The book-to-movie adaptation news cycle never lets up these days, does it? Most of us haven’t even seen the Hunger Games yet, and already we’ve seen a teaser for the Breaking Dawn – Part 2 teaser trailer that will be shown before Hunger Games and a trailer for RPattz’s Cosmopolis (an adaptation of a very different kind of book by Don DeLillo). There are two more things we’re excited for today: People has a couple of stills of Saoirse Ronan and Max Irons in The Host, the sci-fi Stephenie Meyer adaptation whose teaser will also play before HG. And yesterday, Summit launched a little production Tumblr for Ender’s Game, the adaptation of the ’80s sci-fi/dystopian YA novel by Orson Scott Card, which stars Asa Butterfield, Hailee Steinfeld, Abigail Breslin, Harrison Ford, Viola Davis and Ben Kingsley.
“Most of us read Ender’s Game when we were young and wondered when it would become a movie,” the producers say in the first blog entry. “We never dreamed then that we would all be part of the team to bring it to the screen, nor did we realize the novel’s description of our world would be so prescient that its vision would still be unfolding before our very eyes today. And now, watching Asa bring a character to life who has been on our minds since our youth, we realize things happen for a reason. We were waiting for him.”
We’ll take those words of wisdom to heart: No matter how impatient we are to see our favorite books make it to the big screen, we’d rather wait until they’re done right than see a rush job. And we have to admit, the waiting is kind of fun too.
In case you thought the interest for young-adult dystopian fiction was dying down, we present to you exhibit A: Gennifer Albin’s upcoming novel Crewel, which had seven agents scrambling to represent it, and five publishing houses fighting to buy it in a week. We won’t get to see the book itself until October 16, but we do have this unusual, brilliant cover to share with you. And a few words from Albin herself, who got on the phone with us from her home in Kansas to explain this bizarre “Mad Men meets Handmaid’s Tale Meets The Hunger Games” pitch we keep hearing.
“It’s set in a world where women are cultivated into these kind of femme-fatale types that weave the fabric of life,” Albin explained. “They are made to be these beautiful, deadly women that are then controlled by the all male government.”
Adelice, the 16-year-old at the center of the novel, has the talent needed to become one of these “Spinsters,” but her parents are determined to protect her from that fate. So, is this some kind of commentary on the fame and fashion industries? Not really. “But one of the reasons they are made to be beautiful is because in my perfect world the thing that would tempt me the most is being able to live a really glamorous lifestyle.”
We Hunger Games fans have been lapping up every cast interview, reblogging every Capitol Couture Tumblr post and dog-earring the pages of our favorite scenes just to bide the time until March 23, but the days just aren’t moving fast enough, are they? Thankfully, there are other distractions at hand, like all the other excellent dystopian novels we’ve recommended to you. Today marks the release of another: Pandemonium, the sequel to Lauren Oliver’s Delirium — and it’s guaranteed to replace, at least temporarily, the visions of Katniss and Peeta running through your head.
Second books of trilogies, I think, are the most torturous things. You already love the characters, you’ve already seen them go through so much, and you know that by the end of this installment, their situations will only have worsened in preparation for book three. But in the right hands, it can be sweet torture, the stuff we know our heroine can survive and come out of even stronger, just as Katniss did after her second Hunger Games.
In Delirium, we met Lena, a girl who was counting down the days until her 18th birthday, when she’d receive the Cure, an operation to remove her susceptibility (and ability) to love, a.k.a. deliria, a known and feared disease. But then she met Alex, a boy who opened her eyes and … OK, if you haven’t read Delirium, stop reading this post now. SPOILERS after the jump.
Some people talk about being good friend’s with their exes but we’ve always wondered how true those statements really are. Then we look at Angelina Jolie and Billy Bob Thornton and realize that their relationship actually hasn’t been exaggerated. They are are close. So much so that Angelina has written the foreword to Billy Bob’s new memoir, The Billy Bob Tapes: A Cave Full of Ghosts. Considering they divorced back in 2003, in a world where splits can be quite acrimonious, we think that the gesture is quite something. He also has other famous buddies involved with the book, in the form of “commentary by Robert Duvall, Dwight Yoakam and Tom Epperson.”
