The Hollywood Reporter has the news that ABC Family has green lit a new TV series based on Cassandra Clare’s Mortal Instruments series. Shadowhunters is planned to be a 13 episode series with no premiere date announced yet. Production will begin in May.
"Shadowhunters is a big, epic saga that will resonate with viewers who come to ABC Family for the Harry Potter, Hunger Games and Twilight franchises," ABC Family president Tom Ascheim said. "A New York Times best-seller for 122-consecutive weeks, with over 35 million copies in print worldwide, Shadowhunters is the perfect story to share with our audience."
Shadow Scale by Rachel Hautman
Serafina was one of my favorite dragon books of all time and here is its sequel! I tend to really dislike seconds books in series, especially those that I love. They seem disappointing after the amazement of the first novel. Happily, this sequel does it all right. It continues the story of Serafina the half-dragon. The kingdom of Goredd has long born the brunt of the dragon wars, protecting the rest of the south. Now they must ask for help in order to survive a war. Serafina and the young queen learn of a magical weapon wielded by during the time of the Saints and Serafina sets off to gather all of the other half-dragons, the ones who populate her mind garden. But as she gathers new allies, an old enemy re-emerges and wreaks havoc on those that Serafina holds most dearly. Soon Serafina is without allies and has no one she can trust, and she is the only one who can save the others.
This sequel was a long time coming, but worth all of the wait. Hautman has once again crafted a world of dragons that fits into the dragon myth but also expands upon it and makes it come fully alive. She writes with such amazing detail, crafting a world of intrigue and wonder. At the same time, it is grittily real, with real repercussions, a world filled with bias and bigotry, faith that can be compromised, and a reliance on real intelligence and wit to save.
Serafina remains one of the great fantasy heroines. She reads as real, a girl trapped in a world with greatness forced upon her. She is a musician at heart but she must step up and also be a heroine for the world at large. Hautman shows the strong connection of music and friends, music and science. She creates a world around Serafina that is just as realistic as she is, but also populated by dragons.
Beautifully written with one amazing heroine, this novel is a worthy sequel to the first, and that is the greatest praise that could be given. Appropriate for ages 13-16.
Reviewed from digital galley received from Netgalley and Random House.
Mosquitoland by David Arnold
Mim now lives in Mississippi with her father and his new wife. Her mother has been left behind in Ohio. When Mim finds out that her mother is sick and perhaps dying, she sets off to find her. Mim steals cash from her father and stepmother and buys herself a Greyhound bus ticket to Cleveland. She heads north, determined to reconnect with her real home and her real mother, remembering the days they spent together filled with energy and love. But things happen along the way that keep on slowing Mim’s epic trip down. There is a perverted man on the bus, a kind older woman who smells of cookies and has a mysterious box, and a boy with green eyes and plenty of sarcasm. There is also a bus crash, moments of heroism, another boy who melts Mim’s heart in a different way, and the discovery of a new kind of family and a new kind of home. This bus ride turns out to be completely and wonderfully epic, but for very different reasons indeed.
Arnold dances down the dotted yellow line of humor and tragedy with grace. He melds the immensely sad and harrowing together with the hilarious and strange into a mix that is beautiful and real. He bravely mocks the sort of romance story that this could have been, allowing Mim herself to see the movie that she could have been starring in, before reality comes back and takes over again. Yet along the way, Arnold is also creating a movie and a book that are so much more romantic and beautiful than those false films of the mind.
Mim is a magnificent protagonist. Struggling with mental illness, Mim starts out obediently taking her medication but discovers along the way that her demons may not be the ones she was diagnosed with thanks to her father’s interference. Mim finds her own way to sanity in her journey, connecting with people who speak to her deeply, allowing herself to feel deeply, and rejecting ways that seem false to her. This is a teen who is strong, passionate about life, and luminous on the page. Her voice is her own, a glorious mix of sarcasm, well-read references and humor.
A road trip across the United States that is wildly funny, deeply introspective and completely extraordinary. Appropriate for ages 14-17.
Reviewed from ARC received from Viking.
