The Dragon Whistler

The Dragon Whistler
Now available in paperback.

2.15.2016

FANGIRL and CARRY ON by Rainbow Rowell (Teen)

I am a huge Rainbow Rowell fan, in fact ELEANOR & PARK remains in my top 10 favorites of all time. I'd heard a lot about FANGIRL and it did not disappoint.

At the time I listened to the FANGIRL audiobook, CARRY ON was still months away from release, but I quickly realized it would be about the wildly popular book within the book—the one the main character Cath, well, fangirls over. So that was in the back of my mind the whole way through. By the end, I couldn't wait for a deeper look into the Simon/Baz story.

FANGIRL is the story of Cath, a Nebraska teenager heading off to college with her twin, Wren. Both girls are huge fans of the SIMON SNOW book series, a Harry Potter-meets-Twilight literary phenom that was instrumental in getting the girls through some tough childhood years. They'd dressed up in costume for premiere parties, hung out in online forums with other fans, and knew every plot thread backwards and forwards.

Although now Wren has sort of outgrown SIMON SNOW, it's still a big part of Cath's life. An aspiring writer herself, she authors SIMON SNOW fan fiction and posts it online. Her following is so big, Cath has become a celebrity herself within the fandom. But now she's at college, out of her comfort zone with a roommate that (for the first time in her life) is not her twin sister, and a new circle of friends.

FANGIRL gives us snippets of the SIMON SNOW series (the actual published one Cath emulates) as well as Cath's take on how the series will end in the upcoming final book (yet to be published). All this is woven with Cath's own story of finding herself, growing up, moving on and, just maybe, falling in love for the first time.



Carry On - The Rise and Fall of Simon Snow is a ghost story, a love story and a mystery. It has just as much kissing and talking as you'd expect from a Rainbow Rowell story - but far, far more monsters.


After writing FANGIRL, author Rainbow Rowell wanted to explore the ending of Simon Snow's story herself, and how she would wrap up the series—writing not as Cath or fictional author Gemma T. Leslie. The result is CARRY ON which takes place in Leslie's world. It's Simon and his vampire roommate Baz's last year at Watford School of Magic. Simon just might be the Chosen One, prophesied to be the most powerful Mage ever, and destined to save the world from the evil that is the Insidious Humdrum—which just happens to look exactly like a young Simon.

If so, Simon is the worst Chosen One ever. He can't control his magic even after years of studying the magical arts. The magical world is moving toward a civil war and Simon seems caught in the middle. Not sure about anything in his life, including the headmaster who Simon worships, the only thing Simon knows for certain is that this is his last year at a school that means everything to him. And something very strange is going on between him and his arch enemy/roommate Baz.

They've spent all these years at odds, with Baz trying to kill him most of the time, but when a visit from beyond the grave sets them on a quest together, the boys have to confront their true feelings.

Part love story, part ghost story, part mystery, all epic, CARRY ON is ideal for the reader who grew up on Harry Potter, graduated to Twilight, and is now a fan of THE MAGICIANS (Lev Grossman). You don't have to have read FANGIRL to enjoy CARRY ON, but for me, it was the deep dive into the magical world I'd wanted. Highly recommended.

1.27.2016

Help Elena's Serenade become a feature film

The award-winning book ELENA'S SERENADE by Campbell Geeslin (illustrated by Ana Juan) is a fascinating picture book about a girl glassblower in Mexico. In the more than ten years since it was published (Atheneum Books for Young Readers), it has captivated readers with its story of empowerment and magic, and its rich and glorious illustrations. Now, one of its biggest fans is trying to get it made into an animated feature film.

Sarah Wayne Callies (best known as Lori on THE WALKING DEAD) is working with FullDawa Films through a Kickstarter campaign to fund the production:

The Kickstarter campaign for “Elena’s Serenade: The Pilot“ went live on Wednesday, January 13th, to promote and support Sarah Wayne Callies’ latest creative endeavor, a screenplay adapted from Campbell Geeslin’s children’s picture book “Elena’s Serenade“. First published in 2004, it received the Parents' Choice Award the same year and was commended for the Americas Award for Children's and Young Adult Literature.  Campbell Geeslin fully backs Sarah’s wish to make his book into an animation film.
 
