If you loved “Divergent,” “The Maze Runner,” and “The Hunger Games” and are ready for more young-adult stories set in fantasy, sci-fi, or dystopian universes, we’ve got good news — there are dozens of popular YA books currently in development for film adaptations.
The 5th Wave – Rick Yancey
Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children – Ransom Riggs
Daughter of Smoke and Bone – Laini Taylor
Shadow and Bone – Leigh Bardugo
Grasshopper Jungle – Andrew Smith
The Immortal Rules – Julie Kagawa
Legend – Marie Lu
Monument 14 – Emmy Laybourne
Red Rising – Pierce Brown
An Ember in the Ashes – Sabaa Tahir
Eva Green, Asa Butterfield, Ella Purnell, Allison Janney and Samuel L. Jackson also star.
via Dotti Enderle
TITLE: The Night Circus
AUTHOR: Erin Morgenstern
LENGTH: 528 pages
SUMMARY: (via amazon.com) The circus arrives without warning. No announcements precede it. It is simply there, when yesterday it was not. Within the black-and-white striped canvas tents is an utterly unique experience full of breathtaking amazements. It is called Le Cirque des Rêves, and it is only open at night.
But behind the scenes, a fierce competition is underway: a duel between two young magicians, Celia and Marco, who have been trained since childhood expressly for this purpose by their mercurial instructors. Unbeknownst to them both, this is a game in which only one can be left standing. Despite the high stakes, Celia and Marco soon tumble headfirst into love, setting off a domino effect of dangerous consequences, and leaving the lives of everyone, from the performers to the patrons, hanging in the balance.
BRIDGE: I think the most obvious bridge for this title is Dickens. The first book that springs to mind is Great Expectations. Elements of Pip and Estella’s relationship linger over Marco and Celia and the adults who influence them are similar to Pip’s benefactor and Miss Havisham. These characters are on a quest and so one could also draw parallels to any classic quest story as well. Morgenstern’s Victorian England and its New World counterparts are impeccably crafted and the magical elements are subtly unbelievable and awing, as good magic should be. By studying the speech, customs and settings of the story, one could draw comparisons to any of Dickens’ work or other Victorian authors. There are even subtle nods to Grimm stories that one could map throughout the book. The intricate braid of plotlines would also be an interesting point of discussion. Students could map the different plots and physically draw them on timelines to have them intersect at the crucial points. This would also be an excellent book with which to study character development and relationships. The complexity of the characters and their relationships would also require some charting.
READERS: Not for the faint of heart, I would recommend this book more for high schoolers and adults. I do not think many middle school readers would have the maturity to understand the complexity of Celia and Marco’s world. Readers who enjoy magical stories will devour this book and those with a taste for the strange and imaginative will be enthralled. **A note on the audiobooks: Jim Dale’s narration is impeccable, as usual. I thoroughly enjoyed the formal and appropriately creepy reading of the entire thing. Definitely will be on my list of re-listens.
OTHER TITLES: Readers who enjoy this book will also like any of the Harry Potter books by J. K. Rowling, Daughter of Smoke and Bone by Laini Taylor, or Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children by Ransom Riggs.
Title: Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children
Author: Ransom Riggs
Length: 352 pages
16 year-old Jacob is loafing his way through high school and dreading the future laid out before him by his family. Jacob has spent years listening to his grandfather’s stories from his childhood about his life as a WWII refugee living with other “peculiar” children hiding from “monsters”. Jacob’s grandfather even has pictures of levitating girls and bee-covered boys but Jacob assumes they are little better than cheap forgeries. Jacob is annoyed when his grandfather calls desperate for help and babbling about the “monsters”. Arriving at a ransacked house with no sign of his grandfather, Jacob begins to worry in earnest. Jacob’s world is jarred when he finds his grandfather and watches him die moments later while a terrifying face looks on . Jacob finds a strange letter in his grandfather’s things that propels him to a small Welsh island. He discovers that the stories his grandfather told him are not only true but the children who should have died years before are still alive and well. Jacob must unravel this mystery to save himself, the children, and find his place in this world of monsters.
