Thursday, March 26, 2009

Teens find new dark tales to satisfy their Twilight craving

Fiona Purdon writing in Brisbane's Courier Mail:

FIRST there was Harry Potter, then there was Twilight. Now there is a swag of new authors writing young adult fiction vying to become the next big thing. And it's all to do with fantasy and vampires.

One of the best is Suzanne Collins's New York Times top-five bestseller The Hunger Games (Scholastic, $17.99), the movie rights of which have already been scooped up by Hollywood.
There is no vampire in sight but the gripping book is about deadly reality television show Hunger Games and, like Twilight, there is a strong emotional undercurrent between teen contestants Katniss and Peeta, who face the ultimate survival choice: kill or be killed.

Australia's initial 20,000 copies of this month's release have already been snapped up by shops, prompting a 5000 reprint order for the first in a trilogy.
Twilight author Stephenie Meyer says she was up all night reading The Hunger Games.

Another to look out for is Kristin Cashore's Graceling (Gollancz, $32.99), which was published in Australia in November to quickly become a science-fiction bestseller.

Cassandra Clare's series the Mortal Instruments trilogy, which concludes with City of Glass (Walker, $24.95) to be released this week, is one of publisher Walker children's books top three Australian releases this year, with an expected sales target of 20,000.
The series has been endorsed by Meyer.
Jace is a shadow hunter in the series, which is based in a demon world in a parallel universe to Manhattan.
Vampires and werewolves are prominent in the evocative and mesmerising story concerning Jace and teenager Clary Fray, a human who has a rare gift of seeing the shadow world.

The vampire series seducing many fans is Sookie Stackhouse by Charlaine Harris.
The series was first published pre-Twilight in 2004, but has been given new life with the hit television series True Blood, showing on Foxtel's Showcase.

Since the release of the award-winning first book Dead Until Dark (Gollancz, $22.99) more than 3.5 million Stackhouse books have been sold.
They have spent months on the New York bestsellers' list.
The ninth book, Dead and Gone, will be published in June.
Sookie is a cocktail waitress in the small rural Louisiana town of Bon Temps and has a telepathic gift. She falls in love with strong and quiet vampire Bill, whose mind she cannot read.
Gollancz publicist Brendan Fredericks says that there has been a growing trend for girls to be the main protagonists in young adult fiction.
"As females tend to read more than boys, especially growing up, strong female characters, like Sookie, are popular," Fredericks says.
"It is really good to see this trend increasing with young adult books such as Katsa in Graceling and Mary in The Forest of Hands and Teeth.
"I think the love stories in these books, set against horror/fantasy/supernatural backgrounds, also make them appealing."
The Forest of Hands and Teeth (Gollancz, $29.99, released next month), by Carrie Ryan, has a strong romance element, similar to Twilight, but the main character Mary faces life-and-death decisions concerning zombies rather than vampires.

While Twilight remains the New York Times' top-selling children's series, the No.3 series is The House of Night books.
The books from this series have been on the list for 25 weeks.
The books, written by mother and daughter PC and Kristin Cast, are set in a vampire finishing school in Tulsa, Oklahoma, and begin when 16-year-old Zoey Redbird is marked to be a vampire.
The first three books Marked (Orbit, $16.99) Betrayed and Chosen will be re-released in Australia in May with new stylish covers and are more risque than Twilight.
Untamed and Hunted will be released in July, while in October Tempted will be released worldwide.
The series follows the adventures of Zoey and has a formulaic feel.

Another popular series among Australian teens is Anna Godbersen's Luxe series ($19.95, Penguin), starting with Luxe (released last September) and this month's follow-up Rumours, which are historical romances set in the sumptuous world of late 19th-century Manhattan.
British publisher Gillian Redfern says supernatural books have always been popular but Twilight created a wider appeal for the genre.
"What Twilight has done is bring that to the attention of readers who would otherwise never think to pick this kind of book up," she says.
"It's been amazing in creating new interest in the genre and in boosting it by bringing a whole new generation of readers to dark fantasy books.
"I don't think we're all looking for a copy-cat vampire story.
"I'm sure people will be inspired by Twilight and we will be looking for something as strong, but different to read
And just for the record, if you are wondering about the impact of young adult fiction in the marketplace, while 40 million-plus copies of Twilight have sold so far worldwide, the Harry Potter series has hit the 400 million-plus mark and is still selling.
Note - all prices mentioned are in Australian dollars.

The Twilight phenomenon continues:
The DVD of the Twilight movie is out in NZ on 22 April and there’s lots of buzz around that.
It’s just on sale at Walmart in the US:
- Walmart have had more pre-orders for Twilight DVD than any previous DVD
- They now have dedicated Twilight “stores” within many Walmart stores- the opening page has a Twilight section.

DVD distributor Sony says that they have had more orders for this DVD than any previous from one of their major customers (but can’t say who).

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