In historical milestone news, last week (the 28th of January to be exact) marked the 200th anniversary of Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen! It’s a great read with a cast of oddball characters, and it will take up that “classics” spot in your school reading log quite nicely.
200 years is a long time, and there have been a whole bunch of different adaptations and versions of P+P. Here are a few of our faves:
Pride and Prejudice and Zombies. Of course.
The 2005 movie with Keira Knightley in it. Bingley, please.
Prom & Prejudice, a modern retelling of P+P. Same names and everything! But set in a high school.
The Lizzie Bennett Diaries, an online video series adaptation in the form of vlogs. It is super good! Also, it was co-created and developed by Hank Green of vlogbrothers fame i.e. brother of John Green.
This excellent cartoon summary version.
And finally, this has got to be the prettiest edition of the book ever:
Check it out in real life to see the extent of its prettiness – bright coloured page edges, embossing and a silky matte cover. It’s designed by Jessica Hische (my favourite graphic designer!) and you can see a few more from this series on her website.
Happy P+P anniversary, enjoy in any way you wish!
Can you take a zombie seriously? Sometimes yes, sometimes no (it depends largely on whether there is supposed to be kissing).
This is Not a Test, Courtney Summers – this book is a horror story: imagine being trapped inside your school building with five other students, with moaning masses of the undead outside, lying in wait, when you know it’s only a matter of time before the water supply runs dry, you eat your last food, and face the prospect of either starving to death or running the zombie gauntlet outside, to who knows where. What makes it worse is how the horror plays out in the way that you and your schoolmates cope. And then, when you think you’ve barricaded the school building enough, someone gets in.
The Forest of Hands and Teeth, Carrie Ryan – to quote an earlier post: “Mary lives in a fenced village in the middle of the forest of hands and teeth; fenced, because the forest of hands and teeth is peopled with zombies (the Unconsecrated) with an undying drive to bite. When the village’s fortifications are compromised Mary must flee in the ensuing chaos, down the paths that run through the forest, following mysterious symbols that might lead her to the sea she dreams of.”
Rot & Ruin, Jonathan Maberry – the School Library Journal likes this series, perhaps even better than The Forest of Hands and Teeth: they say it “appears to be a retelling of Carrie Ryan’s The Forest of Hands and Teeth but with a male protagonist. But Maberry’s vision of a zombie-infested future has more action, more violence, and more emotional depth” (School Library Journal). It must be good then! Instead of a forest, here there’s the Rot and Ruin where - Benny (the male protagonist) learns - the zombies actually aren’t even the scariest prospect.
The Enemy, Charlie Higson – the latest in the series (The Sacrifice) has recently arrived. When a sickness sweeps through London, affecting everyone over the age of 14, leaving them either (mercifully) dead or the walking undead, those under 14 find themselves in a fight to survive. Some, sensibly, hole up in supermarkets (the lucky ones in Waitrose, which is quite posh), while they must attempt to make their way to the relative safety of Buckingham Palace. But if they get to Buckingham Palace, what will they find? A zombie queen? Or something more problematic? We should’t be too flip: this one’s grim and doesn’t pull any punches.
Not quite as seriously:
Dearly Departed, Lia Habel – this series is called “Gone with the Respiration” (a salute to Gone With the Wind), so I think it’s safe to say it’s a bit fun. “Love conquers all, so they say. But can Cupid’s arrow pierce the hearts of the living and the dead – or rather, the undead? Can a proper young Victorian lady find true love in the arms of a dashing zombie?” (Goodreads.com). This brings a whole new meaning to the expression “undying love”.
You Are So Undead to Me, Stacey Jay – the first in the series about Megan Berry, Zombie Settler. Homecoming (and people’s lives) are in peril when someone starts using black magic to turn the average, bumbling undead of an Arkansas town into souped-up zombies. Can Megan save the day? Can she what! (I’m picking).
I Kissed a Zombie and I Liked It, Adam Selzer – take that Katy Perry. Ali meets the mysterious Doug – a strong, silent, Goth-type of singer – and falls madly in love with him before, doh, someone points out he’s actually a zombie. Naturally Doug’s mysteriousness is not all that attractive any more, but when Ali tries to dump him she learns it’s not so easy to get rid of a zombie. She also learns, along the way, that vampires don’t like their music being critiqued.
