Confession: I really, really love to read young adult fiction. I was the kid who showed up at the library every week with a totebag full of books to return and filled it right back up. Traveling was tough for me, because of the number of books I insisted on packing in my suitcase (thank goodness for e-readers!). By the time I was 15 or so, I had read and reread about 90% of the material in the young adult section of my local library. Half-Price Books is actually one of my favorite places in the world.
The thing is, I never really grew out of that phase. I was 20 when the last Harry Potter novel came out. And I thought for a quick minute, I’d be done reading “kids” books. But from there, I plowed straight on through to the Twilight series (yes, admittedly), then Percy Jackson, The Kane Chronicles and Heroes of Olympus (big Rick Riordan fan), then Hunger Games, then Beautiful Creatures and now Divergent.
That feeling I felt as a kid, attending midnight book releases for Harry Potter at my local mall: the anxiety, the rush, the anticipation. Yeah, still feeling that ahead of the release of the next Heroes of Olympus book (Oct. 8) and the final installment of the Divergent trilogy (Oct. 22). I remember teetering on the edge about rushing out to buy the first Heroes of Olympus book after learning Riordan would write five, only one per year: Should I bother? I’ll be 27 or so when the series ends. Hell yes, I should bother. Now, my biggest dilemma is whether to pre-order a hard copy to ship on release date, or just download the Kindle version as soon as I wake up in the morning.
It helps that I’m a voracious re-reader of books I love and I can read pretty quickly. During finals in college, to retreat from the stress and soothe my brain, I would fall head first into the stack of my battered Harry Potter series and refuse to come up for air until I had plowed through them all.
Even now, on my subway commutes to work, while I’m surrounded by people in fancy suits flipping through the Wall Street Journal and Washington Post, I’m feverishly re-reading Divergent and Insurgent for the third or fourth time since I checked them out from the library.
And you know what? I. Don’t. Care.
And, I’m not alone: both Buzzfeed and The Atlantic have devoted more and more space to not only adults with an obsession over current YA, but also pages to nostalgia: reaffirming their love for Bridge to Terabithia and The Baby Sitters Club. Last summer’s release of Tiger Eyes, the first Judy Blume novel optioned for film, filled us all with the urge to go running back to our parents’ houses to dig out our old copies of her books (oh wait, or was that just me?).
But YA books are awesome for a lot of reasons, not just the nostalgia factor.
* Unless you’re loaded, buying books can get expensive. So chances are, you’re supporting your local library to help feed your addiction.
* YA fiction is a great escape for stressed out people. Added bonus: you can feel way better about being able to tell people you spent the weekend reading, vs having to admit you spent the entire weekend watching Say Yes to the Dress.
* You’d be surprised how many other adults love YA Fiction too. Upon moving to Washington last year, I was immediately invited to join a friend’s YA book club because she already knew of my obsession. Liz and I reconnected a couple years ago at the Hunger Games midnight show. People who love the same authors, ship the same character pairings, and have extensive knowledge of a fictional universe usually just “click.”
* Speaking of which: midnight showings and movie adaptations. Love ‘em or love to hate ‘em. Instead of feeling old about the fact my friend and I attended the Hunger Games midnight premiere in PJs, we instead felt awesome about the fact we were the only people in the theater not working on homework while waiting for the film. Midnight showings for popular YA series have a great energy and are usually very fun. And yes, movie adaptations have a spectrum: the Good (Harry Potter, Hunger Games), the Bad (Percy Jackson and the Sea of Monsters), and the Ones Where You Wonder If The Director Even Read The Books (Beautiful Creatures, Percy Jackson and the Lightning Thief).
* And, beyond just being downright enjoyable, YA characters and plotlines have very real-life relevance for the 20-something or 30-something who refuses to let go:
On physical fitness: if Tris can survive Dauntless initiation, surely you can drag your butt to the gym today. Her pants wouldn’t fit over her newly developed leg muscles after 10 days; you can drop those spare 5 lbs this month.
On being dumped: Being a Bella is acceptable for about, a day or two. After that, buck up and take a page from Hermione’s book (ha, pun intended).
On friends: forging new friendships in your 20s is hard, so place value on the Grover Underwoods and Ron Weasleys on your life.
On office politics: let bullies who band together like Careers be their own downfall; use your brain to outwit the Foxfaces; find unexpected allies the Rues. There are no hard and fast rules, but cannibalism is frowned upon (… Oh wait)
On family strife: Dr Kane seemed pretty boring too, then he turned out to be an Egyptian magician. Who knows what you can learn about your parents’ hidden depths if you give them a chance?
On life in general: believe in the unbelievable: magic, wizardry, gods; fear the possibilities and consequences dystopian future.
So tell us, what YA series are you currently in love with?
Post by Emma Carew Grovum. She is a data journalist working at the Chronicle of Philanthropy in Washington, D.C. She previously worked as the Digital Editor for The Cooking Club of America and blogs at kitchendreamer.blogspot.com Emma loves Star Wars, pandas and all things Joss Whedon. Find her on twitter at @emmacarew.
Pins, or broaches if you will, have come in and out of style for generations. Walk through any vintage store and you’ll find the bizarre (I once found a bejeweled cat head…) and the cute (birds are common) - but peruse the internet and you’ll discover options which can only be described as the ultimate in geek chic.