March: Book Two by John Lewis, Andrew Aydin and Nate Powell
The powerful second book in the March graphic novel series continues the true story of the Civil Rights Movement. Told by John Lewis in the first person, this book captures the dangers and violence faced by the Freedom Riders as they headed into the deep south. The nonviolent campaign for civil rights faced beatings, police brutality, bombs, imprisonment and potential death. Yet they found a way to not only keep going but to continue to press deeper and deeper into the south. This book is a harrowing read that shows how one young man became a leader of in civil rights and politics in America.
Lewis’ personal story allows readers a glimpse of what was happening behind the scenes. Historical figures like Martin Luther King, Jr. and Malcolm X make appearances in the book, and their own personal perspectives on civil rights and nonviolence is shared. The pushback on the nonviolent aspect of the movement is also shown clearly on the page when new people joined the cause. This shift towards more reactionary tactics threatens to undo the progress that had been made to that point.
Thanks to the graphic novel format, there is no turning away from the violence. Beatings are shown up close and will a frenzy that is palpable. The dangers are not minimized nor overly dramatized, they are shown honestly. There are unforgettable moments throughout the novel, some of them small like a boy being encouraged to claw out a civil rights worker’s eyes. Other moments are larger from the mattress protests in the jail to the march of the children and the police brutality that followed.
Immensely strong and powerful, this graphic novel series allows us to see how much progress was made thanks to these civil rights heroes but also inspires young readers to make more progress against the continued racism in our society. Appropriate for ages 13-15.
Reviewed from library copy.
The Bunker Diary by Kevin Brooks
The controversial winner of The Carnegie Medal in 2014 has arrived in the United States. It is the story of Linus, a teenager living on the streets who is kidnapped and placed in a bunker. The bunker has six bedrooms, a kitchen and a bathroom. In the kitchen are six plates, six cups, six sets of plastic utensils. Each room has a Bible and a notebook and pen. There is is no hot water, only cold. Linus is there alone at first but then others start to arrive. Someone is watching them through the vents in the ceiling, even in the bathroom there are cameras and microphones. That someone responds to written requests for food and supplies via notes sent in the elevator. Until someone does something wrong, then the food stops and the real horror begins.
Brooks has crafted an intense and horrific story here. It could have descended into pure hate and the proof that people are inherently evil. But something else happens here. There is hope, there are dreams, there are memories of human connection, and new connections are forged too. At the same time, there is no denying that it is bleak and desperate and frightening. It is a book that asks what you would do in this circumstance, who you would become. It is a book that challenges, that doesn’t offer easy answers and that is beautifully terrible.
While Linus is the narrator of the book with the story told in his own writing in his notebook, the story is also that of the others in the bunker with him. They are all just as well crafted, their responses to their kidnapping entirely personal and appropriate for who they are, and there are at least two of them who are heroes of the story too. They are the ones that imbue it with humanity and make the book worth the endurance needed to finish it.
Powerful, compellingly written and achingly human, this novel is challenging and exquisite but certainly not for all readers. Appropriate for ages 14-17.
Reviewed from digital galley received from Edelweiss and Penguin.
Prairie Fire by E.K. Johnston
Released March 1, 2015.
This sequel to The Story of Owen continues the dragon-slaying adventures of Siobhan and Owen. Upon graduating from high school, Owen joins the Oil Watch, the international organization that trains dragon slayers and their support teams to fight a variety of different dragons. Despite the damage to her hands, Siobhan manages to qualify to join the Oil Watch too, the first bard in a long time to do so. They must first survive basic training, designed to get them working as a team and Siobhan has the added problem of figuring out a role for a bard in a situation where it is about killing dragons, putting out fires, and tending medical emergencies. As their basic training ends, the dragon slayers are sent all over the world to where they are needed most. But the Canadian government has not forgiven Owen for what happened and their posting is not one that will forge a new dragon slaying hero. That is unless Siobhan can create the songs and stories that tell a different story.
With writing just as fresh and engaging as the first book, this new novel is superb. It builds upon the first novel, returning us to that wonderful world of alternate history with a modern Canada and North America awash in dragon fire. Johnston continues to show her prowess is rewriting history and filling it with dragons as well as creating a new Canada and United States with boundaries that shift and politics that are complexly drawn.
At its heart always though is the intense friendship of Siobhan and Owen, a bard and her dragon slayer, a musician and her muse. Johnston continues as she did in the first book to create a story that is not about romance but instead two complicated people who care deeply for one another as friends. Again, there is no kissing between the two and no longing glances either. It makes for a refreshing change.
