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The Fault in OUR Stars

by Alexandra - 0 Comment(s)

The other day I was flipping through the upcoming flicks on IMDb and checking out some of the big YA titles that have been on my watchlist: “What’s the latest with the new Percy Jackson? The buzz on “Mortal Instruments”? Oh look they’re making a 1D Concert Tour Movie…” when I stumbled across a project that is still ages away, but very near to my heart.

It BLOWS MY MIND that each and every single one of John Green’s books hasn’t been made into a movie yet. They are all brilliant, and they would all translate well to film. And since making YA books into movies is like, soooooo hot right now, it really does confuse me! At any rate, at least ONE of his titles has been optioned -- the beautiful, tragic, hilarious, “The Fault in Our Stars” (which, if you haven’t read yet… stop reading THIS and go pick up THAT!!!)

So I’m trolling around IMDb when I see the cast list for TFIOS… and immediately fangirl out and start squee-ing with the revelation of each new actor cast! I call over a couple of co-workers and we’re all freaking out. “Of COURSE they cast Chloe Grace-Moretz as Hazel, she’s in everything right now…” “Omigod, they got PHILIP SEYMOUR HOFFMAN to play Van Houten?!?!?!?!?” “Oooooh Jessica Chastain would TOTALLY make a good Lidewij…” and EVERY character that comes up, from Augustus, to his parents, to the best friends, is just bang-on PERFECT. And we’re all sitting there marveling at how superb this movie is going to be, when someone looks just a little bit closer at the list and realizes…

We’ve been looking at a fan-made Dream Cast the whole time.

We just got IMDb’d. Hard.

Turns out, they haven’t really even STARTED casting the movie yet. Shailene Woodley got Hazel-Grace, and some kid named Ansel Elgort is going to be Augustus… but there’s no one outside of that.

So here’s my question: Have you ever ‘been had’ by an IMDb fan cast, thinking it was official? And… If you could Dream Cast “The Fault in the Stars”, who would you put in there!?!?!

YAC Review: The Boyfriend App

by Carrie - 0 Comment(s)

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The Boyfriend App by Katie Sise - Review by Vince

Audrey McCarthy is the troubled heroine of The Boyfriend App, she is a teenage girl faced with typical problems: boy trouble, ex-best friend issues and worrying about getting into an affordable college. Luckily for her she has a chance of fixing the latter problem by entering an app designing contest. “Hello, World. Hello, Contest. Hello, College Scholarship. Hello, Boys. Here comes Audrey McCarthy. Trog. Hacker. Sex object. Inventor of the Boyfriend App.”

From a synopsis like that one would expect this novel to be a teen romance filled with drama and light comedy, and that is exactly what the novel delivers… in Part One anyway. Part One of the novel is decent, the characters seem rather static but they are characterized well. Audrey is a tragic but interesting protagonist because of her thoughts and feelings; she gets the support needed from her friends and family despite her personal shortcomings. Her antagonists are pretty boring since they behave so stereotypically, especially Blake, the rich and popular ex-BFF who treats Audrey as a stranger yet ceaselessly torments her whenever the opportunity arises. Audrey’s friends are likeable, but it feels like they are just crutches for Audrey and lack their own purpose.

As for the plot it played out well for the first part of the novel. Audrey struggled but eventually reached the threshold for success with her app. Her app became popular and it seemed like she had a really good chance of winning the contest, until a very expected “glitch in the system” strikes and her popularity topples like a house of cards. Part One was well written, especially her process of programming the app. The coding and the explanations were simple enough for readers to understand without being condescending to anyone who would not know about coding. The way Part One ended invites curiosity for what would happen in Part Two, but that’s where the story began to fall apart. While Part One had a realistic story and struggles, Part Two escalated to corporate conspiracies and neurological manipulation! I was awestruck at how quickly Part Two leaped away from the events of Part One and laughed at how absurd the later chapters had become!

With respect to style, the writing appeals to a youthful demographic since it is loaded with pop culture references. The narration is fast paced and has a few time skips, but dialogue between the characters is what carries the novel forward. One of my pet peeves with the writing is constant references to Google and Twitter, but tacky renaming of several real life products (e.g. iPhone/buyPhone, iTunes/buyJams, Facebook/PUBLIC PARTY). It’s a very annoying inconsistency.

