Book Review: Zac and Mia

This book will not follow my usual review format because this one is a special case.

Have you ever wanted to read a book so badly… and be devastatingly disappointed? Well, it just happened to me. And I am one sad fangirl.

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20256715Title: Zac and Mia

Author: A. J. Betts

Genre: Young Adult, Contemporary, Romance, Realistic Fiction

Date Published: 24th of July 2013

Series: None

Publisher: Text Publishing

Source: Paperback, bought from Fully Booked

Summary:

The Fault in Our Stars meets Eleanor and Park in this tough and tender young adult novel that’s a lot about love (and a little about cancer).

“When I was little I believed in Jesus and Santa, spontaneous combustion, and the Loch Ness monster. Now I believe in science, statistics, and antibiotics.” So says seventeen-year-old Zac Meier during a long, grueling leukemia treatment in Perth, Australia. A loud blast of Lady Gaga alerts him to the presence of Mia, the angry, not-at-all-stoic cancer patient in the room next door. Once released, the two near-strangers can’t forget each other, even as they desperately try to resume normal lives. The story of their mysterious connection drives this unflinchingly tough, tender novel told in two voices.

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There was something off. Flying through the book felt like a breeze, but it was a hot steam kind of breeze. The book has the fair share of pros and cons, which I will gladly lay down.

Pros: It discussed a heavy topic in a lighter mood. Hard-hitting illnesses such as cancer is messy to deal with, if not done properly. Yet this book managed to deliver it in a manner where it’s targeted audience could understand it, and it still leaves room for further research. The writing was made for young adults to learn something, and it is commendable that the author has shed more light unto such topic.

Cons: There is too much angst. This comes in the form of Mia, one of the main characters. Depending on the reader, her attitude will probably be on a hit or miss basis. There was so much hate that I could not stand while reading. It pains me to say that the anger is normal, but it can be frustrating.

Pros: The family that sticks together. This comes in the form of Zac’s family (and Mia’s, in the latter part). His family is downright supportive, especially his mom and his sister. The story has other characters who talk about the realities of the world, and it built up this “Everything is okay.” environment.

Cons: The unnecessary romance. It can be said that Zac and Mia are polar opposites, but the story could have centered more on a friendship aspect. I admit that I smiled when they had a cheesy moment. Yet it feels like something was off. One minute, it was bursting rage. Then in the next one, they say uplifting things sounds cute. But then you cut to Mia, who will suddenly burst your bubble. Zac is too nice, and he is a devoted friend. Mia on the other hand, is just angry.

Pros: The uplifting POV. This comes in the form of Zac. You get that he is having a bad time, as he weighs the chances. He is a character that will uplift and question at the same time, similar to that of Craig from It’s Kind of A Funny Story. The book started in his perspective, and I thought that it was going pretty well until;

Cons: The “I hate everything” POV. This comes in the form of Mia. Despite the message that Mia needs to learn how to love herself, it was painful to read rage. It went downhill from there.

Zac and Mia is a beautiful book full of aspiring thoughts, a cast of characters that find themselves, and a beautiful setting. I am probably at fault for raising my bar too high because despite the beauty of the prose, it felt flat for me. It was an easy read, and it is digestible for such a heavy topic. But if I had to drag myself to finish it then sadly, this book is not for me.

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(Know more about my rating system here.)

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AJ

AJ Betts is an Australian author, speaker, teacher and cyclist. ZAC & MIA, her third novel for teenagers, won the 2012 Text Prize, the 2014 SCBWI Crystal Kite Award, and the 2014 Ethel Turner prize for young adults at the New South Wales Premier’s Literary Awards. Inspired by her work in a children’s hospital, ZAC & MIA is available in 14 countries. AJ’s other novels are WAVELENGTH and SHUTTERSPEED (both with Fremantle Press). She’s lived in Perth since 2004.

Connect with A.J. on her:

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Book Review: Simon VS. The Homo Sapiens Agenda

Before Reading:

Circa not blogging yet, Becky Albertalli’s book was the most anticipated book of April 2015. As much as I wanted to read her book, I was not able to buy it till January 2016. So when I finally had my free time last April, I picked it up and never looked back.

