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    August YA News & Reviews By Trish Milburn
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  • Published: Aug 20th, 2009

milburngh2005picYA News

I’ve been looking for a site that would list when upcoming movies based on YA novels are set to be released, but all I’ve been able to locate are a couple of sites that cover all upcoming movies based on books. But you can dig around the following two sites to find not only movies based on some favorite YA novels but perhaps other books you’ve read as well. and

post_grad_poster-337x499While not based on a book, YA readers may enjoy Alexis Bledel’s new movie, Post Grad, which hits theaters this Friday (Aug. 21). Bledel stars as a recent college graduate who has to move back home with her eccentric family while she searches for her first post-college job, not to mention the right guy. Zach Gilford (Matt Saracen on Friday Night Lights) co-stars.

The Aug. 21 Fall Movie Preview issue of Entertainment Weekly has a cover story on “Secrets from the Set of New Moon.” Kristen Stewart and Taylor Lautner are on the cover, and the story covers six pages inside.

Also in this issue of EW: a two-page-spread ad for The Vampire Diaries, which premieres Sept. 10 on The CW; a tribute to John Hughes, the man behind ‘80s teen films like The Breakfast Club, Sixteen Candles, Pretty in Pink and Ferris Bueller’s Day Off, who died of a heart attack Aug. 6; and an article on teen horror flick Jennifer’s Body with Megan Fox.

YA Reviews

First off, I wanted to congratulate Rosemary Clement-Moore, who won the RITA award in the Best Young Adult category at Romance Writers of America’s national conference in July for her book Hell Week. And congrats also goes to Tera Lynn Childs, whose Oh. My. Gods. won the Best First Book RITA.

LJSmith_VampireWith The Vampire Diaries set to debut on The CW in three weeks, I decided I should read the source material – L.J. Smith’s series of the same name – before the premiere. I’ve read the first two volumes, The Awakening and The Struggle. I have the next two volumes, The Fury and Dark Reunion, ready to read soon.

Elena Gilbert is a popular high school student used to getting whatever (and whomever) she wants, and what she wants now is Stefan Salvatore, the new kid in school. But Stefan, a vampire, does his best to stay away from this girl who reminds him of a long-lost love. You know they’re vampire-diaries-castgoing to end up together, but that’s not the end of the story. It’s just the beginning of revelations about Stefan’s past, how Elena fits into his world and the evil that comes to town in the form of Stefan’s brother, Damon, who has chosen the darker side of being a vampire.

I’ll admit I had a hard time liking Elena at first. I honestly can’t identify with anyone who gets whatever she wants without much effort, someone who is selfish. But Elena does have tragedy in her past, and you see glimpses of genuine caring on her part. And when you start out with a character like this, it’s interesting to see how she grows and changes over time. Some have compared these books to the Twilight series, which came out several years after Smith’s, but I see only the most basic similarities. They are different stories with different takes on the human girl-loves-vampire premise, and the writers have much different styles. While I prefer Bella as a heroine, others may feel otherwise. As any stroll through the YA section of a bookstore will tell you, there’s lots of room for different authors to give their varying interpretations of the vampire genre. And that’s a very good thing for keeping the YA paranormal genre alive…er, undead?

collins_hungergamesEarlier this year, I read The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins and loved it. I’ve been eagerly awaiting the sequel, Catching Fire, ever since. Not much longer to wait since its set to hit shelves Sept. 1! I will celebrate turning in my latest book that day by rushing out and buying it.

The Hunger Games is the first in the trilogy about 16-year-old Katniss Everdeen, who lives in a sort of post-apocalyptic world where people live in 12 poor districts around a rich Capitol that rules with an iron fist. Each year, one boy and one girl from each district are chosen by lottery to go to the Capitol and participate in the televised Hunger Games. It’s a fight-to-the-death competition that means wealth and a life of ease for the winner and his/her family, but death for the other 23 participants. Joining Katniss from District 12, the poorest of the districts, is Peeta Mellark, a boy she knows and who once gave her bread when her family was starving. Initially, they agree to work together even though they know they’ll eventually have to face off against each other. Complicating things is Peeta’s admission that he loves her – on air. Katniss believes it’s a ploy but plays along to get audience support and thus gifts to help her during the game. The public falls in love with this star-crossed couple, and the end result is a rule change that allows them both to win. But was the love between her and Peeta real or feigned? Hopefully, we’ll find out in Catching Fire.

