7 posts tagged YA
Over the last year there have been several YA Adaptations brought to life on the big screen and every time I read an article about it I read the same thing over and over again: “WHAT IS GOING TO BE THE NEXT TWILIGHT?” “WILL THIS BE THE NEXT TWILIGHT?” I have an idea? SHUT UP AND STOP COMPARING EVERYTHING TO TWILIGHT BECAUSE THAT IS AS UNORIGINAL AS YOU CLAIM THE MOVIES YOU REVIEW ARE.
Here’s the thing, I’m not going to sit here and say Twilight didn’t set a standard for YA adaptations because it did. Just because I am not crazy over the series doesn’t mean I’m not going to give credit where credit is due. The Twilight craze took on the world by storm and it helped create the current set of YA Paranormal Romance books that are being written and adapted.
Essentially it did help introduce the YA genre to a wider, more adult audience. However, Stephanie Meyer’s Twilight Saga is not the first Paranormal YA series to make its way to other mediums and it wont be the last. The latest slew of films that are based off of Young Adult books are original in their own way, but the only thing that causes them to fail are the people that constantly try to seek out the new Twilight.
Title: Daughter of Smoke and Bone
Author: Laini Taylor
Pages/Format: 355 pages on ebook
Rating: 3/5 Hey Nows
Fantasy young adult books aren’t that easy to come by, especially ones that stick to the true form of fantasy with creatures, magic, and all that good stuff. So when I heard about a story of a demon girl that falls in love with an angel boy I had to pick it up, it seemed like it would be great; especially since the reviews were raving, “I couldn’t put it down!” they said, “it’s one of the best books of the year” they raved. I on the other hand could not pick it up and thought it was one of the most over hyped books I have ever read.
Daughter of Smoke and Bone is about Karou, a blue haired art student who has a few secrets in her closet. She lives with her family, who are a bunch of underworld creatures who take care of her, all the while keeping something very important from her. Then there is Akiva, an angel, who is an atypical YA guy, he’s hot, he’s smart and totally out to get Karou until something stops him dead in his tracks. Ultimately, the story is about an angel who falls in love with a devil.
Maybe it’s just me, maybe I just don’t get it, but I can’t stick with a book that takes forever to get to the story. Normally if a book likes to exposition for a whole 26 chapters, it should at least make you fall in love with a character, but I wasn’t feeling much attachment to our heroine, Karou. I think I liked Akiva, the little we saw of him more. This is an immediate no, in my book. If the book’s main character is a girl, I better like this girl (looking at you, Bella Swan!) and I just felt nothing for Karou until the middle of the end when she became all badass and then the book starts to wrap up and I’m sitting there spitting out my tea screaming “OH GREAT!”
The reason I didn’t completely give this book a total fail was because I actually enjoyed the last 100 pages or so , If the last 100 pages were what the whole book was like I might have actually given this a 5/5 and gushed about it all day and night. I was enthralled by the twist and the story that came with it, but it was mostly Akiva that was sparking my interest and his interaction with Karou. If the story was told a bit more from Akiva’s perspective rather than Karou’s I think I might have liked the book more.
However, by the time I did actually not want to put the book down, it ended and I wasn’t filled with much of a detachment from it. I am hoping that with all of the exposition over and done with in Daughter of Smoke and Bone that its sequel Days of Blood and Starlight will be better.
This is a new segment of The Blog I would like to introduce called Hey Now Book Disucssion. It’s a vlog with major spoilers about the book. I discuss plot and characters and ask for some opinions! Feel free to comment below on your thoughts and theories.
This week I discuss Poison Princess by Kresley Cole, the first book in The Arcana Chronicles series. For a non spoilery review of the book check out my regular Hey Now Books review here.
*Please note I meant disorder when I said disease at one point. My sincere apologies, but I was talking so fast I really didn’t realize it.
Title: Poison Princess (Book 1 of The Arcana Chronicles)
Author: Kresley Cole
Format: ebook 344 pgs.
