Friday, March 30, 2012

How to Dress Like The Hunger Games without getting weird looks!

Now that All Things Hunger Games March is almost over, you're probably wondering how you can still fangirl the book and movie without having to whip out your bow and arrow at the next NY Times columnist to talk smack about the series. (I'd link to the guy I'm referencing, but I really don't want to add to his page analytics...if you're on Twitter, then you probably already know what I'm talking about. If not, Google, my friend.)

There are tons of THG shirts and merch available at stores like Hot Topic or online at Cafe Press. But if you're looking to dress like the Girl on Fire or plait your hair like an authentic District 12-er in a more subtle way, then here are a few ways you can translate that style into the every day world:
Katniss Everdeen
Click on the collage to view product details on Polyvore
But wait! What if neutrals make you look pasty and bold primary colors make you talk like a parrot? That's OK because there's something for you, too! Effie Trinket on the big screen showed us how chic Marie Antoinette would've looked today and now you can bring that Capitol chicness into your wardrobe, too!

Effie Trinket
Click to view bigger!

Whatever your style, we're sure to see new teen trends this season once everyone's jonesing for another THG fix. May the Fashion Odds Be Ever In Your Favor!

Thursday, March 29, 2012

YA Villains

Every Thursday, we post a question for our followers--and every Saturday, one of the commenters will be selected to choose a title from our Vault! ARCs, signed books, awesome books... Anything we have--you get to choose.

To enter, follow YA Confidential and please make sure that your email address is linked to your comment in some way! (So we can get in touch with you :)

Today's question:
Who’s your favorite YA Villain??
Our Answers

Alexandra: I'm afraid I can't answer for a YA villain, because my favorite villain of all Satan from PARADISE LOST, because while technically he's the villain in the Adam and Eve story, in PARADISE LOST Satan also functions as a protagonist, and (in my opinion anyway,) as a victim of his own ambitions. Dare I say Satan comes across as alarmingly human in Milton's writing--Satan postures for the rest of the demons in Pandemonium, claiming that he'd rather reign in Hell than serve in Heaven, but when he's alone it's clear he's despairing at the misery that is being a fallen angel. Plus he easily has the best, most well-written lines in the entire poem.

Cambria: Everyone's going to say Lord Voldemort, aren't they? Well, I'm going to go for the next obvious choice and say President Snow in The Hunger Games. I mean, no grown man can smell like roses and NOT be creepy, right?

Sara: Snape. Back from when we were supposed to think he was a villain. I loved him from the beginning!

Copil: A bit of a cliche, but I'm going with Voldemort here. He was consistent, powerful, petty and, ultimately, vulnerable. I am also a big fan of books like M. T. Anderson's Feed where humanity is ultimately the villain. Not because I'm a cynic and think humans will always find a way to mess things up. But more because it's so hard to pull off a faceless, formless villainous mass that didn't think it was doing anything wrong.

Alison: Um…I don’t like villains so I can’t say I have a favorite (although now having read Alexandra’s I’m tempted to steal hers), but if I could choose a villain I love to HATE, I would go with Neferet from House of Night. She’s skank in goddess costume. Revolting, selfish on so many levels. And totally gives new meaning to the phrase cruel and unusual.

Your turn!!

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

If you liked THE HUNGER GAMES...

I remember waiting between HARRY POTTER books. I was a teenager when the middle ones were coming out, and I was rabid to get my hands on the next one; I went to all the midnight releases and I would stay up reading until I finished. When the books were done, it was the movies.

And waiting between books or between movies you love always leaves this unfillable hole. Re-reading is good, but it's not quite the same as getting the next installment. Or watching the next movie.

So I'm betting a lot of people are feeling that hole right about now, after seeing THE HUNGER GAMES movie. There aren't more books, but we've got two movies to wait for. (Maybe three? I heard a rumor that, a la HP and Twilight, they are splitting Mockingjay? Did anyone hear that? Is this even a reliable source? This?)

While you wait between movies, and break the spines of your HG books from multiple re-readings, I want to know what else you're reading to fill that void. My fellow operatives and I have a couple suggestions, though not quite straight book-to-book comparisons.

Here are mine:

If you liked reading a book about a girl overcoming adversity and learning to fight for her life in the process, then you might like THE SONG OF THE LIONESS quartet by Tamora Pierce.

If you liked Katniss' sharp personality, pragmatism, and emotional struggle, you might like Katsa from GRACELING by Kristin Cashore.

And more really awesome suggestions:

If you couldn't choose between Gale and Peeta, you might like the romance between Po and Katsa in GRACELING. Po can be witty and stoic like gale, but underneath he's sweet like Peeta.

If you like fights to the death, try The Tenth Victim by Robert Sheckley.

If you like KIDS fighting to the death, try Battle Royale by Koushun Takami

If you like messed up future America, try Feed by M. T. Anderson.

If you like Haymitch as a mentor, try Mazer Rackham from Ender's Game. On the surface, they're not super alike, but at the core, yes, they are.

What do you think? Is there an aspect of THE HUNGER GAMES you particularly enjoyed? A scene? A character? An idea? And have you found something you liked in the same way in another book?