Of course, the National Enquirer has been claiming that this spells trouble for Brad Pitt and Angie, and that she “plans to reunite with ex-husband Billy Bob Thornton.” The tabloid even goes as far as to claim that Brad ran out of a restaurant in Berlin, bawling because he found out that Billy and Angie had plans to meet up at the Berlin International Film Festival. Brad Pitt. Bawling. Angie. The evil woman who breaks hearts for breakfast. Who really believes in this bunch of hokum? It’s just a book, guys.
[Photos: William Morrow/ Getty Images]
Seeing as how the first Harry Potter book was released in 1997, the original generation of Potter fans are by now old enough to have jobs and utility bills and thick, lustrous facial hair. It makes sense, then, that author J.K. Rowling would want to write something for her newly adult following. “The freedom to explore new territory is a gift that Harry’s success has brought me, and with that new territory it seemed a logical progression to have a new publisher,” the Potter scribe said in a statement today about her next book and new publisher Little, Brown and Company. We should probably give up hope that Rowling is planning to bring Snape back from the dead in a new novel, but…but what if we’re just not ready yet?
“Although I’ve enjoyed writing it every bit as much, my next book will be very different to the Harry Potter series, which has been published so brilliantly by Bloomsbury and my other publishers around the world,” she explained, without divulging either the subject or the title of her new work. Having last published Harry Potter and the Deathy Hallows in 2007, switching from YA and the world of magic could potentially alienate readers who were only in it for the adolescent wizards. So are you ready to pre-order a new J.K. Rowling book? Or does the lack of quiddich mean you’ll probably just wait for the movie? Because you know there will be a movie.
[Photo: Getty Images]
While the world wonders whether there was some way the tragic death of Whitney Houston could have been prevented, and there seems to be some dispute over whether Demi Moore is in rehab at Cirque Lodge or somewhere else, we consumers and producers of the fame machine are forced to stop and think a bit. How much of celebrities’ troubles are our fault? Or would they have the same troubles if we weren’t reading and writing about them? And at the same time, we’re still wondering: How can we read and write more about these celebrities and their troubles?
Well, we can either get all depressed by all this soul-searching, or we can do what I always do: Escape into a book about someone else’s soul searching. The new novel Spin, by Canadian author Catherine McKenzie, is kind of perfect for this occasion. It starts off all lighthearted and chick-lit: Kate Sandford lands an interview for her dream job writing at a music magazine, but she goes out partying to celebrate her 30th birthday the night before and shows up at the interview drunk. And yeah, doesn’t get the job. But weeks later, the editor of the magazine offers a second chance … with a catch. They want Kate to use her visible alcohol problem in order to get into the extremely secluded rehab facility where A-list starlet Amber Sheppard has just been admitted. If she befriends Amber and writes an expose for the magazine’s sister gossip rag, then she might also land her dream job after all. Of course, there are complications with this plan, ones Kate doesn’t even think of until she’s committed to 30 days in the Cloudspin Oasis.
Well, OK, as far as we know there are no actual ravens in Shiver author Maggie Stiefvater’s upcoming four-book series, but we are still super excited to see what kind of magic occurs in The Raven Boys, the first installment, due out September 18. Stiefvater, whose flesh-eating horse novel Scorpio Races not only won the prestigious Printz honor but also is also being adapted by Warner Bros., announced the new series this morning.
According to her publisher, Scholastic (that little house that also brought us The Hunger Games), the book is about two very different kids growing up in Virginia. Blue Sargent (name trend!) is the daughter of the town psychic, but she doesn’t really believe the prophecy that she’ll kill her true love if she kisses him. Richard “Dick” Campbell Gansey III is one of the rich boys attending the nearby Aglionby Academy, and despite seeming to have it all, he’s on a search for a mythological Welsh king who will supposedly grant a wish to the first person who finds him. Gansey and his private school friends call themselves the Raven Boys, hence the title. Somehow, these two cross paths.
