It's been a big year for fans of Maggie Stiefvater. The final book in her Wolves of Mercy Falls trilogy, Forever, came out in July . . . and just last week she released a new stand-alone book, The Scorpio Races. This novel is about a couple of teens who risk their lives in dangerous horse races on cliffs.
Trisha and I had the opportunity to meet Maggie at the American Library Association conference in New Orleans this year. Trisha talked to her about leaving her characters from the world of Shiver behind, and Maggie told us a bit about her research for The Scorpio Races.
Best part of the interview: When Maggie tells us how she had the opportunity to have a romantic day of sightseeing with her husband while she was on tour in Paris—and instead she whisked him off to go look at cliffs as research for the new book.
I linked to this video back in July, but I wanted to share it again in case any of you need reminding about The Scorpio Races. Other news: Today on Publishers Marketplace it was announced that Warner Brothers has bought the film rights to the novel.
Here's the interview from ALA:
Just for fun, check out this awesome stop-motion trailer that Maggie created for The Scorpio Races:
Have you read, or will you read, The Scorpio Races? We'll let you know if we hear any more details about the movie . . .
Rocker Lenny Kravitz will be play one of my personal favorite characters in the series, stylist Cinna.
In the series, stylists are the people who prepare the tributes to appear in public and on television. Cinna becomes an ally of Katniss, and he is also the brains behind her memorable "girl on fire" look. Don't you remember this passage?
"I want the audience to recognize you when you're in the arena," says Cinna dreamily. "Katniss, the girl who was on fire." It crosses my mind that Cinna's calm and normal demeanor masks a complete madman.
Can you imagine Kravitz as Cinna? Who is your favorite character from The Hunger Games?
The movie version of Diary of a Wimpy Kid 2: Rodrick Rules comes out on March 25, and the trailer just became available. Will all the potty humor and middle school escapades, how could it not become a hit?!
In November, I saw the actors who play Fregley, Rowley and Greg (not to mention author/illustrator Jeff Kinney) live at Belmont University on the Wimpy Kid bus tour. Kinney showed the audience some behind-the-scenes clips from filming the movie, but this is the first time I've seen the full trailer.
Will you (or your kids) go see the movie?
Don't miss BookPage's interview with Kinney in the November issue or Alice Cary's additional photos from her meeting on the blog! Also, this short video of why kids love the Wimpy Kid is pretty darn cute (if I do say so myself).
I'm a veteran of HP midnight screenings, and last night's activities did not disappoint. Wand-carrying, cape-wearing, lightning-bolt-sporting fans were out in large numbers to pack the several theaters showing the movie after midnight.
As usual, the crowd cheered the second John Williams' iconic theme started playing . . . and then the action kicked off and didn't slow down for two and a half hours.
If you're going to see Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part I, you probably know where the plot is heading—although I won't write any spoilers. Suffice it to say that Harry, Ron and Hermione's quest seems bleaker and lonelier than ever as they search for the mysterious horcruxes, away from Hogwarts for the duration of the movie, constantly on the run from Death Eaters. I saw the movie with BookPage Web Editor Trisha along with contributors Stephenie Harrison and Tony Kuehn, and everyone agreed that the suspense in this movie was constant and effective. In this final (well, final—part I) chapter of the Harry Potter saga, Harry and his friends are almost completely self-reliant as they seek to destroy Voldemort. Although there's very little of the charming, happy scenes of wizarding life that I loved from the previous books and movies (scenes at the Burrow or in the classroom, for example), there are moments of humor, if not lightness—although I can't imagine a young child watching this scary adaptation.
I was always skeptical of how the two-part movie would split, but director David Yates (also the director of Order of the Phoenix and Half-Blood Prince) chose a natural spot. It's a cliff-hanger, but I don't think viewers will walk away unsatisfied.
Part II of the finale will not be released until July, which gives everyone plenty of time to re-read the entire series before the on-screen farewell. Did anyone brave the midnight showing? What'd you think?
Also on The Book Case: Watch a trailer for Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part I.
Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows by J.K. Rowling
Scholastic • $34.99 • Originally published July 21, 2007
It feels like yesterday that I was waiting in line at a bookstore in New York City—at midnight—about to explode with excitement over the publication of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows. (It seems like I can track my childhood in terms of where I was when I bought the Harry Potter books. Like, the time when I had one overnighted to rural Tennessee so I could read it at summer camp. Or the time I made my parents pull over to a Books-a-Million in Hattiesburg, MS, so I could read the latest Harry Potter en route to Florida on a family vacation.)
If you don't know what Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows is about, then you probably have no interest in the series at all, because there's no way you could read earlier books and not make it to #7, in which Harry continues on his quest to find the final horcruxes and destroy Lord Voldemort once and for all.
I'm always shocked when I meet people who didn't read Harry Potter when it was coming out (especially people who are now in their '20s or '30s—wasn't everybody you knew reading it?). The Harry Potter series is fantastic. Even if you have never liked fantasy or children's/YA books, I'd encourage any person of any age to start the series. Forget about reading them because they're popular, or because the movie is coming out this week (woo-hoo!). Read them because J.K. Rowling's world building and character development is so detailed and alive that these stories will truly stick with you forever.
