Saturday, April 30, 2011

YA topics I'm sick of

There are always cycles of topics that are popular in YA books.  Back when I was a teen it was all vampires, and Fear Street, and what not.  As a Teen Librarian it is my job to stay on top of what is popular in YA lit.  Well, you know what?  Sometimes I get sick of what's "popular".  So, I've decided to blog about some of the YA topics that I wish would just die already...or in some cases re-die.

1.  Paranormal Romance.  AKA "ZOMG!  My boyfriend is a vampire/werewolf/angel/gnome...."  Oh dear lord where do I even start with this one?  Yeah, Twilight was cool.  And I like Shiver, a lot.  But seriously, I'm about supernatural boyfriended out.  The only Supernatural boyfriend I'd like to see for a little while is Dean, you know the character from the show Supernatural.  Just find a boy who doesn't sparkle and date him for awhile.  Damn.

2.  Rich Bitch crap.  There, I said it.  I am tired of the rich girl crap that's been around.  I am sick of Girls who Gossip, of the daughters of affluence, of all the people with too much money, too much attitude, and too many problems.  Luckily this genre has seen a decline lately, but honestly, I am still sick to fricking death of it.

3.  Novels in verse.  Now don't get me wrong, I love a good novel in verse.  But, lately it seems like it is just another way to make a "quirky" book.  Also, my teens really have no desire to read an novel in verse not by an author named Hopkins.  Now Ms. Hopkins, you keep writing your novels in verse!  Also, Sonya Sones, please, more novels in verse...I love them!  Everyone else, it's called a paragraph, get to know one another, be friends, learn to work together.

4.  Crappy series that are just trying to cash in on more titles from one another or idea.  Have you ever read a book and thought "wow, I wish there were more to this story!"  Well guess what?  The book industry knows you want more, and they are willing to give it to you, even if there is no more story to tell.  Or, they are so excited to give you more of that story that they are going to horse whip it out of the author at such a breakneck speed that the writing isn't even as good as an article in TV Guide.

5.  Stories set during WWII.  I love this time period in history, I really do.  It's sad, and was horrible, but it is one of my favorite periods in history to read about.  That said, can't we pick any other time period to write about?  We've had how many thousands of years of history, and we keep going back to the same 10 year span of time?

What trends are you sick of?

Also, coming soon, topics that I wish we'd see more of in YA lit.

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Literary Crushes

We all have them...characters in books that we are completely in lurve with.  So, in the tradition of many book blogger before me, I've decided to include a list of literary characters that I've swooned over.

1.  Gilbert Blythe (The Anne of Green Gables series):
Ok, yeah, so EVERY librarian ever is probably going to list him on their crush list.  But seriously, he's cute, a "bad boy" (at least in the Victorian sense of the word), smart, and utterly devoted to Anne.  What isn't there to love about Gilbert?

2.  Edmond Dantes (The Count of Monte Cristo):
The main character of my favorite book ever!  He's a good guy, who gets set up, wrongfully imprisoned, breaks out, and sets forth to seek revenge on those that had him locked away.  Along the way he learns about forgiveness and true love.  I fell in love with Edmond when I was 12 years old, and never got over it.  I even named one of my favorite stuffed animals after him.

3.  Wallace Wells (The Scott Pilgrim Series):
Wallace Wells is cooler than you are, and he knows it.  He's also there to tell you that you are right, the world might just suck....or does it?  Whether he is gay stalking his hetero crush, hating on Envy, or just being cool in general, Wallace is awesome.  Ramona can have Scott, I'd choose Wallace any day.

4.  Gale (The Hunger Games):
Everyone is always Team Peeta, and yeah Gale so gets the short end of the stick in both casting and in the books, but seriously he's the guy who got my vote.  Gale was awesome, and actually a boy, and not all girly like Peeta (who was nice, but in a BFF kind of way not in a want to date kind of way).  Since I couldn't find a decent picture of Gale online, and since I refuse to use the actor whom they cast, I choose an actor who I think looks like Gale should look like.

5.  Fred Weasley (Harry Potter Series):
What girl doesn't want a guy who can make her laugh?  And Fred is the funniest, ok well him and George, but I dunno I was always partial to Fred.  Plus, he's business smart, what with him and George starting their own business.  And again, with that "bad boy" streak, without being really bad.  Added bonus, he's the only person on my list that doesn't have dark hair!

What about you guys?  Which literary characters have you crushed on?

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Between Here and Forever by Elizabeth Scott

Elizabeth Scott has become well known for her strong writing.  Her books Living Dead Girl, Stealing Heaven, and Love You, Hate You Miss You have all been included on YALSA's Best Books for Young Adults lists.

Between Here and Forever includes characters from Scott's first book: Bloom.  These characters are secondary characters though, and you do not need to have read Bloom to read Between Here and Forever.  This book focuses on Abby, who has lived in her sister Tess's shadow.  Tess now lies in a coma, and Abby is hoping for Tess to wake up so that Abby can escape from her, and live her own life.  Abby hatches a plan to get Eli, a beautiful young man who works at the hospital, to wake her sister up by making Tess fall in love with his voice.  As Abby and Eli spend time with Tess though, Abby starts to fall for Eli herself.

