Thursday, December 31, 2009

Thursday Links: Looking Back

2009 is almost over... Tempus fugit, huh? And in light of the dawn of 2010, most of today’s links are about looking back, so join in on the retrospection:

Megan at YPulse talks YA books in 2009, both best and worst. I like how she gave a good overview of trends and moods—check it out here. For you gamers, YPulse also covered best and worst videogames of 09.

School Library Journal takes the retrospective thing to the next level by looking at the past decade in kid lit. The scope of this article goes from changes in YA to ebooks; can’t say I agree with all the predictions and observations, but it was an interesting article all the same.

Amazon announced it now sells more Kindle books than paper ones. Show me the numbers, analysts and bloggers say.

Publishers Lunch sums up the year’s (and decade’s) best from USA Today, NPR, and others—thanks for the recap, PM people.

For a crime fiction detour, check out Paul D. Brazil’s Best Crime Fiction of 2009. Alafair Burke talks movie and TV faves for the year at Murderati, and Janet Rudolph talks mystery best of on her blog.

And for something to look forward to in 2010: Wimpy Kid goes Hollywood with the March 16 release of The Wimpy Kid Movie Diary. I’m usually not such a fan of these blockbuster-type books, but I have to say, I love the Wimpy Kid series.

Tomorrow, I will make stern plans of productive seriousness for 2010, with lots of checklists and such. But for now: enjoy the last of 09, and I’ll catch up with you next year.

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Happy Holidays!

I know, there are supposed to be Thursday links today. But with all the fudge making, post office lines, snow, and mind-numbing Christmas carols, I didn't get to be reporter Fleur this week. Apologies.

So instead, I wish you happy holidays, whatever your denomination, and I hope to catch up with you next week with some plans for 2010.

And for those of you feeling a little Scroogy, this cat can commiserate (and so can I).

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Thursday Links

Thursday links are a bit tardy, but I was busy navigating parking lots while shopping, and wrapping presents, which as it turns out are both sticky business. But here is the latest in YA and sundry stuff:

Want to know what to get the teen you love for the holidays? Here are some teen-approved ideas by Grommet. No books, but otherwise some nifty ideas.

Pew Research Center talks about what it means to grow up Hispanic in the U.S. The short of it: Hispanic kids are optimistic, but also more likely to wind up poor, pregnant, and dropping out of school. Interesting stats, so read the whole thing. Now all we need is some research to figure out how we can change these odds.

For you writers, author Tess Gerritsen lists her least favorite questions on Murderati. Entertaining, I thought. And Libba Bray is blogging it up this month at FiveAwesomeYAFans about her book Going Bovine.

There was much buzzin’ around the PW cover “Afro Picks,” highlighting African-American books in today’s marketplace. Read the article about the differing opinions here.

Publishers Weekly reports that Putnam Books for Young Readers’ president Nancy Paulsen is starting a new imprint, Nancy Paulsen Books, with first titles out in 2011.

Religious folk have beef with David Michael Slater’s novels over biblical interpretations. Mr. Slater never intended to cause a fuss, and plans to continue writing his series. As he says, “My novels continue to be fiction.” Good for you, Mr. Slater.

SLJ reports on video games and libraries—with a Colorado focus, so I thought that was cool.

The Consumerist talks about a new Federal Trade Commission program called You Are Here, aimed at educating tweens to be conscious consumers. Sounded interesting.

GirlMogul.com is launching a bookclub for tween girls. Sounds like there’s some heavy parental influencing going on, but that’s probably appropriate for the 8-12 age group (says Mama Fleur).

And saving the most important news for last: Nick is coming out with another season of Spongebob. Now how’s that for an early Christmas present.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Ten Questions

Just in case you wanted to know more about me, check out Wendy Burt-Thomas' 10 questions I answered. I'm feeling a little bit famous here...

You can roll your eyes now. Go ahead.

Monday, December 14, 2009

Review: DopeSick by Walter Dean Myers

Another book with a skinny spine, which you probably know I’m a fan of. And since this one was written by Walter Dean Myers, I hoped it would pack just the punch I love. I wasn’t disappointed.

In DopeSick, Lil J is having a really bad day. He’s running from the police, hiding inside an abandoned building (at least he thinks it is) with a gunshot wound to his arm. His friend Rico has already been arrested, and now there’s a manhunt for Lil J.

Inside the abandoned crack house, Lil J finds Kelly. Kelly is watching TV, with strange images of Lil J’s past and future. At the start of the book, we get the impression Lil J is just at the wrong place at the wrong time, but as we read on, it becomes apparent that Lil J has something of a skewed perception of himself. Kelly confronts him with his past mistakes, with the bad decisions he’s made to get him where he is: wounded, running from the police, destined to wind up dead.

DopeSick, in its simplest definition, is A Christmas Carol meets the ghetto. The story is terse, immediate—and what surprised me most was how this book made me take a closer look at my own beliefs. At the start of the book, I wanted to believe Lil J was a stand-up guy with some tough breaks. When our lead was exposed as a ghetto stereotype: an unemployed drug user, failing in high school, and a baby mama he wasn’t supporting, I didn’t know what to make of Lil J, or my own disappointment in him.

The end of the book is poetic, though I have to admit that it was Lil J’s flaws that kept me thinking long after I turned the last page.

Read this book. Let me know how you experienced it.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Thursday Links

It’s the season! And Generation Y isn’t all that happy about it, according to this MediaPost article, asking: “Why is this Christmas so depressing?”

Facebook is forming a Global Advisory Board to enhance safety for kids. Be interesting to see what comes out of that, though I have to say: it took you long enough, Facebook people. On this same themesong, MTV is running a campaign against digital abuse called A Thin Line; read all about in this YPulse interview with MTV’s Jason Rzepka.

Agent Kristin Nelson gives us the inside scoop on St. Martin’s new line for older teens/twenty-somethings. It’s more writing biz focused, but interesting all the same.

The NYT reports on a two-page e-reader aimed at making textbook reading more practical. It’s called the eDGe (couldn’t think of a snappier name, could ya?), and is due out in February.

MSNBC reports that young people are among the angriest Americans in this most uninformative article on research done in 2005. Investigative reporting appears to be dying along with the newspapers.

Onward to some recommendations for your holiday wishlist: YALSA has announced their shortlist for the William C. Morris Award for debut YA. The winner will be announced Monday January 18 at ALA’s Midwinter Meeting in Boston. Lots of grief-themed books—will check these out for you and report my findings.

For you publishing folk, especially fellow writers: check out J.A. Konrath’s predictions for 2010 when it comes to ebooks. I’ll be interested to see if he’s right; some bold predictions in there, and I like his ability to think outside the box, and give it a kick or two while he’s at it.

To end on a happy note, here’s some good news: kids who are active online are also more likely to read/write more, according to a study in England and Scotland. Let’s hope that goes for Americans too, huh?

Monday, December 7, 2009

Home

I'm back from vacation. The washing machine has done its duty, cats have been comforted, and driveway plowed--twice. It's good to be back, despite the frigid Colorado weather.

While I was gone, my blog (at YA Sleuth and Publishers Marketplace) got a record amount of visitors, more than when I blog regularly about YA books and news. I should shut up more often, it seems.

Actually, I think it might have been the buzz surrounding the Wal-Mart, I Love You flash fiction challenge. You can read my story Aubergine below; I'll be off to read all the other great flashes linked on Patricia Abbott's blog, since I missed out on that.

And Thursday, I hope to be caught up on YA news to share as always. Just to chase you blog readers away.