Tuesday, March 25, 2014

45 The Divergent Movie, Gender Equality, and a Girl's Right to Say 'No' -- plus HALF BAD by Sally Green Giveaway

THOUGHT FOR THE DAY


I saw Divergent on Sunday, along with a whole lot of other people. It grossed $56 million this weekend, but in case you weren't one of the many who flocked to see it and you need a primer, here's an excellent one on Hypable. (Prepare to laugh.)

My verdict? I LOVED it. LOVED. Then I read some reviews on Wired and elsewhere that made me want to scream. Do you feel like that? I am so sad when I see a book I love turned into a bad film. And when I see a book I loved turn into a GREAT film? I want to hug the world. GoGoGo YALit! In case you missed my point, Divergent is fabulous! Terrific acting, lots of action, true to the book in most ways, fears, factions, plot. Oh, and a great Four. I also really liked Shailene Woodley. I loved that she wasn't like every other Dauntless. She wasn't supposed to be.

I left the theater talking about fears and which faction we would have belonged to with my husband, so the movie not only entertained, it also got us reflecting about ourselves and each other. But hopefully, it did more than that. Hopefully, it finally opens the door for a real discussion on rape-culture and permits girls to feel a real sense of empowerment over themselves and their bodies. Hopefully, it finally sends a very public signal to boys that when a girl says 'no' it's 'cool' to back off. It reinforces the message that girls have a right to say 'no,' for whatever reason, real or imagined, and shows that a strong and loving relationship can still have limits.

The film hits the theme of gender empowerment over and over, not just in the scene where Tris faces her greatest fears. At the beginning, Four tells her that she is weak, but that she can compensate by hitting a stronger (male) opponent first. He tells her how to hit, and he tells her she can win. Not to mention that from the very premise to every facet of the film, we see gender equality in action. Women are not only in top leadership positions, it's not even a question. Boys and girls sleep in the same room and use the same bathroom facilities without that devolving into sexual tension. Self-control and sexual equality are simply a fact of life.

There's a great post below in the BOOKS, BOOKS, BOOKS section that talks about why the sexual assault scene in Divergent is important, so I won't get into that. READ IT! But I do want to say that one of the brilliant things about Divergent is that the theme of sexual and gender equality is not an add on. It's not thrown it. It's integral to the film without being in-your-face. The Divergent movie deserves a standing ovation for that alone. And yet, and yet, both as a film and a book, Divergent contains enough action and other strong themes and ideas that some dismiss the book and the film as social commentary for simpletons, ignoring the fact that by virtue of its enormous platform, one that appeals equally to a wide-cross section of the public, it serves as a launch medium for a variety of important social conversations.

I'm seeing that people are appalled by the sexual assault scene, asking why Tris should fear being assaulted by Four, why that's her greatest fear. I admit there's a bit of disconnect between the film's message of gender equality and that being her greatest fear. But I'll forgive it because it is a fear--the fear--for so many girls and women. We do live in a culture where a sexual assault occurs every two minutes, and where two-thirds of assaults are committed by someone known to the victim. Forty percent of victims are under age eighteen.

Want to know why this is important? Watch this video about one teen's reactions and the current sexual abuse scandal on YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3Uc5eNNG60o. It's a must-see.

The Divergent movie shows an example of a girl saying 'no' and a boy backing off. Bravo.

Go Divergent, that's all I can say. Go YA Lit. Go girls and the boys who respect them.

Have you seen the movie? Read the book? What do you think?


YA GIVEAWAY OF THE WEEK

Along with this weeks book, which I'm providing, I've got a NoVA Teen Festival t-shirt courtesy of One More Page Books in Arlington, VA. What is the NoVA Teen Festival you ask? I volunteered there the day before I left for vacation, and it was fabulous. I'm hoping BIG things for this brand new festival put on by the Arlington Public Library and One More Page Books, as in YALLFEST-sized things. Wouldn't that be wonderful?

The festival was attended by a glittering array of authors, including Marie Lu, Victoria Schwab, Claudia Gray, Jessica Spotswood, Diane Peterfreund, and many, many more. Here's a round-up from Andye at ReadingTeen.com, who I loved meeting in person at the event! And here's a photoessay from Publishers Weekly!

The T-shirt is one of the red ones like Patricia Riley from Spencer Hill Contemporary is wearing in the PW photo. :)


Half Bad
by Sally Green
Hardcover
Viking Juvenile
Released 3/4/2014



A stunning, magical debut. An international sensation.

In modern-day England, witches live alongside humans: White witches, who are good; Black witches, who are evil; and fifteen-year-old Nathan, who is both. Nathan’s father is the world’s most powerful and cruel Black witch, and his mother is dead. He is hunted from all sides. Trapped in a cage, beaten and handcuffed, Nathan must escape before his sixteenth birthday, at which point he will receive three gifts from his father and come into his own as a witch—or else he will die. But how can Nathan find his father when his every action is tracked, when there is no one safe to trust—not even family, not even the girl he loves?