Tell us in the comments, so everyone can find some new awesome reading material!

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Teen Roundtable: Rules, Kony, & Mary-Sues, oh my!

We have a monthly roundtable with our teen spies, and as you can tell my the title of this post, this month we covered teen rules, the Kony2012 campaign, and Mary Sues! 

Teen Rules: Curfews, do you have one? What other rules do you follow? 

Gracie: I don't have a curfew, but I'm also pretty good at getting to bed on time (ish)...
Erica: I never had a curfew.
Scotie: i don't have a curfew, course i don't drive so...
Karen: so jealous of you gals. I always had a curfew.
sara: Wow, my parents gave me a curfew SO fast when I was younger
sara: Do your friends have curfews?
Karen: so, for those who do go out, what time do you stay out until?
Alexandra: i didn't. it was always 'call me later, we'll discuss what time you should come home then'
Gracie: I have no idea if my friends have curfews...
Gracie: Alexandra - that's pretty much what it's like for me too :)
Alexandra: :) that's better, i think, because then you're not likely to lie about sleeping over at a friend's house to get out of curfew
Alexandra: (i had friends who did that)
Erica: Some of my friends have curfews.
sara: Erica, do you know what times they have to be home?
Scotie: i don’t think any of my friends have curfews
Erica: Well the one friend I'm thinking of her parents set a different curfew depending on who she is with.
sara: Oh, my parents used to do that too
Erica: But I want to say 11 for most. I think at least.
Karen: So do you go out, and if so, would you ever come home super late?
sara: And depending on what I was doing
Gracie: On school nights I'm usually not out late... on weekends I'm usually home by 12ish at the latest...
Erica: Ya. I sometimes come home like 2-3 when I'm out with my friends. And also I get home really late from some book events.
Erica: I go to like every signing I can get to down at Andersons in Chicago
Gracie: Wow... I don't think I've ever been to a book event
Katie: Curfews fun... I have a curfew of 11:30 but if it's a party or dance I have to be walking in the door at midnight. I think my friends have similar curfews
sara: Okay so what other rules do you guys follow? If any?
Gracie: Um well my parents aren't really strict with rules or anything... like set curfews or anything, they're pretty flexible which is cool :)
Katie: As long as my parents know where I am what I'm doing and who I'm with their flexible as well as being home by 11:30
Erica: I had rules when I was younger, but in the last few years I haven't really had many rules.
Karen: Erica, at what age did the rules let up?
Erica: I don't honestly remember but probably about when I started high school?
sara: Man I had SO many rules in high school
Karen: wow. I'm so jealous. That's when mine got more strict. lol
Katie: Wow, I'm in the same boat as Sara my parents are stricter then ever
Copil: Do there seem to be different rules for guys vs girls?
Katie: Copil, No in my family we have set rules for both sons and daughters.
Erica: The only really "rule" I had was that if I got home later than like 11-12 on a school night I could tell my parents were disappointed. But it was my fault for showing up that late, and had to deal with it the next morning
Gracie: Yeah my parents will get upset if I don't let them know where I am for long periods of time
Karen: Erica, what do you mean by deal with it?
Erica: Like just be super tired all day
Katie: I think some people might see it as being harder of one kid then the other because of the action either kid does. If one is behaving and obeying more than the other that kid will have more freedom. If the other kid is misbehaving they will get more rules and a smaller leash
Erica: I generally didn't go out of school nights over all though - I was too busy going from one club or rehearsal to the next. Then when I finally got home, I was reading and trying to catch up on blogging.
Katie: Erica- Agreed I'm involved with so much right now I don't have time to get in trouble or stay out late.
Erica: I'm the same way Katie.

What are your thoughts on Kony?