Rating: 4/5 Hey Nows
Poison Princess was the first book on my November Reading list, and I’m glad that it was. Firstly, the book is the first foray into YA Fiction for Cole whose other books are mostly in the adult fiction, paranormal romance genre. You can see this writing style in Poison Princess, there are semi-chaste moments in Princess that are hotter than some romance novels that have full on sex scenes.
Princess centers around Evangeline “Evie” Green a wholesome, popular girl from a small town who has a big secret; she can hear voices and has foretelling visions of the apocalypse. Everyone, including her mother think she’s crazy, and Evie gets sent away to a mental institution so she can get better, but even with her medication the visions don’t stop. When Evie gets home all she wants is normalcy, but with the visions and whispers haunting her and the new bad boy in school that just doesn’t seem possible. After her visions, seemingly begin to come true and the event simply known as “The Flash” happens Evie, with the help of bad boy Jackson are on the road looking for her estranged grandmother who foretold the events that would come to pass. Evie soon realizes she is part of The Arcana, doomed to kill her own kind, with help from other Arcana that she meets along the way she must save the world or be consumed by it.
Poison Princess is the type of book that has it all. It’s got mystery, a good heroine, a great anti-hero and a romance to root for. It took me a little bit of time to fully get into this book, when I first started it I surely was intrigued by it, but that is due to Cole’s fantastic prose style writing, and the commanding, yet nieve female voice she gives Evie. The first chapter might be a bit confusing as well until you realize what’s actually happening, but all and all it was a fun ride from beginning to end.
Evie is a strong female character, although there are times you are annoyed by her naiveté and just want her to kick some serious ass you can’t help but still love her. By the time Evie finally gets her claws out it’s a little late in the book but you still are rooting for her. Evie is the Empress, one of the strongest cards in The Arcana she controls life, she can feel the trees, plants and vines all around her so when The Flash rids of that it also weakens Evie. It takes some time for her to actually start being badass again but she does it wonderfully and will for sure make her final show down with Death a whole lot of fun.
Jackson is absolutely brilliantly written. I have both wanted to slap him and hug him all at the same time. Jackson is a man out of the Bayou, but a tough cookie. There is a mystery to him that I find to be very charming and fresh. He drives Evie crazy with his Cajun wit and his do or die attitude and in exchange I feel the same about him. There is a scene with him and Evie and that is so hot, I swear I was reading an adult novel.
The first installment in The Arcana chronicles definitely leaves us wanting more. It resolves as much as it leaves open and the cliff hanger is not as much of a cliff hanger as it is a leg for the next installment of the series which should be out sometime next year. Overall Poison Princess is a fun ride, and great look into the world of the Tarot. It’s a stand out in the floded post-apocalyptic YA genre and definitely a good read.
**please don’t mind the picture quality. I mixed up where the panel would be SILLY ME! and had to hang out on the side for most it. Hence, they could be better.***
"I didn’t set out to write YA. My characters just so happen to be in high school."-Tonya Hurley
Out of every genre in the industry today the one with the most growth and potential is Young Adult. The YA craze has come in waves, sometimes it’s there and sometimes it isn’t but as of late it’s proved that its here to stay. With the success of books such as The Hunger Games and Twilight, YA has found the traction that it needs in order to build a cute little home in both the world of literature and pop culture. As it was said during the panel, when Steven King reviews The Hunger Games, you know there needs to be more coverage of it. The panel was a great insite into what some bestselling authors in the genre thought about it as a whole, fame over seas, and the very important topic that we all love, what about the adults?
The panelists were all ladies, and the girl power atmosphere was empowering for any female writers out there who have any doubt that they could be successful in the field. As the editor of an all girl blog I found this really great that there are so many women out there getting it done.
- Jenny Han and Siobhan Vivian. Han is the best selling author of The Summer Series and Vivian is the writer of such books as The List and Not That Kind of Girl together the two college buddies, have a new trilogy coming out called Burn for Burn. Might I mention they are adorable? Vivian said that Han was her biggest fan and vice versa. They Skype chat and edit each others work through google docs. It’s a literary girlmance. But what makes them the most interesting is that they are the only two authors in the panel that don’t write paranormal or dystopian YA, instead they stick to the more realistic tones of adolescence and the theme of coming of age.