We keep hearing how all the people involved in The Hunger Games movie were fans of Suzanne Collins’ books long before they were actually hired. Well, as fellow fans, we love to hear about how others discovered Katniss and her world. And that’s what we asked Elizabeth Banks yesterday, when she was in town to promote her latest movie, Man on a Ledge.
“I first got the book from a publishing friend,” said the actress, who plays District 12′s tribute handler Effie Trinket. “I had read a similarly themed book called The Maze Runner, also a great book, and someone said, ‘If you liked that, you’ll really like this upcoming book called The Hunger Games.’ ”
*Pause.* So, it sounds like she was a fan before the book was even out, back in September 2008. The Maze Runner, incidentally, is the first in a trilogy by James Dashner about a boy who wakes up in a box with no memory of his past and realizes he’s one of a group of boys forced to try to escape an ever-changing life-size maze. Catherine Hardwicke was attached to direct that movie, but we haven’t heard any news on it since January 2011. (Update: James Dashner just tweeted us that he doesn’t think Hardwicke is attached anymore. Boo!) OK, back to Banks and her Games obsession. *Unpause*
The more than 150,000 fans who preordered John Green’s novel The Fault in Our Stars got their signed copies on Tuesday. By today, they are probably wishing they’d also received a coupon for Sephora with their purchase, because seriously, those up-all-night-crying eyes are not a good look. The superstar YA author’s latest is a tearjerker of Jody Picoult levels: It’s about a girl, Hazel, who’s had terminal cancer in her lungs for years, and a boy, Augustus, who had his leg removed due to bone cancer. Luckily, though, it’s also a John Green novel, so there are just as many laughs as there are gutwrenching sobs.
“You have no idea how sad I wanted it to be,” Green told us on the phone on Monday, when we jokingly asked him if he ever wanted to write a “happily ever after” story. “My responsibility is to try to tell true stories. To me a true story is always hopeful, but never simply, uncomplicatedly happy.”
Just to be clear, by “true” he doesn’t mean nonfiction. Though the Looking for Alaska author was inspired to write TFIOS (as fans call it) after befriending a girl with terminal cancer, he is very careful to warn readers that the book’s Hazel is not his late friend Esther.
“There are a lot of particularly superficial similarities between Esther and Hazel. The main superficial similarity is that they’re both very empathetic people,” he said. “But in a lot of ways they’re very, very different, and since Esther isn’t here to defend herself, it was important to me to not claim a close association.”
In her first series, The Mortal Instruments, Cassandra Clare combined the comfortably familiar settings of Brooklyn and Manhattan with the underground universe of demons, Shadowhunters, vampires, fairies and warlocks. But for the prequel trilogy, The Infernal Devices, she must have felt that was too easy. The first two books, Clockwork Angel and Clockwork Prince (which came out last week), take place in Victorian London. Orphaned American shapeshifter Tessa Gray and the demon-killing Shadowhunters that take her in are all at the mercy of a rapidly changing world, where scientific advances can be amazing and deadly, and where propriety and gender roles are talked about much more than they’re actually followed.
“The Victorians were much less hung up and repressed than we think of them as,” Clare told TheFABlife of what she discovered while researching the book. “I had always thought of them with these apocryphal stories that they couldn’t say ‘arm’ or ‘leg’ in public and that they covered their piano legs because they were supposed to be naughty. This was all total crap apparently. None of that stuff ever happened. The books of the time period that were really popular are shocking. They were full of sex and violence and betrayal and adultery and sin.”
In Clockwork Prince, Tessa is not only trying to help find and stop the man who seeks to take over the city with an army of clockwork soldiers, she’s also trying to find out the workings of her own heart, torn between tempestuous, deep-dark-secret-holding Will and gentle, probably-dying Jem. And by “trying to find out,” we mean “making out” in some pretty hot and heavy scenes.