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  • Joel Cunningham 7:37 pm on 2015/07/14 Permalink
    Tags: blockbusters, , jurassic world, , , , paper towns, z for zachariah   

    Summer Movies We Can’t Wait to See 

    We love summer movies (air conditioning was made for darkened movie theaters), but we especially love summer movies when they bring our favorite books to life. Here are the adaptations we can’t wait to watch this summer.

    Paper Towns, by John Green
    This John Green adaptation offers up 100% fewer tears and 100% more road trips than 2014’s The Fault in Our Stars. In his second outing as a Green character, Nat Wolff (Fault’s Isaac) strikes out in search of his AWOL dream girl, Margo (Cara Delevingne).
    Release date: Out now

    Me and Earl and the Dying Girl, by Jesse Andrews
    Andrews’ darkly hilarious 2012 debut, about a high school hack filmmaker, his best friend, and the dying girl who torpedoes his life, hit the big screen with a script penned by the author. The movie stays true to the book’s geeky rebel spirit, and introduces Hollywood newcomers Thomas Mann, Olivia Cooke, and RJ Cyler in the titular roles.
    Release date: Out now

    Jurassic World (based on Jurassic Park, by Michael Crichton)
    True, the fourth installment of the dinosaurs-run-amok film series has moved rather far beyond what’s on the page in Crichton’s original hard-science-meets-popcorn-fun bestseller, but that doesn’t mean it isn’t a great time to read (or reread) the book that started it all. Thundering dinos, thrilling escapes, terrifying chases, the hubris of man—what more can you ask for from a summer read?
    Release date: Out now

    Dark Places, by Gillian Flynn
    In this adaptation of Gone Girl author Gillian Flynn’s second novel, Charlize Theron plays the adult survivor of a horrific childhood trauma: the murder of her family, apparently by a Satanic cult. Twenty-five years after the crime, she begins to reinvestigate what really happened, with the help of a group of amateurs. This movie is set to be just as twisted and even more violent than the last Gillian Flynn adaptation.
    Release date: August 7

    Z for Zachariah, by Robert C. O’Brien
    This post-apocalyptic survival story, about a teenage girl who seems to be the only survivor of a nuclear holocaust, turns 40 this year, but is still as chilling as the day it was written. If you read it in middle school, you’re probably still haunted by scenes of the girl desperately scanning radio waves for signs of other survivors. The protagonist has been aged up for the film (and an additional character has been added, because why wouldn’t you want to cast Chris Pine in a starring role?), but we’re still confident that it will stay true to the thrilling spirit of the book.
    Release date: August 21

  • Jeff Somers 4:33 pm on 2015/06/09 Permalink
    Tags: alternate views, , , , , , , , , , , paper towns, , ,   

    5 Fictional Romantic Leads Who Deserve the Grey Treatment 

    It’s no shock that demand for more tales from E.L. James’ Fifty Shades universe remains high. What is a delightful surprise is James’s decision to explore the relationship by going back and telling the story from Christian’s point of view in the forthcoming Grey. It’s an exciting decision, bringing a renewed depth and urgency to the story, and giving readers the opportunity to have their assumptions challenged. Retelling the story from a different point of view is a genius move—and one we wish other authors had made over the years.

    As a matter of fact, James isn’t the first writer to have this idea—Veronica Roth Released Four: A Divergent Collection last year, five short stories from the Divergent universe told from Four’s perspective. Roth originally tried to write Divergent from Four’s point of view, in fact, abandoning that version when she created the character of Tris and fell in love with her voice, but she always felt that Four “has a distinct history and a complex psychology” and wanted to explore his point of view more. With some stories that retell events from Divergent and others that offer up new background information on Four, it’s a fascinating look at events from the books and the relationship between Tris and Four from a whole new perspective, and fans love the opportunity to get to know their favorite characters and stories more deeply. Here are four other famous romantic couples we’d love to see get the Grey/Four alternative perspective treatment.

    Q and Margo from Paper Towns, by John Green
    Part of the point of Green’s great novel (a film version of which drops this summer) is that Q can only see things from his perspective—a perspective that proves to be pretty narrow by the end of the story. After falling in love with the Margo he imagines, and then perceiving clues and intention where none actually exists, he must by the end of the book accept that he wasn’t dealing with reality, but rather with his own desires. Margo is a fantastic character who injects a crazy energy into Q’s life and inspires a life-changing road trip. Seeing the same story from her point of view, and finding out in detail what she’s up to while Q and his friends follow the “clues” and pursue her, would be fascinating.