Overall, The Boyfriend App is a nice little teen romance that starts off nice and realistic, but loses its original scope when the story escalates to imaginative and bizarre levels. Rating: 3.5/5.

Read Across Canada — Saskatchewan

by Carrie - 0 Comment(s)

We've now made it to our next stop on our country wide road trip. We've made it into Saskatchewan, where rumour has it, you can see your dog running away from home for days. Saskatchewan, like Alberta has many great authors to celebrate, so, we've narrowed it down to 3.

Far from her farm roots near Regina, Melanie Schnell takes us to civil war-torn Sudan with her multiple award winning first novel, While the Sun is Above Us. Melanie lived and researched for this book in South Sudan for 7 months, and her dedication to her writing shows. Through powerful and emotional prose, Melanie gives us two intertwined characters, Adut and Sandra. These women, of vastly different circumstance, experience a violent local conflict that changes their lives forever. While Melanie has written for television and has had fiction, poetry and non-fiction published, While the Sun is Above Us is her first novel. It has been shortlisted for four Saskatchewan book awards, Book of the Year, Regina Book Award, Fiction Award and the First Book award. She is currently working on her second novel.

Alice Kuipers, currently living in Saskatoon, has written several YA novels, including her first award winner, Life on the Refrigerator Door . It has been published in 28 countries and was named as a New York Times best book for teens. Her second novel, The Worst Thing She Ever Did, has won an Arthur Ellise Award. Her most recent and third young adult novel, 40 Things I Want to Tell You was a 2013 CLA Young Adult Book Award Honour Book. She will also have a picture book, The Best-ever Bookworm Book by Violet and Victor Small, will be published in 2014. All of her works have been published in 29 countries.

In 40 Things I Want to Tell You, Alice’s main character Amy, a.k.a. Bird, writes an advice column for teens called Top Tips that I imagine she really wishes she had followed. Self-searching and filled with inner turmoil, Alice Kuipers’ latest book shares with readers much more than just 40 Things.

Arthur Slade was born in Moose Jaw, but currently lives in Saskatoon. He has written severl YA novels, including the novel Dust, which won the 2001 Govenor General's Award as well as the 2001 Saskatchewan Book Award. His most recent work is Island of Doom, which is the fourth and final book in The Hunchback Assignments. The other titles in this series include The Hunchback Assignments, The Dark Deeps, and Empire of Ruins.

In, Island of Doom, Modo, a shape shifting, masked spy is on a personal quest....to find his biological parents. Along with some characters from the previous novels, some good and some not so good, Modo and a fellow spy, Octavia, make a thrilling dash towards the conclusion of this series.

Young Readers Choice Awards continued... continued!

by Patricia - 0 Comment(s)

For those of you who have been waiting for this final category of YRCA nominees, the Senior books (Gr. 10-12) here it is!!

And, for those of you who don't know what I'm talking about, welcome to the Young Readers Choice Awards! We want YOU to read at least two books from one of these lists, and then vote for your fave. I've already written about the YRCA in general and the whole voting thing on a previous blog, so I won't repeat myself, just go there. You'll also see the write-up about the Junior & Intermediate YRCA nominees in previous blogs.

So without further ado, here are the Senior nominees:

Book coverBefore I Fall, by Lauren Oliver: Samantha is a popular 17 year old, who thinks she's perfect. Then.. she is killed in a car accident, and relives the same day over, and over, and over, trying to fix all of the not-so-perfect things she did so she can, well, move on. Think Groundhog Day, in a gut-wrenching sort of way.

Book coverBruiser, by Neil Shusterman: Bronte can’t understand why her family, and especially her twin brother Tennyson, dislikes her new boyfriend Brewster so much. Even though he looks a little rough, he’s kind and gentle with her. Then one day she hurts herself, and when he touches her the wound disappears and she feels wonderful, but he looks worse than ever… There’s a lot of intense family violence in this book, so it’s not for the faint of heart.

