Tue
Jan 21 2014 2:00pm

The YA Roundup: The Fault in Our...Perfect Male Characters?

The Fault in Our Stars movie photo by James Bridges

Welcome to this week’s YA Roundup, keeping you in the know about bookish news, movie updates, releases and cover reveals in the YA genre. Sometimes you just have to grow up, said no one ever.

This week's roundup is talking about our preference for ebooks, fantasy, female heroines in YA movies, and how boys are just too perfect for this YA world.

 

Perfect Boys Only Exist in Books

Teen Fiction and Boys

There’s been more hand-wringing about young adult books and boys this week with an article this week in The Guardian by Millie Woodrow-Hill. Apparently dudes in YA are too sexy and how are real boys supposed to deal with that?

“But while the adventures of Clary (in The Mortal Instruments) or Bella (in Twilight) act as a great self-esteem boost for female readers, reassuring them that it’s okay to be shy or wish you were prettier or more popular, what messages do they send male readers? Have you ever read a piece of teen fiction in which a female protagonist falls in love with a boy who carries too much weight around his waist? Or one with a beautiful closed-mouth smile, because his front teeth are yellowing?”

Oh my god?! How many of the HEROINES have too much weight around their waists or crooked, yellow teeth? What planet is this person living on? The article was met with a great deal of criticism from young adult writers.

 

James Frey

James Frey Signs Huge Book/Movie Deal

James Frey, the publishing industry’s black sheep, has signed a 2 million dollar deal with 20th Century Fox for Endgame. Fray is infamous for Oprah berating him on live TV for his fake biography, A Million Little Pieces. Common wisdom is that if you get publicly dressed down by Oprah, you know you’ve done wrong. It does not seem that Frey adheres to common wisdom. He also started a highly controversial fiction factory, Full Fathom Five, to purchase and package cheap young adult fiction and sell the book and movie rights bundled together. Lorien Legacies was a product of this.

Endgame has been pitched as a Hunger Games-like story about teens battling. I should point out that if you want to read a Hunger Games-like story about teens battling in an arena, you could always read The Hunger Games.

 

Kids Prefer eBooks

Kids are adopting ebook reading at an increasing rate. To add more positivity to this news story, 54% of them ask to buy print copies of an ebook that they already own. This mirrors adult reading habits. As an afficionado of ebooks, I too purchase my favourites as print copies. Thirteen year olds and under are adopting ebooks faster and faster as two thirds now report reading ebooks. It seems that parents prefer to pay the cheaper cost for ebooks.

With increased use of ebook reading, avenues are quickly opening up for a more interactive ebook and story-reading experiences. Think animated and interactive pictures in Harry Potter. Publishers, get on that!

 

Gryffindor meme

Something We Never Could Have Predicted: Kids Reading Fantasy

The biggest news flash this week comes with an article stating kids like to read fantasy. We hadn’t noticed. Apparently sales of fantasy books dominated the children’s book market for 2013. A UK study, part of a nation wide annual survey, found that Harry Potter, The Hunger Games and The Hobbit dominated children’s reading favourites in addition to Inheritance by Christopher Paolini, The Lost Hero by Rick Riordan and Divergent by Veronica Roth. The only contemporary book to rate a mention was, predictably, John Green’s The Fault in Our Stars.

It seems that all the movie adaptations, apps and games encourage kids to get more immersed in the worlds and encourages them to read at a higher level for their age. Once again proving that reading is awesome!

 

The Vampire Diaries

L.J. Smith Returns to The Vampire Diaries

After L.J. Smith’s phenomenal success with The Vampire Diaries and The Vampire Diaries: The Return, then subsequently, being fired, she’s now returing to the series by way of Amazon’s Kindle Worlds.

The Evensong arc will pick up more or less where Midnight left off and takes place in an alternate world from the official books that follow Midnight. The three books in this arc are Paradise LostThe War of Roses, and Into the Wood. The first novel, Paradise Lost, and the first part of the second novel, The War of Roses, will be available January 23, 2014.

Fans of the original Vampire Diaries series who were heartbroken over her controversial departure are probably dancing in the streets knowing they’ll finally be able to see how Smith would have continued the series. While this is only fan fiction and is not considered part of the official arc Alloy Entertainment has approved, it will be interesting to see how it differs from other books written by ghost writers. You can find out more about the books at Smith’s blog.

