The YA Roundup: John Green’s “Very Exciting Announcement”

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Welcome to the YA Roundup, keeping you in the know with the latest YA news, book deals, releases and cover reveals!

This week covers YA movie news (featuring—who else?—John Green), the lack of diversity in YA books, and the effect of film adaptations on childrens’ reading habits.

YA Movie News

Model and actress Cara Delevingne (pictured above), who previously appeared in Anna Karenina, Kids in Love and The Face of an Angel, will be playing the lead role of Margo Roth Spiegelman in John Green’s next book-to-movie adaptation, Paper Towns.

Jake Schreier is directing with Marty Bowen and Wyck Godrey producing, and Scott Neustadter and Michael H. Weber writing the script. The release date has been announced for July 31st 2015.

Let it Snow

Universal has also optioned the film rights to a collection of short stories, Let It Snow, written by John Green, former Queen of Teen Maureen Johnson, and Lauren Myracle. The book, published in 2008, features three separate but interconnected stories set during a blizzard at Christmas.

 

“Too Many White Faces” in YA

James Dawson

Last month, Malorie Blackman was blasted with racist abuse after she was misquoted by Sky News saying there were too many white faces in kids literature. This year’s Queen of Teen, James Dawson, author of Hollow Pike and Cruel Summer, recently referenced the quote at a Patrick Hardy lecture, saying:

“But why are so many of these characters white, straight, able-bodied and middle-class. Malorie did not say there are too many white faces in children’s books, but I will. There, I just did. Put that on Sky News.”

Dawson suggested that some authors may want to stay away from diverse characters so that they don’t miswrite the characters, but went on to say:

“Perhaps in some cases [the lack of diversity is] well meaning, but I also think it’s laziness and, worse, pandering to mass-market appeal.”

So far Dawson has not received anything of the angry backlash that Blackman did.

In related news, author Malindo Lo recently wrote that book bannings disproportionately target books with diverse content and characters, which may also account for some authors shying away from diversity:

“The percentage of children’s books by and/or about people of color has remained virtually constant at 10%. In comparison, 37% of the U.S. population consists of people of color—a huge gap […In 2010] there were 29 individual titles in all on those four Top Ten lists. Among the 29 titles, 15 included diverse content, and 14 did not. In other words, once again 52% of the banned/challenged books included diverse content of some kind.”

 

Book-to-Movie Adaptations Encourage Kids to Read

The Maze Runner

According to data gathered by Accelerated Reader, a software program used by teachers to track the reading their students do both in and out of class, there is a clear correlation between a movie’s release and the number of kids who are reading the books.

As The Atlantic reports, the trend seems most noticable with new books—The Hunger Games is a good example. 70,000 children read the book in February 2012, a month before the film’s release, compared with 180,000 in April, after the movie’s debut. Similar figures can be found with James Dasher’s The Maze Runner, pointing to a spike in reading before the film’s release. When the movie deal was announced in 2011, the book had fewer than 3,000 readers; in May 2014, readership had jumped to 10,000 students.

This reading bump doesn’t seem to apply to every book-to-movie adaptation, however. The Giver and The Great Gatsby, for example, saw no real improvement in reading levels after the movie, perhaps because these classics have been assigned reading for years.

 

Mockingjay Trailer is On Fire

In case you missed it, the Mockingjay Part 1 trailer is out and it is a great sign of things to come. Peeta Mellark is a captive of the Capitol, Katniss Everdeen is the reluctant face of the revolution, and Gale is a glorious soldier boy.

President Snow, played by Donald Sutherland, is brilliantly creepy at the beginning of the clip and has featured heavily in the previous promos and teaser trailer.

Mockingjay Part 1 follows on from the last film in which Katniss Everdeen competed for the second time in a Hunger Games scenario. Now she’s esconced—willingly or not—in the revolution, fighting to get Peeta back safe and alive from the Capitol.

 

New York Times Best Sellers (September 28, 2014)

Young Adult

  1. If I Stay by Gayle Forman
  2. The Fault in our Stars by John Green
  3. Where She Went by Gayle Forman
  4. Looking for Alaska by John Green
  5. Paper Towns by John Green
  6. The Book Thief by Markus Zusak
  7. Eleanor & Park by Rainbow Rowell
  8. The Absolutely True Story of a Part-Time Indian by Sherman Alexie
  9. Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children by Ransom Riggs
  10. Thirteen Reasons Why by Jay Asher

Children’s Series

  1. The Maze Runner by James Dashner
  2. Divergent by Veronica Roth
  3. Giver Quartet by Lois Lowry
  4. I Am Number Four by Pittacus Lore
  5. Captain Underpants by Dav Pilkey
  6. Mickey Boltair by Harlan Coben
  7. Percy Jackson and the Olympians by Rick Riordan
  8. Throne of Glass by Sarah J. Maas
  9. The Mortal Instruments by Cassandra Clare
  10. Legend by Marie Lu

 

Book Deals

Untitled by Cinda Williams Chima
Publisher: HarperCollins
Publication: Fall 2015
Rights: World English
Agent: Christopher Schelling (Selectric Artists)

Set 20 years after the events described in Seven Realms and introduces readers to “a new generation of teen characters who grapple with old enemies, new betrayals, and unprecedented magical threats.

Ruined by Amy Tintera
Publisher: HarperTeen
Publication: Summer 2016
Rights: North American
Agent: Emmanuelle Morgen (Stonesong)

The series follows two teens, on opposing sides of a war, as they, per Morgen, “rise to become leaders in their respective kingdoms while falling in love with each other.”

Three Dark Crowns by Kendare Blake
Publisher: HaperTeen
Publication: Fall 2016
Rights: North American
Agent: Adriann Ranta (Wolf Literary Services)

Tells the story of triplet sisters on a remote island ruled by powerful magic and ancient family lineages. Separated at birth, one of the sisters will grow up to be queen, but in order to ascend to the throne she must hone her magic for a dark purpose: assassinating her other two sisters before they kill her first.

Blackthorn by Kevin Sands
Publication: Simon and Schuster
Publication: Fall 2015
Rights: North American
Agent: Daniel Lazar (Writers House)

Set in 1663 London. It tells of 14-year-old Christopher, apprenticed to a master apothecary and learning the secrets of transforming simple ingredients into powerful medicines and weapons. Along with his best friend, Christopher must uncover the truth behind a mysterious cult, following a trail of puzzles, codes, pranks, and danger toward an unearthly secret with the power to tear the world apart.

Dreamland by Robert Luis Anderson
Publisher: HarperTeen
Publication: Fall 2015
Rights: North American
Agent: Stephen Barbara (Foundry Literary + Media)

It centers on the thin line between our world and the world of dreams and nightmares, and on 17-year-old Dea Donahue, who discovers what happens when the two worlds collide.

Source: Publishers Weekly

 

New Releases

 

Cover Reveals

 


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

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