Blog on Psychology and Young Adult Literature

NecklaceI just did my second guest post on the YAWednesday blog, (albeit in a special Friday edition for the Mockingjay premiere) on how psychology and YAL inform each other.  References to Harry, Katniss and Tris abound, as well as shout-outs to reader favorites like Mugglenet Academia, the Chestnut Hill conference and Hogwartsprofessor.com itself.

This is a great blog for students, teachers or anyone interested in the most critically acclaimed YAL out there.  New posts every Wednesday by scholars and writers, plus information on conferences and new publications.

A Trio of Trailers and a Study in Contrasts

I’ve watched one Hunger Games and two Allegiant trailers today and wanted to make a few comments.  First up:  Mockingjay 2.

Wow!  I would say the Gamemakers have decided, why change something that’s working?  We see a lot of familiar faces and sweet scenes (Annie and Finnick, Katniss and Haymitch, Katniss and Prim and even a Katniss and hopefully de-hijacked Peeta) interspersed with a lot of action. That is to be expected from the invasion of the Capitol, and I love Finnick’s “Welcome to the 76th Hunger Games” line.  I didn’t see anything that jumped out and said, “Hey, that wasn’t in the book!”, except for Effie back in her froo-froo clothes, and she was such a welcome addition Erika+Bierman+Premiere+Lionsgate+Hunger+Games+31Qa872Vrywlto Mockingjay 1 that I’ll let that one pass.  The only think that surprised me was the apparently lush and manicured garden for Finnick and Annie’s wedding, a luxury I didn’t think district 13 could afford.  But I am crossing my fingers for something as good as Catching Fire and Mockingjay 1, and the filmmakers seemed to have decided sticking to the book is good.

Besides, the lovely Erika Bierman, who stole our hearts as President’s Snow’s Nameless Granddaughter in her two brief scenes in Catching Fire, was spotted on the red carpet at the Hollywood premiere.  Here’s hoping she can do more than unbraid her hair in this movie!

On to Allegiant, with two trailers, one a “teaser” (with a recap of the first two movies and one a new “official trailer.”

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Allegiant Part II Becomes Ascendant

FIN01_Allegiant_Tsr_Online-mtv-1441889472A surprise announcement came from the Divergent movie franchise: that it would break the Deathly Hallows and Mockingjay tradition and bestow a new title on the second Allegiant film: Ascendant. Furthermore, they released two posters with the film taglines: for Allegiant, “Break the boundaries of your world,” and for AscendantThe end is never what you expect.” The posters are simple:  black with glowing blue faction-style symbols.  Allegiant’s is a wave, reminiscent of the book cover; Ascendant’s is a never-before- seen DNA symbol. [Read more…]

Insurgent Movie Strays from Book, but Strangely Satisfies.

Insurgent posterI went into the Insurgent film without a lot of high hopes.  I came out quite surprised at how much I liked it, and even more surprised by the reason.  Because it was the same reason that usually has me hating movie adaptations of favorite books.  Because the filmmakers deviated so much from the source material.  At the end of the day, this was an action movie loosely based on Roth’s Insurgent, not Insurgent:the Movie.  If you are expecting as faithful a book adaptation as the Harry Potter and Hunger Games franchises, or even the first Divergent movie, you will be disappointed.  The percentage of book-congruent material is closer to that of the Little House TV series. But remarkably, the film mostly worked for me.

To be fair up front, every worry I expressed in my comments on the trailers came true.  Except the one about the train.  Turns out Four did have a good reason for leaping in front of the train. But I digress.  Spoilers ahead, after the jump.

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‘Insurgent’ Movie Previews: This is Making Me Nervous!

Another Insurgent trailer released today, along with a “Sneak Peak” that includes commentary from the actors, director and Veronica Roth herself. As much as I am looking forward to the film and want it to succeed, there are more than a couple of elements that are making me a bit wary about getting my hopes up for something that was as good an adaptation as the first movie. [Read more…]