Book coverCrazy, by Han Nolan: 15-year-old Jason has a pile of friends... but they're all imaginary. And his father is mentally ill. And his mother has just died. And he's responsible for keeping everything together! Good thing he has the help of Aunt Bee from the Andy Griffith show, Sexy Lady, and a "laugh track" - although they're all in his head... Read this book and you get to be one of his internal characters as well!

Book coverMatched, by Ally Condie: In a highly controlled society, a 16-year-old girl is ecstatic to find out she has been ‘matched’ with not only someone she actually knows, but her best friend! However, she discovers cracks in the perfect system when the picture of a different boy, also someone she knows, shows up on her true love’s profile page. Interested in what caused this glitch, and wanting to know more about the much more mysterious, dangerous Kai, she strays further and further from her chosen path and ideal romance. The first in what is likely to be the next great dystopian series.

Book coverThe Replacement, by Brenna Yovanoff: Mackie lives in a small town with big secrets. Every seven years, a baby is 'replaced' by a fairy child from the underworld. When his strange allergies – to iron, blood, and consecrated ground – get worse and threaten his life, he teams up with Tate, whose baby sister has just gone missing, to uncover the truth. This is a dark gothic tale of the paranormal, with gruesomely thrilling imagery.

Book coverShip Breaker, by Paula Bacigalupi: Another dystopian, post-apocalyptic tale, BUT this time from a male point of view (about time!) The main character ekes out a living by stripping wrecked ships with a band of thieves. But one ship isn’t deserted; they discover a girl, barely alive, who promises to show them a dream-world, a utopia, if they let her live. Interesting use of language makes up for – or adds to, depending on your point of view – the more violent scenes in this fast-paced read.

Book coverWill Grayson, Will Grayson, by David Levithan and John Green: Will Grayson has the biggest gayest friend ever! will grayson (the other one = yes there's two... with the same name, hence the lack of capitals) is sad and depressed. When the two W/will G/graysons happen to meet, all their lives are changed. And a great high school musical is produced! Hilarious and interesting, with lots of unexpected twists, and over-the-line language and scenarios. Not to be missed!

Book coverWinter Shadows, by Margaret Buffie: Cass is living in modern-day Selkirk, Manitoba when she finds an old brooch which becomes a gateway into the world of Beatrice, who lived in the house in the 1850's. They communicate through Beatrice's diary, and bond over difficulties with their respective step-mothers. A great 'time slip' story, with some real insight into the Metis history and way of life.

Okay, that's it for the YRCA selections. Now it's your turn - read, ponder, then VOTE! And may the best book win...

Young Readers Choice Awards continued...

by Patricia - 0 Comment(s)

YRCA logo

Young Readers Choice Awards: Junior Category

As promised, here's the next installment in the Young Readers Choice Awards.

We're asking you to read at least two books from one of the categories, then choose your favourite. For more info on the YRCA and how to cast your ballot, please look at my previous blog, which also talked about the Intermediate books.

This time we're looking at the Junior Category Nominees, those geared for about Gr. 4-6.

Book coverfatty legs, by Christy Jordan-Feton: Margaret is a young Inuit girl who desperately wants to go to school, like her older sister, so she can learn how to read. This means leaving her family to go to residential school. When she finally gets her wish, however, it’s not exactly what she had dreamed… This book is autobiographical, and there is a sequel, called A Stranger At Home. A shortened version of fatty legs has been made into a picture book, called When I Was Eight. A great introduction for a younger audience.

Book coverThe Strange Case of the Origami Yoda, by Tom Angleberger: This book is written in the form of a 'case file' by Tommy and his friends in middle school. Dwight, the biggest nerd of them all (which is saying a lot) creates an Origami Yoda finger puppet which appears to be amazingly wise and prescient - unlike Dwight! Very funny. If you like the 'Diary of a Wimpy Kid' series, you'll like this too. There is also a sequel, called Darth Paper Strikes Back - worth reading if only for the title.

Book cover

Theodore Boone: Kid Lawyer, by John Grisham: Do you see that? JOHN GRISHAM! The king of adult crime novels has crossed over into the Kid Zone with this story about a 13-year-old boy who knows everything there is to know about the justice system, but can't keep himself out of trouble when a grisly murder needs to be solved. Read it to see if Grisham can handle the critical readers in the shallow end of the pool...