Pride and Prejudice and Zombies, Seth Grahame-Smith – I think you have to give credit to someone who basically invents a new genre in the 21st century. This was the first Classic Novel Horror Mashup, and there’s a bunch of others, including Romeo and Juliet, Sense and Sensibility, and P & P & Z even has it’s own sequels and prequels. Excellent.
A mixed bag:
Zombie Blondes, Brian James – Hannah is the new girl in a town where the many houses for sale and the, well, deathly quiet suggest something’s wrong. Hannah seems oblivious on her first day of school, when she meets the popular crowd: a group of cheerleaders who all look remarkably the same, and who Hannah really wants to be like.
Zombies Versus Unicorns – more to the point, can you take a unicorn seriously? One or two writers have had a crack at it in this oddly fab collection of short stories.
Stephanie’s been ordering up a storm: here’s a couple of new interesting titles you might like to reserve. Zombies and vampires, oh my! (More next Wednesday.)
Team Human, Justine Larbalastier and Sarah Rees Brennan. This is a spoof, obviously, but reviewers say it’s an affectionate spoof, from the authors of Liar, and The Demon’s Lexicon:
“Just because Mel lives in New Whitby, a city founded by vampires, doesn’t mean she knows any of the blood-drinking undead personally. They stay in their part of town; she says in hers. Until the day a vampire shows up at her high school. Worse yet, her best friend, Cathy, seems to be falling in love with him. It’s up to Mel to save Cathy from a mistake she might regret for all eternity.
“On top of trying to help Cathy (whether she wants it or not), Mel is investigating a mysterious disappearance for another friend and discovering the attractions of a certain vampire wannabe. Combine all this with a cranky vampire cop, a number of unlikely romantic entanglements, and the occasional zombie, and soon Mel is hip-deep in an adventure that is equal parts hilarious and touching.” (goodreads.com)
This Is Not a Test, Courtney Summers. Brace yourself: Courtney Summers, queen of gritty stories, does the zombie apocalypse (that is a blood spatter top left of the book cover):
“It’s the end of the world. Six students have taken cover in Cortege High but shelter is little comfort when the dead outside won’t stop pounding on the doors. One bite is all it takes to kill a person and bring them back as a monstrous version of their former self.
“To Sloane Price, that doesn’t sound so bad. Six months ago, her world collapsed and since then, she’s failed to find a reason to keep going. Now seems like the perfect time to give up. As Sloane eagerly waits for the barricades to fall, she’s forced to witness the apocalypse through the eyes of five people who actually want to live.
“But as the days crawl by, the motivations for survival change in startling ways and soon the group’s fate is determined less and less by what’s happening outside and more and more by the unpredictable and violent bids for life—and death—inside.
“When everything is gone, what do you hold on to?” (goodreads.com)
Imagine a .pdf titled ‘Neil Gaiman Recommends Scary Books to Give Readers This Halloween’. Imagine no longer! For it is a reality.
Did you like my trick/treat? (The trick is that the .pdf is really, really big.)
Anyway, read the rest of the All Hallow’s Read before … it’s TOO LATE
Finder’s Shore, by Anna Mackenzie (218 pages) – This, the ‘gripping finale to the award-winning Sea-Wreck Stranger Trilogy’, has Ness returning back to the island she fled from three years previously. A ‘haunting exploration of belonging, of life’s tangled threads, of the stark and unsettling reality of ambition and greed.’ Look for it in next year’s NZ Post Children’s Book Awards, and say to yourself, “man, that guy on that library blog was right – again”.
First lines: ‘Blood binds me to this place. Blood and memory.‘
King of Ithaka, by Tracy Barrett (261 pages) – Telemachos is the son of Odysseus, king of Ithaka, and although the island has been doing okay without its ruler (who has been dealing with the Trojan War) for many years, the people are getting restless. They want a new king! So Telemachos leaves home to find his dad with only a cryptic prophecy to guide him.
