Ellen Hopkins reflects on ten years of writing YA with publication of ‘Rumble’

Credits: Simon & Schuster
Credits: Simon & Schuster

Ellen Hopkins reflects on ten years of writing YA with publication of ‘Rumble’

Faith and bullying take center stage in the world of young adult literature with today’s release of Rumble, the latest book from New York Times best-selling author Ellen Hopkins.

The book follows teenage protagonist Matthew Turner, who has lost his faith in everything after bullying lead his younger brother to commit suicide. But events soon force Matthew to question everything he’s ever not believed in.

Hopkins is no stranger to tackling tough subjects when it comes to her teen novels. Her previous books have covered subjects as serious as drug addiction, sexual abuse, teenage pregnancy, and suicide. But the author says it was a reader who inspired her to address the subject of faith in Rumble.

In an exclusive interview with Examiner.com, Hopkins explains: “There were a couple of mosque burnings in the news at the time, and I posted on my Facebook page, ‘We all serve one Creator,’ meaning Christians, Jews, Muslims, whomever. A young woman, 16, responded that I was ‘awfully arrogant to think she had to believe in ANYTHING.’ It struck me that when you’re a teen you should be asking big questions, rather than cutting yourself off from them. I know I did, and so the idea of lack of faith took root in my brain.”

Hopkins is eager to add, “The operative word here IS faith, not religion.”

If there’s a message teen readers take away from reading Rumble, Hopkins hopes it’s this: “That life does present us with huge questions, and it’s healthy to explore them. You might not find definitive answers, but debating possibilities is important. Cutting yourself off from possibility limits your imagination and problem solving skills.”

Rumble hits store shelves ten years after Hopkins’ first novel, Crank, was published. In that time, Hopkins’ many novels have left a lasting impression on readers – especially teen readers.

“ I get many [responses from readers] every day, thanking me for turning them away from this path, shedding light on a loved one’s addiction, or even from kids who’ve decided they want to help others by becoming counselors or psychologists,” Hopkins says. “One does stand out in my memory, though. It was from a young lady who said Crank had saved her from her own addiction, and as she was packing for college her younger brother spotted the book. Thinking it was maybe glorifying meth, he asked to read it. He and his girlfriend were both high on meth that night. They read the book in one sitting, and both quit the next day. Seeing oneself in Kristina can be a huge wake up call.”

Crank has not only impacted her readers’ lives, but it’s made a huge impact on Hopkins herself. The book was inspired by her own daughter’s addiction to meth.

“Writing the book brought a lot of necessary insight into the choices my daughter made,” Hopkins says. “Parents want to assign themselves a lot of guilt when a child takes a wrong turn, and while we can shoulder some of the blame, it’s important to realize that kids, especially once they reach adolescence, start making decisions (and not always good ones) for themselves. But telling that story also brought me to where I belong as a writer—writing books for teens that can bring them knowledge and understanding of issues touching their lives every day.”

The experience of writing about troubled teens – and hearing about the massive impact her books have had on so many young lives – is part of what lead Hopkins to another impactful moment in her life: the creation of Ventana Sierra.

The recently-founded nonprofit organization provides housing, education, and life resources to disadvantaged youth.

“In my travels I often come across young people who have big dreams, but lack the resources to go for them. Since it’s this generation that largely built my career, I feel it’s necessary to return what I can in the form of hope for a brighter future,” Hopkins says. “In the year plus since we’ve opened our first house, we’ve helped some 20 kids off the street, helped a half-dozen graduate high school and twelve into college. They haven’t all stayed, but at least we’ve given them a jumpstart.”

Ventana Sierra is always looking for donations to help support the organization – especially as it continues to grow. Right now, fans of Hopkins can contribute to a crowdfunding campaign for a filmed version of the stage adaptation of Crank, which Hopkins oversaw last year. All proceeds from the crowdfunding campaign will benefit Ventana Sierra.

Readers can contribute to the campaign here.

Rumble is in stores now.

Read More by Sara Gundell


Cassandra Clare reflects on the end of ‘The Mortal Instruments’ series

Credits: Simon & Schuster
Credits: Simon & Schuster

Cassandra Clare reflects on the end of  ‘The Mortal Instruments’ series

 The Mortal Instruments are coming to an end. The best-selling young adult book series reaches its finale this week, with Tuesday’s publication of the sixth and final book, City of Heavenly Fire.