In the tradition of Patrick Ness and Markus Zusak, Half Bad is a gripping tale of alienation and the indomitable will to survive, a story that will grab hold of you and not let go until the very last page.


Purchase Half Bad at Amazon
Purchase Half Bad at IndieBound
View Half Bad on Goodreads

As always, there are lots more giveaways going on at Adventures. You can find the full list here. And if you haven't entered all of my Compulsion cover reveal giveaways, including books and full series signed by Laini Taylor, Maggie Stiefvater, Kami Garcia & Margaret Stohl, Claudia Gray, Kat Zhang, Megan Shepherd, Jennifer L. Armentrout, Stephanie Kuehn, Meagan Spooner & Amie Kaufman, Kendare Blake, Veronica Roth and more, get the full list here. There's just one week left!

 

RECENT YA GIVEAWAY WINNERS





Panic
by Lauren Oliver
Hardcover
HarperCollins
Released 3/4/2014

WINNER: Lisa Basso


Panic began as so many things do in Carp, a dead-end town of 12,000 people in the middle of nowhere: because it was summer, and there was nothing else to do.

Heather never thought she would compete in Panic, a legendary game played by graduating seniors, where the stakes are high and the payoff is even higher. She’d never thought of herself as fearless, the kind of person who would fight to stand out. But when she finds something, and someone, to fight for, she will discover that she is braver than she ever thought.

Dodge has never been afraid of Panic. His secret will fuel him, and get him all the way through the game, he’s sure of it. But what he doesn't know is that he’s not the only one with a secret. Everyone has something to play for.

For Heather and Dodge, the game will bring new alliances, unexpected revelations, and the possibility of first love for each of them—and the knowledge that sometimes the very things we fear are those we need the most.

What is your favourite thing about PANIC?

That's a difficult question to answer. Of course, I love the characters and the way that their stories intersect, and I'm particularly proud of the dual narrative perspective, particularly because it gave me the chance to write from a male point of view. I also like the way that the town of Carp itself becomes a kind of character; it was fun to really conceive of the town as a whole and think about what growing up there would have felt like. But my absolute FAVORITE thing about PANIC? One word, man: tigers!


Purchase Panic at Amazon
Purchase Panic at IndieBound
View Panic on Goodreads

* * * *



The Winner's Curse
by Marie Rutkoski
Hardcover
Farrar, Straus and Giroux
Released 3/4/2014

WINNER: Karin

Winning what you want may cost you everything you love As a general’s daughter in a vast empire that revels in war and enslaves those it conquers, seventeen-year-old Kestrel has two choices: she can join the military or get married. But Kestrel has other intentions. One day, she is startled to find a kindred spirit in a young slave up for auction. Arin’s eyes seem to defy everything and everyone. Following her instinct, Kestrel buys him—with unexpected consequences. It’s not long before she has to hide her growing love for Arin. But he, too, has a secret, and Kestrel quickly learns that the price she paid for a fellow human is much higher than she ever could have imagined. Set in a richly imagined new world, The Winner’s Curse by Marie Rutkoski is a story of deadly games where everything is at stake, and the gamble is whether you will keep your head or lose your heart.



Purchase The Winner's Curse at Amazon
Purchase The Winner's Curse at IndieBound
View The Winner's Curse on Goodreads


BOOKS, BOOKS, BOOKS

First, before I get into the news, let me give a shout out to the delightful Carol Riggs, whose THE BODY INSTITUTE was just picked up by Strange Chemistry. Congrats, Carol! I'm SO thrilled. And I have to say, the book sounds a-ma-zing!






Thanks to Alyssa Hamilton for helping me compile these links. Check out her reviews at Swept Away By Books.

WRITING TIP OF THE WEEK

Great Post via Next Steps Editing

a Rafflecopter giveaway

45 comments:

  1. That is an awesome trailer!!

    Thank you for all the wonderful post links, they're helpful and fun :)

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    1. Doesn't that look great? I love all of Melissa de la Cruz's books!

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  2. What a thought provoking post!! I personally haven't seen the movie yet, so I can't comment. But I cannot wait to finally watch it! What a great trailer. Somehow I've missed that until now :)

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    1. Thanks, Vivien! I hope you love the movie as much as I did.

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  3. I am so interested to watch Divergent and see what it's like! And thanks for your mention of my book deal. :)

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    1. Congrats again, Carol! I'm so thrilled for you. And I want to hear what you think after seeing Divergent!

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  4. I'm going to see Divergent tomorrow. I've heard many good things about it, so I can't wait.