If successful, the Kickstarter funds will help to finance a pilot, which will consist of 3 to 5 minutes of the final film. This excerpt will be used as a funding tool, which can be presented to film boards and private financiers in order to get the rest of the animated feature film made.  FullDawa has already obtained complete support from the CNC, the French National Film Board, which has committed to financing a part of the pilot’s budget.
 
FullDawa Films EP David Atrakchi introduced the script to French animation director Guillaume Ivernel, best known for his animated film “Dragon Hunters” released in 2008. He immediately took to the story, inspired by its poetry and Mexican backdrop, and set out to create Elena’s universe and characters alongside illustrator Valérie Hadida. In addition to Ivernel, esteemed comic book author Tony Sandoval has joined the team, along with animation powerhouse Toutenkartoon, reputed stereographer Joséphine Dérobe and Les Androids Associés, who will be handling all pre-visualization techniques.  Celestial musicians Mirabai Ceiba are the project’s latest addition and have recently agreed to score the film.
 
The film depicts the story of Elena, a young girl who dreams of becoming a glassblower just like her father. But he wants a different life for his daughter and will not teach her his art. When tragedy strikes her family, Elena must learn to make glass in order to save them. So she sets off on her own across the Mexican desert to go to Monterrey and learn from the great glassblowers. The journey is full of new creatures and people, some who will guide the girl on her way, and some who want to steal her art and her spirit. If she can make it back home, she will not only have grown as an artist, but as a daughter, a friend, and a young woman.
 
The story is “so full of inspiration for my daughter’s creative spirit and her courage as a girl.  I loved it, and I read it to her almost every day for months.” says Sarah. “And then one day, I saw it as a movie in my head. It’s never happened to me that way before, but I just closed my eyes and saw the whole thing – new characters, new parts of the journey. The essence of this wonderful girl Elena I had been seeing every day on her amazing journey; this girl who made me giggle and weep and cheer for her – I wanted to introduce her to a wider audience. “
 
Rewards for Kickstarter donations range from the official download of the pilot and limited edition prints, to an exclusive art book created by Guillaume Ivernel and a signed copy of Sarah’s original script for the pilot. Prizes for top-tier donations include an original production visual signed by the entire team; and hand-drawn sketches of the cast of characters, by both Valérie Hadida and Tony Sandoval.


11.23.2015

NOGGIN by John Corey Whaley

Sixteen-year-old Travis Coates had cancer. He was going to die. And then this super experimental medical treatment presented itself. Would he be willing to have his head cut off and frozen for a few years, because there just might be a procedure in the future that could reattach his head to a healthy donor body? Sure, why not?

The potential of a life, even if it's a life long after everyone he knows is gone, is a risk Travis is willing to take. And it works. He wakes up with a brand new, super fantastic, healthy body. Except it isn't 100 years later. It's only five.

Which is great because he still has his parents and his friends ... well, sort of. Everyone is five years older than him, of course. He has to go back to high school and they've already graduated. And that includes Travis's girlfriend, who has grieved him and moved on.

NOGGIN is a coming of age story unlike any other as Travis must restart his old life in a new body, adjust to his celebrity status (he's one of only a few people who have survived the re-attachment surgery), convince his girlfriend they are still meant to be together (even though she's engaged to someone else), and figure out why his best friend (who came out to him just before the beheading) apparently never told anyone else he was gay.

John Corey Whaley, author of the Printz Award/William C. Morris Award-winning WHEN THINGS COME BACK, tackles all these heavy issues with the sarcastic wit and humor of a sixteen year old boy, taking the reader on such an enjoyable ride that it's easy to suspend the disbelief of the original premise. Travis is just so darn likable you can't help but root for him, even though you know the things he wants aren't necessarily what's best for him.

Appropriate for grades 9 and up because of some language and, shall we say, typical teenage boy situations. NOGGIN will appeal to any high schoolers, but would be ideal for the reluctant male reader.