19547856Title: Simon VS. The Homo Sapiens Agenda

Author: Becky Albertalli

Genre: Young Adult, Contemporary, LGBT

Date Published: 7th of April 2015

Series: None

Publisher: Balzer + Bray

Source: Paperback, bought from Fully Booked

Buy it on: Amazon

Summary:

Sixteen-year-old and not-so-openly gay Simon Spier prefers to save his drama for the school musical. But when an email falls into the wrong hands, his secret is at risk of being thrust into the spotlight. Now Simon is actually being blackmailed: if he doesn’t play wingman for class clown Martin, his sexual identity will become everyone’s business. Worse, the privacy of Blue, the pen name of the boy he’s been emailing, will be compromised.

With some messy dynamics emerging in his once tight-knit group of friends, and his email correspondence with Blue growing more flirtatious every day, Simon’s junior year has suddenly gotten all kinds of complicated. Now, change-averse Simon has to find a way to step out of his comfort zone before he’s pushed out—without alienating his friends, compromising himself, or fumbling a shot at happiness with the most confusing, adorable guy he’s never met.

While Reading:

I have to include this bit. While I was reading the book, I shamelessly live-tweeted Becky Albertalli. I was so giddy while I was reading it, plus I had these thoughts where I need to know what Simon looks like. Becky, the oh-so supportive fangirl that she is, was so generous and kind enough to answer my queries. It was a first for me, but I have no shame. Simon is love. Simon is life.

After Reading:

Basically, I gobbled this book in a day. I had a personal read-a-thon and this was the second book that I finished. And it was just the right one. Hands down to Becky Albertalli. She is definitely the queen of fluff. I cannot stress how much I need a Simon Spier in my life right now. I was smiling like an idiot. I was actually spoiled for this book because I searched for fanart, and it was caused by my own carelessness. Just remember not to Google fanart if you still don’t know who Blue is. But even after those events, I still ended up loving every single bit of this book.

Simon VS. The Homo Sapiens Agenda is like the Oreo version of a young adult novel. It’s the sweetest thing that you will ever read. Once you have read it, you will always look for it and want it. The aftertaste is equally sweet that it will give you a fluffy feeling because of the satisfying ending. It was the perfect helping of Oreo that you need.

In all that is good in the world, Simon Spier is the cherry on top. He is an admirable male lead who is generally a good guy with a big heart for his family and friends. He finds himself when he meets Blue, and the book is all about Simon’s journey to finally come out. On a scale of 1 to supportive, Simon is off the charts. Just by reading the book, you would have to wonder why anyone would want to antagonize Simon’s life. (looking at you Martin)

You can expect a lot of sweet moments. Basically, Simon’s life is in this huge pool of hug-worthy personas, mainly: Blue, his family, and his friends.

Blue is another whole bag of unicorns and rainbows. His identity is very intriguing, considering the fact that Simon goes all giddy for him. The truth about Blue’s identity will keep you at the edge of your seat.You can say that Blue will steal some scenes of the book, but I can assure you that Simon’s voice is powerful enough to remind you that he is still the main character.

And of course this review is not complete without mentioning the great family aspect involved. Simon has the most loving parents and siblings, especially since they support Simon in what he does. Same with his friends, who I would have to say seem to have a world of their own. In my world, I would love Leah to have a book of her own.

I highly recommend that you read this book if you are down in the dumps, and if you need something to lift your spirits up. It is very easy to fall in love with Becky Albertalli’s writing, because it just so darn fluffy. Not only does it speak to young adults, but it also gets in your heart very quickly. It also gives an important lesson that your family and friends are a good support system. This book has a solid place on the male leads corner. Simon is basically a king next to Charlie. Just pick up this book already if you haven’t yet. Solid 5 stars all the way.

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Becky Albertalli is the epitome of awesomeness. No words can describe her greatness is writing fiction, and she is as sweet as an Oreo.

Becky Albertalli is a clinical psychologist who has had the privilege of conducting therapy with dozens of smart, weird, irresistible teenagers. She also served for seven years as co-leader of a support group for gender nonconforming children in Washington, DC. She now lives with her family in Atlanta. SIMON VS. THE HOMO SAPIENS AGENDA is her first novel.

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Hello everyone! I’m back! How are you all doing?

