Posts Tagged ‘YA fiction’

The Chosen One: YA Dystopias @ your library

Published by Kirsten on March 5th, 2014 - in Uncategorized

So, it has come to my attention that Divergent, based on Veronica Roth’s YA novel of the same name, is coming soon to theaters. In fact, Barnes and Noble has put out a list of suggested teen reads to try out as fans of the books await the movie. I know Divergent is part of an incredibly popular series, but the thing that strikes me about it the most is its emphasis on choosing a life path. This actually isn’t an uncommon theme in teen and tween literature, and it’s central to the plot of some really excellent books (and some others that aren’t so great, but I digress). It’s absolutely worth it to check them out.



  The Giver by Lois Lowry

You can’t go wrong with this Newbery Award winner that tells the story of Jonas, living in a future utopian society, who is chosen, in a ceremony with his peers where they are all assigned jobs for their adult lives, to be the Receiver of Memories, the one person allowed to know the memories of the past in human history. It’s not as action-oriented as Divergent, but packs a much more powerful and memorable emotional punch. The Giver is part of a four-book series, but the first is the best and definitely stands alone. A movie based on the book is due out later this year.



  The City of Ember by Jeanne duPrau

The city of Ember is an underground city built as a last refuge in a world about to be annihilated by nuclear weapons. Two hundred years later, everything, from food to electricity, is running out. After the ceremony where Lina and Doon, along with their peers, are assigned their future careers, the two of them trade places, and discover a puzzling mystery they must solve to save the residents of Ember from darkness. This has more action than The Giver, and more of a mystery at its center, and is a compelling read even for those of us well over the target age range. The City of Ember is also part of a series, and all of them are great reads. It has been made into a movie already, with Bill Murray as the corrupt mayor. and I really enjoyed it.



  Enclave by Ann Aguirre

This is the first book in the Razorland trilogy, and it’s quite a bit more graphic than the first two books, probably on par with Divergent. In yet another post-apocalyptic underground world (one decidedly more primitive than Ember) Deuce goes through her naming ceremony and becomes a Hunter in her enclave, a sort of tribal society. As a Hunter, Deuce is supposed to find and catch food and rid the tunnels around her enclave of Freaks, ravening zombie-like creatures. Although she’s a believer in the way things work in her enclave, her exposure to a wider world and a partner who’s not so convinced lead her to question the actions of her leaders.



  Across the Universe by Beth Revis

A science fiction thiller told from the point of view of  two teenagers– Amy, the only person not specifically chosen for a role in settlement of a new planet, and Elder, whose future leadership of the spaceship Godspeed was chosen early in his life. There’s mystery, cloning, genetic and hormonal manipulation, general lying and betrayal, and a surprising amount of action given that this all takes place in a closed environment. There’s suicide, near-rape, and euthanasia in this book, among other things, although I think Revis handles it all pretty well. The target audience for Divergent should enjoy this.



 Legend by Marie Lu

June is the elite of the elite, being groomed for a position high up in the military in a dystopian society that’s more or less under military rule. Day is a rebel trying to undermine it.  What could possibly go wrong when their lives intersect?



 Uglies by Scott Westerfeld

Here’s one that’s interesting because almost everyone is chosen, eventually. It’s not wanting to be chosen that makes Tally stick out. Or, to make it more complicated, it’s wanting to be chosen but having to pretend she doesn’t want to be chosen and standing out as special when she wants to blend in. And then changing her mind. And changing it again. While it could stand alone, I think, it’s a good thing it’s part of a series because I have no clue where it’s going to end up. Westerfeld pretty much turns the tropes on their heads.



Stoker Finalists Named

Published by Kirsten on February 26th, 2014 - in Uncategorized

The finalists for the Stoker ballot have been named! It’s unbelievable that Women in Horror Month is already drawing to an end and it will soon be Stoker time! As in past years, we at ML will make a heroic effort to review the finalists (I hope that’s not a surprise, guys). Yes, our reviewers are heroes. Any finalists who happen to be reading this… Please contact us at so we can get this (heroic) party going!

And now:

“We are proud to present a particularly notable slate of nominees this year, showing the horror genre is strong and popular,” Rocky Wood, the HWA’s President, said.

IMPORTANT: Voting begins on 2/28 and ends on 3/15. Only Active and Lifetime members can vote.

