Feb 24 2014 3:00pm

The YA Roundup: John Green Talks About Twilight, Inserts Foot Into Mouth

Welcome to the YA Roundup, where we give you the low down on YA bookish news, gossip, new releases and cover reveals.

This week’s news covers the controversy surrounding John Green’s comments on Twilight, The Jungle Book’s return to film, the Kardashians’ book deal (we’ve given up on keeping up with them), and tons of covers to make your eyes glaze over and your wallet cry out for mercy.

Capstone Young Readers is doing a YA Imprint

Capstone Young Readers Switch Press

Capstone Young Readers, which publishes educational material for children, will be launching a imprint for young adult readers because that is the awesome thing to do. This is the division’s fifth imprint. Switch Press will offer readers contemporary nonfiction, narrative nonfiction, historical fiction fantasy, graphic novels, and poetry. Fads exist for a reason, right? Except pogs. I never got those.

The publishers plan to acquire eight to twelve manuscripts per year and already has a list of books coming out for their Fall 2014 lineup. These titles include The Isobel Journal, Half My Facebook Friends Are Ferrets, and The Diamond Thief. John Rahm is the senior product manager who is going to take Switch Press and rage tank into the market, with the help of his healer (editorial director) Nick Healy.

Cook books, craft and how-to titles for young adult readers sounds like a generally unique, untapped market. Time will tell how successful it will be.


Archie, Betty, Veronica, and Jughead Get the YA Novel Treatment

Archie Comics

Archie Comics has been struggling to stay relevant with young audiences. After its disappointing non revelation about Archie’s final choice between Betty & Veronica, which was a horrible attempt of trolling on the publisher’s behalf, here’s the latest attempt to lure readers: YA novel the hell out of them. Dan Parent brings us Archie: A Rock & Roll Romance (February 25th) and Tania del Rio has penned Diary of a Girl Next Door: Betty (July 16th).

Dan Parent has written many Archie comics from Betty & Veronica: Best Friends Forever to Archie’s Christmas Stocking. He also introduced the first openly gay character in the series and has been writing for Archie since he graduated. One should assume he’s relatively familiar with the subject matter.

More on Archie’s book:

“Things are shaken up in a big way when Valerie, Josie and the Pussycats’ bassist, moves to Riverdale. In the style of the Archie Wedding and Married Life graphic novels, Valerie takes a stroll down Riverdale’s magical Memory Lane and is greeted with a vision of what her life would be like if she married Archie. Of course, the future is full of surprises!”

Tania del Rio adapted the characters into modern teens for Betty’s book and it’s described as:

“Betty Cooper has few of the luxuries that her privileged best friend Veronica Lodge enjoys, but she’s got something else that drives her wealthy friend crazy with jealousy. In a story full of heart and humor, find out how a normal, awkward teenage girl comes out feeling on top of the world in this hilarious new Diary series.”

I had expected at least one of these novels to actually be a mystery novel, one which explained why two awesome people like Betty and Veronica would be in any way interested someone like Archie. Now, that I’d actually read!


The Jungle Book Being Made into a Film. Again.

The Jungle Book Rudyard Kipling

Ron Howard and Warner Bros have, according to reports I haven’t seen, been giggling and whispering at lunch time, and Brett saw them holding hands behind the agriculture shed during recess. Penny says they’re going to direct and produce a live-action adaptation of The Jungle Book. The Hollywood Reporter jumped in at the lunch table to state:

“Howard is poised to take the reins a month after Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu (Babel) fell off the project due to scheduling conflicts. (Inarritu is in postproduction on Birdman, his first comedy.) Callie Kloves wrote the screenplay for The Jungle Book, which is based on a story from an 1894 Rudyard Kipling collection.”

There have been many adaptations of the popular novel, including the Disney cartoon in 1967 and the 1994 adaptation starring Jason Lee and Cary Elwes which I watched because of Jason Lee and Cary Elwes. And yet, unsurprisingly, I was still disappointed.

Let’s hope Ron Howard will do a better job, and I’ll be interested to see how he handles the problematic colonialist aspects of the story for a modern audience.


The 5th Wave Gets An Awesome Award Because it’s Awesome

The 5th Wave Rick Yancey

Rick Yancey’s The 5th Wave, a book about an alien invasion that gave me all kinds of feels, has gotten some well-deserved recognition by winning the Red House children’s book award for 2014. The interesting thing about this award is that it is, apparently, voted on entirely by children. No adult input. Which means I suddenly feel so much more promise for the younger generation! This in addition to Sony supposedly adapting the film of this which, if true, will make my heart sing. Tobey Maguire is also supposed to be producing this. Let’s hope Tobey doesn’t do anything unfortunate with it...

