Charity Tahmaseb and Darcy Vance are the authors of "The Geek Girl's Guide to Cheerleading." I'm very happy to introduce their guest post as part of a tour they're doing.
First and foremost, for those of you who don't know what The Geek Girl's Guide to Cheerleading is about, here is the blurb:
When Bethany -- self-proclaimed geek girl -- makes the varsity cheerleading squad, she realizes that there's one thing worse than blending in with the lockers: getting noticed. She always felt comfortable as part of the nerd herd, but being a member of the most scrutinized group in her school is weighing her down like a ton of textbooks. Even her Varsity Cheerleading Guide can't answer the really tough questions, like: How do you maintain some semblance of dignity while wearing an insanely short skirt? What do you do when the head cheerleader spills her beer on you at your first in-crowd party? And how do you know if your crush likes you for your mind...or your pom-poms?
One thing's for sure: It's going to take more than brains for this girl genius to cheer her way to the top of the pyramid.
And without further ado, here is the guest post:
21st Century YA
Timeless Tales in the Twenty-first Century
Or Pride and Prejudice…and Time Travel…and…Zombies…and…Cheerleaders!
Our book, The Geek Girl’s Guide to Cheerleading, was published in May of this year but it is based (very, very loosely) on a story written almost 200 years ago: Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen. Our modern day heroine, Bethany – a self-professed Geek Girl – brushes up against the elite kids at her high school when she unexpectedly makes the varsity cheerleading squad. Just like in Jane’s day, one doesn’t mess with the social order of things without facing consequences.
But Geek Girl’s Guide isn’t the only YA book to borrow from Ms. Austen. In the first half of this year at least two other Pride and Prejudice based novels were released:
Prada and Prejudice, written by fellow Debut 2009 author Mandy Hubbard, tells the tale of a 21st century girl who falls head over heels into early 19th century England. Hilarity ensues.
Pride and Prejudice and Zombies by Seth Grahame Smith remains more faithful to the original tale, even using text that comes straight from P&P. It veers away from a straight retelling by introducing, you guessed it, a zombie apocalypse into the mix.
…but his friend Mr. Darcy soon drew the attention of the room by his fine tall person, handsome features, noble mien—and the report that was in general circulation within five minutes after his entrance of his having slaughtered more than a thousand unmentionables since the fall of Cambridge.
Other recent or forthcoming novels that take cues from antique literature include Ash, by another fellow Deb writer, Malinda Lo. She brings back the story of Cinderella but this time with a lesbian twist. Geek Charming, by Robin Palmer is a retelling of another fairy tale -- The Frog Prince. And, in Troy High, Shanna Norris reexamines The Iliad in the form of high school rivalry.
So, why are so many authors turning old school?
We can’t speak for other writers but the Geek Girls are willing to admit to a little fan-girly indulgence. Pride and Prejudice was swoon-worthy when we first read it and remains close to our hearts all these years later. It may be cliché but we hope imitation really is the sincerest form of flattery. (Erm, can you flatter an author who’s been dead for more than 100 years?)
It’s more than just paying respect to the gods of great writing though – the themes in Pride and Prejudice, and in those other long ago told tales, are still relevant, still fresh, still…timeless.
Young people today still struggle to find their place in social hierarchies (Pride and Prejudice). Like Geek Girl Bethany tells her English class:
“It’s like the preps and the losers, the jocks and the…” I didn’t need to say the word; everyone knew the way the sentence should end. “There’s always been an aristocracy. There always will be people who are, um, above other people. Like, imagine a goth kid getting together with the president of the Student Council.” Or the star basketball player hooking up with a geek extraordinaire. “Not gonna happen.”
Teens still (unfortunately) have to deal with dysfunctional families (Cinderella). Last we heard, kids still hadn’t developed an immunity to placing too much importance on appearance (The Frog Prince). And few people make it through adolescence without experiencing the frustrating tug of war between loyalty and desire (The Iliad).
*Sigh* The more things change, the more they really do stay the same. At least it makes for great reading!
-Thanks to Charity and Darcy for a superb guest post!