Here's a short excerpt from Deathly Hallows:
I had proven, as a very young man, that power was my weakness and my temptation. It is a curious thing, Harry, but perhaps those who are best suited to power are those who have never sought it. Those who, like you, have leadership thrust upon them, and take up the mantle because they must, and find to their own surprise that they wear it well.
The scene inside of Belmont University's Curb Event Center (in Nashville) was a little out of the ordinary on Friday, November 12.
For one thing, this bus was parked outside:
Inside, hundreds of kids and parents eagerly waited in the arena to hear the guest of honor talk about the week's hot topic. Yep, Jeff Kinney was in the building to talk about Diary of a Wimpy Kid: The Ugly Truth.
While some kids scrambled for seats next to friends or ran back and forth from the popcorn stand, many of them looked just like this girl sitting in front of me:
Or these guys (please excuse my shaky camera hand):
When Jeff took the stage, he talked about the many, many rejection letters he got prior to signing a deal to publish Diary of a Wimpy Kid. He also mentioned that he originally thought Wimpy Kid would be published for adults, but he's so glad it got marketed as a kids book. He loves being embraced by "reluctant readers" (a term that was new to him when he started publishing).
Audience members also got to see a photo of the Greg Heffley float that will be appearing in the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade and watch a funny video of Jeff with cast members from the Wimpy Kid movie.
And then, there was a major surprise . . .
The actors who play Greg Heffley, Rowley Jefferson and Fregley in Diary of a Wimpy Kid made a surprise appearance! Jeff interviewed the boys about how their lives have changed since starring in the hit movie.
While everyone waited in line to get their books signed after the talk, I snagged a few fans to chat about why they love the Wimpy Kid series:
Moral of the story: Always go to events with your favorite author—you never know what surprises there will be!
Why do you love the Wimpy Kid?
Ross's other directing credits include Pleasantville and Seabiscuit (based on the book by Laura Hillenbrand)—which just might be my family's favorite movie of all time.
Entertainment Weekly blogger Darren Franich has posted an amusing "open letter" to Ross, in which he begs for the director to not make the movie gritty:
Reading Hunger Games, you’re struck by just how vivid and alive the forest is. It’s Katniss’ escape from drudgery, the one place she can really feel alive. Listen to her describe the valley outside of District 12: “teeming with summer life, greens to gather, roots to dig, fish iridescent in the sunlight.” That’s sounds more like the Technicolor-organic wilderness of Avatar than the dark, shadowy woods of Twilight. Conversely, the Capitol reads like a fascist version of J.J. Abrams’ Star Trek: too bright, too colorful, overpopulated with highly-caffeinated supermodels. But again, no gritty here.
Roxanne St. Claire, author of 25 books—including category romance; romantic suspense; chick lit; and Edge of Sight, one of BookPage's romance picks for November—has signed a deal to write her first YA novel. It's called Don't You Wish and will be published in 2012 from Random House's Delacorte.
Here's the Publisher's Marketplace description:
Roxanne St. Claire's DON'T YOU WISH, in which a middle-class, under-popular, painfully average teenage girl wakes up in an alternate universe where her mother married a wealthy man and her every wish has come true—with complications.
Romance columnist Christie Ridgway has praised St. Claire's "hot romance and sizzling suspense." Are you a fan of her books? Are you excited by this new book/potential movie?
Barbara Robinson's The Best Christmas Pageant Ever—about the "worst kids in the history of the world," the Herdman kids—is one of my favorite books ever—and definitely my favorite book for the holidays.
So I was happy to hear that Walden Media has just acquired the film rights to produce this classic holiday story. Walden is knows for their adaptations of children's classics, from The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe to Bridge to Terabithia and Ramona and Beezus.
Although I'm usually skeptical of movie adaptations, I think this one will be great. My local children's theater did a production of The Best Christmas Pageant Ever when I was in elementary school, and it really was the best play there I ever saw.
If right now you're thinking, "Christmas? It's not even November!", then you might check out Robinson's TBCPE spin-off The Best Halloween Ever.
Just about everybody on the BookPage staff who has read Rebecca Stead's Newbery-winning novel When You Reach Me has raved about it. (I am most guilty, posting here and here—and don't miss our post-Newbery Q&A with Stead.) I loved spunky sixth-grade narrator Miranda. I loved how Madeleine L’Engle’s A Wrinkle in Time was subtly integrated into the plot. I loved how Stead depicted a realistic relationship between mother and daughter. And I loved the combination of mystery and fantasy.
So, I was thrilled to read this morning that Amber Entertainment won a bidding war to produce a movie version of the novel. Both Stead and Ileen Maisel (The Golden Compass) will produce.
I can't wait to see New York City of the 1970s come to life, and the scenes that take place on game show "The $20,000 Pyramid" should be fabulous.
When A Wrinkle In Time was made into a TV movie in 2003, L'Engle said of the adaptation, "I expected it to be bad, and it is." Let's hope the movie of When You Reach Me doesn't get a similar reception—but how could it, since Stead is involved?
Do you think When You Reach Me will translate successfully on the screen? Are you looking forward to this movie?
By the way, we shared this news in Wednesday's Reading Corner, but in case you don't subscribe—this weekend a couple of our editors are off to attend the Newbery Caldecott Banquet in Washington, D.C. When they return, they'll post a full report of Stead's and Jerry Pinkney's speeches on this blog.