This is an embarrassing admission to make as someone who writes about books professionally (well, that’s the excuse I make for these stacks around me anyway): My love for Maggie Stiefvater’sThe Raven Boys is so great that I can’t even write a review of it. And when I begin to think of fantasy casting options, my mind goes absolutely blank, because no actors can possibly live up to the characters I’ve made in my mind. I’m not alone in my love — New Line just announced last week that Akiva Goldsman would produce the movie for them. Instead of a standard review here, I’m just going to list a handful of the things that have me seriously crushing on this book:
The wholly original story about four private school boys searching for the body of the Welsh King Glendower, who legend has it will grant one wish to whoever finds him, and about a girl named Blue who’s the only non-psychic of the family and who knows that one day she’ll cause her true love to die. She also knows to stay away from boys who go to the Aglionby School, nicknamed “raven boys” for the emblems on their V-neck sweaters.
The very realistic relationship between the boys — rich, Glendower-obsessed Gansey; surly, troubled Ronan; driven, scholarship student Adam; and mysteriously quiet Noah.
Blue’s endearingly unconventional household of psychic women: mom Maura, famous aunt Neeve, boy-crazy cousin Orla, in-her-own-world Persephone and sharp-tongued Calla. Blue loves them, but she also dreams of escaping and having a “normal” life doing something like “scouring Costa Rica to find out more about the scale-crested pygmy tyrant.”
Since, oh, about January 2010, some of us have been waiting not-so-patiently to see Kami Garcia and Margaret Stohl’s Beautiful Creatures translated to the big screen. The story of the teen girl with magical powers, who fears that the forces of darkness will claim her when she turns 16, and the boy who’s telepathically connected to her for some mysterious reason piqued our imaginations instantly. And the Caster Chronicles’ small-town Southern setting was certainly ripe for a Hollywood adaptation. Last night, we finally got a good hard look at how this is all coming together in the movie, set to hit theaters February 2013 with a teaser trailer. If you haven’t yet been sucked into the books, the trailer alone gives us 10 good reasons to get excited for this movie:
1. Alden Ehrenreich as Ethan Wate
Broody, handsome — but not too conventionally so — and managing that Southern drawl with grace, Ehrenreich seems to be handling the male lead quite nicely here. Ethan has his world turned upside down by Lena’s arrival, and that’ll be a lot for this up-and-comer to handle over the course of the franchise.
2. Alice Englert as Lena Duchannes
Lena’s got a lot more on her shoulders than the hardship of being the new girl at school. She’s a powerful Caster (a sort of witch, for the sake of simplicity), and when she turns 16, she’ll be claimed by forces of light or the forces for dark.
3. All sorts of spooky magic
Between Lena’s freaky telekinetic skills, the telepathy linking her and Ethan and the overarching mythology surrounding the Casters and the town of Gatlin, this movie has plenty to please you Harry Potter/Matilda/Possession fans. Read more…
We were thrilled to learn last week that one of the most highly praised young adult novels of the year so far, Leigh Bardugo’s Shadow and Bone, had been picked up by DreamWorks and David Heyman (the man who optioned a little book series called Harry Potter). This is another fantastical tale about young folks (in particular a young girl named Alina) with gifts (like the ability to harness wind, fire, water or light) that can save their world (Ravka) from some very dark forces (flesh-eating beasts from a place called the Shadow Fold). We were equally thrilled when Bardugo asked if she could write a little blog entry for VH1 Celebrity about what it feels like to have her book optioned. She’s also got a favor to ask of you guys…
When people ask about the journey to publication, I’ve gotten used to telling my story. I talk about being a copywriter, my dad dying, the epic freakout that led me to change careers and become a makeup artist, and how that freed me up to finish the book I’d always wanted to write.
But here’s the truth of it: I wrote a book and then magic happened. And it kept happening. And I have no idea how I got so lucky.
