Archive for the ‘Young Adult Fiction’ Category

Coming attractions

September 15, 2010

The Señoras have not yet stamped their unique personalities on their cubicle on the second floor. To be honest they are a little apprehensive about going up there. They get funny looks from the people in the other two cubicles and feel like intruders. The second floor is a scarey place at the best of times: the faculty have their offices up there. We agreed that the Señoras had to call in their Señoras Book Club Design Team to give the cubicle a make-over. This could well be a job for Hello magazine.

Also the Señoras have to make their presence felt. They need to work a shift 24/7, make a bit of noise (that shouldn’t be difficult) and replace the whiteboard that’s covered in indelible marker scribblings. Fatima has some posters to put on the walls. Okay, so they’re from Twilight and Harry Potter … Vanessa and I will fight back our disappointment: we were hoping for something a little more chic.

Then there will have to be a Las Señoras Book Club Cubicle Launch Party and – budget-permitting – we will fly in celebrities … Brangelina, Justin Timberlake … I think you get the picture.

 Our book club storming produced some good ideas. Here’s a list of book club things-to-do:

1. Run an excursion to the Abu Dhabi International Book Fair (ADIBF) next March.

2. Send Vanessa in ahead of time to negotiate a book voucher deal for us: not a lot of people know that at the last ADIBF, thanks to her, our students got 20,000 dirhams to spend on their favourite books: that made Stephenie Meyer very happy and saved her family from a life of austerity.

3. Do a presentation at the Book Fair: last year Fatima and Vanessa took part in a discussion forum at ADIBF. Fatima made a fashion statement by wearing her gold trainers. Vanessa made no statement at all because she got stopped by the police as she was speeding to the venue and then lost her BlackBerry when she got there … but I digress.

4. Organise our own Las Señoras International Book Fair (LSIBF).

5. Run more writing competitions.

6. Invite a famous poet to come and talk to us. If you’re a famous poet, please get in touch.

7. Run a competition to write a book review and then put the best reviews in the library catalogue. Mmm … sounds like work.

8. Have a competition where people read the beginning of the summary of a novel … and then have to write an ending to the story. We agreed that the time has come for someone to write a new ending to The Lovely Bones. That murderer really has to be brought to justice. It’s causing the Señoras a lot of sleepless nights.

 

9. Have a quiz bowl. Erm … what’s a quiz bowl? Vanessa says we have to agree to read two or three books and then we pick a question about them out of a quiz bowl, and win a prize if we get the answer right.

The Señoras went a bit silent when they heard this.

‘What? We all have to read the same books for a quiz? Too much. Too much.’

‘Okay,’ said Vanessa, ‘we could quiz you on some famous books that everyone has read.’

‘Oh, right!’ said the Senoras, ‘you mean like Harry Potter … or Twilight?

No, that wasn’t really what Vanessa meant. Also that would count us out since we’re still stuck on Twilight page 100. We would need help.

10. Finally, invite someone – anyone really – to come and talk to us about their favourite books, their preferred authors … and the meaning of life.

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Finishing School

July 21, 2010

The Senoras are all finishing school. One or two are still around doing summer courses, but even they will be heading off shortly to wherever Senoras head off to. Fatima gave up on surveying the Senoras’ recommendations for summer reading. They were a little evasive. As Fatima approached with her pen and notepad, Senoras fluttered away into the distance. Could it be that the Senoras associate reading of any kind with work? How are we to change this?

Right now it is just me and Fatima and Vanessa. I am thinking ahead to next semester about reading and writing activities. Vanessa is busy adding to the Library’s Leisure Reading Collection and Fatima … well she is reading Marked. Wait a minute! Am I mistaken or hasn’t she already read Marked? Here’s my great research finding: young people re-read a lot of books. Take Fatima, for example. How many times has she read Twilight? How many times has she read Marked? I suppose if you really love a set of characters, after living alongside them in a book it’s very difficult to be parted from them … so you simply re-read the book.

 

Now if you haven’t read Marked – I haven’t actually – here’s what you need to know. It’s the first book in the House of Night series (published in 2007). The other books are Betrayed, Chosen, Untamed, Hunted, Tempted and Burned. I count seven books. Number eight – Awakened – is due for publication in January 2011. Naturally the books are about vampires or – if you prefer – vampyres. But these stories are about vampires that go to ‘finishing school.’ For those of you who don’t know, a ‘finishing school’ is a place well-bred (?) young women are sent to in order to learn high-level social skills and etiquette before they go out into the big wide world … and find – or receive – a husband. It would seem there are important skills that vampires need to know. Maybe there are polite ways to drink blood that vampires should learn. What do I know?

The protagonist of Marked is 16-year-old Zoey Redbird. Is that name strange or is it my imagination? As I’m sure you must be aware, names in novels often have symbolic significance. I wonder what that one means?

The House of Night series has two authors – a mother and daughter team: P.C. Cast (mother) and Kristin Cast (daughter). Being part of a family writing team is not such a bad idea, but how would you feel about writing a book with your mum? She might disapprove of the things you want to write, or maybe you’d be embarrassed by some of the ideas she was coming up with. And why is Kristin called Kristin while her mum is called P.C.? In British English PC could stand for Politically Correct … or Police Constable. In fact Kristin’s mum has a perfectly acceptable name: Phyllis Christine. (P.C., don’t worry about it. Nothing to be ashamed of.)

I checked the Cast family’s bibliography and they’ve been churning out an average of three books a year. They’re up to about 25 published books so far.  So don’t criticise the series until you have tried writing that many books.

In addition to reading or re-reading Marked, Fatima is re-reading Double Cross from Malorie Blackman’s Noughts and Crosses series. If you want to find out what that’s about you should cut and paste this link into your browser: www.meettheauthor/bookbites/1225.html and Malorie herself will tell you what the books are all about (not vampires). Malorie – I feel I know her already- has a very nice website: www.malorieblackman.co.uk  and you can correspond with her on Facebook. If you do that, you can tell her that it was my suggestion but please don’t tell her that I haven’t yet read Book 1 Noughts and Crosses. Fatima loaned me her copy and the characters are still there on my bookshelf living out their story – I hear them whispering sometimes late at night. Fatima has made me (almost) swear that I will read the book this summer.

This is the book I promised to read

Let me just check to find out how long Chapter One is …