Monthly Archives: September 2010

From Book to Movie – I am Number Four

I am Number Four, a book by James Frey , has yet to fall into my greedy hands. But judging from the trailer, it might just be a book I want to pick up. Below you can catch your first glimpse of the book’s movie adaptation which stars Glee’s Diana Agron and Alex Pettyfer.

Official Synopsis: John is an extraordinary teen, masking his true identity and passing as a typical high school student to elude a deadly enemy seeking to destroy him. Three like him have already been killed … he is Number Four.

Wordstock: What Momma Left Me by Renee Watson

Today, we’re featuring another great YA author coming to Wordstock Festival in Portland, Oregon October 9-10th. Check out What Momma Left Me by Renee Watson:

How is it that unsavory raw ingredients come together to form a delicious cake? What is it about life that when you take all the hard stuff and rough stuff and add in a lot of love, you still just might have a wonderful life? For Serenity, these questions rise up early when her father kills her mother, and leaves her and her brother Danny to live with their kind but strict grandparents. Despite the difficulties of a new school, a new church, and a new neighborhood, Serenity gains strength from the family around her, the new friends she finds, and her own careful optimism. Debut author Renée Watson’s talent shines in this powerful and ultimately uplifting novel.

Learn more at the official Wordstock Festival website.

Exclusive Interview: Lauren Kate & Torment – Part 2

Today, we present Part 2 of our two-part interview with Lauren Kate about her new novel, Torment, the sequel to Fallen. You can view Part 1 here — but rest easy about Part 2. Today’s Q&As are ALL spoiler-free!

Do you know how many books there will be in the Fallen series? Can you tell us anything about what to expect in book 3?

There will be four books. After Torment comes Passion, which is the prequel I’ve mentioned [yesterday]. It traces 5000+ years of Luce’s past and answers more questions than you ever knew you had about the series. It’s going to be awesome.

It’s a long wait until book 3. Any recommendations for readers while they wait?

I love The Replacement by Brenna Yovanoff. And of course, The Hunger Games. Delirium by Lauren Oliver is another beautiful book. And there’s always my favorite, F. Scott Fitzgerald!

You’ve mentioned in past interviews that a lot of research has gone into the Fallen books – research about religion, the idea of good vs. evil, angels & demons, etc. Any recommended reading for fans wanting to explore these ideas further?

One book that really inspired me was Omens of Millennium by Harold Bloom. I also recommend Jeffrey Burton Russel’s trilogy about the devil. And on the lighter side, he’s also written a beautiful History of Heaven. I devoured Milton, Dante, and the books of the Apocrypha (like the Dead Sea Scrolls, the books of Enoch, and the Story of Adam and Eve). Elaine Pagels is another really readable biblical scholar. I could go on! There are so many great sources to turn to on the subject of angels and demons. Sometimes it’s hard to parse, and sometimes it’s contradictory, but to me, it’s endlessly fascinating.

Book Review – Nevermore by Kelly Creagh

Synopsis: Cheerleader Isobel Lanley is horrified when she is paired with Varen Nethers for an English project, which is due—so unfair—on the day of the rival game. Cold and aloof, sardonic and sharp-tongued, Varen makes it clear he’d rather not have anything to do with her either. But when Isobel discovers strange writing in his journal, she can’t help but give this enigmatic boy with piercing eyes another look.
Soon, Isobel finds herself making excuses to be with Varen. Steadily pulled away from her friends and her possessive boyfriend, Isobel ventures deeper and deeper into the dream world Varen has created through the pages of his notebook, a realm where the terrifying stories of Edgar Allan Poe come to life.

As her world begins to unravel around her, Isobel discovers that dreams, like words, hold more power than she ever imagined and that the most frightening realities are those of the mind. Now she must find a way to reach Varen before he is consumed by the shadows of his own nightmares.

His life depends on it.

Review: There is so much I simply LOVE about this book! First, it’s all about one of my favorite authors of all time, Mr. Edgar Allan Poe. One of the most brilliant things about this book is that it introduces in an easy to understand way the complexities of Poe’s works. This is great for any fan of supernatural / gothic YA who may have felt intimidated by the man and his stories. The reader, through the cheerleader Isobel, is slowly dropped into the world of Poe, a world that often blurs the lines between reality and something darker.

What else works for this book? The dynamic relationship between Isobel and Varen is on point. These two people come from completely different social circles, and their relationship takes time to build and grow into something. This perhaps is my favorite thing about them as a couple. It’s not love at first sight. It’s a story about two people who have to find who they want to be before they can be with each other. And neither of them is perfect. I love that Isobel is hesitant to give up her world of the socially elite, and I enjoyed seeing Varen have to discard his own prejudices about Isobel. One scene in particular really emphasized the beauty with which  Creagh showcased this relationship. Without giving too much away, I will say it involved a roof and ice cream. It’s not a crazy passionate scene, but it’s hesitant and endearing, and utterly enjoyable.

What didn’t work?

