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English teacher interested in language and culture, and also in fiction using magic, myth, folklore and the supernatural. Now teaching part-time in a Leicester Upper School (ages 14-19) and also writing for children, teens and teachers.

Tuesday, 29 May 2012

Tuesday Tidings: Three Exciting Bookish Things

An amazing competition for 9-12 readers, and a lot of love for two of this summer's big YA US fantasy releases.

The competition: Operation Diamond

Helen Moss's Adventure Island books are often likened to the Famous Five series, and with good reason. Although there are only four main characters, one is still a dog and they solve mysteries on an idyllic island off the Cornish shore. They're completely contemporary though, so they have the internet and mobile phones to help them in their quests, and there's none of that 'jolly old ginger beer' stuff that modern kids sadly now struggle to relate to. My 8 yr old loves them, and I really enjoy reading them with her.

The tenth Adventure Island book is out next month, and to celebrate this (and of course the Jubilee), Helen Moss and Orion have put together an amazing competition. There is a special Jubilee short story, featuring a Jubilee Diamond (and with a guest spot from the Olympic Flame). Naturally, the Jubilee Diamond is stolen and our child entrants have to figure out who the culprit is. They're given the profiles of six suspects and those correctly identifying the culprit have the chance to win a fantastic prize. The winner will be personally featured in a future Adventure Island book and will get a full set of signed books, as well as a set for their school. To help kids identity the thief, there is a blog trail that started on 21st May: each day, Helen Moss is posting a blog piece about one of the books and there is a question to answer at the end. These questions are multiple choice, and the letters of all the correct answers will be an anagram of the crook's name. The whole thing is ingeniously well done. The names are all very similar, so kids clearly will have to find every letter in order to select the right one. My 8 yr old is having a blast with it! She's got several notebook pages full of notes about the suspects and a careful note of the letters so far. Obviously, she wants to win the prize, but she really is having a great time just solving the mystery.

Want to join in the fun? Here's where you need to start, to read the story and find the links to all the blog pieces. And don't worry about coming to the party late - the competition doesn't close until 23rd July.

US YA Fantasy News: Cover of Throne of Glass

This is a big summer YA release for Bloomsbury, coming out simultaneously in the US and the UK in August. This week, the UK cover was revealed on the Hooked on Books Facebook page. Just how lovely is this?

Throne of Glass is an epic fantasy that was originally created on fictionpress.com. It grew out of Sarah Maas's musings on Cinderella - specifically, the Disney version.  She says:

I’m a huge Disney fan and movie soundtrack geek, and one night, I found myself listening to the Cinderella score. The music that accompanies Cinderella fleeing the ball is pretty dark and intense, and I wound up thinking that the music would be better suited if Cinderella had done something truly bad . . . like steal from the Prince. Or, worse: what if she was an assassin who had just tried to kill the Prince?

And from there, all the other questions arose—who was this Cinderella-assassin and where had she come from? Who sent her to kill the prince? Why did they send her? And what would happen to her now? Thus, Celaena Sardothien and Throne of Glass were born. Asking those questions made me realize there was a massive story to be told prior to that fateful ball—entire books, actually.

In the ten years that I’ve been working on the series, Throne of Glass has become more of an original epic fantasy than a Cinderella retelling, but you can still find a few nods to the legend here and there.

US YA Fantasy News: Trailer for The Gathering Dark by Leigh Bardugo

This sweeping, glorious fantasy is out now from Orion in the UK. (In the US it is titled Shadow and Bone). Did you see my review? If you're a fantasy fan (or possibly even if you're not, like Kirsty from The Overflowing Library) - I strongly recommend this one. And isn't the trailer lovely?

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