Katie: Okay first you have to inform me what is Kony?
Copil: Kony2012 was the viral vid about the Ugandan warlord who uses kids as his soldiers.
Katie: Oh yeah I heard about that.
Erica: I don't know much about Kony - but that has to do with Invisible Children right? That's been an organization I've been interested in working with for years, and last year I did a workshop at DCON on that and several other organizations.
Scotie: Kony is a man in africa that is kidnapping kids and turning them into either child soldiers or sex slaves depending on their gender
Copil: Interesting, Erica! What did you think of the backlash on Invisible Children?
Erica: I haven't heard of the backlash? I don't really follow news or anything...
Erica: And oh duh. Kony is his name. I was thinking at first it was acronym for something, I didn't put 2 and 2 together until right now.
Katie: I think that is so sad. Those kids don't really have a choice, that's the society they were born into. They can get out but it's nearly impossible. Should the U.S. step in and try to stop him? Is this our responisblity? Is it that countries? I don't know but it's a good debate topic.
Copil: I agree, Katie. I actually have my issues with IC but I have to hand it to them for making Kony famous.
Katie: I don't normally follow social movements
Gracie: I think it's funny how this is such a big deal now all of a sudden though - stuff like that has been happening all over the world for a long time, and now suddenly everyone's hyped up about it
sara: Am I completely wrong, or did I read that Kony actually hasn't been in Uganda for like 6 years now?
sara: Gracie, true--I think it shows what social media is capable of now that it wasn't a few years ago
Erica: That is kind of funny. I remember first reading about the whole situation in Uganda in the 6th grade. And now it’s huge.
Katie: Copil- with Kony getting famous by this it's just fueling his fire. He's going to be doing more and hurting more lives because social media is giving him the power and the right to do so.
Copil: Actually, I think having his actions known by more people puts pressure on the international community to do something about it.
Copil: I agree with Erica, this has been going on for a long time. But the Kony2012 campaign seemed to have been at the right place, right time.
Gracie: Why do you think this is the right time and place for it, Copil?
sara: I just... Have such mixed feelings. But, again, I'm not as educated as I'd like to be--but the guy who lead the Kony2012 campaign put out these music videos that were just... so having nothing to do with the cause.
Copil: Gracie, because they used the language of online social media.
Erica: I haven't followed Kony2012 at all.
Katie: This reminds me of Hitler. When Hitler's action became known he advanced more and did more. Pressure was put on the countries around him to do something about it giving Hitler a social role to fill. Now we're giving Kony a social role to fill being to continue to kidnap kids and ruin their lives. Yes he's been doing this for a while but now there is pressure for him to continue and for the communities around him to do something about what he's doing.
Katie: Does that make sense?
Copil: I don't see any scenario where keeping Hitler's actions (or Kony's) quiet is a good idea.
sara: concurred
Copil: The fact that either feels a need to fill a role is a testament to their dementia.
sara: doubly concurred, copil
Gracie: Sorry Katie, but it doesn't make sense to me... could you clarify maybe?
Katie: Hitler might have been a good man, but society gave him a role of being a killer, dictator, and hater of the Jews. He hurt billions of lives in some way. Kony is stealing children and affecting their lives. Now that society recognizes him and what Kony is doing he must continue in a psychology stand point way. It is now the social role given to him.
Katie: As was Hitler's social role given to him to kill and to conquer.
Scotie: I understand where you are coming Katie, however, we had to recognize that people are dying and this man is destroying families, no one was really aware of it until very recently.
Katie: Oh I didn't mean it is a good idea, but that's what are society does with or with out realizing it. It is bad but bad things happen every day for no reason at all.
Copil: The way I feel about IC, they are hipsters with a narcissistic worldview. But I do think they have charted a path for other, better groups seeking to gain support and/or donations.
Katie: Now that we are aware of it who's responsibility is it? Is it that world? Americas? Europe? Who? Will this man start a war? Will we let him? I don't know where I stand with this.
Gracie: Answering the question about who's responsibility it is - I think with all of the terrible things that happen the world with starving kids in Africa to various wars, I think each of us has to take a certain responsibility on ourselves. I think we each need to take a few steps in the right direction in order to make an impact.
Katie: Gracie what do you think those step would be so that they are effective.
Gracie: Yeah but isn't that the role given to him now? He wasn't thought of that way when he first started doing all those horrible things
Gracie: People didn't realize Hitler was a killer, dictator, hater of Jews when he was first in office
Katie: The social role given to people isn't like saying okay this is what you have to do, it's like (okay this is a bad example) a fat person will always what fast food or eat more than other people. Does that make any sense. it's like we know police will look for someone breaking the law or a school teacher will teach students.
sara: Like the pressure pushes them into doing more of what they're doing?
Gracie: Yes, Sara, that's what I meant...
Katie: Yes, they get caught up is what they are doing.
Katie: Sara i think you just nailed it on the head.

And, a question from our teen spy, Scotie: What do you think about Mary Sues--and how do you avoid writing them?

Gracie: OK, I have a question... what is a Mary Sue?
Katie: I think there was presure look up the expariment of the Wave. Society creates things that aren't always there.
Scotie: a Mary-Sue is like a perfect character, look up mary-sue on google.
Scotie: Bella Swan is what a lot of people see as a Mary-Sue.
Copil: Scotie, just looked it up on Wikipedia. I love it!
Scotie: yep, i have problems with them a lot
Katie: I think every story needs one but I'm not a huge fan. It will always add to the voice of the book, but don't push it.
sara: Yeah, I've heard a lot of different Mary Sue definitions, but they're all generally the same
sara: Wiki: A Mary Sue (sometimes just Sue), in literary criticism and particularly in fanfiction, is a fictional character with overly idealized and hackneyed mannerisms, lacking noteworthy flaws, and primarily functioning as a wish-fulfillment fantasy for the author or reader. It is generally accepted as a character whose positive aspects overwhelm their other traits until they become one-dimensional.
Copil: Familiar with the concept but wasn't familiar with the term. Am definitely going to use it!
Scotie: yep, any ideas as to how to avoid writing them?
sara: Sure!
sara: Create well-rounded characters. You could start by creating character profiles--really know their lives. Histories. Motivations. WEAKNESSES.
sara: And make sure those come through
Copil: Flaws. Vulnerability. I think those are so critical. Especially for your villians.
Katie: If you feel like a character is becoming this destroy something of hers/his. damage their hair make they get hit by a car something to bring them down.
sara: And don't just do that for your main character or your villain--do it for all characters.

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