    Claire and Jamie from Outlander, by Diana Gabaldon
    It’s true that over the course of her novels, Gabaldon opens up the story to other points of view—she’s even stated in interviews that she tries to add a new POV character in each new novel. And it’s also true we’ve had sequences from Jamie’s point of view. But wouldn’t it be grand if we got to read the whole story from his perspective, from Claire’s arrival from the future through the witch trial? On the one hand, this would be difficult to navigate. On the other hand, it would be tremendously fun to see how Gabaldon would narrate events through a red-blooded 18th century Scot’s point of view.

    Jay Gatsby and Daisy Buchanan from The Great Gatsby, by F. Scott Fitzgerald
    Gatsby and Daisy’s doomed romance is so burned into our collective consciousness, and has been adapted for the screen so many times, it’s easy to forget the whole story is told from Nick Carraway’s point of view—we never get inside the head of either of the lovers. A book told from Gatsby’s point of view might ruin the mystery that still surrounds one of the greatest characters of all time, but the story told from Daisy’s point of view might shine light on heretofore hidden aspects of the story—most notably why Daisy is such an object of obsession for Gatsby in the first place, as from Nick’s point of view the character never seems to quite deserve such passion.

    Jane Eyre and Mr. Rochester from Jane Eyre, by Charlotte Bronte
    A permanent classic of American novels and American romance, this is one of those stories where both principles in a love affair are equally interesting. While Jane’s voice and personality continue to entrance readers to this day, Mr. Rochester is also a fascinating character filled with surprises, and surprising depths. Hearing the tale of how Jane came into his life and how he developed a passion for her—and hearing Jane’s famous speech admitting her feelings—from his point of view would no doubt be entertaining and revealing, and just a lot of fun.

    If Grey is a smash hit, which it likely will be, maybe one positive effect will be inspiring other authors to offer up alternative takes on their most popular characters.

    Pre-order Grey >
  • Melissa Albert 1:48 pm on 2015/05/04 Permalink
    Tags: , , , , , , , , paper towns, , sarah dessen,   

    May’s Top Picks in Teen Fiction 

    This month’s most exciting teen books include dishy love stories, sequels we’ve been dying to get our hands on, and an edgy subculture mystery you’ll want to read in one go.

    The Heir, by Kiera Cass
    The Selection trilogy traced the love story between America Singer and Prince Maxon—she one of 35 candidates chosen to take part in the selection process of the royal bride, he the leader of post-dystopian kingdom Illéa. Now, in fourth installment The Heir, America and Maxon’s daughter, Eadlyn, is getting ready for a selection of her own. But does her love story have any chance of rivaling that of her parents?

    Off the Page, by Jodi Picoult and Samantha van Leer
    In Between the Lines, a romance between a reader and her favorite fictional character blooms when a real-world boy agrees to take the character’s place in a book. Now, in follow-up Off the Page, once-fictional Prince Oliver and his real-world girlfriend, Delilah, find that three-dimensional romance comes with unexpected complications. The book from which Oliver sprung demands more than just a simple swap, and begins meddling with both its own story and that of Oliver and Delilah.

    Saint Anything, by Sarah Dessen
    Despite his rebellious behavior, Sydney’s older brother, Peyton, has always been the apple of his parents’ eyes. But when he cripples another teen in a drunk driving accident, resulting in Peyton’s imprisonment, the family starts to unravel. While seeking an escape from her stifling home life, Sydney meets Layla, the daughter of local pizza shop owners. Layla’s family embraces Sydney, who finds herself increasingly drawn to their imperfect but loving household—and to Layla’s brother, Mac.

    I Am Princess X, by Cherie Priest
    When May and her best friend, Libby, were kids, they created Princess X, a badass comic-book heroine drawn by Libby and given words by May. But after Libby died in an accident, May believed Princess X die along with her—until the day she sees a sticker of the princess in a store window. She follows a trail of digital breadcrumbs to discover who’s behind it, first to a Princess X webcomic, then to stranger corners of the internet. With the help of a cute hacker, May continues her hunt both on and offline, believing she may find her friend, alive and well, at the end of it. Two-tone illustrations of Princess X and company add extra verve to this exciting modern mystery.

    Fangirl (B&N Exclusive Collector’s Edition), by Rainbow Rowell
    Cath is bad with change, and she isn’t going to let a little thing like college get in the way of the thing she loves best: writing her hugely popular Simon Snow fanfic, based on the Harry Potter-esque invented book series she adores. As her twin sister, Wren, dives into keggers, dorm friendships, and self-reinvention, Cath hides out in Snow’s world, refusing to assimilate to campus life. But eventually she discovers there are upsides to leaving her laptop: chief among them, Levi, a perfectly imperfect boy, and the opportunity to find her own writing voice without the help of Simon Snow.