Other winners include Julia Donaldson and Axel Scheffler who both had wins in the younger children category, while Jennifer Gray had a win in the books for younger readers category.

This means Rick Yancey joins the likes of JK Rowling, Patrick Ness and Anthony Horowitz. Unsurprising because, like them, he still refuses to give me his unpublished sequels!


Books Too Inflammatory for 1980s UK to be Published Now

The Borribles Michael de Larrabeiti

Tales of anarchic youths in the UK were pretty popular in the eighties, including Michael de Larrabeiti’s three-book series, The Borribles, featuring street children who’ve been alone so long that their ears turn pointy like mischievous elves from folklore. Unfotrunately, this just happened to be around the same time that significant anti-police youth riots took place in 1985—resulting in violent clashes between protesters and police—and de Larrabeiti’s original publisher, UK-based Collins Publishers (prior to its merger with Harper and Row), refused to publish the third book.

Linda Davis, Publishing Director of Collins at the time, wrote:

After the events of Brixton and Tottenham we have had to look at The Borribles in a different is a novel that pits a gang of lawless young people against the police. We told ourself originally that this was OK because the story was an ‘urban fantasy,’ that Borribles were not real children, that the police were not real but comic characters. Nevertheless the battle between the law and lawlessness is glamorised and given a status, which we cannot appear to condone in children’s literature now that Britain has entered a new era in which this battle is a daily reality.

(Original letter posted by Cory Doctorow on Boing Boing)

Tor and Pan Macmillan have since released the trilogy in print, and now they’re being debuted again as ebooks for a new generation.

Alison Flood from the Guardian writes:

“The stories have drawn fans from China Miéville to Neil Gaiman and Cory Doctorow, who told the Guardian they were ‘one of the origin nodes of urban fantasy, a trilogy of books that are always wicked and never nasty, and a love poem to London’.”


Kendall and Kylie Jenner Releasing a Book

Kendall and Kylie Jenner

Having a young adult book ghost written (I’m assuming here, but c’mon...) in your name seems to be the new perfume brand of starlet income sources. With their new book Rebels: City of Indra, sisters Kendall and Kylie Jenner of questionable Keeping Up With the Kardashians fame join Hilary Duff (Elixir), Tara Banks (Modelland) and Lauren Conrad (L.A. Candy and The Fame Game).

Rebels: City of Indra had its cover reveal this week. (Check it out below in Cover Reveals section.)

“Kylie and I love the creative challenge and are thrilled to have been given the opportunity to share this story,” Kendall said, while her sister added, “We can’t wait to share these characters and the world we created with readers everywhere. We are so excited!”

Karen Hunter, of Karen Hunter Publishing, adds, “The story that Kendall and Kylie crafted is a thrill ride—one that their fans and fans of this genre won’t be able to put down.”

I want to say something snarky about this. However, it kind of mocks itself, doesn’t it?


John Green Telling People How Not to Be Misogynistic...

John Green

John Green is not only and incredibly popular young adult author, but also a YouTube and Tumblr celebrity with his Mental Floss and Vlog Brothers shows proving extremely popular, albeit not without controversy. This week he made several comments on Twitter that raised some brows and a little bit of ire from portions of the Young Adult blogging world.

To be fair to John Green, he was recovering from being in surgery and apparently on some pretty good meds, but also, to be fair to everyone else—dude...

In the book blogging world, Meyer’s most vocal critics tend to be women who feel they have good reason to call out the unhealthy relationship dynamics, story themes and narrative faults in Twilight which, themselves, are fuelled by a paternalistic society.

John Green clarified on his Tumblr here, agreeing that there are problematic relationship dynamics in Twilight and criticising misogyny in art is good. He also claimed he was concerned that:

“popular work by women receives far more vitriolic criticism from the public (like, in terms of number of demeaning jokes made by Jay Leno*) than popular work created by men.”

Good point, and one we’d consider worthy of attention. John Green says he’d like to see sexism in popular work by men (Nicholas Sparks and J. D. Salinger, for example) given equal criticism. Finally, he admits that he may be wrong and is willing to learn. Those are some positive steps.