The first half of the book spends much of its time with Isobel trying to decipher what is real and what is not, though without much allusion to the supernatural beyond some odd dreams. Honestly, the first half of the book isn’t really supernatural/gothic at all. It’s more about the characters and their relationship. That’s what makes the second half of the book a bit overwhelming. It’s so full of supernatural/gothic elements that I began to desperately miss the human/relationship elements of the story. Our characters don’t get much of a chance to figure out how they fit into this new, surreal world. I just missed them together.

I honestly still don’t know exactly what happened. Maybe it’s because I am deep in my own book revisions for an agent, or still trying to get use to the new school year, but I sort of got lost. Or maybe I just shut down when the gothic elements became more important than the characters.

That being said, I still REALLY enjoyed this book. I can’t wait for the sequel. And Creagh’s website is the coolest website I have seen in a long time.

Banned Books Week Guest Blog: Ellen Hopkins

Today, we are delighted to feature another exclusive guest blog for Banned Books Week, this time from acclaimed author Ellen Hopkins — who recently found herself and her own books at the center of some censorship-related issues. An extra special thank you to Ellen for taking time out of her hectic schedule to guest blog for us.

“A Framework for Empowerment” by Ellen Hopkins

Would be censors have been very busy the last few weeks. It kind of got jumpstarted by my dis-invitation from the Humble Texas Teen Lit Fest, something I’m sure you’ve heard about by now. If not, you can read my blogs about it here: In the wake of that ugliness and the ensuing publicity, I have been called names like “disgusting,” “money-hungry,” “fame-seeking,” and “sick.” The words hurt, of course. But what really hurts is the fact that none of those poo-flingers have even read my books. Reason for being upset by my books: language and sexual situations. Books’ message: the choices you make as a teen can and will affect who you are as an adult, so make them carefully.

Now things move to Missouri, where in recent days the Board of Education for the Stockton MO School District voted 7-0 to remove Sherman Alexie’s brilliant The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian from all school library shelves. This, despite uproar from actual educators who want the book to remain in their libraries. Reason for the pull: language and sexual situations. Book’s message: you can rise above difficulty and become someone truly special.

On the heels of that, a professor in Springfield MO writes an article calling for the removal of “dirty books” from library shelves. In question: Kurt Vonnegut’s classic satire Slaughterhouse Five, Laurie Halse Anderson’s Speak (which he dared equate to “soft porn”) and Sarah Ockler’s Twenty Boy Summer. Reason for the challenge: language and sexual situations. Oh, and in the case of Sarah’s book, he didn’t like the title, which connoted something sexual. (Not that he read the book to find out the title had nothing to do with what he thought it did. Idiot.)  Speak’s message: you must speak out when someone hurts you.

Language and sexual situations. A real-to-life framework so our readers know we’re not them when we tell them to make careful choices, lift themselves out of difficulty or speak up to let someone know they have been damaged in some profound way. Messages that will empower our youth to become wise, strong, courageous adults.

And maybe, just maybe, if those people who are so offended by a word would actually read that word in context, they would understand the empowerment young readers can gain from these pages. Then again, maybe that’s exactly what they’re afraid of.

The Best of Infinite Days by Rebecca Maizel

It’s the end of another fantastic Book of the Month here at Novel Novice, and so we’re taking a look back at our favorite moments featuring Infinite Days by Rebecca Maizel!

Infinite Days Writing Contest

Imagine you were a vampire who lived forever … tell us what moment in history you’d want to witness firsthand & why.

The winner gets a copy of Infinite Days and other goodies from Rebecca herself. One second-place winner will also receive a copy of Infinite Days courtesy of Novel Novice.

Complete rules & details here. Contest ends tonight at midnight (PT).

Lessons from Infinite Days

Because Lenah lived for so long as a vampire, we had lots of opportunities to cull history & other lessons from Infinite Days. Here are our favorites:

Interview & Guest Blog with Rebecca Maizel

Rebecca kindly answered lots of questions for us AND wrote an exclusive guest blog.

Reviews & Other Goodies:

For the comments: What was your favorite feature from this month?

Exclusive Interview: Lauren Kate & Torment – Part 1

Today, we’re really excited to present part 1 of our two-part interview with Lauren Kate about her new novel Torment. We should warn you, a few of the Q&As are a bit spoiler-y for the ending of Torment, but we’ve placed those below the jump & have marked them clearly so you can choose which responses to delve into. We hope you enjoy! (And an extra special HUGE thanks to both Lauren for answering our questions and to Noreen at Random House for setting everything up for us!)

For being an “angel,” Daniel does some pretty questionable deeds. What’s his real motivation? Will we learn more about his motives in the next books? Is it really as cut & dry as “keeping Luce safe?”

Well, Daniel is a fallen angel, meaning he put something else before God and was cast out of heaven because of it. He may not always act as “good” as we’d expect an angel to act and there’s a reason for that. He’s placed his love for Luce above everything. I wouldn’t say that keeping Luce safe is a simple issue either–it’s paramount to his existence, and her life is constantly threatened over the course of the series. Though she (and the reader) can’t see it yet, he always has her best interest in mind.

