Saturday, October 30, 2010

Book of the Week 11/2

Here is the YA book you should be paying attention to, due in book stores this coming Tuesday...

Virals (Kathy Reichs) - Kathy Reichs makes her debut in young adult literature with the first book in her Virals series, a spin-off of the adult mystery series starring Temperance Brennan that she's most known for (and is the inspiration behind the television series Bones).  Virals follows Tory Brennan, the niece of Temperance, and part of a team of teenage "sci-philes" who are exposed to a virus that changes them.

Other Noteworthy Releases

Pegasus (Robin McKinley)
The Daughters Break the Rules (Joanna Philbin)
The Mockingbirds (Daisy Whitney)
The Other Side of Dark (Sarah Smith)
The Vampire Diaries: Stefan's Diaries #1: Origins (L.J. Smith, Kevin Williamson & Julie Plec)

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Classic Reprints

There have been some successful reprints of classic books, geared toward a young adult audience as of late, including Pride and Prejudice and Wuthering Heights (both of which had black covers with a splash of red to attract readers of Twilight).  Next month sees a slew of new editions of classics repackaged for teens, including Charlotte Bronte's Jane Eyre and Bram Stoker's DraculaJane Eyre is certainly going to appeal to those who picked up the previous two classics by Jane Austen and Emily Bronte, and also those readers who enjoy historical romances - it holds up really well and is a classic for a reason.  Dracula, which I read recently, is one of my favorite books, and is still as scary and engrossing as any number of horror titles on the shelves these days, and with all of the vampire books crowding the young adult shelves at bookstores these days, it's a wonder that it took this long to target that audience with the original that started it all.  Ruben Toledo does covers for both Jane Eyre and Dracula, and has done moody covers for a variety of classics over the years including Hawthorne's The Scarlet Letter and another version of Wuthering Heights.  Also available this month is C.S. Lewis' The Chronicles of Narnia: 60th Anniversary Edition, a new version of Huxley's Brave New World and the long-out-of-print novella The Hundred-Year Christmas by David Morrell, which is over twenty-five years old and sees Father Christmas contemplating mortality as he searches for a replacement for himself after a hundred years, after seeing his good friend Father Time age and die every year before his eyes.

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Book of the Week 10/26

Here is the YA book you should be paying attention to, due in book stores this Tuesday...

Misguided Angel (Blue Bloods #5) (Melissa de la Cruz) - The latest installment of the popular Blue Bloods vampire series comes out this week.  I haven't read the series, but it sounds very operatic and action-packed.

Other Noteworthy Releases

Ghost Town (Morganville Vampires #9) (Rachel Caine)
Dash & Lily's Book of Dares (David Levithan)
Witch and Wizard: Battle For Shadowland Graphic Novel (Victor Santos & James Patterson)
The Fledgling Handbook 101 (P.C. Cast)
The Properties of Water (Hannah Roberts McKinnon)

Friday, October 22, 2010

Thirst (Volume 3)

The Eternal Dawn
Christopher Pike

The third omnibus volume of Thirst is a continuation of The Last Vampire series (of which have been collected as Thirst) by Christopher Pike.  It's been fourteen years since Christopher Pike wrapped up the series in The Last Vampire (Volume 6): Creatures of Forever, but it seems the popularity of the title as it's being reprinted (in wake of The Twilight Saga phenomenon) has justified more stories from Pike focusing on the thousands-year-old vampire Sita, or Alisa, or whoever she decides to be, continuing the story in a way that sort of fudges around how Pike left the books, in a way that makes sense and is appropriate.  It's exciting to get a fresh story after all these years, one as action-packed and full of surprises (and gore) as the original books.  This title reads very quickly and is more action than horror, has a hint of romance, and is big on plot twists.  Like the previous books in The Last Vampire series, this book has a good amount of contemplation of Sita's existence, including her closeness to Krishna.  The main thrust of the book finds Alisa befriending one of her descendants, and consequently trying to keep her safe as two warring groups try to kill her.  Conspiracies abound as Alisa attempts to unravel the mystery of strange events that occur around her.  This book has pretty much everything you'd hope for in a fun YA thriller, with characters that you really come to care for.  Pike's writing remains strong after his long hiatus and creates a new chapter that's definitely worthy to carry on the franchise.

