Posts tagged adventure
Drum roll, please… The long-awaited interview with The Maze Runner‘s bestselling author, James Dashner, is here! We talked about Dashner back in October about his Maze Runner trilogy, including the final book The Death Cure and the upcoming prequel, as well as movies, favorite kids’ books, Dashner’s take on Harry Potter, and a handful of nerdy stuff. In fact, since our interview with him lasted over an hour, it’s so long we’ve broken it into two big posts. We’re huge fans of The Maze Runner trilogy, so this was pretty exciting (we’ll post a review at some point too). Ruby and I had a ball chatting with him, and we’re grateful that we were given the opportunity to pick his brain!
(Please forgive the posting delay: life got busy, but a big reason was that we were sworn to secrecy about The Maze Runner prequel, The Kill Order, that’s being released August 14, 2012!)
One word of warning: while there are no big spoilers involving book three in this interview, readers who haven’t read The Maze Runner and The Scorch Trials yet might want to step carefully. Check it out and ENJOY!
If you’ve already finished Part I, read Part II here.
It feels bittersweet. There’s some sadness for it to be over, but I’m also just so thrilled that people finally get to read some of these scenes that have been in my head for so long and to see how it ends. The fact that we’re probably going to do a prequel now [The Kill Order] has got me really even more excited, because to me the prequel becomes the most exciting [book] once you know how it all ends, and I just think it’ll be very interesting to go back and see firsthand the stuff that happened before The Maze Runner. So it’s sort of a mixed bag of feelings, I guess, but mostly excitement.
Jenny: As far as these books go, did you plan a three-book series?
I envisioned it as a trilogy.
Ruby: In your books there’s a trend throughout the whole series in which Thomas always gets singled out and separated from the rest of the group. Is there a reason behind that for his development as a character or for the story as a whole?
I’ll say this: I think even from The Maze Runner we know that Thomas and Theresa are special. They were singled out to be more involved than everyone else in the stuff that happened before the maze and leading up to the maze. Throughout the process they are looking for what is called a “final candidate”. To me the whole concept of the “final candidate” shows that there is a side of WICKED [that doesn’t] want to be completely cruel and evil; they’re at least trying to narrow [the candidates] down to one person for what [WICKED] wants to do in the end. But in my mind, WICKED had always thought that Thomas and Theresa—and then in group B, their two counterparts—would probably [be the final candidate], and so they did plan some of the trials and variables to single them out, to capture some of their patterns, to try to finalize what they’re doing. I just thought Thomas was special and predicted to be what they would need. Probably one of my favorite things in The Scorch Trials is when [Thomas] gets shot with the gun. That was not something WICKED foresaw, and they were not willing to let Thomas die, so they broke against their normal protocol and swooped in to try to save him. (more…)
The Son of Neptune by Rick Riordan
But hey, I loved the books! (Also, I’d rather review The Son of Neptune than clean my room.)
On the off chance that nobody here has read (or heard of) the Percy Jackson series, here’s a brief overview: ancient Greek gods and goddesses are real, and they never disappeared–they’ve followed the rise of Western culture and currently reside on Mt. Olympus over the Empire State Building. Percy Jackson–main character, obviously–discovers he’s a “hero” or Greek “demigod”, a half-mortal, and his father is Poseidon, which turns out to be problematic. After a brief time at Camp Half Blood, he and his new friends are off on a quest full of mythical beasts, minor deities, and worldwide catastrophe. It’s rollicking good fun, incredibly smart, and impressively accurate on the ancient history/mythology level. Alas, after five books, the series was done.
But wait! There’s more! (more…)
Crossed by Ally Condie (Book 2 Matched Trilogy)
In the sequel to Matched, star-crossed lovers, Cassia and Ky, escape the stringent rules of the Society intending to live happily ever after, but life in the outside world isn’t what they expected and perilous adventures await.
In Matched, Ky and Cassia risk life and limb escaping the vigilant and watchful eyes of the Society to find each other. They weren’t supposed to fall in love, but now that they have Cassia is forced to come to the realization that the Society’s true aims are not as benign as they appear. Two perilous escapes and long treks across dangerous wilderness with strangers find these young lovers back together and searching for the rebels.
The alternating points of view allow the reader to learn more about the motivations of Cassia and Ky. However, this narrative choice also occasionally interrupts the flow, leaving the reader with a choppy story. Crossed is not a strong stand-alone story because there isn’t much information about what exactly the Society is and why Cassia wants to join the rebellion. However, this action-packed adventure introduces new characters and enticing possibilities for the conclusion in the final book of the trilogy.
Crossed will be released on November 1st, 2011.
Also available as an eBook.
Cheesie Mack is Not a Genius or Anything by Steve Cotler; illustrated by Adam McCauley
You would think that graduating from the 5th grade would be a piece of cake after the school year itself, but Cheesie Mack’s life is anything but boring. When Cheesie and his best friend Georgie find an old envelope with mysterious contents, they decide to track down the owner. When it turns out that the things they found are valuable, they must make a decision between doing the right thing and having the coolest summer ever. On top of that, “Goon” (Cheesie’s yucky older sister) is always trying to make him look dumb, his best friend Georgie can’t afford to go to their annual summer camp, and the mystery they’re trying to solve involves a haunted house. Things are getting complicated!