    Paper Townsby John Green
    When dreamy girl-next-door Margo Roth Spiegelman shows up at his bedroom window late one night, Quentin’s sure everything’s about to change. The two embark on a moonlit revenge mission on Margo’s enemies before sneaking back into their bedrooms after dawn. Quentin’s ecstatic…until Margo doesn’t show up for school. After her parents report her missing, he becomes convinced she’s left a trail of clues leading to her whereabouts, and that she might be in danger. Armed only with a hunch, he and his friends race across the country to find Margo, never considering the fact that she may not want to be found. This is a must-read (or a must-reread) before the book hits the big screen next month.

    Maximum Ride Forever, by James Patterson
    This addictive fantasy series follows the trials of Maximum Ride and her makeshift family, all of them winged, partly avian refugees from a horrible human-experimentation facility called The School. The series wrapped up in 2012 with eighth installment Nevermore…then Patterson thrilled fans by announcing ninth book Maximum Ride Forever. Read it to learn more about tortured survivor Max, her misfit band, and what comes after the end of the world.

    P.S. I Still Love You, by Jenny Han
    In this follow-up to To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before, in which Lara Jean’s love letters to her crushes somehow find their way from a hidden box and into the hands of the boys in question, our letter-writing heroine finds herself caught between two love interests. When her affection for the boy who’s been right in front of her is tested by the reappearance of a boy from her past, she starts to wonder whether it’s possible to fall for more than one person.

    Shop All Teen Books >
  • Melissa Albert 3:43 pm on 2015/04/10 Permalink
    Tags: , , , , , paper towns, teen fiction, ,   

    Before Seeing Paper Towns, Catch Up on Your John Green 

    Last summer, the adaptation of John Green’s tearjerker The Fault in Our Stars became a historic hit. This July, a second John Green book will make the jump to the big screen. Paper Towns is a love story, a road trip movie, and a cautionary tale. Like all of Green’s books, it’s the perfect blend of funny and sad, specific and universal, with characters that are relatable, articulate, and weird in all the right ways. After obsessing over the killer trailer, we’re more excited than ever to see this adaptation on July 24. Before you join us, catch up on the John Green canon.

    Paper Towns
    When dreamy girl-next-door Margo Roth Spiegelman shows up at his bedroom window late one night, Quentin’s sure everything’s about to change. The two embark on a moonlit revenge mission on Margo’s enemies before sneaking back into their bedrooms after dawn. Quentin’s ecstatic…until Margo doesn’t show up for school. After her parents report her missing, he becomes convinced she’s left a trail of clues leading to her whereabouts, and that she might be in danger. Armed only with a hunch, he and his friends race across the country to find Margo, never considering the fact that she may not want to be found. This is a must-read (or a must-reread) before the book hits the big screen this June.

    Looking for Alaska (B&N Exclusive Collector’s Edition)
    When Miles Halter leaves his “minor life” behind to attend boarding school in Alabama, it’s with the intention of seeking, in the famous last words of poet François Rabelais, “the Great Perhaps.” What he finds is Alaska Young. She’s funny, beautiful, smart. She’s also damaged, elusive, and prone to self-destruction. On his way to falling in love with Alaska, Miles comes under the benign sway of his hardheaded roommate, the Colonel; takes part in a prank war between the Colonel’s gang and the school’s arrogant rich kid faction; and collects more famous last words to live by. The book is told as a countdown to an unknown event, ratcheting up the tension from page one (“one hundred thirty-six days before”), then counting back upward on the other side of an occurrence that will rock Miles’ world. This exclusive edition includes a letter from and a Q&A with Green, plus new endpaper art.

    An Abundance of Katherines
    Former child prodigy Colin Singleton is always the one getting dumped—and each and every time, it’s by a girl named Katherine. His Katherine obsession (or is it fate?) started at a tender age, but it’s only Katherine #19 who really manages to break his heart. He hits the road with his best friend, Hassan, in an effort to leave all his Katherine troubles behind, and ends up waylaid by a curious tourist trap in the tiny town of Gutshot, Tennessee: the alleged resting place of Archduke Franz Ferdinand. Colin and Hassan get jobs in Gutshot as collectors of residents’ oral history, and Colin’s Theorem of Underlying Katherine Predictability is tested by a Gutshot girl named Lindsey, who just might break the Katherine curse.