I hoped I’d land an agent. I prayed we’d sell the book. And yes, I daydreamed about the possibility of Shadow and Bone being made into a movie. But to have DreamWorks and David Heyman come knocking? That’s not the kind of thing you let yourself hope for unless you want to wake up in an alley with “hubris” tattooed across your buttocks in Comic Sans. Read more…
A lot of the young adult novels I count as my not-so-guilty pleasures flirt with dark and dangerous things without plunging all the way into gothic territory — amid all that vampire/werewolf/ghost/fairy drama there are still the token high school scenes or light-hearted moments between friends. Not so with Melissa Marr’s books (like Wicked Lovely), and certainly not so with her latest, Carnival of Souls, which hit shelves last week. It creates a deliciously dark fantastical other world, called the City, where daimons rule, fight, murder and prostitute themselves to survive. Parallel to that world, the human domain is not much lighter, at least not for Mallory, a girl raised by her adoptive witch father Adam, who has kept her living on the run her whole life, fearing daimons who are after him for stealing from their leader, Marchosias. What Mallory doesn’t know is that she is what Adam stole. She’s really Marchosias’ daughter, which means she’s also the very species she’s been training her whole life to fight.
As if her life weren’t complicated enough, just when she becomes friends (or something more) with a boy named Kaleb, her father decides it’s time for them to move again. That might not be such a bad thing, as Kaleb is actually a daimon hired to find and kill Mallory. That’s just one of many things lowborn “curr” Kaleb has done to earn a living for himself and his packmate Zevi, none of which he is proud of. That’s why he’s also participating in the City’s annual gladiator-style tournament that will elevate the winner to ruling class status.
The story also follows another two participants in the tournament, high-born girl Aya and the man who loves her, Belias. Unfortunately, we meet these two just as they’re matched up to battle each other, and only one of them is destined to survive. That fight is depicted in the book’s official trailer above. Read more…
As if earning a gold medal and appearing on every talk-show and magazine in existence weren’t enough, Gabby Douglas has stepped up her nonstop media tour this week. She was with McKayla Maroney and Kyla Ross in Los Angeles on Tuesday for a pre-VMA press conference, where Gabby got to announce Lil Wayne’s performance. Then she hopped on a plane to Charlotte, North Carolina, where she, Aly Raisman and Jordyn Wieber helped promote the Kids’ Health Goes Gold initiative by day and then she led the pledge of allegiance at the Democratic National Convention in the evening. We assume she’s en route back to L.A. for tonight’s VMAs. That in itself seems like enough on the plate of a 16-year-old, but today comes news of one more project in the works: She’s publishing a memoir.
People reports that HarperCollins will publish Grace, Gold and Glory, My Leap of Faith, the story of how Douglas grew up in Virginia and faced the tough decision to leave home to train for the Olympics. “Even before I competed in the Olympics, I always wanted to write a book,” she said in a statement about the memoir, which is set to hit shelves in December.
“Gabby Douglas shines even more brightly than her Olympic gold medals,” HarperCollins senior vice president Lisa Sharkey said. “The reason is her inner strength and strong faith.”
So what should be next for the gymnast? Acting gigs? Hosting her own talk show? More gymnastics? Maybe, possibly, enjoying being a teenager for a minute? Nah. That hardly sounds as fun as meeting Lil’ Wayne.
So, you’ve feverishly read through most of E.L. James’Fifty Shades of Grey trilogy — that third one takes some work, right — the movie is eons away, and now you’re getting kind of tired of seeing everyone, their mother and their brother-in-law reading the books on the train, the plane and everywhere in between. What’s next? Fifty Shames of Earl Grey by the pseudonymous Fanny Merkin (a.k.a. book bloggerAndrew Shaffer) is kind of the perfect beach read for the end of summer and the end of your obsession.
If you have cleared fantasies of Christian and Ana and the Red Room of Pain from your mind, you might be starting to see the absurdities of the books’ plot and characters — how does no one call the authorities on Christian’s stalkerish behavior? How would a publishing company hire a girl fresh out of college to be an editor, regardless of who owns the place? The list goes on. Earl Grey just takes those absurdities a little further with the story of Anna Steal and Earl Grey.