Ceilidhan wrote a rebuttal to Green’s comments on her blog, Bibliodaze:

I mocked Twilight too, because it scared me. It terrified me to see something so obviously wrong held up as the ideal romance, and criticisms of it dismissed as reaching or jealousy. It wasn’t just me either. Many other women talked, and we yelled and screamed because we were angry and bewildered that nobody else could see what we saw. We laughed at the clunky prose, the po-faced earnestness and the sparkling because sometimes we laugh to stop ourselves from crying. Satire is a powerful weapon, one governments often try to shut down. We never saw ourselves as being Jon Stewart or the South Park gang; we just did what we did in the hope that people would listen, and many did. The books still sold by the boatload and Stephenie Meyer has the kind of economic security that most women will never have. She has options because of it. None of this negates the abuse she has received but let’s not pretend that all women are on equal standing here.

John Green will never experience sexism. He will never have to scream and shout to have his opinion even acknowledged because of the platform he has and the fact that he’s a straight cis white man. He gets to be the saviour of YA while women who wrote stories like his for many years before him are long forgotten or left in the shadows. The sad thing is that his opinions on this issue will be held up as a wonderful example because we’ve lowered the bar for success so much to the point where a man acknowledging that women are people makes him worthy of a gold star. He is awarded for acknowledging issues that female writers have been discussing for generations, including in YA. John Green writes tales of universal appeal where women talking the same topics write romance.

This is an issue. This is privilege.

This came about at the same time as Aja Romano of The Daily Dot discussed how John Green, whilst deserving his awards and accolades, makes it hard for women to make their mark in YA.

“The Times has stuck by that dictum; recently its bestseller lists have been filled with men writing “realistic” YA, and the women of the book blogosphere are none too happy about it. This week the debate reached a boil after the Times’ listed, respectively, two women, three women, and three women on their top 10 lists for February. And two of the four women who show up have direct ties to Green. One is Rowell, and one is a biography of Esther Earl, the girl in Green’s life who inspired The Fault in Our Stars.”


YA New York Times Bestsellers (March 2, 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. Hollow City by Ransom Riggs
5. Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children by Ranson Riggs
6. Paper Towns by John Green
7. Eleanor & Park by Rainbow Rowell
8. An Abundance of Katherines by John Green
9. The Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky
10. This Star Won’t Go Out by Easter Earl with Lori and Wayne Earl


Book Deals

Untitled by Carrie Mesrobian
Publisher: HarperTeen
Rights: North America
Agent: Michael Bourret (Dystel & Goderich Literary Management)

The as-yet untitled books will continue in the same vein of gritty realistic fiction; the first book is scheduled for fall 2015.

Between Us and the Moon by Rebecca Maizel
Publisher: HarperTeen
Rights: North America
Agent: Margaret Riley King (William Morris Endeavor)

A contemporary YA romance about a self-proclaimed science nerd who, over the course of one summer, falls for an older boy and learns that there’s more to life than what can be seen through a telescope, and more to herself than equations and experiments, along with a second contemporary YA standalone. The first book’s projected pub date is summer 2015.

Edgewater by Courtney Sheinmel
Publisher: Abrams/Amulet
Rights: World English
Agent: Laura Dail (Laura Dail Literary Agency)

Billed as a “YA Grey Gardens,” about a teen who lives in squalor in a crumbling mansion on Long Island and subsists on a mysterious trust fund—but who stands to lose everything when the secrets, lies, and scandals of the people around her are revealed. Publication is planned for fall 2015.

Ronald Zupan & the Pirates of Borneo! by Steve Bramucci
Publisher: Bloomsbury
Rights: World
Agent: Sara Crowe (Harvey Klinger)

In which a 12-year-old would-be master adventurer embarks on a swashbuckling rescue mission when his parents are abducted by pirates, with the help of his greatest fencing rival, his pet cobra, and his trusty butler. A 2016 pub date is projected.

SOURCE: Publishers’ Weekly



New Releases

Perfect Lies (Mind Games #2) by Kiersten White Insanity by Susan Vaught Third Strike (The Slayer Chronicles #3) by Heather Brewer


Cover Reveals

The Perilous Sea by Sherry Thomas The 8th Continent by Matt London

Party Games by R.L. Stine Mortal Heart by Robin LaFevers

Lark Rising by Sandra Waugh Invaded by Melissa Landers

Follow Me Through Darkness by Danielle Ellison Rebels: City of Indra: The Story of Lex and Livia by Kendall and Kylie Jenner

Messenger Of Fear by Michael Grant Noma Girl by Elizabeth Fama

The Lightning Thief (Percy Jackson and the Olympians #1) by Rick Riordan The Sea of Monsters (Percy Jackson and the Olympians #2) by Rick Riordan

The Titan's Curse (Percy Jackson and the Olympians #3) by Rick Riordan The Battle of the Labyrinth (Percy Jackson and the Olympians #4) by Rick Riordan

The Last Olympian (Percy Jackson and the Olympians #5) by Rick Riordan Lailah (The Styclar Saga #1) by Nikki Kelly

Unmade (Entangled #2) by Amy Rose Capetta Dead Zone (Blackout #2) by Robison Wells

Crashland (Twinmaker #2) by Sean Williams Shattered Secrets by Krystal Wade


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

Erik Harrison
1. ErikHarrison
I am now going to stick my foot in it.