A couple of days ago, I started reading Harlequin Teen’s debut release, My Soul To Take by Rachel Vincent. I hope to have a review of it, along with the second Harlequin Teen release, Intertwined by Gena Showalter, in my September column. I’m several chapters into My Soul To Take and really enjoying it. I only stop reading at night when I literally fall asleep.

26 Responses to “August YA News & Reviews By Trish Milburn”

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  1. Marisa
    on Aug 20th, 2009
    @ 7:27 am

    Hi Trish! Great column this month. I too am very curious to see what CW does with the Vampire Diaries.

    Quick question: I have a friend who’s daughter is 13 and I’ve been recommending books to her and my niece based on your column – do you think the Hunger Games is appropriate for that age range?

  2. KatiDancy
    on Aug 20th, 2009
    @ 8:45 am

    Hi Trish – I’m kind of excited for The Vampire Diaries, just because I love me some teen angst.

    I’ve got The Hunger Games on my iPod to listen to. I’ve heard nothing but raves about it.

    I’ve been reading a ton of YA lately (thanks to The Book Smugglers, who have been running YA Appreciation Month). I just finished Going Too Far by Jennifer Echols and I have The Awakening by Kelley Armstrong too. I’ll be picking up Rampant by Diana Peterfreund next week when it comes out. I’m intrigued by killer unicorns…

    Great column!

  3. Trish Milburn
    on Aug 20th, 2009
    @ 9:38 am

    Hey, Marisa. Is your friend’s daughter a fairly mature reader? The only thing I might think could be upsetting is that some of the kids in the competition die. But I would think a 13-year-old could read it okay. Has she read the first Twilight book? The reason I ask is that I would think they were on a par as far as “adultness” of the content. Plus, Stephenie Meyer is the one who recommended The Hunger Games on her Web site; that’s how I heard about it.

  4. Trish Milburn
    on Aug 20th, 2009
    @ 9:40 am

    Kati, hope you enjoy The Hunger Games. I thought it was a great concept for a book, and it was hard to put down.

    I have Jennifer’s book from when we were sitting next to each other at a signing. She’s so fun. I’m curious about Diana’s book. Have you seen her new Web site for this book? Too funny —

  5. C.J. Redwine
    on Aug 20th, 2009
    @ 10:12 am

    Hey Trish! My hubby got a copy of the Vampire Diaries pilot episode and the producers made Elena MUCH more likeable and accessible. I really loved the pilot and will be giving the show a chance (a rare compliment since I almost never watch tv).

  6. Trish Milburn
    on Aug 20th, 2009
    @ 10:18 am

    Hey, C.J. I was wondering if they might because in the few previews I’ve seen, her personality doesn’t seem the same as it does in the books. Plus, in the show she’s a brunette and a blonde in the books.

  7. traci
    on Aug 20th, 2009
    @ 10:23 am

    great column, Trish!!

  8. Trish Milburn
    on Aug 20th, 2009
    @ 10:25 am

    Thanks, Traci.

  9. Theresa Ragan
    on Aug 20th, 2009
    @ 10:39 am

    Trish, thanks for all of the info. I love your website and your column! My daughter and I were never into vampires until we read all of the twilight books, so we will check these books out! Thanks and have a great day!

  10. Maria Lokken
    on Aug 20th, 2009
    @ 10:52 am

    Trish – I’m living in a cave – I didn’t know about the Vampire Diaries on the CW – now I’m going to have to check it out.

    Personally – I don’t love heroines that are ‘selfish’ or who get whatever the want, but I’m willing to see how Elena grows…

  11. Charity
    on Aug 20th, 2009
    @ 11:39 am

    My son just turned 13 and he loved The Hunger Games, as did all of his friends. It’s a “girl” book that really appeals to boys. So much so, they named their online RPG team “District 12.” LOL

    But a few years ago, the character deaths would’ve been a show stopper for him. There’s one that’s especially sad. We talked about it and some of the other issues in the book. It’s actually generated several great conversations and we’re both looking forward to Catching Fire.

  12. Trish Milburn
    on Aug 20th, 2009
    @ 12:02 pm

    Thanks, Theresa. Once upon a time, I didn’t think I’d be into vampire books either. But I’m the biggest fan now. I will say I liked the Twilight books better than the Vampire Diaries. You might also want to check out Rachel Caine’s Morganville Vampires series.

  13. Trish Milburn
    on Aug 20th, 2009
    @ 12:05 pm

    Maria, I’m really curious how they’re going to portray Elena in the show versus the books. According to CJ, she’s much more likable. I wonder how many of the changes were influenced by the Twilight phenomenon even though Smith’s books came out before Meyer’s.

