Friday, May 27, 2011

Ya lit invades Hollywood...ish!

As much as I despise when Hollywood throws around the phrase "the next Twilight!" with it's giddy-greedy green teeth showing because all YA lit that's worthy of film adaptation has to involve vampires and werewolves and para overloaded normal plot points, (Sorry, that's my Team Contemporary --thanks for the term Gayle Forman --ranty side venting. She's a little on edge as of late.) I did a fan-girl dance when I read the Find Me A Twilight! article in Entertainment Weekly's May 24 issue (article excerpt on left). But EW has inadvertently proven my point that all big screen worthy YA is not broody vampires and hunky werewolves...well, some broody werewolves are in attendance with Maggie Stiefvater's Shiver trilogy, but Sam (said broody werewolf) isn't exactly waging epic battles for Grace's mortal life. And I think that's more to my point. An epic battle is not necessary to capture that Twilight-esque theatric magic.

The novel with the best chance at proving that, in my opinion, is Lauren Oliver 's Delirium series, which has not a one broody creature of the night. Instead an oppressive society where love has been declared a curable disease threatens the characters.

When I first heard about this series (from Ms. Oliver herself!) last year, she pitched it as a "dystopian Romeo & Juliet." I pretty much set aside the $17.99 to pre-order the hardcover right then. It's epic emotionally. Lena, the main character, doesn't need a visit from the Volturi to create tension and havoc in her life, she has a date to be "cured" of Amor Deliria Nervosa aka her freewill! I'd face off with Demetri over that life sentence any day.

My second runner up for proving my point is Ally Condie's Matched. Among the new crop of other soon-to-be-adapted YAs that support the paranormal stigma is Kami Garcia & Margaret Stohl's Beautiful Creatures, Cassandra Clare's Mortal Instruments series and Veronica Roth's Divergent.

Despite my rant, I do enjoy the occasional paranormal YA. Anyone who's read this blog, or basically met me, knows I'm a TWI-hard for life--or eternity as soon as Edward agrees to change me. But as someone who writes contemporary YA, I can't help feeling misrepresented in pop culture. It's encouraging to see novels like Before I Fall , Oliver's debut novel which is neither paranormal or dystopian *gasp*, earning some prime Entertainment Weekly real estate. What do you guys think? Is YA seen as a vamp/wolf/zombie fluff fest in the eyes of Hollywood? 


Sunday, May 8, 2011

Jordan Catalano is baaack!

Something miraculous has occurred and I feel I would be doing the entire TV viewership an injustice if I did not share. The miraculous event I speak of is the reemergence of  My So-called Life in syndication! (Airing Mondays at 11pm on Sundance channel.)

Go ahead Generation X-ers and Y-ers, screaming is merited here because this means two essentially amazing things. 1) We get to relive our Jordan Catalano teenage dreams through the never aging Jared Leto. I'll give you a sec to let the picture below stir up some of those memories...

OK, and 2) A whole new generation of girls will be exposed to the fabulous insanity of Angela's identity shifting dye job (hello red!) and friends like Rayanne and Rickie and, er, Brian Krakow and the oh so angst filled relationship with the blissfully monosyllabic Jordan.

The cast was of the time and just plain real in an era before "reality" TV sunk that word into the crapper. But the thing that keeps this show on my Best Ever On TV list is the honesty of creator Winnie Holzman's  (and many others) writing. The anti-quipy-without-trying dialogue is a lesson to anyone who is writing anything. Period. I proclaim (until proven otherwise--go ahead, try me!) the modern YA genre was born in the pages of her pilot script. I say this because the story is still relevant, the characters are still relatible, albeit questionable in the wardrobe department. 17 years later--2 years elder the series main character Angela Chase--the mere mention of this show when I inevitably bring it up at someone mentioning starting a band (possibly named Frozen Embryos?) still gets a hand over the heart, "Omigod I looove that show!" response.

The premature cancellation of this gem is one of the lingering pop cultural travesties of our time. How can a show that is called "the most extraordinary show of the new TV season" by Entertainment Weekly be canceled after only 19 episodes and The Bachelor is on it's 15th season?! I am beyond grateful to Sundance channel for rectifying a tiny piece of this wrong.

P.S. I'm buying this shirt.