Read a children’s book from 1972 (the olden days) which attempted to depict what life would be like in 2010. Which is the year we’re in now, as you are aware! It gets a few thing right, although the robot arm that throws you your toast and the jumpsuits everyone wears are a bit of a stretch.
This summer looks to be the summer of beloved childrens books being turned into good movies. With Maurice Sendak’s Where The Wild Things Are, and now Roald Dahl’s Fantastic Mr. Fox set for cinematic release one can only speculate what will be next. Personally, I’d like to see Willard Price’s Adventure series get a turn. Anyway, here is the trailer for Fantastic Mr. Fox, starring George Clooney, Meryl Streep, Bill Murray and directed by Wes Anderson.
The Catcher in the Rye’s Holden Caulfield may be losing his grip on the kids, suggests the New York Times in this here article. Apparently his primary concerns – about phoniness and so on – have dated and aren’t quite as relevant to teens as they once were.
(Read a related post here.)
A sequel to J. D. Salinger’s classic novel, The Catcher in the Rye, has been written and is about to be published. It is called 60 Years Later (it’s set 60 years later), and Holden Caulfield, now an elderly man, escapes from a retirement home to travel through New York. Permission from Salinger wasn’t given, but as he’s so famously reclusive it was unlikely to happen anyway.
What would Holden say about it?
Remember This, by S. T. Underdahl (282 pages) – Lucy’s looking foward to summer. But she embarrasses herself when trying out for the cheerleading team, ends up dating a boy she previously disliked, and has to watch her grandmother suffer from the onset of Alzheimer’s disease.
First sentences: ‘Remember this: I love you. It was the special saying my Nana Lucy and I had for each other, ever since I was tiny.‘
Sword : A Novel, by Da Chen (232 pages) – Martial arts expert Miu Miu turns fifteen and is told by her mother about her father’s violent death. Miu Miu is asked to avenge her father, and to find her fated true love, all in the faraway city of Chang’an. The Emperor has ‘other plans’.
First sentence: ‘On the morning of Miu Miu’s fifteenth birthday, her mother did not arrange a visit by a matchmaker, as all the mothers of Goose Village did when their daughters reached marriageable age.‘
The Bloodstone Bird, by Inbali Iserles (326 pages) – Sash finds a riddle in his father’s study, which leads him – and his enemy, Verity – on the search for a magical bird. Their search takes them to a dazzling new world.
First sentence: ‘“In the beginning, Aqarti was a lush paradise surrounded by endless sea.”‘
Sharp Shot, by Jack Higgins and Justin Richards (297 pages) – Twins Jade and Rich are kidnapped and find themselves at the centre of a deadly plot, involving the first Gulf War and explosives. This is the third book in a series.
First sentence: ‘John Chance raised his powerful binoculars and focused on the low building on the other side of the sand dune.‘
The Other Side of the Island : A Novel, by Allegra Goodman (280 pages) – Honor and her family move to Island 365, where the weather is always nice, there’s no unhappiness or violence, and everyone prays to Earth Mother and her Corporation. Honor and her family don’t fit in, however, and she meets Helix; together they uncover a terrible secret about the island.
First sentence: ‘All this happened many years ago, before the streets were air-conditioned.‘
Crushed : A Year in Girl Hell, by Meredith Costain (137 pages) – It’s Lexi’s first year of high school and life is changing fast. Her friends split up and Lexi has to choose between her old friends and her new, cooler friends. And she develops a crush on Jack, one of the cool kids. For younger teens.
First sentence: ‘“Lexi, can you hurry up please?”‘
Undiscovered Country : A Novel, by Lin Enger (308 pages) – Seventeen-year-old Jesse is out hunting with his father in Minnesota on a cold, wintery day. His father is shot; and it looks like he had killed himself. His father’s ghost begins to haunt Jesse, and he soon uncovers family secrets and his own, new responsibility. This book is a ‘bold reinvention’ of Shakespeare’s Hamlet.
First sentence: ‘As I write this, I am sitting in the kitchen of the small house where we’ve lived now for a decade.‘
Fouth Comings : A Novel, by Megan McCafferty (310 pages) – This is the fourth Jessica Darling book and it will be very difficult to summarise in my usual two or three sentences. But if you’ve read the others you will be hanging out for this (I know Grimm will probably be first to read it).
First sentence: ‘”Waiting sucks.” The voice was male and came from behind my right shoulder.”
Bliss, by Lauren Myracle (444 pages) – Bliss has grown up in a Californian commune, and is sent to live with her strict grandmother and to study at Crestview, an exclusive school for the rich with an old, dark history. There she is targetted by Sandy, a girl obsessed with the occult. A ‘contagiously creepy tale of high school horror.’
First sentence: ‘Grandmother won’t tolerate occultism, even of the nose-twitching sort made so adorable by Samantha Stevens, so I’m not allowed to watch Bewitched.’
The Beginner’s Guide to Living, by Lia Hills (248 pages)
A Small Free Kiss in the Dark, by Glenda Millard (225 pages)
Dead is a State of Mind, by Marlene Perez (175 pages)
Miguel de Cervantes’ Don Quixote, retold by Martin Jenkins and illustrated by Chris Riddell (347 pages)
Saving Sam, by Susan Brocker (192 pages)
Skykids (Rated M) – Two friends sneak aboard a plane for a look and it takes off. They discover a bomb and then – to compound the dire situation further – realise that they’re the only ones left on board.
Grange Hill Series 1 & 2 (Rated PG) – Grange Hill was a British drama series about a group of kids at a high school. It lasted from 1978 until late last year. This DVD collects the first two series. Very retro. Maybe.
Anne of Green Gables turns one hundred this year, and to celebrate an extensive website has been put together. It has an introduction to Anne, a list of Anne books (and there are lots), and an Anne quiz. If you’re new to the Anne of Green Gables books you will want to read from the beginning, which the library – believe it or not – has for you. If you don’t want to read it, you can always watch the television series (and two sequels).
An Anne book was written and published this year; Before Green Gables, a prequel to the original book.
For more links and news, check out Blogging Anne of Green Gables.
The Classic Book list (written in Haiku) has been transferred from the old Teen webpages, and will soon be updated. We enjoy writing Haiku, and we enjoy reading classic novels – it only made good sense to combine our two interests.
Classic novels is one of the SubText genres this year, so if you want to enter the draw to win a spot-prize and get an extra shot at the main prize, then read and review one of these.
The Young Adult CD collection is, on the whole, about what’s hot in the popular music world. However, CDs that are just about ready to sit NCEA exams shouldn’t necessarily be sniffed at as something only your parents would bother listening to; some of them are pretty special really.
So that’s my list. You should check them out, for an education if nothing else.
The Sweet Valley High series is to be reprinted and – since it originally came out in the 80s – it will be updated to reflect changes in things like technology and fashion. So instead of the girls writing diaries, phoning one another and wearing pastel leg-warmers, they will write blogs, IM and text, and wear footless tights.
(We still have many of the original SVH books in the library, if you’re keen.)