“‘Only you can know how crappy that feels,’ Maya said, empathizing.”
August 28, 2014 8:10 AM   Subscribe

The Academy, by Monica Seles. Yes, that Monica Seles has written a young adult romance series. Grantland writer Brian Phillips provides "62 scalding takeaways from The Academy, by M. Seles,1 Books 1 and 2."
posted by Tevin (59 comments total) 8 users marked this as a favorite
 
it is never given a name beyond “the Academy,” as if Game of Thrones were set in a vast fantasy kingdom known only as “Map,” or the Harry Potter series took place in a magical castle called “School.”

I would buy this book.
posted by jeather at 8:17 AM on August 28, 2014 [4 favorites]


Finally, the Infinite Jest prequel we've been waiting for! I hope Millicent Kent finds someone to love in this series.
posted by Greg Nog at 8:17 AM on August 28, 2014 [17 favorites]


That Grantland piece is GREAT and almost made me want to read this series, despite hating both YA romance and sports.
posted by leesh at 8:18 AM on August 28, 2014 [2 favorites]


I'm not sure 'Westeros' is much more creative than 'Map' to be honest.
posted by Tevin at 8:19 AM on August 28, 2014 [20 favorites]


16. That Nails Reed’s other son, Jake, is cocky, unpredictable, a little dangerous, a little violent, the driver of a “black ’68 Firebird,” also hot, also a student at the Academy, and — seriously, have a fan at the ready — ALSO TOTALLY INTO MAYA.

I had to Google Image Search Black 68 Firebird, but dang, Maya, Jake Reed may be unpredictable but that is a sweet car.
posted by barnacles at 8:22 AM on August 28, 2014 [2 favorites]


A sweet car. But a car nonetheless.
posted by barnacles at 8:22 AM on August 28, 2014 [18 favorites]


I would totally accept the Kingship of Map.
posted by Western Infidels at 8:26 AM on August 28, 2014 [3 favorites]


In the last ASOIAF book, a lost continent between Westeros and Essos will surface, and there'll be a titanic three-way war to determine whether it's called "Centros," "Middos," or "Os."
posted by Iridic at 8:27 AM on August 28, 2014 [10 favorites]


I remember Monica... differently.
posted by 1f2frfbf at 8:30 AM on August 28, 2014 [1 favorite]


What next, an SF novel set on "Terra"?
posted by griphus at 8:30 AM on August 28, 2014 [6 favorites]


We have always been at war with Middos.
posted by aaronetc at 8:31 AM on August 28, 2014 [2 favorites]


Tevin: "I'm not sure 'Westeros' is much more creative than 'Map' to be honest."

Yall gonna shit yourselves when you figure out what "Australia", "Arctic", "Antarctic", etc. mean.
posted by barnacles at 8:36 AM on August 28, 2014 [17 favorites]


And the leader of Middos, Quixoos Qi Quhaarios, is very taken with Daenarys.

"Only you can know how crappy that feels" Every other hard-to-pronounce-or-spell-vaguely-orientalish-named person said, empathizing.
posted by mcstayinskool at 8:38 AM on August 28, 2014


This piece made me happy because it shows me that young writers have learned how to be influenced by David Foster Wallace without just writing straight-out fake David Foster Wallace.
posted by escabeche at 8:39 AM on August 28, 2014 [3 favorites]


The world, I think you’ll agree, has waited long enough to hear the opinions, the feelings, and — most importantly — the judgments of a thirtysomething male sportswriter on this YA series aimed at girls a little too young for the Twilight books.

Refreshingly self-aware.
posted by chavenet at 8:42 AM on August 28, 2014 [4 favorites]


And yet he wrote the piece anyway.
posted by themanwho at 8:52 AM on August 28, 2014 [4 favorites]


And yet he wrote the piece anyway.