Cheesie is a curious kid and a great character, always looking to learn something new about the world and ready to share his information, whether it’s a list of the differences between frogs and toads, illustrations of pennies and secret hideouts, efficient breathing techniques for winning bike races, or ways to gross out your sister. (Feel free to check out his website to help add to his archive of facts: www.cheesiemack.com!) Full of funny comments from a young, probing mind, Cheesie Mack is a fun romp through fact and fiction, and author Steve Cotler won me over with the believability of his characters. The book’s narrative is paired with Cheesie’s own illustrations to help the story along (maps, caricatures, instruction guides, etc.), and together they bring you into the mindset of a regular, inquisitive boy. (more…)
A warm welcome to our friend Marin, a fellow kids’ and teen book enthusiast! Marin is currently a grad student in library school and loves reviewing books as much as we do. Here’s her latest review of the Caldecott Award winning book by Brian Selznick, soon to be released as a movie in theaters.
The Invention of Hugo Cabret by Brian Selznick
A grumpy man, a brash girl, a broken automaton, filmmaking and Paris; what do these things have in common? Selznick combines them in descriptive prose and emotive illustrations to construct a unique reading experience. A young orphan living in a hidden room in a Parisian train station in 1931 is skilled at fixing things but has to shoplift to survive. One day he is caught stealing and the fast-paced adventure begins.
Going back and forth seamlessly between series of wordless images and more traditional text the narrative describes what happens when Hugo becomes an apprentice to a mysterious grumpy toy booth owner and meets his god-daughter. The two children set out to unravel a mystery that changes all of their lives.
Pencil sketches combine with historical photographs of Paris and stills from black and white movies to create a distinctive setting and mood for the characters’ adventures. A fun way to introduce readers to silent films, the study and practice of magic, and the creativity and variety of possibility in invention.
2008 Caldecott Award Winner
Copyright January 2007
Also be sure to check out Brian Selznick’s newest book in the same mixed style of beautiful images and text, Wonderstruck, released just last week to critical acclaim (see what the New York Times has to say here). And thanks to Marin for sharing her review and love of awesome books!
Huber Hill and the Dead Man’s Treasure by B. K. Bostick
(Digital ARC received from Cedar Fort Publishers.)
Huber Hill is having a rough time. At home his parents are always fighting, and at school he has no real friends and gets picked on daily by Scott, a bully whose life mission seems to be to destroy Huber. To top it all off, Huber’s twin sister, Hannah, is seemingly perfect, an athlete with good grades and tons of friends. The only time Huber feels truly happy is when he and Hannah visit Grandpa Nick, who tells them stories of his youthful adventure days and the hunt for Spanish treasure buried in mines in the mountains. When Grandpa Nick suddenly passes away, he leaves the twins a secret gift: a box with an old journal, a centuries-old map, and a single gold coin. The treasure is real!
In the meantime, a school conflict unexpectedly brings Huber and Scott together, and they start to build a strong friendship. When Huber’s parents announce a temporary separation, all three kids agree that it’s time to get away–time to search for buried treasure!
Unbeknownst to their parents, the three kids hike into the mountains on a camping trip to start the search, trying to decipher faded Spanish notes with the help of Grandpa Nick’s journal and slowly working their way closer to Tesoro de los Muertos. But no good adventure story would be complete without a bad guy: meet Salazar, a scarred, creepy, and blood-thirsty Spaniard who traveled across the world to claim the treasure for himself. (more…)
We are pleased to welcome author B. K. Bostick as he drops in for an interview on his virtual book tour! Bostick’s upcoming novel Huber Hill and the Dead Man’s Treasure is a great treasure-hunting adventure book for middle readers full of excitement, friendship, discovery, creepy villains, and mystery! Be on the lookout for it when it hits shelves October 1, 2011. (Review to follow!)
What inspired you to share it with the world? My grandpa. He would always tell me stories about Spanish treasure hidden up in the mountains. I always imagined going on these wild adventures to find the gold. As I grew older, I realized that the real treasures were the stories my grandpa told me. I’ll always remember those days sitting at his side listening as he showed me old maps, books, and artifacts. If there’s one theme to the story, it’s that relationships with friends and family are of much more worth than any kind of money.
Out of the three kids–Huber, Hannah, and Scott–which character do you relate to the most? Were any of them based on people in real life?
I was bit like Huber when I was young–more sober-minded and quiet, yet tenacious when I decided to do something. Grandpa Nick was based off of my own grandpa and Scott took on a lot of characteristics of one of my best friends.
In Huber Hill, you do a great job capturing the dynamic between siblings. Did you base Huber and Hannah’s relationship on your own family? What about the relationship between Huber’s parents?