The nominees are:

Superior Achievement in a Novel

      Joe Hill – NOS4A2 (William Morrow)
      Stephen King – Doctor Sleep (Scribner)
      Lisa Morton – Malediction (Evil Jester Press)
      Sarah Pinborough and F. Paul Wilson – A Necessary End (Thunderstorm/Maelstrom Press)
      Christopher Rice – The Heavens Rise (Gallery Books)

Superior Achievement in a First Novel

      Kate Jonez – Candy House (Evil Jester Press)
      John Mantooth – The Year of the Storm (Berkley Trade)
      Rena Mason – The Evolutionist (Nightscape Press)
      Jonathan Moore – Redheads (Samhain Publishing)
      Royce Prouty – Stoker’s Manuscript (G.P. Putnam’s Sons)

Superior Achievement in a Young Adult Novel

      Patrick Freivald – Special Dead (JournalStone)
      Kami Garcia – Unbreakable (Little, Brown Books for Young Readers)
      Geoffrey Girard – Project Cain (Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers)
      Joe McKinney – Dog Days (JournalStone)
      Cat Winters – In the Shadow of Blackbirds (Harry N. Abrams)

Superior Achievement in a Graphic Novel

      Ed Brubaker – Fatale Book Three: West of Hell (Image Comics)
      Caitlin R. Kiernan – Alabaster: Wolves (Dark Horse Comics)
      Brandon Seifert – Witch Doctor, Vol. 2: Mal Practice (Image Comics)
      Cameron Stewart – Sin Titulo (Dark Horse Comics)
      Paul Tobin – Colder (Dark Horse Comics)

Superior Achievement in Long Fiction

      Dale Bailey – “The Bluehole” (The Magazine of Fantasy & Science Fiction, May/June 2013)
      Gary Braunbeck – “The Great Pity” (Chiral Mad 2, Written Backwards)
      Benjamin K. Ethridge – “The Slaughter Man” (Limbus, Inc., JournalStone)
      Gregory Frost – “No Others Are Genuine” (Asimov’s Science Fiction, Oct./Nov. 2013)
      Greg F. Gifune – House of Rain (DarkFuse)
      Rena Mason – East End Girls (JournalStone)

Superior Achievement in Short Fiction

      Michael Bailey – “Primal Tongue” (Zippered Flesh 2, Smart Rhino Publications)
      Patrick Freivald – “Snapshot” (Blood & Roses, Scarlett River Press)
      David Gerrold – “Night Train to Paris” (The Magazine of Fantasy & Science Fiction, Jan./Feb. 2013)
      Lisa Mannetti – “The Hunger Artist” (Zippered Flesh 2, Smart Rhino Publications)
      John Palisano – “The Geminis” (Chiral Mad 2, Written Backwards)
      Michael Reaves – “Code 666” (The Magazine of Fantasy & Science Fiction, March/April 2013)

Superior Achievement in a Screenplay

      Fabien Adda and Fabrice Gobert – The Returned: “The Horde” (Ramaco Media I, Castelao Pictures)
      Brad Falchuk – American Horror Story: Asylum: “Spilt Milk” (Brad Falchuk Teley-Vision, Ryan Murphy Productions)
      Bryan Fuller – Hannibal: “Apéritif” (Dino De Laurentiis Company, Living Dead Guy Productions, AXN: Original X Production, Gaumont International Television)
      Daniel Knauf – Dracula: “A Whiff of Sulfur” (Flame Ventures, Playground, Universal Television, Carnival Films
      Glen Mazzara – The Walking Dead: “Welcome to the Tombs” (AMC TV)

Superior Achievement in an Anthology

      R.J. Cavender and Boyd E. Harris (ed.) – Horror Library: Volume 5 (Cutting Block Press)
      Eric J. Guignard (ed.) – After Death… (Dark Moon Books)
      Michael Knost and Nancy Eden Siegel (ed.) – Barbers & Beauties (Hummingbird House Press)
      Joseph S. Pulver, Sr. (ed.) – The Grimscribe’s Puppets (Miskatonic River Press)
      Anthony Rivera and Sharon Lawson (ed.) – Dark Visions: A Collection of Modern Horror, Volume One (Grey Matter Press)

Superior Achievement in a Fiction Collection

      Nathan Ballingrud – North American Lake Monsters: Stories (Small Beer Press)
      Laird Barron – The Beautiful Thing That Awaits Us All and Other Stories (Night Shade Books)
      James Dorr – The Tears of Isis (Perpetual Motion Machine Publishing)
      Caitlin R. Kiernan – The Ape’s Wife and Other Stories (Subterranean)
      Gene O’Neill – Dance of the Blue Lady (Bad Moon Books)
      S. P. Somtow – Bible Stories for Secular Humanists (Diplodocus Press)