The skeleton of the plot is the same, but the details are hilariously exaggerated. Anna’s roommate, “a total B,” is Kathleen Kraven, an alcoholic 38-year-old writer for Boardroom Hotties. Their friend Jin is a Brony, Before her interview of Earl, she has actually never ridden in an elevator because “we don’t have elevators in Portland.” Anna works at Walmart. Earl Grey buys Walmart in his efforts to impress/control her. Oh, and he’s not into your average BDSM — his version stands for “Bards, Dragons, Sorcery and Magick,” as in very sexy LARP-ing. Read more…
We’re still squeeing over the fact that The Mortal Instruments: City of Bones is really and truly being shot right now, so this latest news about another of our young-adult fiction faves feels like second Christmas: Summit is reportedly in talks with Neil Burger to direct Veronica Roth’s Divergent! This is just according to “sources” at Variety right now, and Summit isn’t commenting, but just the thought of getting this close to seeing Tris and Four and the Dauntless headquarters come to life on the big screen is super exciting. The studio is said to be aiming for a release in the first quarter of 2014.
Burger’s last film was Limitless, which earned plenty of kudos for star Bradley Cooper, who played a man who takes a drug that suddenly makes him a genius. But there was ample praise for Burger as well. “Director Neil Burger, whose first feature was the intriguing Interview With the Assassin from 2002, moves the story forward with an infectious energy,” read the Associated Press review. What do the words “infectious energy” bring to mind for you? A certain story about a young woman who lives in a dystopian Chicago where people must live in factions based on an aptitude test they take at age 16? We thought so too. Now we can get back to speculating on who should star…
Here’s a reminder of the look and feel of Limitless: Read more…
I need to preface this post with a bit of my own personal back story: I went through a serious Twilight fan-fiction phase for about a year, beginning in the first trimester of my pregnancy, leading into the months my daughter was a newborn. It is all Twitter’s fault, of course — I saw people tweeting about something called MOTU and then I Googled it and discovered Master of the Universe, the fan fiction story that would later go on to become the U.K.’s bestselling book of all time (!!!) Fifty Shades of Grey.
But it was the story I read after that, as I lay in bed at two in the morning with unbearable acid reflux (never have kids, you guys) that did me in and solidified my addiction. The University of Edward Masen, the tale of a volatile, dark professor, his impressionable young graduate student and their shared past and passion for Dante, totally owned me for a summer. The story is titillating and romantic and filled with angst but with an academic twist, as it explores Renaissance art and literature at length.
The author of said story, Sylvain Reynard, eventually e-published it as two books (Gabriel’s Inferno and Gabriel’s Rapture) with the independent publisher Omnific, and just recently signed a substantial deal to publish the books with Penguin Group’s Berkley imprint. I’ve always been intrigued by Renard, a private figure who has spent much of his time using his fan-fiction fame to promote numerous charities. I was thrilled he agreed to answer some questions via email about publishing Gabriel’s Inferno, the fan fiction community, the Fifty Shades phenomenon, his charitable work and the possibility of his stories one day making it to the big screen.
Probably some of you were a little too busy with, er, other things on your mind while reading Fifty Shades of Grey to realize author E.L. James was giving you the perfect playlist for your very own, um, enjoyment. Or if you’re that great a multi-tasker, in between buying that complete set of restraints and riding crops, you’ve already downloaded all the Thomas Tallis, Bach and more that accompanies Ana and Christian’s adventures in and out of the “Red Room of Pain,” For the rest of us, EMI has actually compiled a bunch of those songs into Fifty Shades of Grey – The Classical Album (alas, that means no Britney Spears or Kings of Leon will be included).
“I am thrilled that the classical pieces that inspired me while I wrote the Fifty Shades Trilogy are being brought together in one collection for all lovers of the books to enjoy,” James said in a press release from the label. The album drops digitally on August 21 and in CD format on September 18.
Here’s a track list to, um, whet your appetite: Read more…
“You know that best-selling book everyone loves? I haven’t read it,” says a female cyclist in Citibank’s “Dedication” ad airing during the Olympics. Except, wrong. According to Australia’s Herald Sun (via the Daily Mail), the Aussie ladies’ swim team has been making time in their schedule for that book everyone loves, Fifty Shades of Grey.
“Most of the swimming girls are reading Fifty Shades of Grey. We’re all talking about it,” said Alicia Coutts, who so far has a gold for the 4x100m freestyle relay, silvers for the 4×200 freestyle relay and the 200m IM, and a bronze for the 100m butterfly. She said her manager recommended the E.J. James book to her, and now she and her teammates use it to relax. Read more…