 

YA Movie News: TalonThe Fault in Our Stars, Vampire Academy and Catching Fire

Julie Kagawa continues to rule this week with news that her new novel, Talon, has been bought by Universal. Jay Basu has been tapped to adapt it for the screen before the novel’s release later this year. This is great news, but when are we going to see Blood of Eden come to the big screen? That would be, by all accounts, awesome.

Talon is a Romeo and Juliet tale of a dragon girl and a dragon slayer boy rocking the stage of their familial feud. It seems Kagawa is fond of this storyline after she wrote about a vampire and a religious cult/anti-vampire boy falling in love in her Blood of Eden series, and an Iron Fey Queen and a Fairy Prince falling in love in her The Iron Fey series. Forbidden love. Kagawa is all over that. Still, we eagerly anticipate the arrival of both the movie and book!

Movie stills were released for the upcoming adaptation of John Green’s The Fault in Our Stars. You can check them all out here, but this photo gives me all the feels. Is it June 6th yet?

The Fault in Our Stars Still 2

Vampire Academy, the adaptation of Richelle Mead’s bestselling series, also released promotional stills. I’ll have to be honest and admit to not being ridiculously excited when the first trailer aired last year, but as the film’s release date draws closer and closer, I’m slowly changing my mind. That’s no surprise when I see images with Rose, the lead character, in badass poses.

Vampire Academy Still

There’s just something about seeing strong, female characters getting stuff done... with a stake no less! Vampire Academy hits theatres Feburary 7th.

And speaking of strong female characters, it was recently reported that Catching Fire is the first movie with a female solo lead to hit #1 since... The Exorcist. Just to give you some perspective here, I wasn’t even thought of when The Exorcist came out. Whoa.

The Hunger Games: Catching Fire made history on Thursday, surpassing Iron Man 3 as the top domestic grossing film released in 2013, with $409.4 million at the box office.

With the boom in YA adaptations, I’m hoping to see a lot more female leads giving their male counterparts a run for their money.

 

Simon & Schuster Announces #Hashtag Reads

A new YA bookish community called #Hashtag Reads was launched courtesy of Simon & Schuster, aimed towards encouraging “maximum interaction with readers through the public feedback and discussion features offered via social media channels.” Communites like this, Epic Reads, and The Novl are great for engaging with teens and getting them reading. A quick browse on #Hashtag Reads’s tumblr page shows highlights of books and other fun, inspirational posts.

In the press release, Senior Marketing and Publicity Executive, Kat McKenna explained the site’s goal.

“We want to get as much feedback as we can, so the conversational element of this project is key for us. We’ll be looking at how users respond to the content we offer and will tailor future posts accordingly, so we can build a loyal fan base and find out much more about what our readers want – and in turn give them exciting content they will share with their own communities and social networks.”

 

YA New York Times Bestsellers (January 26, 2014)

1. The Fault in Our Stars by John Green
2. The Book Thief by Marcus Zusak
3. Looking for Alaska by John Green
4. The Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky
5. Alliance by Mark Frost
6. Eleanor and Park by Rainbow Rowell
7. Paper Towns by John Green
8. Independent Study by Joelle Charbonneau
9. Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children by Ranson Riggs
10. Thirteen Reasons Why by Jay Asher

 

Book Deals

An Ember in the Ashes by Sabaa Tahir
Publisher: Razorbill (Penguin)
Rights: World English
Agent: Alexandra Machinist (Janklow & Nesbit)

Separately, Paramount acquired film rights to the book in a seven-figure deal. The novel is set in a fantasy world and, per Razorbill parent Penguin Young Readers Group, has “echoes of ancient Rome.” It follows two teenagers who are fighting to stay under a military regime. Razorbill is planning to publish An Ember in the Ashes in 2015.

SOURCE: Publishers’ Weekly

Black River by Jeff Hirsch
Publisher: Clarion Books
Rights: World
Agent: Sara Crowe (Harvey Klinger)

In the story, 16-year-old Cardinal Odera is the only member of his family to escape a virus that stole the memories of everyone in his town. He chooses to remain in his quarantined town, caring for a band of orphaned kids, but when a mysterious young woman appears, and factions within the town begin to agitate for greater freedom, the safe, closed-off world he worked so hard to build begins to crumble. Publication is set for fall 2015.