First line: ‘Brax snorted and stamped, his bony knee grazing my ear.‘
Bad Taste in Boys, by Carrie Harris (201 pages) – Kate Grable wants to become a physician, so when she gets to help her high school football team she’s thrilled, as it’s a nice career move. And she also has a crush on the quarterback. However, the idiot coach has been giving the team steroids which somehow turn the team into zombies who crave the ‘other’ white meat, if you know what I mean (i.e., they literally want to eat Kate and her pals). Can Kate find an antidote? Or will she be food?
First line: ‘“You’re one of thos genius types,” said Coach, nudging me with a beefy elbow.‘
The Unidentified, by Rae Mariz (296 pages) – It is … the future! But it’s a dystopian future, sadly. Fifteen-year-old Katey goes to school in a mall/school (‘The Game‘) run by corporations, who use the students for market research and product creation. One day she witnesses a shocking anticorporate prank, and by following the clues she discovers a counterculture group who call themselves The Unidentified. They too become part of the marketing they so dislike, so Katey decides to do something that could change The Game forEVER!
First lines: ‘If reality TV cameras were installed in my high school, the would be focused directly on the Pit. That’s where all the drama plays out.‘
Picture The Dead, by Adele Griffin and Lisa Brown (262 pages) – I am having trouble summarising this book, so here’s the catalogue; ‘After Jennie Lovell’s fiancé, Will, is killed during the Civil War, she forms an alliance with a spirit photographer and uses her ability to talk to the dead to investigate the secrets Will was hiding and how he really died.’ This book (a ghost story and a mystery!) has many lovely illustrations!
First line: ‘It’s dark outside, an elsewhere hour between midnight and dawn. I lie awake, frozen, waiting for a sound not yet audible.‘
Never Sit Down in a Hoopskirt : And Other Things I learned in Southern Belle Hell, by Crickett Rumley (296 pages) – Deliquent seventeen-year-old Jane has been expelled from thirteen boarding schools, and so is sent back to the small town in Alabama her family comes from. There she finds herself stuck in Magnolia Maid Pageant hell, where everyone wears pearls and those massive Gone With The Wind-type dresses covered in ruffles and lace and drink sweet tea and eat fried green tomatoes. Can she escape, or will they make a Southern belle out of her?
First line: ‘There’s a whole chapter in the Magnolia Court Orientation Handbook titled “Manners Befitting a Maid Upon Announcement of Selection to the Court.”‘
The Midnight Palace, by Carlos Ruiz Zafon (298 pages) – Ben and Sheere are twins. When just wee babies in Calcutta, they were rescued from an unthinkable threat. Later, in the 1930s and on their sixteenth birthday, it reappears and so they – and a secret society of orphans – must face ‘the most frightening creature in the history of the City of Palaces’. This book is translated from the Spanish, which suggests that it’s probably going to be quite creepy somehow (the scariest night of my life was due to a Spanish horror film. It haunts me still).
First line: ‘Shortly after midnight, a boat emerged out of the mist that rose like a fetid curse from the surface of the Hooghly River.‘
Mostly Good Girls, by Leila Sales (347 pages) – Catalogue, please: ‘Sixteen-year-olds Violet and Katie, best friends since seventh grade despite differences in their family backgrounds and abilities, are pulled apart during their junior year at Massachusetts’ exclusive Westfield School.’ “Brilliant, poignant, and straight-up hilarious,” says Lauren Oliver. “Recommend this to fans of Meg Cabot’s novels and academy-based stories,” argues Booklist. “Suggest this one to readers who enjoy the writing style of Ally Carter. A strong debut that is not be missed,” adds School Library Journal, knowingly.
First lines: ‘Poor Mr. Thompson. Mr’s Thompson is my precalc teacher, and he is also the only male at the Westfield School.‘
Payback Time, by Carl Deuker (298 pages) – Mitch wants to be a writer, so he becomes – a little reluctantly! – the sports reporter for his high school’s newspaper. The football (not soccer, or even rugby, but gridiron) team’s quarterback, Angel, is obviously really talented at his ball-handling abilities, but doesn’t appear too keen to show them on the field. And the coach never lets him anyway. What gives, Angel? What’s the story here? Mitch is determined to find out, ‘in this thriller both thought-provoking and suspenseful.’