It’s a milestone that is both exhilarating and bittersweet — both for fans, and author Cassandra Clare.

“This does mean saying goodbye,” Clare told Novel Novice in an exclusive interview. “I may get to write about Shadowhunters again, but not these Shadowhunters. I won’t get to write another Jace, another Clary, another Alec. Every character is different. I’ll miss their banter and interactions.”

City of Heavenly Fire may be the final book in The Mortal Instruments, but it isn’t the first time fans thought they were saying goodbye to these specific Shadowhuners. Originally, the series was published as a trilogy, with the third book, City of Glass, being released in 2009.

“I originally had the idea that after City of Glass I would spin off into a story that centered around Simon,” Clare said. “There was even the idea that it would be a graphic novel — there’s very early drafts of the graphic novel script lying around! When I started to work on it seriously though I realized it wouldn’t work for me. I had too much left to say about the other characters, especially Jace, Clary, Magnus and Alec.”

However, this time Clare seems certain that the original Mortal Instruments series is over. She is far from done writing about the world of the Shadowhunters. Having already completed one trilogy of prequels, The Infernal Devices, Clare has planned at least two more sets of trilogies in this universe — another set of prequels, and one that looks to the new generation of Shadowhunters.

Clare also recently co-wrote a collection of short stories based on the popular character Magnus with her friends and fellow authors Maureen Johnson and Sarah Rees Brennan. It will be available in a complete set known as The Bane Chronicles in November. (The original stories were only released in electronic form.)

To celebrate Tuesday’s release of City of Heavenly Fire, fans can enter to win a complete boxed set of The Mortal Instruments books and a one-of-a-kind Mortal Instruments hoodie.

Read More by Sara Gundell

Scott Westerfield’s ‘Uglies’ series in development for TV series

Credits: Simon & Schuster
Credits: Simon & Schuster

Scott Westerfield’s ‘Uglies’ series in development for TV series

YA author Scott Westerfeld‘s best-selling dystopian series Uglies is in development to become a TV series.

According to Publisher’s Weekly, “Negotiations are in an advanced stage with a U.S. television network to adapt [Westefeld’s] bestselling Uglies books into a TV series.”

Movie rights to the Uglies series have been sold before, but this is the first time (publicly, at least) that the books have been under consideration as a TV series.

With the first book published in 2005, the Uglies series became best-sellers well before The Hunger Games made the dystopian genre a cornerstone of the YA market. The books take place in a futuristic, dystopian world, in which teenagers are surgically transformed into “Pretties” on their 16th birthdays. But heroine Tally ends up running away just before her 16th birthday and teams up with a group of “Uglies” living outside of the system, and learns there is more to the surgeries than she’s been lead to believe.

Westerfeld is also the author of the Leviathan series, and will release a standalone novel this fall, called Afterworlds.

Read More by Sara Gundell

‘A Monster Calls’ by Patrick Ness movie adaptation to start filming in September

Credits: Walker Books
Credits: Walker Books

‘A Monster Calls’ by Patrick Ness movie adaptation to start filming in September

A movie adaptation of Patrick Ness‘s acclaimed and emotionally charged young adult novel A Monster Calls is moving forward.

River Road Entertainment, Participant Media, Lionsgate International, and Focus Features announced today that they are teaming up to fund and distribute A Monster Calls, which is being produced by Apache.

Ness himself is writing the screenplay, with The Orphanage director Juan Antonio Bayona directing. Filming is expected to begin in September, with the film tentatively slated for release in 2016.

“I cannot TELL you how excited I am for the Monster Calls movie,” Ness wrote on Twitter. “I’ve seen early pre-viz and it’s going to be FREAKING AMAZING!”

A Monster Calls, which Ness wrote from an idea by late author Siobhan Dowd, follows a young boy, who uses a fantasy world of monsters to escape the trauma of his mother’s terminal illness and bullying at school.

Originally from Washington state, Ness now lives in the UK. He is also the author of the critically-acclaimed Chaos Walking trilogy and More Than This.

Read More by Sara Gundell

Disney to unveil new ‘Percy Jackson’ series book cover next week

Credits: Disney Worldwide Publishing
Credits: Disney Worldwide Publishing

Disney to unveil new ‘Percy Jackson’ series book cover next week

Disney Worldwide Publishing is set to reveal brand-new, re-imagined covers for its best-selling Percy Jackson series.

