Best And Worst Of 2010: Books
- December 23rd, 2010
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Ed. Note: For the best and worst YA publishing moments of 2010, we asked teen book bloggers and Youth Advisory Board members Skyanne Fisher and Chelsea Swiggett to name their picks. From the long-awaited final chapter to the “Hunger Games” trilogy to the book deals scored by multiple cast members of the “Jersey Shore,” here they are.
Best And Worst Of 2010: Books
Speak Loudly. The book community has never been known for backing down when challenged, but this year it went above and beyond. It all began when Laurie Halse Anderson’s Speak, a novel about a girl who was date-raped and didn’t tell anyone, was challenged by Wesley Scroggins, an associate professor of management at Missouri State University. He referred to Speak as “filthy” and “immoral” and called the two (non-descriptive) rape scenes “soft pornography”. He also criticized Sarah Ockler’s Twenty Boy Summer and Kurt Vonnegut’s Slaughterhouse Five. As word spread, authors, bloggers, teachers, librarians and others joined together to fight back. Blog posts were wrote describing how Speak had changed their lives, the #speakloudly hashtag quickly grew on Twitter, and one English teacher went as far as creating SpeakLoudly.org to stand up against censorship of books. Obviously, all it takes is one spark to light a forest fire and I bet Scroggins is wishing he never opened his mouth.
Mockingjay. As the final book of Suzanne Collins’ Hunger Games trilogy about the dystopian world of young teen heroine, this book was highly anticipated the entire year of 2010. Although this was the conclusion to Collins’ trilogy, a movie is planned for 2012 and the hype probably won’t be dying down for a while. This was a fantastic finale to a series that has gained countless followers. There are board games, keychains, jewelry, clothes, and tons of merchandise that’s being sold at Borders, Hot Topic, and everywhere online. It’s a complete sensation. (Edit Note: Refer to Ypulse post on Mockingjay’s release party for more on the Hunger Games phenomenon.)
Paranormal. Once again, paranormal dominated the YA market and with it came books that went far beyond the vampire and werewolf cliches. Books like The Body Finder by Kimberly Derting or Karen Kincy’s Other introduced new paranormal elements while books like Raised by Wolves by Jennifer Lynn Barnes, Infinite Days by Rebecca Maizel, and Shade by Jeri Smith Ready kept long-time fans of werewolves, vampires, and ghosts happy. And, it’s impossible to forget about the paranormal releases that everyone was waiting for, most notably Crescendo by Becca Fitzpatrick, the sequel to the best-selling Hush Hush and Last Sacrifice by Richelle Mead, the final installment in the ever-so-popular Vampire Academy series. Judging from the fanfare, these books went above and beyond expectations.
Celeb Book Deals Hearing about celebrities getting enormous book deals always makes book lovers and authors cringe and the announcement that Snooki, of Jersey Shore fame, had a book deal was no exception. More and more celebrities are getting book deals, including Lauren Conrad, Hilary Duff, and Justin Bieber. While some actors/celebrities have succeeded at writing, such as Steve Martin, or at least shown a desire in the field, such as James Franco, many others are used for monetary reasons alone. It might make money for the book industry, but it hasn’t made a very positive splash in the literary world.
Paranormal. The very same reason that landed paranormal on the best list is the reason it also earns a spot on the worst - paranormal completely over-saturated the market this year. Bookstores began displaying very few books that were not paranormal and it also dominated the best-seller lists. While there were a few hidden gems in the group, a lot of the books were, well, not that great. It seems that many authors think they can rewrite Twilight and substitute in werewolves, fairies, angels, or some other creature for Edward Cullen and have a fantastic novel. Unfortunately, these novels usually lack an actual plot, dimensional characters, a non-creepy romance, and unpredictability.
Fiction Factory. James Frey, author of A Million Little Pieces, used his fame to exploit writers, essentially taking their ideas or writing and using them to make money for himself. He offered aspiring authors, particularly the notoriously poor and struggling MFA graduates of schools like Columbia, the chance to become published, which sounds great. Except the contract he offered them included payment of approximately $250, banned the writer from ever being able to admit to writing the book, and left the writer with the liability of any legal action brought against the book, despite not owning the copyright. Basically, the writer had no control over anything related to the book and would possibly not even receive payment for their hard work. It was a terrible deal but many writers signed, including the author of I Am Number Four.
Skyanne Fisher was the girl skipping school in fourth grade to stay home and write. Now in high school, Skyanne still spends most her time writing. She also reviews books and writes for her school paper. She’s obsessed with foreign cultures, loves cities, and can’t stand small towns. It’s her goal to be fluent in multiple languages and she hopes to major in writing at Columbia College Chicago. In the mean time, she spends her time daydreaming about the days when she’ll be traveling the world.
Chelsea Swiggett is a writer and lover of books. She has an addiction to pop culture, from movies and TV shows to books and celebrities. She loves traveling and plans to hit every state in the U.S. before heading out of the country. You can find her at thepageflipper.blogspot.comfor her opinion on books.