Saturday, July 9, 2011

Blogfest: Q&A

Brittany over at Hills and Corkscrews is holding a blogfest from July 1st through the 9th. Head over there to check out the other participants!

Day 9: Ask the Teens Q&A

1. Middle grade novels are defined as books for the 8-12 age range. Do teens still read middle grade fiction as they get older (for example, Harry Potter is an example of middle grade that's read by teens and adults) or are they naturally attracted to books with older themes and characters? Is it uncool to still read middle grade as you enter your teens?

Most of the teenagers I know are either moving completely to adult books or are half young adult, half adult. I stick pretty solidly with young adult books. I do read some middle grade, but I tend to be incredibly picky about it. The majority of middle grade on my shelves are from authors that I already know and love. For example, Harry Potter, and anything by Rick Riordan or Tamora Pierce. I think teens are naturally attracted to books about people their own age or older. We've already been through that period of our lives and most of us don't really want to go back.

2. This is arguable, but it's been said that the teen years see a decrease in boy readership. Can you mention some books that you know male teenagers seem to be attracted to? Obviously, this depends on the reader, but are there books/themes that male teens connect to more than others?

I think this is a question that is more easily answered by our male participants. I'm a girl that goes to a school where I can count the number of boys I know read on one hand. I know of one sophomore boy who reads anything by Rick Riordan and also the Inheritance Cycle. Those seem to be popular picks with boys. I also knew one boy that was never without a Twilight book in his hand. I almost fell over when I asked if his girlfriend was forcing him to read them and he told me he was actually reading them again. For fun. Thankfully, my cousin's no longer dating him.

3. So many books and book series are being turned into films for the teen audience. Are you satisfied with the movie versions that you've seen recently? Can you comment on a few, both good and bad?

I am a firm believer that the book is always better than the movie with very few rare exceptions. Recently, it seems screenwriters are running out of their own ideas because there are more and more books being adapted into movies. I'm really excited about the Hunger Games and Mortal Instruments movies, though I'm a little wary of the casting for Jace.

Some good movie adaptations are all the Harry Potter movies (the first two are the truest to the books, the sixth is my favorite despite some gaping holes), the three Chronicles of Narnia movies, Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants (even though they tried to compress the whole series into two movies), and the Golden Compass (I saw the movie before reading the book). I also watched Beastly last night. The dialogue could have been better, but I liked the romance a little better than I did for the book.

Then there are some bad movie adaptations. Eragon is probably the worst movie adaptation of a book I have ever seen. I will admit, I have never actually seen the entire movie, but I have heard about it. Another example is Twilight, which I think speaks for itself.

There are a few adaptations that are so different from the books, it's kind of difficult to compare them. Ella Enchanted is like that. I adore the movie and saw it several times before tracking down the book. When I finally read the book, I was surprised how different the two were. Another example is Lightning Thief. I saw it twice in theaters and I'm on the fence by how much I like it as an adaptation of the book. The movie itself is decent, but I love the book so much more. I'm curious to see how the sequel is going to pan out.

So often in movie adaptations that involve a series, when the first movie is made, details and events are left out that are vital to the rest of the story. For example, in Half-Blood Prince the movie, Harry and Dumbledore never talk about what the other Horcruxes might be. This is extremely vital information. And yet it's left out. I'm always interested to see how they manage to work that vital information into the sequels when it becomes a huge part of the story.

4. I would like to know how you go about choosing a book to read. Is it the cover? The title? Word of mouth?

I wish I could give a more concrete answer, but it truly depends on the book. I actually wrote a blog post awhile back where I kept a tally of the reasons why I bought the books that I did and then added them all up. Here's a link if you're curious. No matter what catches my attention and makes me pick up a book, the back summary is always what makes me buy it. A book can have every other factor (title, word of mouth, cover, loved author), but if the summary doesn't interest me, I'm not buying it.

The title is usually what catches my interest first, mostly because it's the first thing I see when the books are sticking spine-out on the shelves. Sometimes when I'm looking at books online, a beautiful cover is what catches my eye. It's rare for me to want a book based on the cover, but it's been known to happen (Halo and Legacy were both like that).

A few years ago, word of mouth didn't matter to me at all. More recently, as I began to talk more to other readers and writers, word of mouth has influenced my reading habits a lot more. However, ever since Twilight I've become turned off by books that have a lot of hype. There's a difference between hype and following and I vastly prefer books that have an amazing following (one example being Anna and the French Kiss, a book that I haven't heard a single word against and one that I'm about ready to give anything for).

Of the last nine books that I bought or checked out of the library, five of them were part of a series that I'm reading. That list includes Hunger Games which, for some reason, was the only book in the trilogy that I did not own even though I've read them all. Two were because of word of mouth. One was because I liked the author and wanted to read more of his books. And the last one was because the book is being made into a movie and I always read the book first if there's any possibility of me seeing the movie.

Thank you Elizabeth and Jess for the great questions! If you have a question about my responses today (or anything really), you can email it to me (email's to the right in the sidebar) or post it below in the comments. A big round of applause to Brittany for organizing this great blogfest! It's been a lot of fun.


Brittany said...

Awesome answers! I kind of blanked out on the movie adaptations questions so I only talked about HP and a few others. I liked the first two Chronicles of Narnia movies (and I've read all the books) but the latest one didn't really stand out to me much. I also liked the Ella Enchanted movie and I've seen it a lot of times. I've read the book and they're definitely a lot different.

Thanks for participating, Rachael!

laurathewise said...

Great, detailed answers! I liked reading your opinions :)

Margo Berendsen said...

Great to hear opinions on YA from an actual teen! I loved reading your answers and agree with you esp. on the movie adaptations of books: Eragon was such disappointment.