I do have an older brother (we nearly fought to the death on many occasions). However, Huber and Hannah’s relationship I took from working with twin siblings during my time as a teacher. I noticed oftentimes that twins would be compared and sometimes one would excel the other in school, sports, what have you. Huber’s parents’ relationship I also took from many of the parents I observed while teaching. Their personalities and differences would always come out during parent teacher conferences.
In the stories I like to read, the villain is always rotten to the core. There are times you wonder about Salazar and even feel sorry for him, but there’s no denying the fact he cares about no one but himself. Some of his quirks and vocabulary were influenced by a certain Spanish teacher I knew (he’ll remain nameless). Salazar is just as tenacious as Huber, but their motivations polar opposites.
A lot of reviewers have been comparing Huber Hill to the movie “The Goonies”. Do you think that’s a good comparison, and did you make that connection yourself while writing?
I take that as a compliment. I love Goonies. I think Dead Man’s Treasure is focused on relationships and adventure. I’d say it’s more a combination of Stephen King’s Stand by Me and Goonies (two of my favorites growing up by the way). (more…)
The Naming: The First Book of Pellinor by Alison Croggon (Pellinor series)
Maerad is nearly sixteen-years old, an orphan and a slave in the detestable holdings of Gilman’s Cot. Known for her “witch” powers, she manages to keep others at a distance while finding solace in her one escape, her music. Maerad knows true escape is impossible, so when a strange man named Cadvan appears in the stables one day and tells her he can save her–and that she is special–Maerad’s world is turned upside down.
Cadvan is a mystic bard, one from the schools of magic all across the continent. As they escape both Gilman’s Cot and the dangers Cadvan himself is running from, he begins to teach Maerad about her own “gift”, for she too has the power, a remarkably strong and unusual talent for one as untrained as herself. As they journey through wilderness, towns, and the schools of the bards, danger follows, and Cadvan begins to suspect that his meeting with Maerad was not mere coincidence. Together they explore a prophesy of the “Foretold One” who is to save the world from the Nameless One, a bard taken in to the dark forces of magic and politics who, though long thought dead, is returning to power. Is Maerad the prophesied bard, or is Cadvan mistaken? Each adventure reveals new twists to the plot and new elements of magic, and Maerad seeks to come to terms with her new identity and abilities she never knew existed. Politics, battles, intrigue, and beautifully woven scenes make this book a page turner. Maerad is an absorbing character, both determined and unsure, and she grows with her knowledge and powers throughout the story. (more…)
Aliens on Vacation by Clete Barrett Smith (The Intergalactic Bed & Breakfast series, Book One)
Okay, so there’s no such thing as “too many books”, but I certainly read more than I’m able to review regularly. Aliens on Vacation became one of my many victims–a book I loved but did not write about, a book I read prior to its publication back in May. My apologies to Mr. Smith! With that said…
Aliens on Vacation by Clete Smith is a fun romp with science fiction, summer vacation, the Pacific Northwest, and a thirteen-year-old boy named Scrub who can’t believe he’ll be spending the summer with his grandmother. When Scrub arrives at his grandma’s Intergalactic Bed & Breakfast, an old house covered in brightly painted stars, spaceships, and planets, he thinks that his summer is doomed for boredom and geekiness. Meeting his hippy grandmother for the first time doesn’t help the feeling, and when he realizes there’s no internet, he knows it’s going to be a long vacation. Little does Scrub know, the B&B isn’t for Trekkies and science-fiction fanatics: it’s actually a vacation spot for alien visitors from across the galaxy! Soon Scrub finds himself helping Grandma costume aliens of every shape, size, and attitude (some are very cranky customers indeed!) so the aliens can enjoy their “primitive” surroundings in the local town and forests without being discovered. (more…)
Wither by Lauren DeStefano (Book One in the Chemical Garden Trilogy)
Several generations ago, the human race was genetically perfected: genes were cleared of tendencies to cancer, viruses, disease. But something went horribly wrong, and all subsequent generations have stunted lifelines, girls living until age twenty and boys living until age twenty-five. The short lifelines of all those who aren’t “first generation” means a stagnation of humanity, and the divide between rich and poor grows ever deeper as the remaining dystopian world is filled with orphans, crime, and fear. Some search for a cure to this terrible genetic curse. Others despair that one cannot be found.
Sixteen-year-old Rhine and her twin brother, Rowan, are children of first generation parents who died in a terrorist attack at the genetics lab where they worked to find a cure. Left alone, Rhine and her brother maintain their home and find what work they can. And then, one day, Rhine is stolen away by Gatherers, men who make a living kidnapping and selling young women as wives to wealthy men, a means of forced procreation.
Scared and bitter, Rhine is sold to Linden, her twenty-one-year-old husband, along with two new sister wives, Cecily–age thirteen–and Jenna–age eighteen. (They are the lucky ones: the rejected girls were shot and left on the side of the road.) While Cecily, who grew up in an orphanage, is giddy to love her new husband and plush, comfortable lifestyle, Jenna and Rhine are miserable and seething, though only Rhine is determined to escape. Her only solace, besides the library, is a servant of the house, Gabriel, and a friendship between them blossoms into something unnamed and forbidden. (more…)