ARC Review: The Darkest Corners by Kara Thomas

Before Reading:

At a glance,  you won’t know what hit you. That is what I felt before reading The Darkest Corners. I saw that it was available on NetGalley, so I took the opportunity to request for it. While eagerly waiting, I began to see some related bookish shenanigans about it. I saw it on Bustle’s article about First in Line, where this particular book was featured as the read for March. Then, I read a few teasers and I got hooked immediately. Basically, deep inside me: “Omg give me this book I will read it asap.”.

And as if the book gods have heard my cry of help, and also a cry for a 5 star read this 2016; NetGalley approved my request to read it. Thus, an adventure begins.

25639296Title: The Darkest Corners

Author:Kara Thomas

Genre: Young Adult, Contemporary, Thriller, Mystery

Release Date: 19th April 2016

Series:None (but dang, I hope there is)

Publisher:Delacorte/ Random House

Source:e-ARC, provided by NetGalley

(Click the book to go to its Goodreads page)

Summary: The Darkest Corners is a psychological thriller about the lies little girls tell, and the deadly truths those lies become.
There are ghosts around every corner in Fayette, Pennsylvania. Tessa left when she was nine and has been trying ever since not to think about it after what happened there that last summer. Memories of things so dark will burn themselves into your mind if you let them.
Callie never left. She moved to another house, so she doesn’t have to walk those same halls, but then Callie always was the stronger one. She can handle staring into the faces of her demons—and if she parties hard enough, maybe one day they’ll disappear for good.
Tessa and Callie have never talked about what they saw that night. After the trial, Callie drifted and Tessa moved, and childhood friends just have a way of losing touch.
But ever since she left, Tessa has had questions. Things have never quite added up. And now she has to go back to Fayette—to Wyatt Stokes, sitting on death row; to Lori Cawley, Callie’s dead cousin; and to the one other person who may be hiding the truth.
Only the closer Tessa gets to the truth, the closer she gets to a killer—and this time, it won’t be so easy to run away.


After Reading:

I have been cured. I have finally found my first 5 star read of 2016. I practically cried because I thought 2016 will be a bad reading year for me. Apparently, I just needed to wait for this particular read for me to finally drop that bomb of a 5 star rating. My drought is over. It will only go uphill from here. Amazing in so many levels. I wish someone would just gush about it with me. I was not disappointed.

It was an exhilarating ride of emotions. Right from the start, I already had this notion that it was going to be a ridiculously good book. It immediately gave me that feeling of wanting to start asking questions. Which is what a great mystery thriller is, right? The writing makes you think. Who did this? Who did that? There are a lot more questions but it might give away what happens. The story captivated me, because of how I must be alert. The killer could be anyone. There’s that thrill. Anything could happen at the least possible moment. Major bombs came dropping, and everything was not what it seems. It keeps you on your feet, eagerly awaiting any clues of what could lead to the next thing that our lead character is searching for.

In the town of Fayette, we have our lead Tessa Lowell. She is quite reserved and seemed like she lived her life as normally as she could. But with one step ahead, her being inquisitive took her to stay in Fayette in more days than planned. Tessa thinks logically, which is a quality that characters in most of the books I have read so far lacked. She knows what was needed to be solved, and she thinks swiftly. You can feel the eagerness in her perspective. That characteristic alone made me enjoy reading the book in Tessa’s perspective. I normally dislike a female’s perspective, but I would have to say that Tessa is special. She had a few faults here and there, but it was enough for me to root for her till the end. And to be able to keep one’s sanity despite having a few bumps on the road to find the killer is a big kudos. How I wish I was as cool as her.

As for Callie, I can say that she knows her place. But she was lost. Her attitude vastly improved when she was with Tessa more, and it definitely made her more human. They were in this together. Which is only appropriate when all the ends were finally tied. I just wish she did not disappear that quickly (somewhere in the book). Nonetheless, all of the characters in this book were practical and they made sense. Quite honestly, it helped because it makes the reader belong in the scenario. You can sense the humanity, and how fragile everyone is when it comes to the aspect of murder.

I love how Kara writes with finesse and fine detail. Her writing style is this unique bomb that you will immediately learn to love. She writes so beautifully that she was able to absorb me. I went in a world where anything could happen, because I don’t know what will happen. I felt like I was in Fayette myself. It was unusually easy to visualize what was in the book. And that is all because of the vivid vision of Kara Thomas.

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Kara is the author of THE DARKEST CORNERS, coming April 2016 from Random House/Delacorte. She is also the author of the Prep School Confidential series from St. Martin’s Griffin under the pen name Kara Taylor. Kara has written for Warner Brothers Television and currently writes full-time on Long Island, where she lives with her husband and rescue cat.


