Smugglers Stash

Smugglers’ Stash and News

Hello everybody! The Olympic Games end today (boo!) and I have to say, I caught the Olympic Fever in a way I never did before. Rooting for Team GB and Team Brazil as well as admiring all the other countries’ awesome athletes has been amazing. Now getting ready to watch the closing ceremony and hoping it is going to be great (there is no way they can top the opening ceremony is there? ).

In the meantime, it’s business as usual here at Casa de Smugglers.

NPR’s Top 100 Teen Novels:

As you probably know, NPR ran a Best-Ever Teen Fiction poll this summer. Thousands of people voted for our favorite young adult novels and the final results were announced last week. The full list can be found HERE.

And as per usual when a list like that is announced, the reactions have been awesome: from the incredulous to the supportive. We fall somewhere in the middle. Here is a peek at what went through in our HQ when the list was announced:

OMG! NPR’s List is announced – oooooo awesome! Harry Potter is FIRST!! *highfive*

Oh, there are so many books we like on this list. Happy to see The Gone Series there and also of course, Diana Wynne Jones, duh.

Also: The Princess Bride! The Absolutely True Diary Of A Part-Time Indian! His Dark Materials! Chaos Walking! YAYAYAYAY!

Ugh, Catcher in the Rye. WHY do you follow us everywhere we go?

5 John Greens???!!!

Wait, WHY are there so many unfinished series in the list?

OMFG WTF is Hush, Hush doing there? It is not only a book that reeks of rape culture but also: it is just so bad. SO BAD. It has no internal logic whatsoever and it is seriously one of the WORST books we ever had the displeasure of reading. EVER.

Dear lord, where is the Queen’s Thief series? Or The Disreputable History of Frankie Landau-Banks?

Aaaaand hardly any PoC or LGBT entries. *sigh*

The girls at Forever YA also have a great reaction post complete with awesome Picard meme and everything.

This Week on The Book Smugglers:

On Monday, Karen Maitland, author of A Company of Liars will be over to talk about Inspirations & Influences and writing her new novel The Falcons of Fire and Ice.

On Tuesday, Thea reviews The Games by Nebula Award finalist Ted Kosmatka

On Wednesday, Ana posts her review of MG novel Ungifted by Gordon Korman and Thea finally reviews WWII novel Between Shades of Gray (not to be confused with THAT book) by Ruta Sepetys

On Thursday, we post our joint review of Gullstruck Island/The Lost Conspiracy by (new Smuggler-favourite) Frances Hardinge.

Then on Friday it’s another joint review from us: Gods and Warriors by Michelle Paver, the first in a new MG series set in the world of the Mediterranean Bronze Age.

We are both really excited about our picks this week, hope you are too! Bye for now and as usual, we remain…

Alternative Avengers Posters by DukeDastardly (via The Mary Sue)

~ Your friendly neighborhood Book Smugglers

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  • April Books & Wine
    August 12, 2012 at 6:03 am

    I quite like the cover for The Falcons Of Fire And Ice.

    Yeah, that NPR list has some good picks, but I also thought there was a whole lot missing, like you said no Megan Whalen Turner? No Frankie Landau Banks? FOR SHAME.

  • Heidi
    August 12, 2012 at 7:57 am

    Yeah, I pretty much agreed with everything the Forever YA reaction had to say to the NPR list. Obviously things were skewed not by quality but by internet presence, and the presence of a number of non-YA novels on the list annoyed me. I realize that most people do read Lord of the Rings as teens, but is it YA? No. Ah well, there were some good points (like Harry Potter!).

    So excited to see what you ladies think of The Lost Conspiracy/Gullstruck Island-I’m hoping to finish it myself today! After which I will likely be ravaging my library for every Hardinge title I can find…

  • Howard Sherman
    August 12, 2012 at 4:21 pm

    I got the Olympics bug like never before also. Four years ago I spent many nights in an Indianapolis Bennigans watching Phelps in awe. What a great way to kick back and relax after all day exhibiting at Gen Con.

    This time around I had the Olympics on all day in the background day and night. I caught myself smiling at Aly Raisman’s achievement, the US basketball team cutting things closer than I thought with Spain just this afternoon and even found myself captivated by water polo.

    I never seriously knew water polo was a real sport until the XXX Summer Olympics.

    Back to books next time. I’m waxing poetic over the Olympics this being the last day and all.

  • Kate & Zena
    August 12, 2012 at 11:05 pm

    I definitely HAVE to check the list out. I’m a huge YA reader, and I love seeing what other people think are good books.

    Also, I think books about rape in the teen genre are important. As someone who has someone very close to me who was raped from the time she was a little girl, it’s very important it’s talked about. She taught me about molestation, child abuse, abuse and rape in a way that was suitable for my age since I was very little and by using venues that she thought was appropriate. She’s a huge advocate of more books in the teen genre about things like this, so more teens can be made more aware of these problems. Most teens half listen in health class, but read a lot, so by having books with realistic situations of things like rape, molestation and what not creates a dialogue not only between teens, but between parents and teens.