And praise be that he did, because it's pretty hilarious.
posted by yoink at 8:57 AM on August 28, 2014 [3 favorites]


Yes, she seems like a lousy writer. But just for perspective:
In 1990, Seles became the youngest-ever French Open champion at the age of 16. She went on to win eight Grand Slam singles titles before her 20th birthday and was the year-end World No. 1 in 1991 and 1992. However, on April 30, 1993 she was the victim of an on-court attack, when a man stabbed her in the back with a 9-inch-long knife. Seles did not return to tennis for over two years. Though she enjoyed some success after rejoining the tour in 1995, including a fourth Australian Open success in 1996, she was unable to consistently reproduce her best form.
(I just hope, for Monica's sake, Steffi Graf doesn't decide to take up writing YA fiction.)
posted by Atom Eyes at 8:59 AM on August 28, 2014 [1 favorite]


In other news, John McEnroe is cutting a hardcore album with Madball.
posted by griphus at 9:11 AM on August 28, 2014 [1 favorite]


Please tell me one of her characters is referred to as a backstabbing bitch.
posted by davebush at 9:12 AM on August 28, 2014 [1 favorite]


Whatevs, Gabriela Sabatini writes apps that keep track of how many people think she's Italian.
posted by Mister_A at 9:16 AM on August 28, 2014 [3 favorites]


“‘Only you can know how crappy that feels,’ Maya said, empathizing.”

I actually kind of love this. It's like a new kind of Tom Swifty.
posted by mochapickle at 9:26 AM on August 28, 2014 [10 favorites]


Yes, she seems like a lousy writer.

I would be extremely surprised if one could glean anything, at all, about Monica Seles's skills as a writer from these books. By which I mean, I very much doubt she did anything other than lend her name to the book's cover and title pages (he mentions the--male--ghost writers in the piece).
posted by yoink at 9:31 AM on August 28, 2014


I would totally accept the Kingship of Map.

I think "rulership" or "leadership." "Kingship of Map" sounds too... specific.
posted by GenjiandProust at 9:38 AM on August 28, 2014 [3 favorites]


as though the Academy is Jurassic Park, you’re the T. rex, and only the Jimmy Choo sandals are moving.

I love this, and I love you.
posted by penduluum at 9:46 AM on August 28, 2014


Someone needs to make an Expendables-type movie featuring all the top stars of 80s and 90s tennis:

Agassi!
Becker!
Graf!
Sabatini!
Sampras!
Seles!

With John McEnroe and Martina Navratilova as the jaded, grizzled veterans who are "too old for this shit!"
posted by Atom Eyes at 9:47 AM on August 28, 2014 [14 favorites]


Doesn't sound as awesome as Modelland.
posted by kmz at 9:48 AM on August 28, 2014


Atom Eyes, that would be a great comic book as well. Ooh and they could have a climactic confrontation against Borg, in which they have to foil his plot to replace all the rackets in the world with wooden ones! And Jimmy Connors should pop by too.
posted by Mister_A at 9:56 AM on August 28, 2014 [4 favorites]


John McEnroe is pretty focused on his poetry.
posted by ckape at 9:59 AM on August 28, 2014


"The men don't know but the little girls understand," Jim Morrison reminded him, empathizing.
posted by Paul Slade at 10:02 AM on August 28, 2014


it is never given a name beyond “the Academy,” as if Game of Thrones were set in a vast fantasy kingdom known only as “Map,” or the Harry Potter series took place in a magical castle called “School.”

Hero turned over Sword, watching it glint in the moonlight. In the distance, he could see Enemies swarming over the horizon. He was ready for battle. The future of Land was at stake, and he could only imagine Love Interest at home, cowering in fear as the forces of Bad overran the town of Home, if he failed.
posted by empath at 10:14 AM on August 28, 2014 [17 favorites]


For crappy teen romance, it isn't that crappy. Even the normally snarky and scathing Kirkus gave it a (grudging) okay:

The world of high-stakes athletics and its impact on teens hungry to succeed is compelling. Unfortunately, there is not enough sports action to balance the “mean girls” intrigue.