Similar to last year’s new Harry Potter editions, the new paperback editions of the Percy Jackson books will reveal a mural by artist John Rocco when all of the books are lined up side-by-side.

Percy Jackson fans should already be familiar with Rocco’s work, as he’s been illustrating the series’ book covers since the 2006 edition of The Lightning Thief.

The books will be available this summer, but Disney will be revealing the new covers next week on the Percy Jackson Facebook page — with one new cover being unveiled each day, starting February 17th.

Meanwhile, fans are eagerly awaiting the publication of the next book in the series, The Blood of Olympus, which will be released on October 7th.

Read More by Sara Gundar

‘The Hunger Games: Mockingjay’ first trailer rumored to debut in April

Credits: Lionsgate
Credits: Lionsgate

‘The Hunger Games: Mockingjay’ first trailer rumored to debut in April

Fans of The Hunger Games may get their first look at the upcoming Mockingjay: Part 1 movie sooner than they had hoped. Rumors are swirling that a trailer could arrive as early as April, if not sooner.

According to Hypable, Yahoo! international claims that the first trailer will arrive sometime in April – though the site offers no evidence of this claim.

However, April does seem to be a likely time frame for the Mockingjay: Part 1 trailer, given that the first trailer for Catching Fire debuted in April of last year during the MTV Movie Awards.

The Hunger Games: Mockingjay is still in production, and is expected to continue filming through May. However, filming includes both movies in the two-part finale to the series — and crews likely have enough footage to cut together a teaser-trailer in time for an April debut.

Hypable also theorizes that a Mockingjay trailer could arrive even sooner, with the March 21st theatrical release of Divergent, another movie based on a YA dystopian trilogy with plenty of crossover appeal to Hunger Games fans. The two films also share a parent studio company, Lionsgate.

Read More by Sara Gundell

‘Something Real’ by Heather Demetrios perfectly balances angst, humor & romance

Credits: Henry Holt Books
Credits: Henry Holt Books

‘Something Real’ by Heather Demetrios perfectly balances angst, humor & romance

Remember the train wreck that was TLC’s “Jon & Kate Plus Eight”? Imagine being one of those kids … growing up in the spotlight … watching your parents’ marriage fall apart in the public eye … and then years later, being dragged back into the spotlight.

That’s sort of the idea behind Something Real by Heather Demetrios, the coming-of-age story for one unusual teenage girl, who is forced to fight her inner demons and stand up to the ones she loves most in extreme circumstances.

Something Real paints the unique story of Bonnie Baker (who goes by “Chloe” now), who is just starting to recover from the traumatic experience of growing up in front of reality TV cameras. She’s finally established some real friendships and may finally have her first real boyfriend – when those traumatic TV cameras come barreling unwanted back into her life.

Demetrios does a masterful job of capturing the real horror of live in front of the cameras, while balancing the angst with humor and romance. Each element of this book is written elegantly, and the balance is a perfect tone for a coming-of-age story that makes you cringe, soar, and fight back right along with Bonnie/Chloe.

Something Real is in stores February 4th. here is the official synopsis:

Winner of the 2012 PEN New England Discovery Award!

There’s nothing real about reality TV.

Seventeen-year-old Bonnie™ Baker has grown up on TV—she and her twelve siblings are the stars of one-time hit reality show Baker’s Dozen. Since the show’s cancellation and the scandal surrounding it, Bonnie™ has tried to live a normal life, under the radar and out of the spotlight. But it’s about to fall apart…because Baker’s Dozen is going back on the air. Bonnie™’s mom and the show’s producers won’t let her quit and soon the life she has so carefully built for herself, with real friends (and maybe even a real boyfriend), is in danger of being destroyed by the show. Bonnie™ needs to do something drastic if her life is ever going to be her own—even if it means being more exposed than ever before.

Read More by Sara Gundell

‘Fallen’ movie to begin filming Feb. 9th; other details revealed

Credits: Random House
Credits: Random House

‘Fallen’ movie to begin filming Feb. 9th; other details revealed

Fallen author Lauren Kate has revealed some exciting new details about the upcoming movie adaptation — starting with news that filming is expected to begin on February 9th!