One of the main things with Abby is that she feels as though she is not good enough, that does not deserve to be happy and that no one can see her because Tess always outshown her.  I've read some reviews that complained about Abby's lack of self esteem and whining, and I can see where they are coming from.  But, for any girl who has been constantly over looked, Abby's personality rings true.  Even I, at 31, still feel at times the way Abby feels.  Because of this, I was really able to relate to Abby.  Elizabeth Scott has a way of writing characters that I can relate to, or putting them in situations I really understand.  She did so in Bloom and Perfect You and now Between Here and Forever is no exception.  I think girls will be able to relate to Abby, and girls with low self esteem might start to realize that they too deserve to let themselves be happy.

Some of the secondary plots don't work as well in this book. Specifically the big secret that Tess has been keeping for years.  I was able to figure that out pretty quickly, but it did not diminish from my enjoyment of the story.  Secondary characters in this book, specifically Eli and Claire, are engaging and sympathetic.

This isn't my favorite book by Scott (that be a tie between Stealing Heaven and The Unwritten Rule), but I enjoyed reading it, and finished it quickly.  I'd recommend it to Elizabeth Scott and Sarah Dessen fans.

This review was based off an ARC that I received for free in the mail.

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Team Gale 4-eva!

I am totally, and always have been, Team Gale when it comes to the Hunger Games.  I get it, blah blah Peeta, blah blah, sweet, blah blah, more of a girl than Katniss (that is until Katniss turns mega PMS mopey girl in Mockingjay *insert vomitting sound here*).  So, I was very unhappy to find out that Miley Cyrus's ex (yes, that Miley with the adult oriented pictures, the drunken puffed face, the man-voice...her!) ex-boyfriend has been cast as, arguably, my favorite character in The Hunger Games trilogy.

Gale has black hair, olive skin, and grey eyes.  Lots of girls in town think that he is the hotness.  So, in casting, they pick this guy:

That guy

I am sorry, and I don't know the guy from Adam, but he looks like a chode.  And again, seriously, Miley?  EWWWW.  Then, in reading a vague review of The Hunger Games movie script I hear that Gale's part has been expanded in the movie....but for reasons that are teh suck.  

Seriously, should I just give up now?

Excuse me while I go prepare my alter so I can do an awesome "Make the Hunger Games Movie NOT TEH SUCK!" spell...

Saturday, April 2, 2011

Spring Displays!

Last week my boss and I attended a conference called Spring Institute.  This is a once a year event where Children and Teen librarians gather, learn, meet awesome authors (and take awkward pictures), and socialize.  One of the best break out sessions that I attended at the conference dealt with book displays.  When I got back "home" to my library I decided to put some of the ideas from that break out into practice when designing my new displays.

Right now in the Teen Department we have 4 displays: Anti-Bullying, Staff Picks (soon to expand to include Teen Advisory Board suggestions), Spring books (books with flowers or greenery on the cover), and Humorous books (or books with the word laugh, joke, the title).  We also do as much faceout work with books as we possibly can.

Here's the whole Humorous book display.

Here you can see a mix of different material types that are on display.  There's a DVD case, an audiobook, and hardcover and paperback books.  

We also cut out the words HAHA and LOL and included them.  Plus, we added die-cut flowers to the tables throughout the entire department, and on the pillars.  Also notice books stacked on top of one another.  This creates different levels of height.

Here's our spring displays featuring books with flowers and greenery.  As you can see the books have staggered height.  Unfortunately the picture is not as clear since this display is right near a window.

Friday, April 1, 2011

What I've been reading

I'm getting ever closer to the end of school, and that means I am getting ever closer to being able to read for fun again!  That said, I've been able to sneak some books in here or there.  Here's a breakdown of what I've been reading lately.

Scott Pilgrim vs. The World Vol. 3
     I love the movie, so I decided to read through the graphic novels.  They have the same feel, but are obviously different.  Ramona actually seems like she might like Scott in the books, rather than whatever it is that she has going on in the movie.

A Clockwork Orange by Anthony Burgess
     Again, I love the movie, so I decided to read the book.  There's actually a story behind my love of books on which movies were based.  A long time ago, I got out of the reading habit.  I didn't read much for years.  Two things brought me back to reading: Harry Potter, and books that had been made into movies and TV shows (this was before Harry Potter had itself been made into a series of movies).
     That said, I've been working on Clockwork for awhile now, and I'm having some trouble with it.  The slang is hard to deal with a bit, and also, I can't read for too long without feeling like I need to take a shower.  I might get through the book, I might not, but I will always love the movie.

Matched by Ally Condi
     This book I just started, and it's been all the hype with the librarian crowd...or it was, and I am kinda behind, but that's what happens.  I just started and so far the writing style is really sucking me in.  I can't wait to get further into it and see what happens.