A riveting read with a powerful ending that I am working hard not to spoil in the least. This novel is beautifully written, bravely done and purely epic. Appropriate for ages 14-17.
Reviewed from digital galley received from Netgalley and Carolrhoda Books.
YALSA has selected the 2015 Great Graphic Novels for Teens. The list includes 79 titles that are recommended for ages 12-18 and that are both high quality and appealing to a teen audience. They also select a Top Ten which you see below:
47 Ronin. By Mike Richardson. Illus. by Stan Sakai
Afterlife with Archie: Escape from Riverdale. By Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa. Illus. by Francesco Francavilla
Bad Machinery V.3: The Case of the Simple Soul. By John Allison
In Real Life. By Cory Doctorow, illus.by Jen Wang
Ms. Marvel: V.1. No Normal. By G. Willow Wison. Illus. by Adrian Alphona
Seconds: a Graphic Novel. By Bryan Lee O’Malley
The Shadow Hero. By Gene Luen Yang. Illus. by Sonny Liew
Through The Woods. By Emily Carroll
Trillium. By Jeff Lemire
Wolf Children: Ame & Yuki. By Mamoru Hosoda
The shortlist has been announced for the 2015 Waterstones Children’s Book Prize. There are 18 books on the shortlist for this British children’s book prize and refreshingly 15 of them are by women. The winner in each category as well as the overall winner will be announced on March 26.
BEST ILLUSTRATED BOOK
Atlas of Adventures by Lucy Letherland, words by Rachel Williams
Blown Away by Rob Biddulph
The Dawn Chorus by Suzanne Barton
The Queen’s Hat by Steve Antony
The Sea Tiger by Victoria Turnbull
Where Bear? by Sophy Henn
BEST FICTION FOR 5-12s
A Boy Called Hope by Lara Williamson
Boy in the Tower by Polly Ho-Yen
Cowgirl by G. Gemin
Girl with a White Dog by Anne Booth
Murder Most Unladylike by Robin Stevens
Violet and the Pearl of the Orient by Harriet Whitehorn, illustrated by Becka Moor
BEST BOOK FOR TEENS
The Apple Tart of Hope by Sarah Moore Fitzgerald
Dead Ends by Erin Jade Lange
Half Bad by Sally Green
Only Ever Yours by Louise O’Neill
Smart by Kim Slater
The Strange and Beautiful Sorrows of Ava Lavender by Leslye Walton
The Rainbow Project is a joint project of the ALA Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, and Transgender Round Table and Social Responsibilities Round Table. Each year they select The Rainbow List, books with “significant gay, lesbian, bisexual, or transgender content, and which are aimed at youth, birth through age 18.”
Here is their Top Ten list:
Cinnamon Toast and the End of the World by Janet E. Cameron
Far from You by Tess Sharpe
Grasshopper Jungle by Andrew Smith
I’ll Give You the Sun by Jandy Nelson
Not Every Princess by Jeffrey Bone and Lisa Bone
Secret City by Julia Watts
Sweet Tooth by Tim Anderson
Tell Me Again How a Crush Should Feel by Sara Farizan
This Day in June by Gayle E. Pitman, illustrated by Kristyna Litten
We Are the Youth: Sharing the Stories of LGBT Youth in the United States by Laurel Golio and Diana Scholl
Here are the 20 books on the longlist for The Carnegie Medal, a British award for exceptional writing for youth. The shortlist will be announced on March 17.
Apple and Rain by Sarah Crossan
Buffalo Soldier by Tanya Landman
Close Your Pretty Eyes by Sally Nicholls
The Company of Ghosts by Berlie Doherty
Cuckoo Song by Frances Hardinge
The Fastest Boy in the World by Elizabeth Laird
Grasshopper Jungle by Andrew Smith
Hello Darkness by Anthony McGowan
The Middle of Nowhere by Geraldine McCaughrean
Monkey and Me by David Gilman
More Than This by Patrick Ness
My Brother’s Shadow by Tom Avery
Picture Me Gone by Meg Rosoff
Scarlet Ibis by Gill Lewis
Smart by Kim Slater
Tinder by Sally Gardner, illustrated by David Roberts
Trouble by Non Pratt
Us Minus Mum by Heather Butler
When Mr. Dog Bites by Brian Conaghan
The Year of the Rat by Clare Furniss