Monday, October 18, 2010

Book of the Week 10/19

Here is the YA book you should be paying attention to, due in stores on Tuesday...

Nightshade (Andrea Cremer) - This book from debut author Andrea R. Cremer is getting a decent amount of buzz, about a female werewolf who has everything to look forward to, especially as she is destined to ride beside the alpha male of her pack come graduation.  But then she saves a human male from death and finds herself falling for him, putting that future in jeapardy.

Other Noteworthy Releases

The Dragon's Apprentice (James Owen)
Trash (Andy Mulligan)
Crescendo (Becca Fitzpatrick)
The Dragons of Noor (Janet Lee Carey)

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Teen Retro: Fearless

One thing that has really changed over the years is how the young adult book is merchandised.  Content has changed somewhat, but not drastically, if the reprints of books like The Vampire Diaries and Thirst are any indication.  The categories in bookstores used to separate out "Teen Thrillers" from regular teen titles, and now Barnes & Noble has updated their layout of the teen sections to reflect the modern teen buyer, with a "Teen Fiction," section, a "Teen Paranormal Romance" and a "Teen Fantasy & Adventure" section.  And this is how people shop, so it's smart.  You can peruse a section containing just the sorts of books you like to read, without having to sort things out as you browse.

The format of books in teen is also drastically different than it was ten years ago.  When I was buying teen novels, the only format available was a mass market paperback.  Teen books were much shorter then.  If an author wanted to write a longer narrative, it was usually written as a trilogy, much like L.J. Smith's The Secret Circle and Dark Visions, or as a series like Sweep.  Obviously, teen books are much thicker now, and the packaging has changed with the times, and are released according to the regular adult fiction model.  Big releases are released in hardcover first (although some are released as softcover initially, as is the case with some adult fiction titles), then after a certain period of time, are released in a trade paperback format.  Rarely are teen books just released in mass market format, and even more rare is a teen title that eventually goes through the first two formats to end up in mass market.  The only example I can think of currently is The Twilight Saga, the books of which are released with movie covers in mass market around the time the films come out.  No - mass markets are mostly a thing of the past when it comes to teen books, while it used to be a matter of course.

The design of teen books is also much sleeker than what it used to be.  Teen books of the past boasted painted covers that looked retro, even well into the 90's, making them look much older than they were.  One of the first instances that I can recall of teen books starting to shift is with Francine Pascal's Fearless series.  Francine Pascal is the popular author of Sweet Valley High (an earlier version of a series like Gossip Girl), and when she made the leap to the action/suspense series Fearless, her books stood out on the shelves with its photographed covers and cleaner look.  It's what all teen books have come to mimic nowadays, but in the 90's, it was taken for granted what a teen book looked like, and it took someone with a vision to stray from that model.  I'm not sure if it was Fearless that paved the way for the look of the modern teen book, but it was certainly one of the pioneers experimenting with what could work.

The design on Fearless got even more sleek around #15 of the series, when the design was changed, and more space was given to the photograph on the cover (see below).  It was as if the publishers were experimenting to see just what could be done and how things would be received by their audience.  Fearless is also one of the first series that I recall seeing collected editions of.  I know that there were some thrillers that were also re-released with a few novels together under one cover around the time that I saw that happen with this series, but it's a testament to the forward-thinking behind this title in particular that "omnibus editions" were already being released of this series quite early on.

The teen novel has come a long way since its beginnings, but it seems that the category has hit its stride, perfecting its look and finding a comfortable place in the current book market.  It's the experimentation of merchandising on books like Fearless that has helped to shape what teen books look like today, and if the ravenous audience of teen books currently is any indication, then we owe a lot to the people who decided to break out of the mold and try something different with the category.  Talk about fearless.

Monday, October 11, 2010

Book of the Week 10/12

I've decided to change the format of new releases coming out each week, so I'll be choosing one title to highlight each week, with a list of other big releases beyond it.  So, here is the young adult book you should be paying attention to, due in stores on Tuesday...

Bright Young Things (Anna Godberson) - This new series from Luxe creator Anna Godberson takes place in the roaring Twenties, and follows two girls who leave their small town for the big city: New York.  Once there, they discover that the glitter and flappers aren't everything they'd ever dreamed, and its parties and seedy underside may corrupt the girls as well as tear them apart.