Still, the premise will attract readers, and the cast of characters is varied and interesting enough to hold them.

posted by carrioncomfort at 10:16 AM on August 28, 2014


The Land of Map
posted by Iridic at 10:18 AM on August 28, 2014 [6 favorites]


Hero turned over moved Sword, watching it glint react in the moonlight. In the distance, he could see Enemies swarming moving over the horizon. He was ready for battle conflict. The future of Land was at stake, and he could only imagine Love Interest at home, coweringmoving in fear her Mahnolo Blahniks that she bought for $795 from Neiman Marcus as the forces of Bad overran moved into the town of Home, if he failed.

Happy to help.
posted by yoink at 10:24 AM on August 28, 2014 [3 favorites]


Expect to hear from Stephen R. Donaldson's lawyers, empath.
posted by prize bull octorok at 10:25 AM on August 28, 2014 [2 favorites]


"The score remains love-love," she grunted breathlessly, as Ace's tennis balls hit the net and flew asunder.
posted by Mr. Six at 10:27 AM on August 28, 2014


at least she clearly wrote it herself, didn't pay for a ghost writer to do it for her

17. That Maya and Jake’s meet-cute in Book 1, Chapter 2 involves a locked-out-of-her-dorm-room, post-shower Maya clutching a towel around herself while Jake staggers out of the room of the girl across the hall and offers to make out with her.

18. That Jake is then described in the following manner, instantly reordering the literary pantheon of depictions of turned-up rumpledness: “From the head to the clothes, everything about him looked like he’d just rolled out of bed. A sexy bed, but a bed nonetheless.”

19. A SEXY BED.

20. BUT A BED NONETHELESS.

21. That it is also maybe worth noting that Jake has, literally, just rolled out of a bed where he was having sex.

posted by Bwithh at 10:27 AM on August 28, 2014


Someone needs to make an Expendables-type movie featuring all the top stars of 80s and 90s tennis

Get Ben Stiller on the phone!
posted by Strange Interlude at 10:30 AM on August 28, 2014


Bwithh See point 50. (Or it does, anyway, until you realize that M. Seles is herself actually a bit older than you and that her cowriters are both men whose ages land them squarely in the category of grown-assed.)
posted by Tevin at 10:32 AM on August 28, 2014 [1 favorite]


at least she clearly wrote it herself, didn't pay for a ghost writer to do it for her

oh wait, wtf, she had 2 co-writers???
posted by Bwithh at 10:34 AM on August 28, 2014


oh wait, wtf, she had 2 co-writers???

Co-writer one: "A sexy bed."

Co-writer two: "Hmmm. Good, good. But it needs more. How about "but a bed nonetheless?"

Co-writer one: "That's perfect!"

There are sentences so bad it takes more than one man to write them.
posted by yoink at 11:02 AM on August 28, 2014 [1 favorite]


Consider this lede buried:
53. That at a certain point you start to wonder if maybe what’s dark and sad about these books is not cynicism but lyricism, i.e., not that the authors are trying to prey on girls’ anxieties about brands and money and bodies but that these are in fact the authors’ own true anxieties and they only happen to approximate a teen-girl imagination matrix.
You think? My oldest daughter (age 15) reads anything she wants, and lots of it. This summer she ready easily ten books a week, mostly from the "Products, dating, and gossip" genre. I don't know why the town library even has so many of these things, but my daughter went through them like fresh popcorn. Yech -- but to each his own.

--
Also, I do believe that this --
Hero turned over Sword, watching it glint in the moonlight. In the distance, he could see Enemies swarming over the horizon. He was ready for battle. The future of Land was at stake, and he could only imagine Love Interest at home, cowering in fear as the forces of Bad overran the town of Home, if he failed.
-- is from the book Hobbit/Shannarra/Star Wars pastiche Eragon.

posted by wenestvedt at 11:06 AM on August 28, 2014 [1 favorite]


Iridic, no fair! I know you cribbed your "Map of Land" from the first illustration in an old Wizard of Earthsea paperback!
posted by wenestvedt at 11:09 AM on August 28, 2014


There are sentences so bad it takes more than one man to write them.