John Green's privilege is a given. There is a legitimate discussion to be had there, and we should have it.

The mocking of Twilight and its fans is a separate legitimate discussion. Frankly, I find stomach turning the way the mostly male SF community tends to treat Twilight fans as un-people who at best aren't one of us, and at worst are psychologically damaged. If the subject of Twilight comes up in my presence it is inevitably followed up with disdain not just for the story but for the reader. Twilight is *hated* - and that by people who will proudly tell you they've never read the damn things and know nothing about it.

On the one hand we have Twilight, a vile agent of corruption of our female youth. On the other hand, we have Conan, a classic piece of genre fiction with some regretable race/gender issues. Hmmm...

Look, I've got no fondness for Twilight. And while my opinion is hardly sophisticated, I can see how the stories are completely worthy of satire. But I can't bring myself to find Twilight fans themselves worthy of mockery. I hate that it took a guy standing up saying that to make us at least have the discussion, but hey, privilege is a bitch. Saying "John Green will never experience sexism" in no way furthers the conversation that starts with "Hey, isn't all this mockery of Twilight starting to stink a little bit of 'fake geek girls' and hypocrisy?"

Again, let's satirize where appropriate. And individual satirizers of Twilight may or may not have hit the mark. But collectively, I tend to think our aim has been off.
2. Jonnyboy
I dislike twilight not because of the sexual politics but because it's poorly written and doesn't deserve its popularity.
Deana Whitney
3. Braid_Tug
As a female I second what @2, Jonnyboy said.

My nieces (17 at the time) were loving the books, so I read them to see what was so great.
The less than wonderful writing is one problem. The idea that love needs to be that obsessive to be "real" is another major problem. But that has been a problem with “romance” stories since before Disney.

But I'm also happy that anything makes people pick up a book to read. I just wish more of the better writers sparked the types of flames that Twilight caused.
4. TorgofJungle
Going to say, I have never heard a guy who acknowledges on a constant basis that the fact that he is a straight whit male has helped him tremendously and constantly promotes his female colleagues who he feels are over looked. If your looking for a target John Green is not your man. Hell he has a video about that very subject. He can't escape his privilege John Green does constantly acknowledge his privilege and try to promote people he feels have been over looked for the exact reasons these bloggers bring up.
5. KingofFlames
So, we have a relationship that is obsessed over by the participants beyond belief, to the exclusion of everything else. We have a relationship that involves breaking and entering, the glamorisation of death, insanely obsessive love to the point of being willing to kill to preserve it. that relationship is seen by the masses as the ideal. A serious problem, right?

We need to do something about Romeo and Juliet.

I'm not actually disputing anything in this article. It's fine to not like Twilight, and all the negative things people talk about are there.

Can someone give me some recommendations for good novels written by women? Honest question, I've been looking for some time now (I'm not trying to imply they don't exist or anything, this just strikes me as the place to go for people who'd know.) I've heard good things about Tamora Pierce, anything else? Preferably with romance not the main focus, or even absent completely?
R.J. Robledo
6. RJRobledo
@KingOfFlames : Most of my book-reading experience is pre-1900 literature (just starting to read modern stuff in the last two years), so my suggestions will be limited.

Silas Marner, by George Elliot (pen name for Mary Ann Evans) is a very good story about redemption. Most of Mary Shelley's stuff (Frankenstein, etc.) is pretty good, too. And while Edna St. Vincent Millay wasn't a novelist, her poetry is simply magnificent in its clarity, its power of emotion, and its rhyme and rhythm.

Oh, there is one contemporary female author I'd recommend off the top of my head --Kelly Barnhill. She has a very good narrative voice, and her characters are well-rounded. She's also a fantastic blogger, writing about the problems writers face (among other things) at
Deana Whitney
7. Braid_Tug
@5, if you have not read Lois McMaster Bjuold, you really should.
I do not think her "Sharing Knife" series is the best, but I do love her other works.

