (The Dust Chronicles), by Maureen McGowan
- Left Drowning, by Jessica Park
- The Curse: Touch of Eternity (The Curse series), by Emily Bold
- Nickel Plated, by Aric Davis
- World After (Penryn & the End of Days, Book 2), by Susan Ee
Amazon Best-Sellers in Coming-of-Age Fiction
- Ruin, by Rachel Van Dyken
- Breaking Nova, by Jessica Sorensen
- Crazy Beautiful Love (The Martelli Brothers), by J. S. Cooper
- Very Bad Things (Briarcrest Academy 1), by Ilsa Madden-Mills
- Fearless—Jesse Book 2, by Eve Carter
- Out of Line, by Jen McLaughlin
- Stripped, by Jasinda Wilder
- Escaping Reality (New Adult contemporary romance) (The Secret Life of Amy Bensen), by Lisa Renee Jones
- This Much Is True, by Katherine Owen
- Breathless (Jesse 1), by Eve Carter
Amazon Best-Sellers in Teen & Young Adult eBooks
- Divergent, by Veronica Roth
- City of Bones (The Mortal Instruments 1), by Cassandra Clare
- The Fault in Our Stars, by John Green
- Insurgent (Divergent 2), by Veronica Roth
- City of Ashes (The Mortal Instruments), by Cassandra Clare
- City of Glass (The Mortal Instruments), by Cassandra Clare
- City of Fallen Angels (The Mortal Instruments), by Cassandra Clare
- The Transfer: A Divergent Story (Insurgent Trilogy), by Veronica Roth
- Very Bad Things (Briarcrest Academy 1), by Ilsa Madden-Mills
- City of Lost Souls (The Mortal Instruments), by Cassandra Clare