Twilight, American Pie director Chris Weitz to release YA book

Apr 22, 2014 at 1:16 p.m. ET

Weitz directed part of the Twilight series and American Pie. Now, he moves from the silver screen to teen reads.

Photo credit: Goodreads
Director Chris Weitz with his Twilight cast.
Photo credit: WENN

The Young World will be released in July, but surprise: Although the book has yet to hit shelves, the movie rights have already sold to Warner Bros. Feels to me like they're jumping on the Hunger Games bandwagon.

In The Young World, the future sucks (doesn't it always?). A mysterious Sickness kills off everyone below the age of 12 and over the age of 21. Shake off those Lord of the Flies shivers; I don’t think there's a pig head involved.

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Chris Weitz's new YA opus.
Photo credit: Goodreads

The youths have separated into tribes. In Washington Square, Jefferson is in charge, and he's secretly in love with Donna (very high school). Except instead of being able to leave Donna cute notes in her locker, Jefferson must fight rival gangs and brave the wilds of Central Park.

On a positive note, a clue has been discovered that might reveal the mystery of the Sickness. It's up to five teens to save humankind. And you thought puberty was bad.

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Weitz isn't the first Hollywood sort to branch out, and I'm not talking about the ghostwrite-heavy works of the Jersey Shore cast. Comic Steve Martin is up there on my list of funniest and most brilliant novelists. Shop Girl will always have a place in my book-nerd heart, and he's gone on to write several others.

Think about Ethan Hawke. In a way, The Hottest State stole some character cues from his role in Reality Bites, but this is seriously an honest, heartwrenching bit of literature. So it's true — Hollywood people can write.

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Now, I personally have yet to get a full look at The Young World. Thanks to Scribd, I got a little taste, and the opening paragraph... I approve. I might even be impressed:

"It's another gorgeous spring day after the fall of civilization. I'm doing my rounds, following the path that winds through Washington Square Park, like a warped in?nity sign. I pass the tables where old men used to play chess, now Brainbox's open-air workshop. Then the fountain, witness to innumerable ?rst dates, proffers of marijuana, and shrieking aquatic sallies of children. Now it's the tribe's reservoir, covered with tarps to keep out pigeon feces and algae-encouraging sunshine."

Weitz has a good grip on imagery and voice, maybe due to his directorial background. The Young World could be one to watch for. Hollywood apparently thinks so, since movie plans are already chugging along. Here's to the artists who branch out. It takes bravery to try something new, and it doesn't always work. Remember Michael Jordan and baseball?

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