See YA at the Movies

November sees the release of two major YA novels turned to film: Markus Zusak’s The Book Thief and Suzanne Collins’s Catching Fire (book 2 of the Hunger Games trilogy).

The Book Thief

The Book Thief is one of my favorite books and one of the few that has made me cry.  It is a beautifully haunting account of a girl living in Nazi Germany during WWII.  Narrated by Death, it follows Leisel Meminger as she goes to live with a foster family, who teaches her to read.  The magic of words and the sound of her papa’s accordian fill their home with hope as fear and darkness press in from all sides.  It is an extraordinary book, so it is not without trepidation that I will head to the theater this weekend.  Still, I am hopeful.

The movie is directed by Brian Percival and stars Geoffrey Rush, Emily Watson, and Sophie Nelisse.  It will be released in theaters on Friday, Nov. 8.

I would also like to mention that Barnes & Noble has put out a an exclusive, new edition of the book that includes a letter from Markus Zusak, pages from his notebook, handwritten notes from the manuscript, original sketches, and a special gold foil jacket. Cha-ching!  

The Hunger Games: Catching Fire

Katniss Everdeen and Peta Mellark are back in Catching Fire, and through an incredible turn of events, back in the arena, as well.  Rumors of rebellion are circulating among the districts, rumors that the Capitol–still angry over District 12’s double victory at the previous games–seeks to quell.

An article in Entertainment Weekly states that the movie’s director, Frances Lawrence, worked closely with Suzanne Collins to ensure the movie would remain true to the book; however, 3 major changes were made.  Here they are:

  1. Peeta: “We manned him up a little,” says Lawrence, and made it so he can swim.
  2. Bonnie and Twill (Refugees bearing news of District 13) are out of the movie.
  3. The selfless peacekeeper Darius also didn’t make the cut.

Click here to read the full article.

Overall, I feel the damage could have been far worse.  I hope that Peeta isn’t some macho man now, but I suppose we’ll just have to wait and see.  Hunger Games: Catching Fire hits theaters on Nov. 22.


And with an eye to the future, Veronica Roth’s Divergent is slated to come out in March 2014.  I’m reading it now in preparation and enjoying it very much.  In the vein of Hunger Games, Divergent is the first in a dystopian trilogy set in Chicago.  As I live in Chicago, it’s been fun to read and move through Roth’s reimagined cityscape. Factions replace the idea of districts and hints of corruption among the rulers and whispers of rebellion are in the air; however, Roth is not riding Collins’s tailcoats with a copycat plot. She has forged her own story and done it well.


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