YAB Review: “Venom” By Fiona Paul

Today's post comes from Emily Smucker, a Youth Advisory Board member who recently read the YA novel "Venom" by Fiona Paul. The story is set in Renaissance Venice, where Cassandra, an elite young lady, stumbles upon a murdered woman and becomes involved in exploring the dangerous and dark secrets around her. The story is gripping as Emily explains, but beyond the mystery, it's also about personal discovery and growth. Plus, the setting of Venice is captivating as Emily highlights in her review below. 

YAB Review: “Venom” By Fiona Paul

VenomFirst impressions

“Venom” begins with a young woman named Cassandra, Cass for short, at the funeral of Livi, one of her best friends. Ducking outside for a breath of fresh air, she runs into a handsome and somewhat bawdy artist named Falco. As a proper young woman with a proper fiancé, she is embarrassed by his flirtation, but also intrigued.

The story takes place in Renaissance Venice, and Cassandra is on the fringes of the elite Venetian aristocracy. She lives with her aging aunt on the graveyard island of San Domenico. Cass is pretty unsatisfied with her isolated location, strict aunt, and boring life. She constantly writes in her journal, and also likes to wander around in the graveyard at night.

On the night of Livi’s funeral, Cass went out to the graveyard, and, out of morbid curiosity, went into her friend’s crypt and opened up the casket. There she saw that Livi’s body was gone, and replacing it was the body of a girl with choke marks around her neck, and a bloody “X” carved over her heart.

Horrified, Cass left the crypt, and fled the graveyard, running right into the arms of Falco, the handsome artist. She told him what she had seen, and he checked it out for himself, seeming nearly as horrified as she was. However, Falco convinced her…

 
 

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Millennial News Feed

Quote of the Day: “Whenever I'm bored, I can always find something to do on my phone.”

—Male, 17, GA

Have teens have killed another retailer? Aeropostale has filed for bankruptcy, and plans to immediately close 154 of its over 800 stores. Young consumers’ preference for fast fashion and real-time access to trends has left “mall retailers” like Delia’s, Wet Seal, and Aeropostale in the dust. Last year the struggling clothing brand announced they were attempting to revive sales by “exploring strategic alternatives,” and focusing on a “flirty tomboy girl” consumer. However, it missed the mark, and “[t]he majority of the blame for poor performance lies squarely with [Aeropostale’s] failure to realign itself to the changing fashion demands of younger shoppers.” (Washington Post)  

These days, Osh-Kosh-B’Gosh just won’t do for well-to-do kids growing up in a market that might just make them the best-dressed generation. The luxury childrenswear market continues to boom, with a forecasted reach of $291.5 billion by the end of 2018. Since we first wrote about the trend, more designer brands have launched lines exclusively for “pint-sized clientele,” and online stores focusing on upscale fashion for babies and kids have grown. Although considered a small revenue driver for companies, brands hope that childrenswear will inspire brand loyalty from a young age, and remind adults of their own “coming-of-age moments.” (Digiday

Social network meets “college newspaper on steroids” Odyssey is racking up 30 million uniques a month, with a simple but challenging business model. The site lets any young writer contribute content, as long as they have a unique perspective and publish an article a week. The model results in about 10,000 articles each week from writers aged 18-28, who then share their posts through their own personal social networks. Although they are unpaid, the writers gain exposure from posting to the platform—two to 4.5 times more than if they self-published. (Business Insider)  

Snapchat’s CEO Evan Spiegel’s ability to “speak Millennial” has been key to the app’s success. The platform’s appeal lies in the “less demanding” content it encourages. As the Columbia student who interviewed Spiegel put it, “If you want to take a photo of the beautiful day outside…you can put it on Instagram, but what about that huge space of photos that aren’t 10 out of 10 perfection.” Recently Spiegel declared that Snapchat is a “camera company.” Though messaging and content are part of the app, the camera is the focus because “[t]he thing that feeds a social network is content.” (International Business Times)

We recently broke down all the ways Millennials are updating and redefining workplace standards—and it looks like Millennials in the U.K. may also prioritize meaning over a big paycheck. A U.K. survey of 13-25-year-olds revealed that “44% equate happiness with success and 32% said that for them prosperity is more about achieving their personal goals.” The things that might have motivated previous generations were lower priorities: only 11% of U.K. Millennials said they are motivated by the prospect of owning a house, and 29% said they are motivated by being paid more for their work. (Elite Business

Quote of the Day: “The type of commercials that stick in my memory are the ones that make me evaluate my life.”—Female, 28, SD

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