Sounds like someone woke up on the wrong side of the sexy bed this morning.
posted by griphus at 11:28 AM on August 28, 2014 [6 favorites]


The Land of Map

So are we doing 4d6 drop lowest or point buy? Fighter needs her stats.
posted by robocop is bleeding at 11:29 AM on August 28, 2014 [2 favorites]


Point buy, but you just get the one STAT.
posted by griphus at 11:31 AM on August 28, 2014 [2 favorites]


Sounds like someone woke up on the wrong side of the sexy bed this morning.

Well...it was still a bed. Nonetheless.
posted by yoink at 11:43 AM on August 28, 2014 [2 favorites]


Mapland conversation:

"So, stranger, whereabouts you hail from?"

"I'm from Area."

"Area? Is that in District?"

"No, you're thinking of Locale. Area's in Region. But my folks come from Place."

"Place? Why, they're all stinkin' Types in Place!"

"Types?" The stranger's eyes narrowed. "We prefer to call them Kinds."
posted by yoink at 11:49 AM on August 28, 2014 [20 favorites]


The kindest thing I can say about this is that Monica Seles has an amazing back-hand.
posted by Mister_A at 11:55 AM on August 28, 2014


Also: GIVE HIM THE MEDICINE DRUG
posted by Mister_A at 11:57 AM on August 28, 2014 [4 favorites]


empath, yoink, I am utterly Emotion over your Words. Accolades.
posted by mochapickle at 12:28 PM on August 28, 2014 [1 favorite]


I find that if I mentally reclassify this sort of thing as not "literature" but as "pornography" it's a lot easier to give it a pass without getting enraged.
posted by Navelgazer at 1:08 PM on August 28, 2014


I mentally reclassify this sort of thing as not "literature" but as "pornography"

The person started rubbing one part of its body against a different part of the other person's body. "Yes" cried one of the people, "that part of my body is a good part for you to create exactly that degree of friction on!" The first person then started moving a different part of its body on the corresponding part of the other person. This, too, was pleasurable. Briefly, the second person noticed the luxurious Sferra Giza 45 jaquard sheets, bought for $1,750 on sale from the Bloomingdale's Home store, but soon it became distracted by a different kind of friction being applied to a yet another part of its body. "Hmmmm," it thought, "it's employing more saliva."
posted by yoink at 1:22 PM on August 28, 2014 [7 favorites]


Land of Map, King of Map... I'm thinking Borges.

The King, obsessed with cartography, decides to build a 1:1 map of his kingdom. Across the land, buildings are torn down, only to be rebuilt exactly as they were before, but this time with helpful markers, cardinal directions, and cryptic Hebrew lettering painted on the walls. And then, to circumvent the schemes of his angry and ambitious firstborn, the King proclaims: "I am King of Land, and my daughter shall be Queen of Map. Where the land is land, I shall rule. Where the map is map, she shall be supreme."

And then he decides to build a library in a tower, which will not only contain every possible book ever written or will be written, but also will house the map. You won't believe what happens next.
posted by honestcoyote at 3:51 PM on August 28, 2014 [1 favorite]


>You won't believe what happens next.

But will it restore my faith in humanity?!
posted by Tevin at 4:01 PM on August 28, 2014


That at one point Maya is so stunned by the sight of the shirtless, gleaming Travis that she drops her cell phone into a ball machine, whereupon it goes rocketing through the air and smashes into Nicole’s brand-new Aston Martin.

I can see it in the trailer already, right when the montage music stops for a second.
posted by The Whelk at 5:10 PM on August 28, 2014 [2 favorites]


Yall gonna shit yourselves when you figure out what "Australia", "Arctic", "Antarctic", etc. mean.

Also Africa from A-frigia meaning place where it is not cold.
posted by humanfont at 6:13 PM on August 28, 2014


Modelland

holy hell that was even worse than I thought it would be
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 6:47 PM on August 28, 2014


Oooh, book club time! Can I organize that on Fanfare?
posted by holyrood at 8:12 PM on August 28, 2014


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