Big Nate: In a Class By Himself, by Lincoln Peirce: The only graphic novel candidate in this bunch. Big Nate has been seen before, in a comic strip, as the less-than-straight-A middle school kid who wisecracks his way into a lot of detentions. A great alternative if you've read all of the 'Diary of a Wimpy Kid' books, or want to get into graphics with something new!

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The Mysterious Howling, by Maryrose Wood: This is the first in the series: The Incorrigible Children of Ashton Place. 15-year-old Penelope becomes a governess at a children’s school, only to discover that the mysterious howling she has been hearing is being made by two children who were found in the forest and have obviously been raised by wolves. She must teach them not only Latin and Algebra but how to act like humans instead of wolves. 'Howlingly' funny (hee hee).

13 Treasures13 Treasures, by Michelle Harrison: The main character is Tanya, and Tanya is ‘trouble’. Tanya sees fairies, but if she talks about this, people think she’s crazy! Blamed for all of the things the fairies get into, she is shipped off to her grandmother's ancient old house - which happens to be infested with, you guessed it, fairies. Then children in the area go missing, and Tanya wants to find out what’s going on. If you like the Spiderwick Chronicles, you’ll love this book.

Book coverThe Lost Hero, by Rick Riordan: Really sad that the Percy Jackson series ended? Well, don't be! This new spin-off series has appearances by all your favourite characters, while introducing Jason, Piper, and Leo as the offspring of some new gods - this time in their Roman persona's. Another rollicking ride through Camp Half-Blood, with a satyr masquerading as a bus, Medusa working in a chic New York department store, and a race against the clock to keep the world from terrible danger.

Book cover

Lone Wolf, by Kathryn Lasky: This is the beginning of Lasky’s new series The Wolves of Beyond, which takes place in the same world as her ‘Guardians of Ga’hoole’ books. In this one, a young wolf pup is born, despite many problems for his mother, with a twisted leg and a strange mark on his paw, marking him as.. well, either deformed, or special. He survives against all odds, is raised by a mother bear, and eventually makes his way to ‘the Beyond’, a place on the edge of this world where the socially outcast wolves reside... and back again to some new surprises!

Okay, that's it for the Junior YRCA nominees. Look for the next and final posting, about the Senior choices, coming soon.. and don't forget to read & vote!

Young Readers Choice Awards

by Patricia - 1 Comment(s)

YRCA logo

It's Young Reader's Choice Awards time again! The time when the books that YOU select as being the most awesome will get to put those stickers on their jackets saying, 'I'm the BEST and everyone should read me!'

This award is given out by the Pacific Northwest Library Association, which is not only bi-national - including Canada's western provinces AND America's western states - but also the oldest children's choice award in both countries.

Get ready to cast a ballot by reading at least two books from one of the categories, Junior (Gr. 4-6), Intermediate (Gr. 7-9), or Senior (Gr. 10-12). Then, fill out a ballot at your neighbourhood library branch between March 15 - April 15. (For details on the whole voting process, go here.) I'll give a quick teaser of each book, then leave it up to you!

As Easy As Falling Off the Face of the Earth, by Lynne Rae Perkins: Ry, on his way to summer camp in Oregon, manages to miss the train when it stops in the middle of nowhere - and then suddenly takes off again - when he briefly nips out to find cell phone service. He sets off on his own with a dying cell phone and little else, meeting interesting people who help him find his way back home. This is a very funny book, with simple but hilarious sketch drawings showing certain .. important.. moments in Ry's 'adventure', as well as what's going on with his two dogs... hmmmm....

The Card Turner, by Louis Sachar: So this is a book about a 17-year-old boy and how he learns bridge. But wait! Before you skip on to the next title, remember this is Louis Sachar, who also wrote ‘Holes’ and other award-winning stories. In this book, Alton is forced to read and play the cards for his super-rich but very blind and sick uncle, who is an ace at duplicate bridge tournaments, but might also be connected with the mob... If you would love to learn how to play bridge, detailed explanations are provided for every card game. BUT, if you couldn’t care less, the author has helpfully put these parts between asterisks, so you can skip over them and get on with the plot!