Superior Achievement in Non-Fiction

      Barbara Brodman and James E. Doan (ed.) – Images of the Modern Vampire: The Hip and the Atavistic (Fairleigh Dickinson)
      Gary William Crawford (ed.) – Ramsey Campbell: Critical Essays on the Modern Master of Horror (Scarecrow Press)
      William F. Nolan – Nolan on Bradbury: Sixty Years of Writing about the Master of Science Fiction (Hippocampus Press)
      Jarkko Toikkanen – The Intermedial Experience of Horror: Suspended Failures (Palgrave Macmillan)
      Robert H. Waugh (ed.) – Lovecraft and Influence: His Predecessors and Successors (Scarecrow Press)

Superior Achievement in a Poetry Collection

      Bruce Boston – Dark Roads: Selected Long Poems 1971-2012 (Dark Renaissance Books)
      Helen Marshall – The Sex Lives of Monsters (Kelp Queen Press)
      Marge Simon and Sandy DeLuca – Dangerous Dreams (Elektrik Milk Bath Press)
      Marge Simon, Rain Graves, Charlee Jacob, and Linda Addison – Four Elements (Bad Moon Books/Evil Jester Press)
      Stephanie M. Wytovich – Hysteria: A Collection of Madness (Raw Dog Screaming Press)

HWA’s voting members will now vote on this Final Ballot, with voting closing on March 31 (only Active and Lifetime Members are eligible to vote).

The Bram Stoker Awards® will be presented at the 27th annual Bram Stoker Awards® Banquet held during the WORLD HORROR CONVENTION 2014 in Portland, Oregon, on May 10th. Purchase of tickets to both the convention and the banquet are open to the public. The awards will also be live-streamed online for those who cannot attend in person.

Women in Horror Fiction: Sarah Pinborough

Published by Kirsten on February 15th, 2014 - in Uncategorized


Sarah Pinborough has written in a variety of genres, including horror, crime, YA fiction, and screenplays. Her recent novel, A Necessary End, written in collaboration with F.Paul Wilson, has been nominated for a Bram Stoker Award. Her solo novel Mayhem, an historical horror novel set in the Victorian Era. was released last month. Sarah answered questions posed to her by reviewer Dave Simms about women in horror, writing, and her two newest books. Read Dave’s review of A Necessary End  here, and look for our review of Mayhem coming up!




1.)      Would you tell us a little about yourself?

I’m an author and screenwriter based in London. I’ve been writing novels for coming up on ten years and have written horror, crime, YA and cross-overs of all of them really. Oh, and some saucy fairy tale re-tellings. Not sure what else to say…that question always sounds like a dating site profile question.;-)


2.)     In celebration of Women in Horror Month, who have been your biggest inspirations, past and present? What authors are on your bookshelf, and which women authors would you recommend to others?

Of women, Daphne Du Maurier was one I loved growing up. Currently I think Lauren Beukes and Sarah Lotz (her novel The Three comes out in May– I’ve just read it and it’s awesome) are really making waves with supernatural thrillers. Also Alison Littlewood’s stuff stands out. I also loved Sarah Langan’s Virus.


3.)     How do you see the horror community now? Do you feel females command a stronger presence with the emergence of authors such as yourself, Alexandra Sokoloff, Rhodi Hawk, and others?

I don’t really ‘see’ a horror community per se as I straddle so many genres and so I just see a genre writing community. I think women have always had a strong presence in the field. A lot of editors in speculative fiction– in the UK at least– are women, and lots of women are doing well with their writing. I think people have a skewed vision of women in the horror genre, because for a long time the attendance at conventions was very male-dominated. That’s less the case now, and to be honest, lots of people have very successful careers without ever going to a convention. But the convention circuit and various Associations often only see that pond, as it were, and forget lots of people are doing very well who never attend or join. I spend a lot of time in the crime community and they’ve never had to address the gender issue because there are so many successful women working in that field and the festivals tend to be a relatively fifty-fifty split. Also, I don’t think editors pay any attention to gender when reading a pitch or manuscript. They’re just looking for a good story. But, all that said, I think it’s good that the horror genre is becoming more supportive of women’s writing and celebrating it. It might encourage more women to go to events.