Other Noteworthy Releases

The Scorch Trials (James Dashner)
Beautiful Darkness (Kami Garcia & Margaret Stohl)
The Curse of the Wendigo (Monstrumologist #2) (Rick Yancey)
Elixir (Hilary Duff & Elise Allen)
Revolution (Jennifer Donnelly)
Hold Me Closer, Necromancer (Lish McBride)
Stork (Wendy Dahl)
Ice Claw (David Gilman)
Jumpstart the World (Catherine Ryan Hyde)
Cate of the Lost Colony (Lisa Klein)
Alien Invasion & Other Inconveniences (Brian Yanskey)

Sunday, October 10, 2010

The Secret of Ka

Christopher Pike

The first brand new novel from Christopher Pike in years, The Secret of Ka, is a departure from what most people think of when thinking of Pike.  It's much more innocent and more of a straight fantasy than his usual horror/slasher/paranormal books.  But that's not a bad thing.  In fact, I quite enjoyed this book.  It caught me off-guard a bit, and as such, took a little longer for me to get into, but once I was invested in the story, I tore through the rest of the book.  The Secret of Ka reads a bit younger than most young adult novels out there.  I'd almost recommend it for an advanced middle grade audience, but an early teen reader is probably ideal.  It's very chaste - even a kiss is a big deal, which is certainly different from the drugs and sex prevalent in many of his books.  But I liked that innocence.  It worked for this book especially since it takes place in Istanbul, which the protagonist, Sara, learns is very different from America.  The culture differences are part of what really work in this story, particularly when it comes to Sara's involvement with Amesh, a boy she has a crush on who's missing one of his hands.  In Turkey, women are seen as inferior to men (nevermind how non-Muslims are perceived), and the feisty nature in Sara's personality gets her into trouble often, but also puts a wall up between her and Amesh, especially when it becomes clear that she has more control in certain situations.  But beyond these tensions in the novel, the mythology that Pike weaves into the story, featuring djinn and flying carpets, are inspired, and are not the traditional genie nonsense seen elsewhere.  The mythology is obviously thoughtfully researched, if references to the Koran are any indication, and Pike has created some really interesting ideas when it comes to djinn possession and what their powers mean, and how they work.  Djinn are trixsters, and will stop at nothing to get their third wish used, which turns the tables on the wisher, and will often interpret wishes in ways that will cause the wisher to have to use another wish to fix.  One of the most suspenseful aspects of this book is the will between djinn and master.  They have to tread carefully with one another, thoughtfully arranging their words, carefully keeping one step ahead of each other, if they wish to be triumphant.  Whenever there is a confrontation between a djinn and a human, I'm always on the edge of my seat as the conversation plays out.  And once readers get past that first hundred pages that sets up the setting in Istanbul and introduces the key players of the book, the rest of the fantasy rushes along, coming to a head in a very satisfying way.  I'm very impressed with the mythology of this book and the subtle complexities of characters who come from very different worlds.  This is a riveting, exciting work of fiction.

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

I Am Number Four trailer

The first theatrical trailer for "I Am Number Four," based on the young adult novel by Pittacus Lore, is up!

Sunday, October 3, 2010

New Releases 10/5

Here are the big teen releases due in stores on Tuesday:

Thirst (Volume 3): The Eternal Dawn
by Christopher Pike

by Scott Westerfeld

Sugar and Spice (L.A. Candy #3)
by Lauren Conrad

Birth of a Killer (The Saga of Larten Crepsley #1)
by Darren Shan

Pure Sin (Privilege #5)
by Kate Brian

It's Not Like I Planned It This Way
by Phyllis Naylor

by Amanda Marrone

Dark Reflections
by Kai Meyer

The Unidentified
by Rae Mariz

Another Pan
by Daniel & Dina Nayeri

(This title is actually not scheduled to be in stores
until October 26th, but we already have it in stock.)

Saturday, October 2, 2010


I saw this neat interview over at The Book Smugglers, with Carrie Ryan (The Forest of Hands and Teeth) and Diana Peterfreund (Rampant) talking about growing up on Christopher Pike novels and his influences on their writing.