Heist Society, by Ally Carter: Katarina tries to leave the family business - thieving - but is lured back when her father becomes the only suspect in the theft of a mobster’s art collection, and the only solution is to find the paintings and steal them back.

Smile, by Raina Telgemeier: This autobiography tells the story of a girl whose front teeth get knocked out accidentally, forcing her to learn how to take the teasing and abuse and throw it back in a goodhearted fashion. This is a graphic novel, which aside from adding visual appeal, makes it a quick read.

The Second Trial, by Rosemarie Boll: 13-year-old Danny starts to fall apart after his mother goes to court against his father, charging him with domestic abuse, and they need to go into Witness Protection. Confused about his dad and hostile towards his mother, Danny starts to act out at school and home. Published by Second Story press, it’s an accessible story for anyone looking for an easier read, but be warned, it’s a pretty ‘gritty’ scenario, no sweetness and light in this one.

Sorta Like A Rock Star, by Matthew Quick: Amber, known as the ‘Princess of Hope’, has a pretty sucky life, living with her man-huntin’ mom in a school bus. But Amber always manages to keep that hope alive, until one day tragedy occurs. Good for teens who can handle the rough side of life. And sometimes really funny!

Halo, by Alexandra Adornetto: In this book, Bethany, an angel new to the trade, is sent down to earth with two more experienced compatriots, including the Archangel Gabriel, to fight the forces of darkness. While here, she meets and falls in love with a human, and learns that good and evil are not always easy to identify.

The Red Pyramid, by Rick Riordan: The first in another series by the author of the Percy Jackson books, focused this time on ancient Egypt. Carter and Sadie Kane watch as their father accidentally releases five ancient Egyptian gods from the Rosetta Stone and is then sucked into the ‘Duat’. While trying to rescue their father, they must also stop the evil god Set from building his pyramid of power and destroying the world. Along the way they discover much about themselves, their family, and the hidden world of ancient Egyptian magic. Tons of action, and, hey, you might learn something too... like what the 'Duat' is!

Okay, gotta wrap it up here. Look for 'sister' blogs about the Junior and Senior categories in the same spot, coming soon....

2013 Freedom to Read Week Contest!

by Carrie - 0 Comment(s)

 

Did you love The Hunger Games? Are you a fan of Harry Potter? Have you ever read a book by John Green, Neil Gaiman, or Lauren Myracle?

Would it surprise you to know that these books and authors, and many more, have been the targets of challenges meant to stop teens just like you from reading them? In fact, many of the 100 most challenged books of the last decade have been books for kids and teens - you can see the whole list here.

Every February Canadians celebrate Freedom to Read Week as a reminder of one of the fundamental freedoms set forth in the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms: freedom of thought, belief, opinion and expression - which includes reading and writing. We're lucky to live in a society that is mostly free from censorship, but even here in Canada we have to keep our eyes open. There are always people who want to "protect" teens by taking away books that offend them - like the ones I just mentioned:

hunger games coverharry potter coverlooking for alaska titlem is for magic coverttfn cover

But books are important, especially difficult, painful, possibly offensive books. As YA author Cheryl Rainfield says,

"Books saved me - realistic books that helped me know I wasn’t alone and fantasy that helped me escape. Books helped me survive the extreme abuse that was my childhood and teenhood. I know how important it is to know you’re not alone in your pain. That’s part of why I wrote Scars...I know what it’s like to have no one to turn to, nothing to help you hang on, except books. To have a book that might help anoth­er teen be kept from them—it seems wrong to me on a deep level."

It seems wrong to us, too. That's why we hold the Freedom to Read Week Contest every year. This year, the question is, "If you didn't have the freedom to choose what you read, what would that look like?"

You can enter in one of three ways:

  • Make a poster (draw, paint or use photography and other graphic arts, 8½ x 14” or 11 x 17”)
  • Write a poem, short story or essay (max. 300 words)
  • Create a film (3 min. or less)

All content must be your own work, except for short, cited quotations. Contest is open to Calgary students in grades 7 to 9. Include your name, school, grade and telephone number with your entry.

