Kami Garcia and Margaret Stohl may not be local, but they’re familiar names on the local lit scene. The pair set their hugely popular Caster Chronicles series in Gatlin, a fictional town near Summerville and Lake Moultrie. And they’re also co-founders of YALLFest (which, by the way, is scheduled for Nov. 10 this year).

Their supernatural-themed YA books have crushed the bestseller lists, and now they’re getting ready to take on the silver screen with Beautiful Creatures, which is being produced by Warner Brothers and is scheduled for release in February 2013. The trailer has already generated a fair amount of buzz.

Entertainment Weekly has called it “the latest offering for the Twilight set.” So what’s up with all this moody, magic wizardry in tween literature these days?

Blue Bicycle Books owner Jonathan Sanchez, who co-founded YALLFest with the authors, cites the influence of J.R.R. Tolkien and C.S. Lewis’ literature where readers can escape into a new world with its own systems and groups. “[The authors] do a good job of cutting up a small town high school world with another underlying world literally under the library, where characters travel through the South,” he explains. This complements the story’s Southern gothic setting. The authors visited Charleston to find inspiration in old manors, misty swamps, and graveyards.

From the trailer alone, it seems that Beautiful Creatures will outshine Twilight in the special effects department. The trailer features a powerful scene in which Lena’s magic whirls around an entire dinner party, a far cry from the sporadic, tree-jumping scenes of Twilight that left us with memorable quotes like, “hang on tight, spider monkey.”

The eclectic cast should draw in audiences, too. Best known for P.S. I Love You and Water for Elephants, Richard LaGravenese adapted the screenplay and directed the film. Lesser-known youngsters play the main characters, including Alice Englert and Alden Ehrenreich, who got his break at a bat mitzvah attended by Steven Spielberg. Other notable cast members include Jeremy Irons, Emmy Rossum, Viola Davis, and Emma Thompson.

Find out more about the series here.

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