- Bethany Griffin, the author who would do Edgar Allen Poe proud with her re-imagining of the his short story The Masque of The Red Death. She takes a story that screams “required reading” to any high school student and turns it into something relatable, it’s the perfect essence of the young adult genre, it teaches kids without making it obvious that it is.
- Melissa Marr a New York Times Bestselling writer of The Wicked Lovely series, and her new book Carnival of Souls which takes place in two dimensions (human and demon) and contains themes of love, family and violence. She has one of my favorite sound bites from the whole panel: "It’s a story about love, families and also fighting to the death because that’s just good fun!"
- Elizabeth Norris is the author of Unraveling, which is a science fiction novel. At the time she was writing it the number of Scifi YA books were slim, although now the times have changed and the shelves are cluttered with them. Norris had a friend tell her "No one will buy science fiction, that’s just for nerds!" to which she responded “But there’s such good potential!” As a fan of science fiction I only have one thing to say to that and it’s “you go girl!”
- Tonya Hurley who is the best selling author of the Ghost Girl series and her new series due out later this year called The Blessed, which once again uses paranormal elements but also utilizes a character I’m personally excited about and that’s my hometown of Brooklyn! "Brooklyn is just as much of a character as the three martyrs." I’ve lived in Brooklyn my whole life so I will just quote my notes here where I say YESSS!! to that statement. Glad to have a story that takes place in Brooklyn that will utilize it as an asset to the arc rather than just a passing mention.
All together the panel had some great discussion on the genre and it’s ever changing trends and topics. One question that was posed was whether or not the panelists set out to write YA and the general consensus seemed the same, that it’s not about writing to the genre it’s about writing for the story, and if it just so happens to be about young kids than so be it. The great thing about YA is that it takes adult themes and turns them into something relatable, the panelists all do that with their books; you can connect to the characters like you know them. One would think it’d be hard when a character is paranormal, but it’s not. Teens learn and heed advice from the characters created. Which begs the other question asked, what about the adults that read YA?
There was some mixed responses to this. Yes the ladies are aware that adults read their books but are they going to change the way they write their stories to satisfy them? Probably not. Han stated that yes sometimes they read reviews and reviewers try to nit pick how chaste certain things are, but Marr made a good point that YA writers make sure it’s not too much because they are still writing for teens, not their parents. But Hurley also made a good point to the contrary that young adult readers are sophisticated and could handle the themes. Essentially it’s finding that mix that keeps both the adults enthralled in the series and teens that it’s written for.
Another hot topic was “white washing” certain characters. Almost all of the authors on the panel said that they try to steer clear from defining race because when readers dont have set description it’s easier and also a lot more fun. That way they can see the characters the way they want to and create fan art. Jenny Han said that as a woman of color she does read everyone as being white, it’s just an assumption that she makes, which is why it was so important for her to have an Asian character in her books. It’s kind of this double edged sword, the genre sets out to help teenagers connect but it’s hard for girls of color to connect to characters they assume to automatically be white. Hopefully more multi-racial characters are put into books so that those that are unspoken for have characters to champion for them.
You know YA is a success when a lot of these authors have escorts when they visit other countries to promote their books internationally, it’s a true sign of the ever growing popularity of the genre globally. You can never see a best seller list without at least one Young Adult book being on there. It’s popularity is a great thing for young people who can finally see that reading is something cool rather than just for us nerds.
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**Warning Minor Spoilers From The Previous Book In The Series***
In the previous installment of the Delirium Series, author Lauren Oliver sets up a world without the ability to love and in Pandemonium she shows us just how dark that world can be and who are the people to stop it. In this next title from the series Oliver takes us into the heart of the resistance who are a group of fighters that live in the outskirts of civilization and oppose the cure and all that it stands for. Through the eyes of our heroine Lena we navigate through the Wilds, infiltrate society and meet new friends a long the way.