First lines: ‘I’m going to be a famous reporter. My name – Daniel True – will be on the front page of the New York Times.’
The Anti-Prom, by Abby McDonald (280 pages) – Three girls, each somehow done a wrong by the guys who were supposed to take them to the school prom, decide to seek revenge and ‘team up for a night of rebellion, romance, and revenge.’ Sort of like Carrie but funnier and not a horror. Heh. Eh heh heh.
First lines: ‘He doesn’t kiss me like that. That’s the first thing I think when I find Kaitlin Carter getting to second base with my boyfriend in the back of our rental limo.‘
An Act of Love, by Alan Gibbons (295 pages) – When only seven-years-old, besties Chris and Imran became blood brothers. Now, eleven years later, one has joined the army and is serving in Afghanistan, and the other is a potential jihad recruit. They certainly aren’t friends anymore. ‘Will their childhood bond be strong enough to overcome an extremist plot?’
First lines: ‘you think you’re invincible when you’re a kid. Invincible, that’s a laugh.‘
You, your mates and zombies, Glee, prizes, gloating rights, free food.
Friday 2nd September at the Wellington Central Library.
Open for teams of 13 to 18 year olds (min 2 – max 4).
Places are limited, be quick about it.
To begin with, here is an actual government website from the US on how to prepare for a zombie apocalypse. Get a Kit, Make a Plan, Be Prepared!
In the Wellington City Libraries we also have…
This wonderful book from the non fiction section covers everything you need to get prepared when the undead attack. Need to defend a building? Head out into the bush? Which weapon works best against the undead? Seriously it’s all covered. And one of the important things I learnt from this book – NEVER set fire to a zombie. They take a long time to burn and keep walking. Major fire hazard.
Sure, surviving is definitely going to be a priority at least initially. But after a while it’s just not going to be enough. This book will help you work out a plan to not just make it through the zombie attacks – but take over the world at the same time. Also covers disasters involving ninjas, pirates and parents.
Zombies vs Unicorns/ Compiled by Holly Black and Justine Larbalestier
As well as being a great read, this book is excellent for researching possible scenarios for outbreaks, and everyday life once zombies are a widespread problem. What if you are babysitting kids that seem to have bad balance and are kept in a locked room? What if you are a zombie and fall in love with a human who has a father who hunts zombies? What if the zombies are also pirates? Also good for unicorns – particularly the wanting to kill people kind of unicorn for some reason.
Zombie Cupcakes / Zilly Rosen
Because you can. Yummy, yummy zombies.
We have loads of new books. We are overwhelmed! Something to do with the financial year ending, and budgets being spent. Today is the first day of the new financial year, so happy new financial year? Let us celebrate with some new YA fiction, as is traditional from times gone by.
Rot & Ruin, by Jonathan Maberry (458 pages) – It is the near future. And the world is no longer safe for anyone, thanks to a zombie apocalypse. Humans live in small settlements, and all teens have to start working at the age of 15 or they won’t get fed. Benny, who has just hit 15, reluctantly agrees to become a zombie-killing bounty hunter with his dull brother, Tom. What he thought would be a boring (!) job turns out to be … not boring at all.
First line: ‘Benny Imura couldn’t hold a job, so he took to killing.‘
The Betrayal of Maggie Blair, by Elizabeth Laird (423 pages) - Sixteen-year-old Maggie is accused of witchcraft, and flees for her life. For it is Scotland during the 1600s! Her grandmother, also accused, is hanged, so Maggie runs to her uncle’s place. Her uncle is part of a movement rebelling against the English crown, and she can not entirely escape her past (the whole ‘witch’ thing) when an old enemy puts in an appearance.
First line: ‘I was the first one to see the dead whale lying on the sand at Scalpsie bay.‘
You Killed Wesley Payne : A Novel, by Sean Beaudoin (359 pages) – Dalton Rev has just transferred to a new school. Dalton is a ‘hard-boiled PI’ and also seventeen, and he is going to take on his hardest case ever; to discover who killed Wesley Payne? A ’smart, slick, and hilarious detective novel.’
