Monday, April 30, 2012

This is American Hunger Games?

I love American Idol. There--I've said it. I've been watching it for several seasons now, but for reasons that are now extinct. I got sucked watching the auditions, where awful people were consistently shot down by Simon Cowell. Now Simon Cowell is gone and with him, it seems, are the cringe-worthy auditions. I decided to keep count after two episodes without a single baddy in the bunch, and there were a grand total of three from the whole audition process. This was only my first indication that this year, things were different.
About two weeks ago that I figured out what had changed: American Idol doesn't want us to see a simple national singing competition (perhaps international, considering the British girl keeps winning...), they want us to believe we are watching an all-out brawl in which only one teenager survives. In other words, American Idol has become our very own hunger games.

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Comparing covers of "Paper Towns"

Here is something I wrote for YA lit class, which will double as today's post. It's about cover art on John Green's Paper Towns.
I have examined three different covers of John Green’s 2008 novel Paper Towns. The first two are both from the original, American hardcover. There are two different images of the same girl (Margo, as confirmed by the author on his video blog shortly after the book came out); one where she is mischievously smiling from in front of a bright yellow background, and the other where she is looking sad in front of a blue/grey background. While the first image is crisp and clear, the second has a blue wash and a worn-looking finish, as though it had been dragged through mud. The fact that these covers feature Margo is an interesting choice because she is not the narrator of the story, and is absent from most of the action in the book. (more after the jump)

Sunday, April 15, 2012

The "man cave" in YA literature

Today, I would like to talk about the gender issue in YA literature. I read a few interesting articles and chapters from among my secondary sources relating to these issues, but nothing drives the point home quite like contemporary articles on the subject.

Let's talk first about Maureen Johnson. I love Maureen, even though I have never read a single one of her books (yet. I own Name of the Star and can't wait until I have that mythical "free time" with which to read it.). I found her about two years ago, while she was guest vlogging for John Green on the vlogbrothers youtube channel, and since then I have added her on facebook, twitter and tumblr.  Needless to say, I can not seem to get enough of her. Perhaps this has something to do with the fact that she likes dramaturgy, or simply the fact that she is awesome. She often links to important issues, articles having to do with the YA world, and other interesting things, and recently she linked to an article about an elementary school in Missouri that has created what is essentially a "boys only" reading section.

Thursday, April 12, 2012


I finished storyboarding the play for my YA project and I am incredibly excited to get started on the actual writing. I had written the first scene, but was not sure where exactly the play was going, and since I am on REAL DEADLINES like a GROWNUP or something, I decided to plan out the whole thing before proceeding. And now I am finished with that part.

The play will be about a young girl who writes stories for her friends and then she gets into a fight with one of them and writes about it. The story is found and "reported" to the principal, and the main character gets in trouble for it.

Okay that is a very loose description of the plot. The main character also has an older brother who is leaving for college in the fall (or NOT leaving... dun dun DUN) and a best friend who is in his first ever real life relationship, and happens to be gay. Her other best friend is also in a relationship--albeit a much less functional one--and I have a feeling this relationship is going to play into the tension between the two of them at some point. I have also storyboarded for some mysterious phone calls, but might drop that because I am not quite sure where I'm going with that idea.

There are two inspirations from which this play has sprung: the first is a seed of autobiography because I used to write stories for and about my friends all the time; the second is thinking about censorship in YA literature and how much it annoys me when adults get all muddied up what teens "can and can't handle", without ever entering into a dialogue with the teen readers themselves. Although these adults may mean well, I don't think that the literature should be policed in such a way that is simultaneously too careful and FAR too careless. It made me think of how high schools frequently produce "junior" versions of shows, which also really bothers me because if you're already trusting your students with tough subject matter, I don't see what cutting one number or the other will do for your production. I think it's a bastardization of the original text, and that if a play is going to be produced it should be all or nothing.

These are preliminary thoughts that will eventually make their way into my paper, which is chugging right along. I have also redesigned the blog portion of this project: instead of once a week (which I have been slacking on...) I will be posting twice a week until May 11th, which is when the staged reading is scheduled. Wednesday and Saturday, starting this Saturday, will be the regular publication days. Once they are in a more polished form, I will probably be posting sections straight from the paper and maybe even sneak previews of the play!!