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Introduction to our Young Adult Week, from YA editor Cecil Castellucci.

Photo: Cecil Castellucci, our Young Adult Fiction Editor. 

School’s started. In just a few hours (10:29 p.m. EDT) it will officially be fall.

Right about now classrooms across the world are settling into their routine. Students have figured out where their second- period class is. Which teachers they love and hate. Who they are going to call friend for the rest of their life. Everything is still fresh. The year is full of potential.

We know that every single one of you fell in love with reading when you were young. And this most lasting of love affairs was probably sparked around this time of year, when you went back to school.

It’s been a banner year for Young Adult fiction and Children’s literature. Of course there were the regular controversies. Like, should adults be embarrassed to be reading YA? (The answer is no, by the way. A book is a book is a book is a book.) Are certain stories too dark? (No. Kids are capable of handling all kinds of stories.) Are tales of dystopia over? (Once again, no. Look at the success of the first of four planned film adaptations of Veronica Roth’s Divergent series; it earned $114 million domestically in its first three weeks. And we have the just-opened movie version of James Dashner’s The Maze Runner, and a slew of others in the green light grid, including the final two installments of The Hunger Games, from Suzanne Collins’s Mockinjay, which will star Julianne Moore as President Coin.)

Meanwhile, John Green continued his meteoric rise with the release of the fantastically successful film version of The Fault in Our Stars film. That one has grossed about $300 million so far. Might it be a reminder to adults, and not just the ones producing films, that they should check out all sections of the bookstore?

Last week the National Book Foundation released the titles it is considering for its annual Young People’s Literature Award. It is a stellar list, an indication of the vibrancy of the genre, with brilliant books by some of the best authors at work in the field: Laurie Halse Anderson (The Impossible Knife of Memory),Gail Giles (Girls Like Us), Carl Hiaasen (Skink—No Surrender), Kate Milford (Greenglass House), Eliot Schrefer (Threatened), Steve Sheinkin (The Port Chicago 50: Disaster, Mutiny, and the Fight for Civil Rights), Andrew Smith (100 Sideways Miles), John Corey Whaley (Noggin), Deborah Wiles (Revolution: The Sixties Trilogy, Book Two), and Jacqueline Woodson (Brown Girl Dreaming).

I would highly recommend that you read these books. You can download an excerpt of each of them here. And mega congrats to the two Angelenos on the list, Andrew Smith and John Corey Whaley.

In light of the new school year, we thought we’d publish a week of pieces that talk about many aspects of Young Adult literature. Today we open our series with a piece on some similarities between John Green and J. D. Salinger by Angela Yuen, a critic of sensitivity and perception who also happens to be a teenager. We will also feature Rumaan Alam on one of the first YA novels to deal with homosexuality, John Donovan’s I’ll Get There. It Better Be Worth the Trip. Cara Parks waxes nostalgic on the 50th anniversary of one of her childhood favorites, Lloyd Alexander’s Prydain series. Robin Wasserman reviews two novels inspired by a 2012 case of mass hysteria in the town of Le Roy, New York. Finally, Jessica Gross reports on a Pen America panel on Sex and Violence in Children’s Literature that took place this past May.

We’ve got more great essays coming up in the next few months. We hope to see you here, reading and discussing them. And do yourself a favor, whoever you are, whatever age you think you might be. Go read a kid’s book.

— Cecil Castellucci

For more: Parents, Teenagers, and the Books in Between by Angela Yuen

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If you live in Los Angeles, you may or may not recognize the locations in these paintings.

Art from our main page today. "100 Not So Famous Views of L.A." by Barbara A. Thomason

According to the artist, “This series of paintings began in late 2007 and was completed in early 2011.  There are actually 107 paintings.

The mid-nineteenth century Japanese Ukiyo-e artist Hiroshige’s  “One Hundred Famous Views of Edo” inspired this body of work.  The compositions I choose incorporated the vertical oban format, roughly 14”x 9” and the technique of bokashi or color gradations that are hallmarks of Ukiyo-e woodcuts.

I executed these works in cel vinyl paint because it resembles woodblock ink in texture and tone.  The paintings are not of well-known views of Los Angeles but are more intimate and quirky.  The pieces are informed by the color, compositions and tonal changes of Hiroshige’s works.

My objective was to pay homage to both Los Angeles and Hiroshige’s wonderful prints. “

For more, go here.

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Well, it’s good to know we have superstar Cameron Diaz’s vote. Can we have yours, too? A $100,000 nonprofit grant is on the line.
Thank you, readers!

Well, it’s good to know we have superstar Cameron Diaz’s vote. Can we have yours, too? A $100,000 nonprofit grant is on the line.

Thank you, readers!

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“One striking feature of the digital-self-help literature is that it treats distraction, overload, and frazzlement almost entirely as personal challenges. If you’re stressed out and unable to concentrate, you’re not enlightened enough. Meditate harder.”

David Roberts spent 12 hours in front of a screen everyday, frequently hit the daily tweet limit, and saw “every sunset as a potential Instagram.” So he decided to quit the internet for a year and lived to tell the tale for Outside. Yet disconnecting isn’t as easy as signing off Twitter. Pair with: What’s it like to be from the last generation to remember life before the internet and our own Edan Lepucki’s (slightly shorter) social media detox. (via millionsmillions)

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Three wonderful artists are on our main page today.

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"The reader’s journey then coincides with Tsukuru’s. Both must accept that there are limits to knowing. The book insists on the importance of not shutting down, of opening oneself up in the face of the unknowable."
Bryan Hurt on Colorless Tsukuru Tazaki and His Years of Pilgrimage

"The reader’s journey then coincides with Tsukuru’s. Both must accept that there are limits to knowing. The book insists on the importance of not shutting down, of opening oneself up in the face of the unknowable."

Bryan Hurt on Colorless Tsukuru Tazaki and His Years of Pilgrimage

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Please vote for LARB to win a $100,000 nonprofit grant from LA250. The Goldhirsh Foundation will give $100,000 to an organization the majority of voters believe will have a major cultural impact on the region by 2050. 
It takes just seconds to vote! Thank you for your support!

Our tags are expired. But, don’t worry, the DMV insists they’re in the mail and we believe the DMV.

Please vote for LARB to win a $100,000 nonprofit grant from LA250. The Goldhirsh Foundation will give $100,000 to an organization the majority of voters believe will have a major cultural impact on the region by 2050. 

It takes just seconds to vote! Thank you for your support!

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Reader, help the Los Angeles Review of Books win a $100,000 grant from Good and the Goldhirsch Foundation so we can continue to bring you the best in literary criticism, interviews, and more.
If you have thirty seconds, all you need is a Facebook or a Good account to vote. Go here. 
Thank you!

Reader, help the Los Angeles Review of Books win a $100,000 grant from Good and the Goldhirsch Foundation so we can continue to bring you the best in literary criticism, interviews, and more.

If you have thirty seconds, all you need is a Facebook or a Good account to vote. Go here. 

Thank you!

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"If Jeff Koons symbolizes our era, we deserve a better era — and that is the truth." 
- Contributor Travis Diehl offers a penetrating critique of Jeff Koons: A Retrospective.

"If Jeff Koons symbolizes our era, we deserve a better era — and that is the truth."

- Contributor Travis Diehl offers a penetrating critique of Jeff Koons: A Retrospective.

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“It doesn’t much matter what line of argument you take as a woman. If you venture into traditional male territory, the abuse comes anyway. It’s not what you say that prompts it—it’s the fact that you are saying it.”

We love Mary Beard.

Our contributor Annalisa Quinn once spent a day with her. Read that here.

(Source: newyorker.com, via guardian)

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