Yes, you got that right. I love this book to bits and I cannot wait for everyone else to read it. Catch it in your local bookstore by April 19, 2016. Join in the search for the infamous Ohio River Monster. But just remember that everything is not what it seems. And some secrets from the past can still haunt you in the present.

Now, who has read this book? Or has my fangirling affected you in any way? Let’s talk about this marvelous piece of literature.

Book Review: Carry On by Rainbow Rowell

Before Reading:

I need something to make me chill from Illuminae. I need something to make me sane while I think about all of the homework that they made us do during the week long vacation. More importantly, hello there hype. I blame you for being so persistent on making me read another one of Rainbow Rowell’s marvelous creations. Quite frankly, I don’t have anything against boy love. I mean, I have read a lot of doujinshis (none R-18, promise) and I want to see how this will captivate me. Simon and Baz were too sweet in the chapters that Cath wrote in Fangirl. Now with Carry On, I can read the whole thing and fall on the floor because of the cavities they are giving me. It has a DraRry feel to it. Off to dive in!

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Title & Author: Carry On by Rainbow Rowell

Genre:  Young Adult-Fantasy

Year Published: October 6th 2015

Series: None

Publisher: St. Martin’s Griffin

Source: Paperback,Bought (National Bookstore)

Summary:

Simon Snow is the worst chosen one who’s ever been chosen.

That’s what his roommate, Baz, says. And Baz might be evil and a vampire and a complete git, but he’s probably right.

Half the time, Simon can’t even make his wand work, and the other half, he sets something on fire. His mentor’s avoiding him, his girlfriend broke up with him, and there’s a magic-eating monster running around wearing Simon’s face. Baz would be having a field day with all this, if he were here—it’s their last year at the Watford School of Magicks, and Simon’s infuriating nemesis didn’t even bother to show up.

Carry On is a ghost story, a love story, a mystery and a melodrama. It has just as much kissing and talking as you’d expect from a Rainbow Rowell story—but far, far more monsters.

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After Reading:

Well… That certainly was a refreshing ending. I did not expect any of that, and all of it blew me away. What just happened? What do I read next? Help me, I need more Simon and Baz in my life.

If you are thinking about stopping while you are just a few pages in, you will regret that decision. I might have spoiled myself into bookmarking the page where Baz shows up, but that technique worked for me to keep on reading. As everyone else said, it’s the road that matters. All the events leading up to Baz’ appearance made me all jumpy and fangirl-y because when he finally appeared, I know that something will happen and their relationship will be further explored. And I did not bother to put down Carry On until I finished it. Don’t put the book down. It gets better, trust me!

It might have been dragging when it started but a person’s perseverance is the key to finish this book. Once the reader(YOU) gets to Book II, I swear on my deathbed that the story only goes up until your fangirl/fanboy hearts explode. This is coming from the fangirl who read it in school and got scolded because of having fangirled too much. But that’s just a normal day for me.

You might want to read Fangirl first if you want more background about Simon and Baz. But if you do not want to, you can proceed into reading Carry On because it can support itself without Fangirl. But then again, this is Cath’s fanfiction. This is what all the fuss was about.

Rainbow Rowell wrote a “magical feels-plosion” book that makes your heart quench for more love. (Note that feels-plosion is not a real word. But you get what I mean.) Rainbow Rowell proved that she can write splendid works of fantasy, while still making you hold on to your dear heart because of all the cheesiness and cleverly-placed-at-the-right-romantic moments. If you would choose the “IT” couple, the crown definitely goes to Simon and Baz. Those two are all but perfectly imperfect, and because of them the book bursted with love.

The story itself is not entirely clićhe but it will give the nostalgia of reading another book with magics, dragons and a UK setting. It was different. And it does not lack the heart and soul that will make readers feel empty and hollow because of the ending. All the characters were all breaths of fresh air, and the book handled diversity in the best way possible. From Penelope Bunce to The Mage, all of them were all entertaining to read in perspective.

Crafted with the finest imperfections, I’m surprised that Rainbow Rowell has not written a fantasy book before Carry On. For she truly is a wonderful and unique author, just like her books. Carry On not only celebrates diversity, but it also made the fantasy aspect one bar higher.