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  5. I have wanted to read Half Bad for a while now, so I hope I win!!

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  6. Half Bad sounds terrific. I don't see a lot of movies, but I just might take a peek at Divergent. Thanks.

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    1. I highly recommend it, Rosi. (Obviously) It's definitely one worth seeing. But there are a slew of great YA movies coming out this year!

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  7. Glad to hear that you really enjoyed the movie. I'll be catching it too when I get a chance. Thanks for the chance to win Half Bad.

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    1. Enjoy when you do go see it, and you're welcome! Good luck.

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  8. Half Bad looks so awesome! I am seeing Divergent tomorrow so I can't comment on it yet but I have read the book and loved it!

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    1. I hope Divergent lives up to your love for the book (which is hard for any film, right?) Half Bad is phenomenal.

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  9. This sounds awesome! Can't wait to see the movie, glad to hear your thoughts. Also, thank you for giving us a chance to win Half Bad. This seems to be a terrific read.

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    1. Good luck, Nikki! It's always a great week for me when there are so many good things to recommend.

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  10. I'm avoiding this movie because I haven't yet read the book! Nice to know it was good though. My sons are dying to see it as soon as their slow mommy catches up :)

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    1. Julie, your sons are patient souls! But it won't take you long. I FLEW through all three of the books. It was just hard waiting the year in between each one.

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  11. Half Bad sounds fantastic! I hadn't heard of it but am definitely adding it to my list. Thanks!

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    1. I don't know how I missed this one either. According to yesterday's PW Bologna update, it was one of the big buzz books there last year, and they did a party for the author there this year!!! So evidently, it's huge. All I can say reading it is that I can see why!

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  12. Thanks for the opportunity to read new authors...

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  13. Haven't seen that movie

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  14. Nice comments on Divergent. Tris' empowerment and fears are really well-handled. But couldn't help thinking about how much Jeanine Matthews reminded me of the evil stepmother--it's hard to get away from that. They did a great job with the film overall. Really want to read Half-Bad!

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    1. LOL on the step-mother. Yes. And I for one am beyond relieved that they did a great job. My heart couldn't have borne another Vampire Diaries.

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  15. I too haven't read the book yet and wonder if I should watch the movie first or read.

    Lots of great news today.

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    1. I don't say this lightly, but I honestly don't think you could go wrong either way. I'm inspired to re-read the book,because I want to give some additional thought to why they made some of the choices they made.

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  16. I started reading Half Bad (library's copy) this morning and it is AMAZING....I want my own copy!!!

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    1. In that case, my fingers are crossed for you! : )

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  17. Awesome recap, review, and thoughts! I loved the books so much I've read them twice ... I'm a little obsessed with them. Seeing the movie today ... have had a hard time waiting 5 whole days! ;-)

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    1. I hope you loved it! And I hope you'll share your thoughts, Kelly!

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  18. Half Bad sounds AWESOME. Right up my alley. I just did the final edits of my second book which is about a you teen male also trying to survive in an abusive world. SO cool to see another story similar in essence to mine.

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    1. Your book sounds great, Michael, and I'm sure that you've done a great job on the writing as well. Have you read The Marbury Lens? Nothing like Half Bad, but such a unique twist on the aftermath of abuse and violence in general.

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    2. No, I haven't. I'll have to check it out. Thanks, Martina.

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    3. BTW... I left another comment at the COMPULSION post... I'll copy it here so you don't miss it... there's a reason why...

      WOW, A stunning cover Martina! CONGRATS. I couldn't be happier for you! Sorry I haven't been around lately, but I had some eye issues, but thankfully they are under control. Hopefully they'll stay that way.

      I am doing INTROS... Original for the A-Z challenge and would LOVE to feature Compulsion... Let me know.

      ALL THE BEST!

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  19. I loved the Divergent books so much! I have been seeing the movie's trailer again and again, waiting for the movie to come on our theaters! Please tell me if the giveaway is international! XD

    Thank you for the post!

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  20. Read another 75 pages this morning.....I'm still in love with Half Bad.

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  21. I have read the first two books but am waiting to see the first film until I've finished ALLEGIANT. I really dug DIVERGENT and INSURGENT and am dying to watch the film treatment of the first installment!

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  22. I'm on page 334 (394 pages) of Half Bad. I had to stop reading because I don't want it to end!

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  23. I feel so excited to read Half Bad! Thanks so much for the great giveaway :)

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  24. Interesting tip. I will have to watch the Divergent movie now.

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  25. Can't wait to see the Divergent movie when I go home next week the one downside to going to a college in the middle of no where is that there is no movie theater that plays recent releases around for 45 miles!!!

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Tell us what you think. We'd love to hear from you! :)