In Torment, we finally get to glimpse some of Luce’s past lives. Will we see more of these in the next book?

The entire third book sees Luce exploring her past lives. We’ll follow Luce as she traces 5000+ years of her history. It may be the craziest book I’ll ever write, but I think it will do so much to explain the love these two share.

The following Q&As have some spoilers for Torment, so only click below the jump if you’re okay with that (or if you’ve read the book):

Continue reading

Top Ten Banned/Challenged Books of 2009

Take a look at the top banned and challenged books of 2009. Have you read any of the books on this list? What did you think? Feel free to share your thoughts and opinions in the comments section below.

#10 The Chocolate War by Robert Cormier

Reasons: Nudity, Sexually Explicit, Offensive Language, Unsuited to Age Group

#9 The Color Purple by Alice Walker

Reasons: Sexually Explicit, Offensive Language, Unsuited to Age Group

#8 The Earth, My Butt, and Other Big, Round Things by Carolyn Mackler

Reasons: Sexually Explicit, Offensive Language, Unsuited to Age Group

#7 My Sister’s Keeper by Jodi Picoult

Reasons: Sexism, Homosexuality, Sexually Explicit, Offensive Language, Religious Viewpoint, Unsuited to Age Group, Drugs, Suicide, Violence

#6 Catcher in the Rye by J.D. Salinger

Reasons: Sexually Explicit, Offensive Language, Unsuited to Age Group

#5 Twilight (series) by Stephenie Meyer

Reasons: Sexually Explicit, Religious Viewpoint, Unsuited to Age Group

#4 To Kill A Mockingbird by Harper Lee

Reasons: Racism, Offensive Language, Unsuited to Age Group

#3 The Perks of Being A Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky

Reasons: Homosexuality, Sexually Explicit, Anti-Family, Offensive Language, Religious Viewpoint, Unsuited to Age Group, Drugs, Suicide

#2 And Tango Makes Three by Peter Parnell and Justin Richardson

Reasons: Homosexuality

#1 TTYL; TTFN; L8R, G8R (series) by Lauren Myracle

Reasons: Nudity, Sexually Explicit, Offensive Language, Unsuited to Age Group, Drugs

Also, check out Frequently Challenged Books of the 21st Century and the Top 100 Banned/Challenged Books 2000-2009 on the American Library Association’s web site.

Bonus Scene from Infinite Days by Rebecca Maizel

Want more from our September Book of the Month – Infinite Days by Rebecca Maizel? Then today’s post is just for you! Rebecca has an entire BONUS SCENE from the book on her blog. Here’s a snippet:

"Lenah" (C) Vania's Life Captures

Where did all the time go? I had eons. I had sunrises, sunsets, I had the thrill of the burn. I always wondered what the sand at the bottom of the ocean would feel like between my toes. Centuries ago someone told me that sharks fear vampires. That when a vampire swims, their unbeating heart makes no rhythm or ripple in the water. The shark would know that something unnatural hunts its waters and would swim away deep into the dark of the ocean.

But I never believed that I would ever be sixteen again or at Wickham Boarding School, imprisoned in a job at a library. Not to mention, at that particular moment, investigating a long lane of books. Actually, I was hiding near the stacks so I could watch the movements of boy 500 years younger than I. ‘A veritable child,’ Rhode would have scolded. ‘What could you possibly have in common?’ But Rhode, my Rhode didn’t take breaths. Never a twinkle in his eye. My time at Wickham Boarding school was a machination of Rhode’s vampiric mind. He was always thinking ahead, the constant planner, the orchestrater…the mover of my bones.

But who was this Justin Enos to me? He stepped to the glass door of a private study room down the hall from where I stood. There was a whole line of these rooms flanked with glass windows and doors. Justin grasped the silver door handle and stepped inside. I watched the hunch of his back when he placed his book bag on the floor, then the crook and curve of his arm as he lowered himself into the seat. He was so…warm. I leaned closer to the shelves of books, trying to conceal myself. I took a breath, inhaling the old paper and musty smell of ancient bindings. Justin Enos has a presence, a gleaming aura. He is alive.

“This is a job, Ms. Beaudonte. Not your time to day dream.”

Want more? Head over to Rebecca’s blog to read the entire scene! Then tell us your thoughts in the comments below.

Wordstock: Pies & Prejudice by Heather Vogel Frederick

Today, we’re featuring another great YA author coming to Wordstock Festival in Portland, Oregon October 9-10th. Check out Pies & Prejudice by Heather Vogel Frederick, the fourth book in her Mother-Daughter Book Club series:

Emma’s family unexpectedly moves to England, but thanks to videoconferencing the girls can keep the book club alive. And when the girls try to bring Emma home by starting a bake sale, it becomes a thriving business: Pies & Prejudice.

Learn more at the official Wordstock Festival website.