There’s also a number of recommendations on the post “Something Else Like… Lois…”
8. Herb2349
@4, yes, but he said something that the bloggers disagree with. This apparently makes it acceptable for them to attack him, in part, on the basis of his race, gender, and sexual orientation.
Anastasia Burina
9. Radda
John Green just can't win with these women... Seriously, I'm not a fan of his books and I've never followed any of his postings but from these excerpts it looks like he offends some bloggers simply by existing.

@KingOfFlames I wholeheartedly second Budjold. Also, if we speak about YA, Australian author Melina Marchetta wrote a lot of books, both contemporary novels and fantasy, and all of them exceptionally good. Laini Taylor has a very unique voice, all of her books are a real treat. "Alif the Unseen" by Willow G. Wilson was my favourite of the year and, iirc, it was also covered here on tor.
10. ASG
@5 Some of my favorite female authors are Robin Hobb, Patricia C. Wrede, Melanie Rawn, and Ann McCaffrey. C J Cherryh has written some fairly good Sci-Fi as well. I also enjoyed books by Seannen McGuire/Mira Grant, though I didn't like a certain romantic plot point in her popular Newsflesh trilogy that made it hard for me personally to like an otherwise great story.

As to the Twilight topic, not having read the books I don't truly know how unhealthy the romance was. I fundamentally disagree with the statement that a straight white male will never experience sexism. No, he may not experience the same way as a woman does, but he will experience it. An example is child custody during divorce proceedings. Courts preferentially give parental rights to the mother, even if both parents are equally capable of caring for their children. Yes, unfortunately women are the targets of sexism more often than men but men are sometimes the targets of sexism.
Chris Nelly
11. Aeryl
@5, Jacqueline Carey. Her first two novels Bonewreaker and Godslayer are pretty generic Tolkein rip offs. I only read them after having read later books, but I would say you can safely skip those.

Start with Kushiel's Dart. Epic fantasy on the scale of GRR Martin, but without all the crap you have to wade through to find moments of joy. It's Alternative Earth history following the crucifixition of Christ(where instead of playing out as it did in OUR world, it plays out differently).

There is consensual BDSM, but it's tasteful and enlightening, none of that 50 Shades drivel.
12. Amaryllis
Okay, off the top of my head.... in no particular order of genre or literary standing, except "I thought they were good":

Hilary Mantel, N.K. Jemisin, Nnedi Okorafor, Ursula K. LeGuin, Seanan McGuire, Marie Brennan, Kit Whifield, Rachel Hartman, A.S. Byatt, Jane Smiley, Claire Messud, Zadie Smith, Ruth Ozeki, Helene Wecker, Lois McMaster Bujold, Nalo Hopkinson, Kate Atkinson, Tana French, Denise Mina, Jo Walton, Sofia Samatar, Barbara Kingsolver, Barbara Hambly, Ann Patchett, Ann Tyler, Olga Grushin, Lionel Shriver, Fred Vargas (yes, Lionel and Fred are women), Margaret Atwood, Sarah Waters, Susannah Clarke, Gillian Bradshaw, Lindsay Davis... and that's without pausing to think, so I'm sure I'm forgetting at leat an equal number of equally talented women who've published works of fiction in the last ten years.

They're really not hard to find.
13. Nik_the_Heratik
I think Green has a point in that Twilight and its fans have been unfairly turned into this whipping boy for all that is wrong in YA fantasy. It's not like the Author is some evil mastermind that wrote it as a way to ruin SFF. She just wrote a sappy teeny bopper story with a decently original plot that somehow tapped into what a lot of people were feeling.

It's worst crimes are its lame dialog and the way the author panders to the people who want to have a teenage view of love that lasts forever without having to grow into a real adult relationship. These are not mortal sins, but apparently making a ton of money and letting a lot of empty-headed Tweens into the SFF clubhouse are.
14. harmonyfb
I find Twilight's unhealthy relationship models, hinky gender politics, and creepiness held up as romantic ideals to be dealbreakers (even before the issues I have with the quality of the writing.)

I work in a library, and freely admit to attempting to sway every patron I see checking it out. I try to talk them into check out Rachel Caine's "Morganville" series instead (teen vampire series, a bit of romance, some scariness, lots of novels in the series, and NO creepy gender politics.)
15. KingofFlames

Great. How many of those are fantasy novels with little romance focus? (Completely legit question, I am not attempting to implicate that women don't write anything else or don't write good work or anything like that, I'm just trying to narrow down your list to fit the criteria I wanted. Meant to specify that I was looking for fantasy novels, but it seems I forgot. Of course there are plenty of talented female writers, I never thought otherwise.

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