Welcome to August, YA fans!
This week’s newsletter is sponsored by Harmony from Europe Comics.
One day, Harmony wakes up in an unfamiliar basement having completely lost her memory. All she now knows of the world is the name of her “host,” the mysterious voices in her head and a newly discovered talent for telekinesis. She’s going to have to get her memory back pretty quickly in order to face the dangers that await her. There are so many unanswered questions, and the fight has only just begun…
Let’s take this week’s newsletter as a giant catch-up on recent YA news, interesting pieces from around the web, and adaptation updates. There has been a lot of exciting and thought-provoking linkage that’s hit my radar lately, and I hope you find a thing or two or ten that’s interesting.
- We Need Diverse Books is running a wonderful summer feature that pairs up books you’ve read and loved with diverse books you should pick up. It’s not all YA, but they’ve had a healthy selection. A number of the books on the left are ones I haven’t read, so it’ll be nice to catch up with all of these recs.
- Sarah J Maas fan? You’ll be treated to 6 (!!) more books in her Court of Thorns and Roses series, as well as 2 more in her Throne of Glass series. Wowza.
- Jason Reynolds will be writing a Miles Morales YA novel. It’s nice to see how inclusive the authors selected to write these comic adaptations have been — DC’s selections announced earlier this year are promising.
- This piece on the state of disability representation on YA book covers from Corinne Duyvis and Kayla Whaley at Disability in Kid Lit is outstanding. It’s given me a lot of pause for what I’m seeing on covers and what I’m not seeing.
- If you’re already thinking about YA books in 2017, then you’ll want to peruse the Publishers Weekly Spring 2017 children’s announcements. It’s not comprehensive, but it’s a nice taste of what’s to come.
- I really appreciate how The Guardian encourages teenagers write pieces. This one, about whether or not YA is too politically correct, has been on my mind for a few weeks now. The piece struggles to separate the idea of political correctness and diversity, suggesting that some authors do the second by relying too heavily on the first but….I don’t see it. I think through my adult eyes and my experience in reading YA for many, many years, I don’t see the push toward political correctness, nor do I see the push for diversity (a phrase I loathe!) as a means of checking some boxes. In order to have YA that explores the vastness of teenhood and teen experiences, there needs to be YA that explores topics that are, for the lack of a better phrase, “politically correct.” But “political correctness,” is a bs term. It means not being an asshole and/or embracing the idea that other people’s lives and choices are valid and worth listening to. I think what this piece is trying to get at is that we should consider the idea that YA could benefit from more conservative characters and situations. And if that’s the case, I’ll still argue that those books are there. What’s not there, and what never should be there, are books which are offensive, degrading, and hurtful to entire classes of people. We have a long way to go, though, considering how frequently we’re still seeing books where characters “play Indian.”
- This piece at School Library Journal with YA author Stephanie Kuehn about mental illness and unreliable narrators is fantastic.
- Here are this year’s Eisner Award winners, including Jillian Tamaki and John Lewis for their teen-friendly graphic novels.
Here’s the latest in YA adaptation news to know about:
- Lauren Oliver fans: Before I Fall will hit the big screen on April 7, 2017. That would be the same day that the middle grade bestseller Wonder will also hit theaters.
- The final film in the “Divergent” franchise won’t be hitting theaters. It will instead go to television and have the option for a miniseries to go along with it. This article at Salon is interesting, though I don’t think it necessarily conveys some of the other issues I’ve seen mentioned in this changeup. Namely, the second and third films in the series didn’t pull in a lot of money (see the YA newsletter from May on this), breaking up a trilogy into four parts has a lot of challenges to it (including the fact that a “hot” franchise in 2012 is going to look different in 2017…and teenagers who might have been 14 when the books hit are no longer 14 later on), and, perhaps on a shallower level, a lot of critics have gotten tired of white girls on the big screen (and, perhaps, tired of Woodley playing so many of the roles in these films). The Salon piece does talk about the challenges this change presents in terms of seeing powerful female leads on the big screen, which is worth considering. Though, if you keep an eye on rights acquisition news, it looks like there’s going to be more of them coming….more of them written by female authors….and a wider range of genres represented.
- For example, we just got news Amandla Stenberg will be starring in the film adaptation of Nicola Yoon’s Everything Everything.
- And then there is the news about the adaptation of Sara Zarr’s Story of a Girl.
- As well as the news about Bella Throne starring in Break My Heart 1000 Times.
- Then there’s the news about a director being attached to the adaptation of Alexandra Bracken’s The Darkest Minds.
- And Victoria Schwab’s This Savage Song has been acquired for an adaptation.
- Jonathan Maberry’s forthcoming YA novel Mars One has been acquired for television. The book isn’t out yet, but I’ll be really curious to see Maberry take on science fiction without zombies.
- Terry Pratchett’s Wee Free Men will be getting the big screen treatment.
And here are a few pieces from Book Riot the last couple of weeks to check out:
- I pulled together a list of 65 YA horror books all written by women. What was great about this list was how many I had to leave off because women in YA are really doing a lot of great horror and have been for a long time.
- Alison talks about 3 great podcasts for fans of YA literature.
- A guide to get you started with Meg Medina’s work . . . and if you didn’t know already, she’ll be a guest at this year’s Book Riot Live.
- From the archives: a look at the Amelia Bloomer Project, which highlights feminist books for young readers.
- Eric talks about the books mentioned in the debut YA novel Mirror in the Sky.
Thanks for reading. As always, if you’ve seen something about YA lately that’s interested you or you want to say something about what I’ve shared here, you can always hit the reply button. “What’s Up in YA?” will hit your inbox in another two weeks, with a bit of a focus on what we’ve been reading and raving about this year so far.
If you want to, click here to share your favorite YA reads this year. I’ll use what you share here, as well as what was shared with me a couple of weeks ago, to compile your recommendations.