Why do I say that? Because they are so versatile and so affordable. For around $10, you’re getting an accessory you can pin on a sweater, a blazer or a bag. You can pin it to a scarf or even bundle a few together and create a smorgasbord of geekery.
Aha: they are also gender neutral!
And yet, they’re subtle. They’re small enough that they don’t overwhelm an outfit, yet distinct enough that other clever geeks will be able to call them out easily.
Here are some of my current favorites from around the internets:
I’m working on my collection, which includes a Hogwarts House Crest, a Mockingjay, a “BAM!” and a pair of specs, but I think I’ll be spending some cash to pick up that Game of Thrones shield too.
TODAY IS THE DAY!
In case you are sitting in front of the clock squirming as the seconds are ticking by because you can’t control your desire to just see The Hunger Games already, I wanted to share a plethora of awesome DIY projects you can do today as you wait.
You can dress as Katniss with the help of these DIY projects:
You can sport your Team Katniss pride on your iPhone or iPad with these freebie backgrounds.
Teal iPhone background (LEFT) here.
“Girl on fire” maroon iPhone background here.
Maroon iPhone background here.
Cyan iPad background here.
Orange (seen below) iPad background here.
“Girl on fire” orange iPad background here.
For Halloween, we created a Mockingjay carving template, but it can be used for so much more!
You can download our free Mockingjay template by clicking here.
There’s endless possibilities what you could do with that!
Want to Host a Hunger Games dinner party? The details on how to create a Hunger Games menu, playlist and decor are available here. Hint: It includes a reaping bowl! OOOOH.
If you want to have a drink before attending the premiere tonight, here’s a great cocktail recipe inspired by everyone’s favorite fashion stylist: Cinna.
Woohoo! In the end, I really hope we all love this movie!
I’m trying a new format around here. I thought I’d show you what I’m *ACTUALLY* wearing once in a while, because lord knows that I really do where some of my geek gear to work. This week: The Mockingjay, of course!
I had a great time putting this into an instagram format. I think I might continue with this mode for a while! What do you think?
Also, find me on Instagram! I’m @lizgiorgi … come find me!
Now, down to important business. Here’s what I’ve got on:
Kenneth Cole Black blazer
Striped tee from Old Navy
Michael Kors MacBook Tote
Mockingjay Pin! (DIY here AND old Geeky at Work version here)
Kate Spade Elements of Style locket
Michael Kors pyramid stud stainless watch
Red skinny pants from Target
Steve by Steve Madden leopard wedges
Pretty much can’t get over the fact that we’re only a few days away from being able to finally see The Hunger Games. As I mentioned last week, I’m hosting a Hunger Games dinner party and I’ve been trying to think up a cocktail to serve. I’m not particularly inspired by Haymitch’s alcoholism, but I figured that other secondary characters would also be having a drink while they watched Peeta and Katniss battle it out in the 74th Hunger Games. That’s how I came up with a cocktail for Cinna.
Here’s what we know for sure:
Cinna is a smart strategist. He knows what his every move means and makes sure no moment goes wasted. (The currant is considered the smart berry, because for centuries people didn’t think the seeds were edible, so they left it alone to flourish.) He’s sweet and thoughtful, but he doesn’t always wear that sweetness on his sleeve. (Think oranges or lemons.) He’s fit and gorgeous, so he’s probably one of the few people in the Capitol who still bothers to count calories.
Here’s how it’s made.
Lemon or lemon juice
Orange flavored sparkling water
Fill your glass with ice. Cut your lemon in four slices. Put one shot of vodka in the glass and then fill the rest with orange flavored sparkling water. Use one of your slices and squeeze out the juice over the glass. Cut another small slice for the side of your glass.
This drink is about 80 calories.
Happy Hunger Games!
I love a dramatic, over-sized pendant necklace. When I picked up my Mockingjay pin last week, I had dreams of making something really dramatic that I could wear to work. Polymer clay turned out to be the answer.
Here’s how I did it:
1. Knead some polymer clay. For best results, you really should work at it to ensure that the color is spread evenly throughout.
2. Wrap your now flattened piece of clay with saran wrap. Make sure there are no creases or bubbles in your wrap, because those will appear in the clay.
3. Put the polymer wrap in between two hardcover books and press down firmly. You want to make sure you press down evenly so you will have an even pendant.
4. Keep the saran wrap on your clay. Press your Mockingjay pin into the clay. You may need to press it down several times to get the right depth in the clay. Just make sure you are pressing in the same spot.
5. Remove your saran wrap and use an X-acto knife to cut your desired shape. I also used a ruler so I could get a nice clean edge. Notice how I always put the ruler on the outside edge? You don’t want to imprint the ruler on the center at all, because you will need to smooth that out.
6. Use a toothpick to smooth out any unevenness on the sides.
7. Get your jewelry pins (they’re the straight beading posts with a hoop on the end) and stick them into the top. Make sure you don’t puncture the front or back.
8. Bake at 275 degrees for one hour on a non-stick baking pan.
9. When cooled, use ribbon, chain, thin leather to complete.
Mockingjay pin (or something to imprint with)
Two hardcover books
Leather, ribbon or chain
One hour and 15 minutes
Total Cost: $4 Polymer clay was $1.49 for the square, ribbon I had, beading pins were $2.49