  14. Trish Milburn
    on Aug 20th, 2009
    @ 12:07 pm

    Charity, thanks so much for sharing your son’s thoughts on The Hunger Games. I didn’t have any real-world experience with a thirteen-year-old to pull from. My niece is almost 13, but she’s not much of a reader, sadly. My sister and I (both big readers) are quite stumped.

  15. Maria Lokken
    on Aug 20th, 2009
    @ 12:23 pm

    Truthfully Trish – I would have thought the paranormal/vampire phenom would have died down. Then I realized – romance novels were way ahead of the curve with paranormal – that’s why it seems like this trend has been going on for a while – when in fact that’s only true within the romance genre.

  16. Trish Milburn
    on Aug 20th, 2009
    @ 2:46 pm

    Maria, I think you’re right about romance really bringing the vampire genre to the fore. I mean, vampire novels have been around for ages, but romance in the past few years has really made them widely popular, and YA has tapped into that idea of sexy and forbidden — popular concepts with teen girls. 🙂

  17. Maria Lokken
    on Aug 20th, 2009
    @ 3:04 pm

    Yeah, when I was a teen what was popular was the angst in the “Catcher In The Rye.” Now the angst is all about ‘dead’ guys.

  18. Trish Milburn
    on Aug 20th, 2009
    @ 3:14 pm

    LOL. That would be “undead”. 🙂

  19. Vanessa
    on Aug 21st, 2009
    @ 8:43 am

    Hi, Trish! I’ll have to find a copy of EW for that John Hughes article. What a huge influence he was on my writing!

    Sounds like The Vampire Diaries is perfect for those who can’t get enough of gorgeous vamps and the girls who love ’em. Thanks for the recommendations!

    Looking forward to hearing your thoughts on Harlequin Teen’s debut books next month.

  20. Jeri Smith-Ready
    on Aug 21st, 2009
    @ 9:32 am

    Great post, Trish! I’m really looking forward to the series on CW. I haven’t read the books yet–I thought for once I would see the film/TV version first and then read the books. (Usually when I do the reverse, the film is disappointing!)

    I confess, I have a soft spot for bad girls. I was always a fan of Veronica (from the Archie comics) and Brenda from the original 90210. I liked Bella best when she was misbehaving. 😉

  21. Trish Milburn
    on Aug 21st, 2009
    @ 9:52 am

    Thanks for stopping by, Vanessa. I haven’t had a chance to read the John Hughes article yet. Deadline — it be a’killin’ me.

    Jeri, I usually like to read the book first too. But I gone the opposite route with True Blood. I’ve not read the Charlaine Harris books yet.

  22. Annie Solomon
    on Aug 21st, 2009
    @ 10:01 am

    Hey, Trish! Enjoyed the column. The Hunger Games sounds amazing. Just reading your summary got me all tensed up. I’m not sure I could stand to read the book–even knowing it ends well. What a great idea!

    As for VD, I’m going to give it a try. On CW, that is. It’s so amazing to me that Twilight took off the way it did, especially since it was written after VD. It’s mind boggling the way some things catch on while others don’t. Not that a TV series out of your books is so awful either…

    Do you know the YA books about the uglies and the pretties? My niece read them and loved them. Once I’ve met my deadline, I might take a gander at those.

  23. Sandy Blair
    on Aug 21st, 2009
    @ 12:27 pm

    Great column, Trish. I love these YA lines. They’ve pulled the young to thirty-something readers away from their video games and TVs and back into bookstores and libraries. Keep up the great work!

  24. Maureen Hardegree
    on Aug 21st, 2009
    @ 1:25 pm

    I can’t wait to see Post Grad with my daughter. We’ve enjoyed Alexis Bledel in Gilmore Girls and Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants, a series of books my daughter adored reading. I confess we’re not as much into the vampires.:)

  25. Trish Milburn
    on Aug 21st, 2009
    @ 11:19 pm

    Annie, I think you would like The Hunger Games. And the Uglies, Pretties, Specials, etc., are by Scott Westerfeld. I haven’t read them yet, but I have read his Midnighters series and liked it.

    Hey, Sandy. I love how reading is now cool again — largely thanks to J.K. Rowling and helped along by Stephenie Meyer and many other wonderful writers.

  26. Trish Milburn
    on Aug 21st, 2009
    @ 11:29 pm

    Maureen, I’ve just finished watching the first season of Gilmore Girls (yes, I’m way behind) and really liked it. And I like the Traveling Pants movies too, particularly the first.

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