When we previously left Lena she lost her guide and first love Alex, the sadness that consumes Lena after she loses Alex is heartbreaking, but she keeps on trucking. Eventually she bumps into a group of uncured folk who live in the wild and becomes fast friends with them and they all care for one another in much ways much like a family. Most notably she meets Ravin, a young woman a little bit older than Lena herself who is most definitely a survivor and good soldier. As much as I tried not to think about it this way she came off a bit like Katniss Everdeen would have had she been in this situation. Ravin is maternal and strong and that’s what makes her a great guide and foil for Lena.
Oliver does something fascinating here with her chapters, she the now and then. The moments where Lena is in the wilds first learning how to survive are the thens, and when Lena is already a full blown soldier in the war against the cure is the now. I found this a lot more fluid to read in a lot of ways because it showed us just how far Lena was really coming along. Olivers writing in general is strong compared to most YA writers. She weaves in motifs and uses prose to keep the writing enchanting and fun to read, it doesn’t come off like a young adult book at times and it’s what separates from the pack.
There is of course the typical love triangle scenario in the series which Oliver twists to her own liking but the triangle is not the central part of the series which is rare, I’m sure people have their preferences or their “Teams” as the kids are calling it these days, but you’re still more entranced with what’s happening outside of Lena’s world, the bigger picture. It’s why the Delirium Series is one of the best dystopian YA novels out there. It makes you think about politics, the little things you’d miss from your life.
It’s a good book to read on a nice summers day in the park. It’s shorter than Delirium in page length and if you’re an avid, fast reader it could probably be read in one sitting. Unlike Delirium, Pandemonium moves at a faster pace right from the get-go thanks to the “then” and “now” POV chapter flow.
Although I don’t rank my reviews I’d say this is a must read for anyone in to the dystopian novel craze and looking for some good writing.
After I finished City of Lost Souls I knew I wanted to take a plunge into something YA again so I scoured Barnes and Noble to find something similar, maybe a little less supernatural and found this series. It’s the first of a trilogy (the second book Pandemonium was released earlier this year) and is about a dystopian version of the United States where love is considered to be a disease that must be cured. Bestselling Author Lauren Oliver throws us into a world similar to the one we know now, but without having the basic ability to love it’s not the same.
It’s very clear from the beginning that we are entering a world where the Government is in full control and the people are so far gone that they believe everything they say. When one is out of control they are taken and cured once more. It’s not just romantic love that is considered a disease, its the love of a mother, the love of a friend. If a mother cares that her child falls and kisses the tears away she is considered a, “sympathizer” or “invalid” as Oliver calls it in the series. I fully enjoy the little pieces she puts on top of her chapters which you have to read closely to see are skewed versions of what we know, for example a piece from the bible is sourced to be part of a history of the world. It’s clear that the forces that be have turned theology into fact and they use that and fear to control their subjects. There are others though, people that live on the outside of the boarder that live free from government sponsored raids, curfews, and lobotomies.
Our main character is Lena and through her we see the world, and what’s great about having someone like her as protagonist is that she is under the spell and she wants to be cured. Most characters are outright rebellious from the start but Lena is not. She is an emotionally scarred girl with a lot to learn, but there is something different about her. She wants to be cured because of her past, she uses it as an excuse to forget not because she actually feels love is the root of all evil. It’s very clear from the beginning Lena’s destiny is meant for something more than being a mindless drone.
The book does start off a little slow but it’s seems to be so because Oliver wants to introduce us to the world, she wants us to understand it before we get to the gritty stuff. Yes the book is very much character driven, but we are also meant to know the world around us before we see the impact that the people on the outside will make. There are clear political implications conveyed in this book, but it is a dystopian series so obvious some allusions to politics will be involved. However, once the action gets started it doesn’t stop from there and you are instantly hooked to the point where you can’t stop reading.
Despite the slow start Delirium is still haunting, Oliver creates a world where we almost get nervous for the people in it, we sympathize for those that are no longer able to feel and worry for Lena and her fate where love is cut out of you like your tonsils. I hope the next book Pandemonium keeps up with Delirium’s momentum.