To enter:
Send your project by e-mail to
freedomtoread@calgarypubliclibrary.com
AND upload to Teens Create
(http://www.calgarypubliclibrary.com/teens/teens-create)

OR submit a hardcopy to any Calgary Public Library location.

One entry per person.
Deadline for submissions is Friday, February 15, 2013

Where the Wild Things are

Where the Wild Things are

by Tomas - 0 Comment(s)

If you haven’t yet had the opportunity to see it, Fairy Tales, Monsters and the Genetic Imagination, the current exhibition on at the Glenbow Museum, is well worth the price of admission.

According to Mark Scala, the curator of the exhibition: “Monsters are something that we have created in order to embody what we most fear, and so the whole point behind that fascination in our culture is that these are simply imaginary, simply inventions.” Monsters are examples of how we express fears, hopes and wishes.

A few personal highlights include Kiki Smith’s imagining of Little Red Riding Hood, depicted both as a print and a sculpture, emerging from the belly of the defeated wolf.

Patricia Piccinini’s lifelike sculptures feature fantastically imagined creatures -- perhaps the result of genetic manipulation -- engaged in mundane, day-to-day activities. In one an elderly mer-nursemaid is comforted by a small boy while it sleeps; in another, a weary looking creature nurses a baby while also taking on shopping tasks while the human parents are away.

Seeing this exhibition brought to mind a few complementary literary monsters. These monsters, and the stories they inhabit, reflect our feelings toward the unknown, both beyond and within us.

This Dark Endeavour - Kenneth Oppel

This Dark Endeavour, tells the story of a young Victor Frankenstein, whose later [in]famous exploits were told by Mary Shelley in one of the first books to address mankind’s dangerous emerging interest in genetic manipulation.

MonstrumologistNot for the faint of heart (or stomach), Richard Yancey’s Monstrumologist series follows the exploits of Dr. Pellinore Warthrop, as told through the journal of his young assistant Will Henry as they study and contend with a gruesome assortment of monsters (human and otherwise).

Half WorldDarkest Light

Half World and its sequel Darkest Light by Hiromi Goto apply the concept of Hungry Ghosts to the contemporary urban setting of Vancouver. Half World, the waystation between the physical realm and the realm of spirit, has become separated, and it falls to 13-year-old Melanie to enter the Half World and somehow restore the balance. Half World is a vast cityscape filled with grotesque characters whose monstrous forms are based on the sufferings they endured in the physical realm, such as the eel-armed Lilla, and the aptly named Mr. Glueskin.

A Monster Calls

In A Monster Calls, A young boy is visited nightly by a monster that is inextricably linked to the emotional trauma he experiences, and must eventually face.

Don't be afraid of the dark : Blackwood's guide to dangerous fairies, co-written by Guillermo del Toro and Christopher Golden, is a literary prequel (by 100 years) to del Toro's eerie film by the same name. Be sure also to check out del Toro's stunning modern fairytale Pan's Labrynth, in which a young girl trying to save the life of her ill mother has to contend with fantastic and real-life monsters in Fascist 1940s Spain.

GrokeWith a ghost-like, hill-shaped body, cold staring eyes, a wide row of shiny teeth, and a freezing touch that kills any plants she touches, the Groke is a mysterious character that haunts the otherwise pleasant adventures of the Finn-Family Moomin Troll. As the stories progress, the more we learn about this misunderstood creature; Eventually we come to discover she is the product of a profound lonelieness. In many ways, the Groke is similar to Gollum (currently starring in the feature film version of The Hobbit, as you may have heard), whose disfigured shape reflects his inner turmoil.

Why are Dystopian Novels so popular? Because they deal with reality...

by Adrienne - 3 Comment(s)

Why are Dystopian Novels so popular? This current trend not just with teens, it is also popular with many adults. These YA novels have even your parents following them! Why? Because they deal with real life issues that we either face in the world every day, or that the WORLD at large deals with every day. The proof is in the pudding eh? So what issues DO the current faves and bests deal with?

