November 21, 2013 |
When the receipts are tallied for "The Hunger Games: Catching Fire," heroine Katniss Everdeen and her famed arrows will likely hit a box-office bull's-eye. The film starring Jennifer Lawrence is forecast by some to sell as much as $180 million in tickets for its U.S. debut this weekend, which would be the biggest opening of the year. If it delivers as expected, "Catching Fire" will buck the recent trend in which films based on young adult books have fizzled. In the last 18 months, Hollywood adaptations of "Ender's Game," "Beautiful Creatures," "Mortal Instruments," "The Host" and others have failed to ignite with audiences, scuttling hopes of moneymaking new franchises.
November 7, 2013 |
"Ender's Game" may not be the best-executed adaptation in the history of moviedom. But it's based on a major bestseller and a longtime fan favorite, so by all rights it should have made a boatload of money instead of eking out $28 million on its first weekend and going quietly into that dystopian night. It's hardly alone, of course. Why the young-adult boom has gone bust has been a hot topic in development circles in recent weeks. There are rarely the kind of feeding frenzies in Hollywood of the kind that followed the first "Harry Potter" movies (and, to a somewhat lesser extent, the first “Twilight” movie)
October 21, 2013 |
Over the course of five books, A.S. King has established herself as a singular voice in today's young adult literature. She brings vivid life to realistic kids working through raw deals, from the death of a friend in Printz honor winner "Please Ignore Vera Dietz," to a girl coming to terms with her sexuality in the 2012 Los Angeles Times Book Prize winner "Ask the Passengers. " (Her pirate-flavored debut, "The Dust of 100 Dogs," is an exception, yet it establishes the magical realism that colors her work.)
September 6, 2013 |
Those thoroughly satiated with beach days and summer blonds can seek refuge of a darker sort in two new novels for young adults in which classic 19th century Gothic novels get a postmodern, post-punk makeover influenced by the aesthetic of their 20th century pop culture counterpart, Gothic rock. Australian poet and fantasy novelist Alison Croggon starts her novel "Black Spring" with the plot skeleton of Emily Brontë's "Wuthering Heights," then grafts on witches, wizards and a little contemporary feminist theory.
August 30, 2013 |
When it came out in 2003, David Levithan's young-adult debut, "Boy Meets Boy," had the pinkish glow of wish fulfillment. Its gay-teen hero found love in a small-town utopia where parents embraced children's differences, jocks treated queers as peers, and a cross-dressing high school quarterback could double as head cheerleader. So much peace, love and understanding - at a time when homosexuality was illegal in 14 states, when "Don't ask, don't tell" and the Defense of Marriage Act were the laws of the land, and the murder of Matthew Shepard was fresh in memory.
August 8, 2013 |
"If I Ever Get Out of Here," Eric Gansworth's first novel for young people, rings true with a sophisticated look at what it's like to be an outsider and what it takes to be a true friend. Lewis Blake has precious little going for him in school; he's smart, sure. But he's super skinny, essentially friendless, his family is dirt poor, and he's from the "rez" in an area that routinely treats his Tuscarora Reservation community with disdain - or worse. The friendship part starts to change with the arrival at school of George, an Air Force kid. Lewis and George share the same experiences many adolescent pals do: eagerness to learn about girls, sneaked beers, campouts.