    YA books are also used in therapy. A therapist might suggest to his or her patient that were raped to get this particular book that talks about rape, and they’ll read it together to get through the triggers. YA is a lot easier to read and more engaging, so it’s a lot easier to discuss than adult books. So, I guess, to say the least, I’m always happy when I see some controversial books because they involve rape, especially something like The Color Purple. That’s my opinion though. I know a lot of people see it differently.

  • Ana
    August 13, 2012 at 1:35 am

    Trigger warning: rape

    Kate & Zena – I actually do agree with you on the subject of rape in YA (or any other genre). It is an important thing to be talked about. I have no problem with depicting rape in books – although I do have problems when it is done badly.

    That said, I was not talking about rape but about rape culture. The problem with Hush Hush is that the “hero” basically stalks, threatens, harasses the female protagonist and the heroine keeps saying “no” until she says yes. I think this post explains way better than I could ever. Hush Hush is not controversial because it has rape in it (it doesn’t), it is controversial because it is a prime example of rape culture by normalising and excusing the hero’s behaviour as something that is desirable because he is “hot”.

  • Andria Buchanan
    August 13, 2012 at 4:23 am

    NPRs lists are always hit or miss. At least they got a few good ones on there.

  • Lark
    August 13, 2012 at 10:17 am

    I agree that the NPR list was probably skewed by the demographics — when you offer online voting, you’re not likely to get participation from people who don’t spend time online. I’m sure the voting was also affected by the fact that people who don’t currently read YA were less likely to participate, which would tend to skew the results toward a younger (though not necessarily YA) audience. I was surprised at the omission of some older books — “Little Women,” for instance. But there were some really interesting picks on there, and I added some titles to my TBR list. (If you’re interested, you can read more about my reaction to the list at The Bookwyrm’s Hoard.)

  • hapax
    August 13, 2012 at 11:48 am

    HUSH, HUSH is admittedly ghastly, but to be hones, any “best of” list that includes GO ASK freaking ALICE is a list that J.K. Rowling, John Green, and Robin McKinley should be ashamed to be seen on.

  • Kate & Zena
    August 13, 2012 at 8:16 pm

    Ana – But, in a way, doesn’t such a bad book open up dialogue as well? I just think, whether you read a really horrible book or a really good book (or a book that enforces patriarchal standards that Hush, Hush seems to be doing, or a book that rebukes such standards, such as The House of Night series or the Leviathan trilogy), I think a book should be viewed as a way to open up dialogue. (Of course, now I have to read it just to read the creepy factor.)

    I’m not defending the book being on a list; after all, all lists are biased. My top 100 would be much different than your Top 100. My list would probably be full of feminist reads, only because I tend to err on liking that type of character (one that’s conflicted, having both traditional and modern roles.) I just finished This is All: The Pillow Book of Cordelia Kenn by Aidan Chambers, which I would definitely put on my Top 100. It’s something so different from what you normally see in YA. It’s a freaking thick book (and it took me four days to read), but it was a wonderful read!

  • Ana
    August 14, 2012 at 1:51 am

    Hi Kate. Yes, this def open up a dialogue but I am not sure I want dialogues opening only because this is a bad book if that makes sense? In my most humble opinion: I don’t know HOW this book got published in the first place as it is SO bad. And it’s not only the rape culture thing – it is poorly written, it has no internal logic with regards to worldbuilding. I don’t think that “opening a dialogue” is enough to justify this book. That’s only my opinion of course.

    And for the record, I like conflicted characters as well – but this is not what Hush Hush is about.

    And I will have to check out This is All: The Pillow Book of Cordelia Kenn – it looks great.

  • Kate & Zena
    August 14, 2012 at 5:08 pm

    I’ll have to read the terrible book while you get to read a good one. I’ll tell you what I think of Hush, Hush as long as you tell me what you think of This is All: The Pillow Book of Cordelia Kenn. πŸ™‚

    (Of course, this has to wait until AFTER I finish reading The Merchant’s Daughter by Melanie Dickerson, which is a retelling of Beauty and the Beast and I’m nearly half way through, Voices by Ursula K. Le Guin, the second book of The Agency, The Bad Queen by Caroline Meyer and The Wild Queen by Caroline Meyer. You two smuggle books home, I check them out in vast quantities to the point of smuggling. Ha ha ha.)

  • Megan no h
    August 15, 2012 at 9:02 pm

    Oh ladies, that NPR list. THAT LIST! I had to take many deep breathes because internet lists often turn me into a RAGE MONSTER.

  • Kate & Zena
    August 16, 2012 at 3:47 pm

    Megan no h — Just remember that all lists are biased. That’s what I tell myself. I can get myself into a twist, but every once in a while I print them out and try to read some of the books on there (for example, I’m working my way through The Bitch’s list…well, what the library has anyway, just to see if I agree. With some I do, some I don’t.) It’s all dependent.

    Some people are more liberal with what a teen should read, and others are more conservative! I was actually quite surprised I had read so many on the NPR list (29.)

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    August 18, 2012 at 12:02 am

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