Wither The main issue this book deals with is the possible unknown side-effects of genetic engineering and insufficiently tested cures. This applies today to more than just genetics research; we have many diseases with unknown cures and unknown causes... Do we know the full effects of a lifetime of eating Kraft diner, painting our nails with formaldehyde polish, or spraying DDT on our vegetables and consequent genetic defects? No... and on and on and on with 100 million products and experiments we conduct every day. Diseases like ALS are New and just popping up and others like AIDS and many cancers still have no known cures.

Wither also deals with objectifying women and young girls solely for their looks (very western), reproductive capacities (prevalent in various countries today) and reproductive slavery. Slavery is slavery even within the confines of comfy couches and pretty lipsticks... As well as taking a look at what love really Is and Is not.

Birthmarked also takes a hard look at reproductive slavery, as well as being a case study for third world vs. first world paradigms. Set in 2403 in a society where our world and time is labeled "the cool age", it is an imaginative rendering of post apocalyptic survival - global warming style. The book even dares to propose how various current energy solutions such as using geothermic energy could have negative effects on society; or certain members of society, whenever dictatorship reigns. Our current world deals with global warming; 1st world vs. 3rd world; class issues and divisions within society (some more stark and apparent than others and some more covert); alternative energies and dictatorships Every Day. Perhaps the resonance of these books is not in their outlandish imaginings, but rather in their expressions of current realities made more digestible through the form of story. Check out the movie trailer here.

The Graceling series is perhaps one of the most multi-layered dystopian series of the bunch, teetering into the verge of fantasy, but striking home so closely to reality that I often found the books very difficult to read (even though this consequently made them my favourites of the bunch.) Dealing with issues of literacy and class, ability vs. disability, dictatorships, sociopaths, murder, justice, memory and healing, they also insert things such as birth-control and GLBTQ as givens, positive aspects of this much troubled society.

Bitterblue is the story of both a girl and a society recovering from the effects of a regime of terror. How does one uncover truth? How are "war crimes" dealt with fairly when the entire society is both implicitly guilty and traumatized at the same time? Can a thief be loyal, just, trustworthy and lovable? Can one be treasonous, break the law and yet be loyal and just under the law at the same time? How can just 4% of the population (the statistical existence of sociopaths) cause so much damage?


For some interesting thoughts on Dystopian Fiction check out the following INFOGRAPHIC: Is It Dystopia?

Social Studies 101 coming up, in the form of case studies presented in really engaging YA novels!

Stay tuned next Sunday for Part 2 of this blog: Dystopian Popularity Continued...

The Hobbit

by Monique - 0 Comment(s)

How many of you are as excited about upcoming The Hobbit movie? December 14 can’t seem to come fast enough for me. Having said that, I will need to re-read the novel as it seems like it was such a long time ago since I originally read it. Don’t get me wrong, I do remember what the novel is about, but would love to refresh my memory of its details. I don’t know about any of you, but when it comes to the adaptation of books into movies, I tend to like the book better. The odd time, I have found myself enjoying the movie adaptation of a novel as well; The Lord of the Rings Trilogy being one of those rare occasions.

When I was initially talking to people about the movie, I was surprised to hear that the movie was going to be in two parts, but in doing some digging, I have learned that it will be actually in three parts. I find this news to be exciting. I have to question however, why a novel that is shorter than each The Lord of the Rings (LOR) have been done if they were done in two parts, right? The first part of the three part series will be called The Hobbit : An Unexpected Journey is set to release on December 14 of this year. The second movie, The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug, will be released around December 13, 2013. The third movie, will have the same title as the novel, The Hobbit: There and Back Again, with news that it will be released on July 18, 2014. I am glad that Peter Jackson is directing The Hobbit, as it will be nice to see a continuation of his work on a book that is part of The Lord of the Ring series.

Don’t get me wrong, I realize that you don’t need to read The Hobbit in order to get the idea of The Lord of the Rings and vice versa, but having read The Hobbit first, does help lay the ground work for The Lord of the Rings. I am also excited to see that a lot of the cast from LOR will be returning to play the characters that they had originally portrayed. Looking at some of the trailers online, I can't wait for the movie to come out in theatres!

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