4.)     What is your writing process like? Do you use music or require total silence? Do you have a specific place or can you create anywhere?

I write in silence, basically because I’m so easily distracted. I prefer to write in the morning – often in my bed with a cup of tea. Then I do some exercise and whatever chores I have to do then do some more in the afternoon or some plotting in a cafe. Have a break for a movie or a book and then maybe do some more in the evening or work on something else. I’m quite a hermit really. I like social stuff but if my diary shows more than two or three things in a week I start to hyperventilate at losing my quiet space.


5.)     With Mayhem, you tackle the legend of Jack the Ripper and Victorian London.  Even though the novel is much, much more than just about Jack, what brought you to historical writing?

I had just finished The Dog-Faced Gods trilogy and I read Dan Simmons’ The Terror and that was what inspired me really. I loved the blending of fact and fiction in it, and I always like to try new things. The Victorian Era was a good place to work in because people have an image of it already, so you’ve half-way set your world up before you start. I started searching for unsolved murder cases and the Torso murders came up. When I saw that they were going on at the same time as Jack the Ripper I knew I’d found my case to work with.


6.)     You’ve collaborated with F. Paul Wilson on the Stoker-nominated A Necessary End.  Was this process more natural or much tougher than you imagined? Is there anyone you would like to work with?

It was tough for Paul I think, because I was working on several other projects, all with deadlines, and so he often had to wait a while and nudge me when it was my turn to write. It was great fun though and at one point, when our two main characters were having an argument, we went on Googledocs and basically riffed it out – Paul taking on the female character and me the male. The argument went to places we wouldn’t have got if one of us had just written it. I’m not a natural collaborator though because I hate that feeling that someone is waiting for you. But Paul has collaborated before so he was great to work with. I think I’d like to try collaborating on a script at some point, but that would have to be a week away in the same room with someone and hammering out a first draft, rather than too-ing and fro-ing over the internet.


7.)     You entered the young adult fray with The Nowhere Chronicles. Do you see yourself continuing in this genre? How much of a  departure was the effort from your “adult” books?

I really enjoyed writing those books and I’m really proud of them. I just wish, on reflection, that they’d come out under my name. I didn’t really see it as a departure – they’re as well-plotted as the Dog-Faced Gods, I think, and once you get in your stride with YA you’re not thinking of it as any different to any other novel – the main characters are just younger. My next two books for Gollancz are YA cross-overs I guess - The Death House and then a teen thriller called 13 Minutes Dead.

8.)      You’ve been a teacher. How has that impacted your writing? Have/had your students read any of your work, critiqued it, or given helpful suggestions? Mine have always wished to be a part of the process and have been the most brutal, but helpful critics.

I was a high school teacher for a few years but I don’t think it’s impacted my writing other than help when writing teenage characters. Some of them read my early books and one student– whose name I used in The Nowhere Chronicles– read the first one before I sent it in, but I just wanted to see if it worked for a fifteen year old– which it seemed to. None of them critiqued me though– but then I don’t use Beta readers either.


9.)       You’ve written straight up horror, historical horror, YA, and suspense/thriller, along with re-telling of fairy tales in dark, witty manner. Which genre has been the most enjoyable to write, or which title?

Gosh, I like them all. The fairy tales were fun because I got to be humorous in them. I like playing around with different types of story-telling but I don’t think I have a favourite, although saying that, I think thrillers with a hint of weird is what I like best.


10.)        Screenplays have been added to your resume and an original television series is in the works. What can you tell us about them and how does the visual medium compare to novels and short stories?

The film I’ve sold is called Cracked and is an adaptation of The Hidden, my first book. I also wrote an episode of the BBC series New Tricks. The series is something different entirely but that’s under wraps for now. Screenwriting is an entirely different medium– primarily because so much of it is collaborative– producers and directors all have notes and changes. You don’t own it in the way that you do with a novel. I love it though and I think it’s helped my storytelling and dialogue in my novels. I like doing both.


11.)     You began with The Hidden a decade ago.   What’s the most important lesson you have learned about the genre, writing, and the publishing world, since that book was first contracted?

That’s really hard to answer because you learn as you go without realising how much you’re learning. I guess I’d say there’s nothing as valuable as a good agent, editor and copy-editor.;-)


12.)      Is there anything else you’d like to share with librarians and readers?

Can’t think of anything! Just keep up the good work – we NEED libraries! And of course, we need readers!