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Sometimes she writes about adults (Attachments and Landline).

Sometimes she writes about teenagers (Eleanor & Park, Fangirl andCarry On.).

But she always writes about people who talk a lot. And people who feel like they’re screwing up. And people who fall in love.

When she’s not writing, Rainbow is reading comic books, planning Disney World trips and arguing about things that don’t really matter in the big scheme of things.

She lives in Nebraska with her husband and two sons.

Know more about Rainbow Rowell on her website, rainbowrowell.com

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Book Review: Illuminae by Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff

Before Reading:

Sometimes, when you’re new to the book blogging business, you go with the flow. And in that flow, comes the hype. I would have had never heard of Illuminae if I did not have the guts to create this blog in the process. But seeing how people seem to melt for it is something else. And to the flow of the river did I drift in.

Okay, what is all the hype about? I felt intimidated by this book that I don’t even know if I will jump on the train or not. It is just so huge. Yet, being a book blogger and a book enthusiast, one cannot help it when one discovers something equivalently epic as it’s shell. Is it the hype? Is it about the way the book is presented? Or does it have powers unknown to man but it attracts one? I dare not say because the attraction was real. If you see Illuminae on your local bookstore, you grab it. Especially if it is one of the two copies out. You grab it, because it’s calling out your name. The premise alone is as intriguing as can be.

Alright, I know I will gain extra bragging rights if I finish this humongous book.

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Title & Author: Illuminae by Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff

Genre:  Young Adult- Science Fiction

Year Published: October 20th 2015

Series: The Illuminae Files #1

Publisher: Knopf Books

Source: Hardbound,Bought (National Bookstore)

Summary:

This morning, Kady thought breaking up with Ezra was the hardest thing she’d have to do.

This afternoon, her planet was invaded.

The year is 2575, and two rival megacorporations are at war over a planet that’s little more than an ice-covered speck at the edge of the universe. Too bad nobody thought to warn the people living on it. With enemy fire raining down on them, Kady and Ezra—who are barely even talking to each other—are forced to fight their way onto an evacuating fleet, with an enemy warship in hot pursuit.

But their problems are just getting started. A deadly plague has broken out and is mutating, with terrifying results; the fleet’s AI, which should be protecting them, may actually be their enemy; and nobody in charge will say what’s really going on. As Kady hacks into a tangled web of data to find the truth, it’s clear only one person can help her bring it all to light: the ex-boyfriend she swore she’d never speak to again.

Told through a fascinating dossier of hacked documents—including emails, schematics, military files, IMs, medical reports, interviews, and more—Illuminae is the first book in a heart-stopping, high-octane trilogy about lives interrupted, the price of truth, and the courage of everyday heroes.

|| Goodreads || TBD ||

After Reading:

I cannot even. Is that the proper way to say it? My mind is out of words to describe this huge phenomenon. I was speechless and dumbstruck. It was mindblowing. To be honest, that was my first time reading a Sci-Fi novel. And I can definitely say that the experience was ridiculous. Why have I never picked up a sci-fi book before? Maybe it’s because of the Star Wars fever. Maybe it’s the hype. Maybe… just maybe… it makes you wonder how Illuminae got built in the first place. I would really need to read more sci-fi.

Illuminae offers a unique perspective when it comes to how you want to present a book to your audience. Believe me, when you present it to a non-reader, they will look at it in awe. It is unique in every way possible, but it still gives you that thrill in reading. It was fast-paced, incredibly constructed, and surreal.

When it comes to the characters, Kady Grant and Ezra Mason are the real star-crossed lovers of the 25th century. Faith made them break up on the eventful day a company attacked their planet, changing the course of their lives forever. Just by that statement, you could immediately assume that they are not your ordinary teenage lovers. Although the book did focus more on Kady, Ezra still stood out as a character of his own right. (I think the part where he said he was at least 6 feet got my attention.) You could easily root for the two of them, despite their clearly different personalities. You have to, because you want to.

Meanwhile, the supporting characters give much more insight. They will smash your heart into smitherins because even if they only appear in a slight number of pages. It will make you question a lot of the things that are happening in the book, because of what has happened to them. I would not be stating any of their names because I would want you people to discover them yourselves. They were all so unique, and it felt like they deserved their own story. On everything that was happening in the book, you will feel attached to some of them. They are all distinguished to avoid confusion from any other supporting character. Watch out for AIDAN, folks. That one felt real. Bravo to that. It was similar to walking in a pit of darkness with a dim light in your hands. You never know what to expect from it. So look out for it.