BRIDGE: This book could be used as a bridge to two main elements in a literacy course: to relate to World War II/Holocaust literature or to teach analyzing and writing allegory and symbolism. Because the story contains a character who lived through World War II and is said to have escaped the horrible fate of many of the Jews by becoming a refugee at Miss Peregrine’s, this would be an easy book to include in literature circles with other WWII/Holocaust related titles. It might also be interesting as a jumping-off point for research on these “children’s homes” during WWII. These children’s homes are an oft-mentioned but rarely detailed part of WWII history. THE MORE INTERESTING BRIDGE would be to use this novel to bridge to allegorical novels and novels that contain symbolism. In the first few pages, I was almost disappointed at what I thought were thinly veiled references to “monsters” (The Nazis) and “peculiar children” (the youngest Holocaust victims). In fact, the grandfather is explaining his survival story to a very young Jacob and one could understand why this type of simplistic symbolism would be used in the course of the narrative. But as the story progresses, readers will realize that there are layers to this symbolism; while on the surface it appears to be as black-and-white as is originally presented to young Jacob, as the story unfolds, the symbolism becomes more complex and Miss Peregrine’s world is a safe haven on multiple levels. The really cool thing is that STUDENTS CAN DEFINE MULTIPLE LEVELS OF SYMBOLISM AND ALLEGORY FOR THEMSELVES. I was so excited to find a book that I feel would be a good pairing with Animal Farm or The Lord of the Flies. Both of these books deal heavily with allegory and symbolism and, unfortunately, are two of the most unapproachable classics regularly taught in high schools. By using Miss Peregrine’s to introduce the concepts of symbolism and allegory, one could provide the basis needed to effectively tackle these two more traditional novel.
READERS: Readers who enjoy the weird and mysterious will love this book. Riggs has created an odd world that simultaneously unnerves and attracts. Fans of magical realism will enjoy this book and will like the historical spin the author has used. And with the included photographs, photography fans will enjoy the inclusion of such rare photos.
OTHER TITLES: Readers who enjoy this book will also enjoy Going Bovine by Libba Bray, Revolution by Jennifer Donnelly or The Thief Lord by Corenelia Funke.
Title: The Scorpio Races
Author: Maggie Stiefvater
Length: 416 pages
Imagine a horse race in which the riders are more likely to get injured than the horses and where the horses are more than horses. Every November, some riders race to win while others race to survive. Sean Kendrick and Puck Connolly live on a remote island where the mythical water horse is an everyday part of existence. Nineteen and already stoic, Sean keeps his emotions and opinions to himself, training water-horses for the island’s wealthiest inhabitant. As the four-time winner of The Scorpio Races, Sean has little to do but prepare and defend his title. Puck Connolly never intended to ride in the races. Her parents were killed by water horses and she and her brothers are struggling to make ends meet. But life on Thisby is difficult and Puck only has one choice if she and her brothers are to stay together. She must race. Puck and Sean’s paths cross on entrance day and there’s is a relationship of convenience and circumstance. However, as the races draw closer both have to decide what sacrifices they will make and how to define who they really are in order to stay together and win the race.
BRIDGE: This novel would work well to discuss character change. Puck is plucky and headstrong with just the right amount of self-doubt. Using character, one could bridge this novel to Chopin’s The Awakening. Puck’s struggle with discovering what it means to be a woman in a world of men is a classic struggle of trying to stay true to herself when the world is telling her to change. Stiefvater creates enigmatic character in Sean who is at once who is at once strong and heartbreakingly vulnerable. Some of his character traits are reminiscent of Mr. Rochester in Wuthering Heights perhaps without the self-loathing. And Sean too must come to grips with who he is and decide what he wants in order to make a place for himself (possibly with Puck) and on Thisby.
This novel is beautifully written. The sense of place and the lyrical quality to the writing is mesmerizing. One could use this novel to discuss setting as well. Thisby is striking in its environment both in description and its hold on the characters. Using setting, one could bridge this novel to Wuthering Heights or, for younger readers, Tuck Everlasting.
READERS: This book appeals to fantasy fans and fans of Stiefvater’s other books. In addition, readers who enjoy books set in the past will enjoy the hints of early 20th century setting. Readers who like horses would love this book. The book’s split narrative will appeal to both make and female readers and adults and young readers alike will find elements to enjoy.
OTHER TITLES: Readers who enjoy this book would also enjoy Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children by Ransom Riggs or Daughter of Smoke and Bone by Laini Taylor. Both of these books rely heavily on setting and strong characters.