    The Fault in Our Stars (B&N Exclusive Edition)
    This is the YA juggernaut that launched a thousand public ugly cries, as well as a hit movie. But behind the celebrity casting and best-seller status is the story, a clear-eyed, brimming-hearted romance between two teenagers who’ve been dealt a bad hand by fate. Sixteen-year-old Hazel Grace Lancaster’s terminal cancer has metastasized to her lungs, leaving her largely homebound between hospital visits and support group meetings. It’s at her support group that she meets charming, hyper-articulate Augustus Waters, whose cancer is in remission after the amputation of his leg below the knee. The two fall for each other the old-fashioned way: by swapping their favorite books. This beginning leads first to love, then to Amsterdam, where they track down the reclusive author of Hazel’s favorite novel, determined to find out what happens after its abrupt final page. Every twist in their love story is colored by illness and the fact that they can’t have forever—but what Green does with the book’s “little infinity” will astound you. This edition features exclusive endpaper art and redesigned jacket, plus a Q&A with the author.

    John Green Boxed Set
    For the John Green completist, this boxed set combines his four solo titles, from debut Looking for Alaska to most recent bestseller The Fault in Our Stars. We recommend pairing this gift with a box of Kleenex, a pillow to hug, and a journal, because reading all Green’s books in one go might cause an excess of feels.

    Shop all teen books >
  • Melissa Walker 3:30 pm on 2014/09/10 Permalink
    Tags: cover reveal, it's kind of a funny story, , , , my life after now, , paper towns, the summer i wasn't me, what you left behind, ,   

    Exclusive Cover Reveal: Jessica Verdi’s What You Left Behind 

    What You Left BehindYoung adult author Jessica Verdi has written about a teen living with HIV (My Life After Now) and a girl going to a “reparative therapy” camp to learn how to like boys instead of girls (The Summer I Wasn’t Me). Needless to say, Verdi doesn’t shy away from tough situations in her work—and her upcoming spring 2015 novel, What You Left Behind, is no exception. At left, an exclusive cover reveal of the forthcoming work. ”The book is written from the point of view of a boy, so I knew I wanted the cover to appeal to boys as well as girls,” explains Verdi. “Which meant no pictures of girls, no hearts, nothing too cutesy.” Here she is with the full story:

    I’m pretty much in love with this cover and am so thrilled to finally share it! This is my third published novel, and the first where I really didn’t have any preconceived ideas for what the cover should look like. So when my publisher asked for my input on cover brainstorming, I ended up giving them more sweeping, tonal ideas rather than specific imagery.

    I told them I was hoping for something cool and hip and eye-catching, that would appeal to both genders. The story is also pretty heavy (Ryden is a single teen dad struggling to understand what being a parent means while battling guilt and grief over the death of his girlfriend), so I knew I wanted the cover to have a ‘raw’ feel, depicting that mood, but also not be TOO dark because the book is also filled with JOKES! and ROMANCE! and TEEN BOY ANTICS! The cover designers probably wanted to kill me when they saw that vague, completely contradictory request.

    Another idea I had was to make the cover text-heavy. I love the current text-based cover trend in YA—far preferable, in my opinion, to the ‘nonspecific photo of a girl in a ball gown’ trend. (And yes, I’m aware of how ironic that is coming from me, since the cover for My Life After Now  featured a girl in a dress. Haha.)

    I also gave the designers some examples of ‘boy book’ covers that I really love. These included It’s Kind of a Funny Story by Ned Vizzini (the head map thing) and Paper Towns (the pushpin) and Looking for Alaska (the smoke), by John Green.

    I honestly have no idea how the cover designers took all these random, half-formed ideas and came up with the gorgeousness that is now the What You Left Behind cover. They captured the tone of the book PERFECTLY, did some super-cool things with font and color scheme, and included so many details that are specific to Ryden’s story. I love that he’s standing on a beach—there are several scenes that take place on the beach in the book, including some major moments. I also love that it’s not just any beach—it’s clearly a lakeshore, since you can see land across the water. Ryden’s beach is at Lake Winnipesaukee in New Hampshire. I love that he’s alone in the cover image, with nothing to distract him from his thoughts, his sadness, his helplessness. Even though Ryden is surrounded by people in the book, he’s very much alone. And finally, I love that the font is handwritten, because handwritten journals play a huge role in the story.

    The first time I saw the cover I knew the design team had nailed it. This is my favorite cover of all my books so far, and I can’t wait to see it on the bookstore shelves!

    What are some of your favorite YA novel covers?

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