Overall, Illuminae came into our lives and it delivers. Not everybody could pull off a book that is narrated through different types of files and transcripts. Honestly, if someone said that to me, I will say that they have lost their senses. But from the way Illuminae was made top-to-bottom, it made sure that it will give you the best feeling ever from conquering the humongous book. Illuminae sounded crazy, but it made crazy the new best thing. The hype is real on this one. Prepare the fandom ships, because Illuminae is here to stay.

or authors rather…

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Amie is the New York Times bestselling co-author of the award-winning These Broken StarsThis Shattered World, Their Fractured Light and Illuminae. Based in Melbourne, Australia, Amie writes science fiction and fantasy for young (and not so young) adults.

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Jay Kristoff has managed to trick the world into thinking he’s an author. His award-winning steampunk series, THE LOTUS WAR and the New York Times bestselling sci-fi novel ILLUMINAE, the first of a trilogy, are out now. A new fantasy series, NEVERNIGHT, hits shelves in 2016.


No regrets. Now I just need to read more science fiction. Now run along and let’s try to keep our heads together before Gemina comes out.

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Movie Review: Me and Earl and the Dying Girl

Before Watching:

I did not even know that they were going to turn the book into a movie. I just saw the trailer up on Youtube and then I fangirled all over the place. I loved Me and Earl and the Dying Girl because it expressed a lot of thoughts that I was looking for in a certain YA book. Plus, it showcased a male lead, which were bonus points for me. I read the book first before I watched the movie and I already happened to review the book . I also want to add that I have not seen any book-to-movie adaptation before watching this movie.  I turned down watching Paper Towns even. That movie was supposedly anticipated and I gave it a cold shoulder.

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MeAndEarlAndTheDyingGirlPoster

Movie: Me and Earl and the Dying Girl

Directed by: Alfonso Gomez-Rejon

Screenplay by: Jesse Andrews

Starring: Thomas Mann, RJ Cyler, Olivia Cooke

Summary:

Seventeen-year-old Greg has managed to become part of every social group at his Pittsburgh high school without having any friends, but his life changes when his mother forces him to befriend Rachel, a girl he once knew in Hebrew school who has leukemia.

After Watching:

What an absolute tear-jerker. If you have read the book, then we can console each other about it. Tears were streaming down my face even after the movie ended. The ending was just beautiful. I’ve always thought that the movie Greg did was the most horrible movie ever. But the movie changed that perspective.

The movie deepened the relationship Greg, Rachel and Earl had. I was deeply moved on how Earl cared that much for Rachel, because it was a feeling that I did not thoroughly get when I read the book. I like movie Earl better. He was just this flawed guy with a heart. If Earl was my friend, I’d hang out with him all the time. Probably still in Mr. McCarthy’s office because that reasonable adult is also another cool person.

I was just briefly disappointed because Greg and his mom did not get the same subplot. Their bond in the book was stronger and the movie missed expressing their relationship.

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Alright look. I’ll just start.

I am just in awe. The movie was heart-wrenchingly beautiful. All of the characters were on point and precise. All of the characters were properly cast and the movie is on point. Well, maybe in some of the scenes. But still, who’s keeping tabs? I am glad that the movie somehow distinguished itself from the book.

As I said earlier, I really liked movie Earl more. A friend of mine said that Earl was very stereotypical, but I disagreed with him. It was Earl who pulled the heart strings. Who knew that he is very kind and caring? Book Earl came out all gangsta on me. But hey, if you could have a friend like Earl, don’t forget about him.

Everything about the movie gave it the right tone of a teen movie. No cheesy, romantic subplots to induce the tears. The friendship alone is enough. Ironically, they spent the smallest screen time. Yet you will still think that they’re like a golden trio. And it is all thanks to Jesse Andrew’s wonderful screenplay and Thomas Mann, RJ Cyler, and Olivia Cooke’s performances.

It had the same quirky feeling that the book manifested. And it tugged the heartstrings TFIOS pulled. And if you want to watch a movie that preaches about friend relationships (with no one falling in love with the other), this is the movie for you.