“The script is great, the director is great, and I’m thrilled with the progress so far,” Kate said in an interview with Random House Australia. “Preproduction has begun this month. We’ll be shooting in Hungary in February.”

Fallen takes place at a Georgia boarding school, where Luce (played by Addison Timlin in the upcoming movie) discovers her classmates are fallen angels, who are locked in a centuries-long battle between those on God’s side and those fighting for Satan.

Jeremy Irvine and Harrison Gilbertson play two potential love interests for Luce. More cast members are expected to be announced soon, according to Kate.

“I am very behind the direction of the film so far,” Kate said. “I think it’s going to be really good. I will also say that [director] Scott [Hicks] and I have had many conversations about what the fans want out of the movies. He knows what matters to you and will strive to deliver it.”

There are four books in the Fallen series, as well as a bonus book that includes short stories about love based on the series. Kate is also the author of The Betrayal of Natalie Hargrove and Teardrop, the first in a new paranormal YA series.

Read More by Sara Gundell

‘The Offering’ by Kimberly Derting is a complex and rich conclusion to trilogy

Simon & Schuster
Simon & Schuster

‘The Offering ‘ by Kimberly Derting is a complex and rich conclusion to trilogy

Kimberly Derting brings her Pledge trilogy to an exciting conclusion with The Offering, in stores today. Continuing the saga of Charlie, her surprising rise to power, and her ongoing internal struggle against the former queen Sabara, Derting proves once again her literary savvy as she deftly navigates this complex and rich storyline.

The Offering picks up where we last left Charlie, facing a possible war and still fighting for control of her own body with the “essence” of former queen Sabara, who is not willing to go out without a fight.

Derting cleverly plays the two struggles against each other as the storyline unfolds: Charlie’s internal struggle against Sabara, and her external struggle with the neighboring queendom of Astonia. In both situations, Charlie must choose between doing what is best for her people, and what she selfishly wants for herself – as the two do not often go hand-in-hand.

Ultimately, The Offering sees Charlie’s journey come full-circle, as she takes ownership of her crown and her responsibilities — and goes to whatever lengths necessary to protect the ones she loves most.

The Offering is the final book in The Pledge trilogy. It is in stores today. Here is the official synopsis:

True love—and world war—is at stake in the conclusion to The Pledge trilogy, a dark and romantic blend of dystopia and fantasy.
Charlie, otherwise known as Queen Charlaina of Ludania, has become comfortable as a leader and a ruler. She’s done admirable work to restore Ludania’s broken communications systems with other Queendoms, and she’s mastered the art of ignoring Sabara, the evil former queen whose Essence is alive within Charlie. Or so she thinks.

When the negotiation of a peace agreement with the Queendom of Astonia goes awry, Charlie receives a brutal message that threatens Ludania, and it seems her only option is to sacrifice herself in exchange for Ludanian freedom.

But things aren’t always as they seem. Charlie is walking into a trap—one set by Sabara, who is determined to reclaim the Queendoms at any cost.

Read More by Sara Gundell

Charlaine Harris squashed rumors of a ‘True Blood’ collaboration


Charlaine Harris squashed rumors of a ‘True Blood’ collaboration

Yesterday, December 31, Charlaine Harris went to her Facebook page to squash several rumors including one that she will be collaborating with “True Blood” writers to clean up and help end season seven of the HBO show that is based on her “Southern Vampire Series”.

Many fans had commented on previous posts about her collaborating with “True Blood” writers to help them “fix” the tv show and it end like the book or at least let it end “better”.

This is what she said:

“Let me squash a rumor or two here: I am not writing, or involved in planning, the last season of “True Blood.” I do not know how this got started. I am not writing another Sookie novel. Also, anyone who wants to know what I’m reading can find out what I’ve read for the past few years by visiting my website, which is simply charlaineharris.com. Click on Books and Blog. I love to recommend books I’ve enjoyed!”

As most fans know, the HBO show is not based entirely on the books. The first three seasons were close but after that it pretty much went it’s own way totally. It is no secret that Ms. Harris has been very mum on her opinion of the show ( well ostly but I won’t get into that here).

But, many fans who love the book hate the show and vice versa. One fan said that they see it as two “different stories” and go on with it.

Well, either way, Ms. Harris ended her book series in 2013 and the television show is set to end this summer of 2014.

Read More by Bertena Varney