First line: ‘Dalton Rev thundered into the parking lot of Salt River High, a squat brick building at the top of a grassless hill that looked more like the last stop of the hopeless than a springboard to the college of your choice.‘
Pull, by B. A. Binns (310 pages) – David is (understandably!) distraught after his father kills his mother, and he – and his sisters – move to a new, tough inner-city school in Chicago. He tries to make a new life for himself, all the while dealing with the burden of his grief, but ends up having to make a very difficult choice; to take a basketball scholarship, or quit school to work and support his family.
First line: ‘It’s fourth period, and so far not one teacher has questioned who I am.‘
Enclave, by Ann Aguirre (262 pages) – From the catalogue! ‘In a post-apocalyptic future, 15-year-old Deuce, a loyal Huntress, brings back meat while avoiding the Freaks outside her enclave, but when she is partnered with the mysterious outsider, Fade, she begins to see that the strict ways of the elders may be wrong – and dangerous.’ According to Publishers Weekly, this book is for fans of The Hunger Games. Which is nearly everyone! So you can’t go wrong.
First line: ‘I was born during the second holocaust.‘
Divergent, by Veronica Roth (487 pages) – Another dystopian story! This is the first in a series set in a future Chicago, where everyone at the age of 16 must choose one of five factions to join. Each faction is dedicated to a certain virtue. Beatrice Prior has to choose between staying with her family or being true to herself (i.e., she doesn’t belong to any one faction and is, in fact, a Divergent.) She very quickly discovers that her world isn’t as perfect as she thought. ’Edgy,’ says Publishers Weekly. ‘Definately not for the fainthearted,’ they add.
First lines: ‘There is one mirror in my house. It is behind a sliding panel in the hallway upstairs.‘
How Lamar’s Bad Prank Won a Bubba-Sized Trophy, by Crystal Allen (283 pages) – Thirteen-year-old Lamar is a champion ten-pin bowler, but he is overshadowed by his uber-talented basketball-playing older brother. Lamar has no luck with the ladies, either. So a scheme to make money backfires he ruins his brother’s chance at getting into college as well as every relationship in his life. How can he mend everything? How?! ‘Heartwarming and humorous.’
First line: ‘Since Saturday, I’ve fried Sergio like catfish, mashed him like potatoes, and creamed his corn in ten straight games of bowling.‘
Like Mandarin, by Kirsten Hubbard (388 pages) – Catalogue says, ‘When shy, awkward fourteen-year-old Grace Carpenter is paired with the beautiful and wild Mandarin on a school project, an unlikely, explosive friendship begins, but all too soon, Grace discovers that Mandarin is a very troubled, even dangerous, girl.’ Thanks, catalogue!
First line: ‘The winds in Washokey make people go crazy.‘
The Replacement, by Brenna Yovanoff (343 pages) – Mackie Doyle is a changeling, and was left in a human baby’s crib 16 years ago; although he would rather fit in to our world, all the iron, blood, and consecrated ground here are slowly killing him. When Tate – the girl he fancies – loses her baby sister, Mackie is drawn back to Mayhem to try to find her. Here’s the catalogue’s summary (I know I keep copying from it, but this sounds really good!); ‘“Edward Scissorhands” meets “The Catcher in the Rye” in this wildly imaginative and frighteningly beautiful horror novel about an unusual boy and his search for a place to belong.‘
First line: ‘I don’t remember any of the true, important parts, but there’s this dream I have.‘
The Lost Tohunga, by David Blair (368 pages) – Mat is on holiday in Taupo, and all he wants to do there is study and catch up with his magical mentor. But! Warlocks, determined to dominate the hidden land of Aoteoroa, seek Te Iho, and soon Mat is caught up in a deadly no-holds-barred struggle. This is the sequel to The Taniwha’s Tear, itself the sequel to The Bone Tiki.
First line: ‘Auckland, 1956 – Whenever the girl heard the crunch of boots on the gravel path outside, she imagined that her father had come to take her away.‘