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I don’t care if Me and Earl and the Dying Girl is the only book-to-movie that I watched this year. It was enough because you can just watch the movie over and over again and not feel any hint of regret.

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Book Review: The Manifesto On How To Be Interesting by Holly Bourne

Before Reading:

I will be diving into the world of Holly Bourne without knowing anything about her and what I am about to read. I just went to our local bookstore one day and hoped that I could find a decent book to read. Then suddenly, The Manifesto on How To Be Interesting happened to show itself in a cramped shelf full of common YA titles. I immediately grabbed it because I thought it would be like a guide and teenager-ized version of a self help book. It was just what I needed, because I felt really unimportant that day. I realized then that the pages were red, and it immediately made me want to get my hands on the book. To be honest, I was too distracted by the red pages that I did not properly read the blurb on the back. I also ended up not buying it because I did not have enough money then.

The sentence above happened last March. I only got the book in October. Isn’t that fun?

Nonetheless, I read it as soon as the book came into my possession. This will be fun. I know it would be.

The Manifesto on How to be Interesting Title & Author: The Manifesto On How To Be Interesting

Genre:  Young Adult- Contemporary

Year Published: August 1st 2014

Series: None

Publisher: Usborne Publishing

Source: Paperback, Bought

Summary:

“Apparently I’m boring. A nobody. But that’s all about to change. Because I am starting a project. Here. Now. For myself. And if you want to come along for the ride then you’re very welcome.”

Bree is a loser, a wannabe author who hides behind words. Most of the time she hates her life, her school, her never-there parents. So she writes.

But when she’s told she needs to start living a life worth writing about, The Manifesto on How to Be Interesting is born. Six steps on how to be interesting. Six steps that will see her infiltrate the popular set, fall in love with someone forbidden and make the biggest mistake of her life.

After Reading:

It’s like a British version of Mean Girls. Bree reminds me so much of Cady Heron, but nonetheless they two have very different personalities. Also, Bree had some qualities that reminded me of Janice. Imagine Janice, the girl with the black hair who was friends with Cady in the movie Mean Girls. Then transform her into one of The Plastics. You get Bree.

Next we have the Plastics. Tame Regina George and make her cling to Aaron Samuels (who is now a douche with a massive ego and not the type of gentleman that you would want his hair looking sexy when pushed back) desperately, you get Jassmine. Make Gretchen Weiners more evil and make her use her big head that’s full of secrets to add more stuff in the Burn Book AND publicize it, you get Gemma. Put Karen Smith in every school musical and make her have less unintelligent remarks, you get Jessica and Emily.

My Mean Girls comparison stops there. Because in the total sense, The Manifesto on How To Be Interesting is much more than Mean Girls. Because Cady Heron did not have the guts to make a blog called The Manifesto On  How To Be Interesting. Bree did.

It was peculiar to read something that speaks to so many of us. I mean, who doesn’t want to be interesting? I admire the fact that Bree really did it. I found her stubborn at first because I don’t get what she is whining about. She is very talented, smart and undoubtedly courageous. She has everything that life has to give. (I mean come on, she could buy all of the books she wants.) Yet somehow, Bree wanted more. She wanted to be recognized and she wanted all the glory that one can have while being a teenager. Then she followed an advice of a crappy grown-up, and it led her to practically change herself. Her blog, The Manifesto On How To Be Interesting, was her only vent. She became a person consumed by her own thoughts, because no one was supposed to know about the manifesto. This brings us to the main issue of the story.

Bree could have had avoided everything if she just talked about it. Sure, it would not change a thing about how the perfect posse and Hugo and his minions would have had treated her, but it would have made her life much more easier. But then, I guess that was needed for her character to progress as a person. It just led me to have this urge to lightly knock on her head… But as the story progressed, Bree stuck to me as a ridiculously honest person. It was that voice of hers that made me want to root for her till the end, even if she did make some pretty dumb decisions.

Yet, the stupid decision making is one of the perks(curses) of being a teenager. Teenagers stumble and fall trying to become someone in high school. We all faced the terrors of going to school everyday with butterflies in our stomachs, thinking about the possibilities of being known by everyone as someone who has achieved a certain thing. One cannot blame Bree on wanting to achieve the same thing.