N.E.E.D. by Joelle Charbonneau
Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
Rights: World
Agent: Stacia Decker (Donald Maass Literary Agency)

Pitched as Pretty Little Liars meets Homeland. It’s set in a small Wisconsin town and follows teenager Kaylee, who gets involved in an elite social networking Web site called N.E.E.D., which that grants your desire in return for fulfilling a request. Publication is slated for fall 2016.

Bottle Cap by Megan Frazer Blakemore
Publisher: HarperCollins
Rights: World English
Agent: Sara Crowe (Harvey Klinger)

About 16-year-old Very Woodruff, a straight-A student in a family of free-spirited artists, who starts questioning everything in her orderly life when her grandmother, a famous writer, is on her deathbed, and Very is forced to face the truth about her family and who she wants to be, also in a two-book deal. The projected publication date is fall 2015.

SOURCE: Publishers’ Weekly

 

New Releases

Hollow City by Ransom Riggs Vitro by Jessica Khoury  Stormbringer by Shannon Delany

 

Cover Reveals

A Night Without Stars by Jillian Eaton  Orenda by Ruth Silver

Princess of Thorns by Stacey Jay  The Last Changeling by Chelsea Pitcher

City of Heavenly Fire by Cassandra Clare  Glory O’Brien’s History of the Future by A.S. King

Extraction by Stephanie Diaz  Amity by Micol Ostow

Please Don’t Tell my Parents I’m a Super Villain by Richard Roberts  The Kiss of Deception by Mary E. Pearson

Foretold by Rinda Elliott  


Kat Kennedy and Stephanie Sinclair are the bloggers behind Cuddlebuggery, the Young Adult book blog dedicated to corrupting the reading community with sinister shenanigans.

5 comments
Pirmin Schanne
1. Torvald Nom
Re: Teen Fiction and Boys: If you complain about an article, you might want to actually provide a correct link, not just the follow up that's arguing your own position.
Bridget McGovern
2. BMcGovern
@Torvald Nom--it seems that we added the wrong link in after the fact. I'll correct it in the post, but the article Steph and Kat are clearly referring to (and quoting) is this post by Woodrow-Hill and not the later reaction piece. Our mistake.
Gerd K
3. Kah-thurak
The funny spelling mistake of "waists of crooked yellow teeth" (THAT would look weird) aside, I dont get why this alway has to be a contest of fingerpointing. Yes, it is the same for both boys, girls, women and men. People in Fiction are more beautiful than in real life and for some people this leads to self-esteem problems. I doubt that this has ever been any different though...
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4. ad
I see. It is politically correct and praiseworthy to complain that fiction features unrealistically beautiful girls, but reactionary and evil to complain that fiction features unrealistically handsome boys.
John McClay
5. jmcclay3
It's not that I'd say YA fiction is bad for boys. Much of it is a fantasy as is any other form of artistic expression. People like to write their characters as beautiful gods and in the case of movies, cast them. If a male or female character is unnattractive or fat, then they usually are there for comedic reasons. These are all unfortunate things, but the only side of this issue worthy of discussion is the one from a female perspective since they are are so clearly the main victims of such tactics. Of course I am being sarcastic. We've now entered into a phase where women's rights are largely advertised and widely accepted, but it is still wrong for a man to object to any sort of behavior that they find uncomfortbale because supposdely the modern man is required to pay for acts of sexism that he has never committed, but as a man he now carries the burden of sin born by the milli0ns of men who have come before him. The only option now is for men to once again keep their mouths shut and never speak about their feelings because emotions are the territory of women. We all know women are objectified more than men, but at the same time, we don' even view male objectification in the same way. When a woman is objectified, we're disgusted. If she is replaced by a man, we are either elated, because men are finally getting what they deserve for thousands of years of mistreatment or we think nothing of it, because men are hardly ever viewed as victims. The reality is, men do suffer from poor body image and if you don't think that's true, be a gay man for a day and peek into gay culture. You'll never feel more inadequate than when looking at a copy of Out Magazine. So ladies, rather than getting defensive and outraged when someone mentions that men might have feelings too, try and realize that you aren't dealing with the same kinds of men that you've read about in your history books. And finally, if your only argument is, "But I have it worse than you, so shut up," then you're already wrong. Come up with something better.

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