The Manifesto On How To Be Interesting’s Bree is the true voice of anyone who wants/has become interesting in many aspects. It was a wonderfully-written book that you could read over and over again. The twists and turns were unexpected. And Bree is the type of heroine that you would want to be with until the end. Her story gives us a valuable lesson that will help us get through any struggle, if one thinks that one has to be more interesting. But in all honesty, just having the book with you automatically makes you interesting. Read it, fall in love with it, and wing Bree’s manifestos. This book is a keeper.

Holly Bourne writes for young adults for a living. She is a journalist for www.TheSite.org, an advice and information website for 16-25 year-olds.

Before this, she spent two years working as a local news reporter on the Surrey Mirror and was nominated as Print Journalist of the Year 2010. She also has a first class degree in Journalism Studies and has won awards for her writing.

Her debut novel, Soulmates, is published by Usborne on September 1, 2013.

I’m back. I would like to thank our mini-sembreak for getting me back on my feet. Oh wait look… Star Wars is on.

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Book Review: Dr. Bird’s Advice for Sad Poets by Evan Roskos

Do you know that feeling of having nothing to read despite having a lot of books on your TBR? Then you pick up a book, start reading it, and then thinking… whoa. I need to read more. This book is something.

Dr. Bird’s Advice for Sad Poets gave me that feeling.

Again, in lieu with my Fangirl Corner, I have decided to give light to some YA books narrated by a male protagonist. Mostly contemporaries.

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Title: Dr. Bird’s Advice for Sad Poets

Author: Evan Roskos

Genre:  Young Adult- Contemporary

Year Published: March 5th 2013

Series: None

Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt

Source: Ebook

Summary:

“I hate myself but I love Walt Whitman, the kook. Always positive. I need to be more positive, so I wake myself up every morning with a song of myself.”

Sixteen-year-old James Whitman has been yawping (à la Whitman) at his abusive father ever since he kicked his beloved older sister, Jorie, out of the house. James’s painful struggle with anxiety and depression—along with his ongoing quest to understand what led to his self-destructive sister’s exile—make for a heart-rending read, but his wild, exuberant Whitmanization of the world and keen sense of humor keep this emotionally charged debut novel buoyant.

(via Goodreads)

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Based on my everyday stalking and book hunting, this book is under the radar. I saw it on a list that I really want to link but I can’t seem to find it anymore. But the book was in that list and the short description in that site that recommended YA books made me want to read it. The book is so under the radar that our local bookstores don’t seem to have it… Or at least in the ones I visited in. I still haven’t checked “The Big One”.

I would not give any bad comments on this book because it did get me out of a reading slump. But if I am to have no bias, it kept me hanging. I was waiting for something but it came out late and by then the book was done.

But this book is special. I just know of it. I felt it when I was reading it. Please do not discourage yourself from reading it. Not too many people know of this book, sure. It may have sounded like a rip-off of another book with boys of psychological issues. It is yet another book just creeping in the background but it really is a worth-it read.

Quite contrary to my point, I adored James Whitman. Sure he needs therapy but I think it’s just to reassure him that everything is fine. Since he’s having a problem with role models, he goes to Walt Whitman. The yawps did not even annoy me. And his sessions with Dr. Bird is just so… interesting. It’s like having therapy but with yourself. Aye James, how are you hanging in there next to Charlie, Jeff and Craig?

I am also wondering about his sister Jodie. I mean, she sounds like the perfect daughter. But what happened to her? Are their parents that bad or something? Even though life sounded tough for her, she seems to do pretty well. Says enough of what kind of person she is. I admire Jodie in general.

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One of Narrative’s Best New Writers, Evan Roskos’s fiction has appeared in Granta’s New Voices online feature, as well as in Story Quarterly, The Hummingbird Review, andBestFiction. He earned an MFA from Rutgers University — Newark and teaches literature and writing courses for Rowan University and Rutgers University — Camden. His debut novel Dr. Bird’s Advice for Sad Poets (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt) was published in March 2013 and was optioned by Kreate Films producer Shona Tuckman. Evan lives in NJ with his wife and son.

I hope this man writes more books. And I love the fact that he had so much fun while writing this book. That, is how authors should feel while they are in the process of writing.


Overall, the book has ups and downs. Mostly ups, and the rest exquisitely written. I hope you guys find this underrated book peculiarly interesting and add it in your TBR’s.

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And I would gladly read it over and over again.


That’s it folks. Another book review done. Comment below if you think you found another hidden gem. Till next time, or later, since I’m really psyched.

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