What. Am. I. Going. To. Do!!!!!
It’s the crappiest part of the tv year! All my favorite shows are just minutes away from their season finales or they are taking ridiculously long hiatuses so they can make it to May Sweeps with new episodes left. Dumb!
To make me feel better about all this tv sadness, I am going to share some of my favorite YA-inspired tv shows.
This one’s currently on a break, but it’ll be back in April. Thank goodness! This one is all about the DRAMA. If you’ve been living under a rock, here is the scoop:
Lost of rich kids living in New York City and getting into all kinds of trouble. (I was going to say their were some not so rich people, but even the Humphreys are now shacking up with the Van Der Woodsens.)
This is one that I initially loved. Over its four seasons, I’ve gone back and forth on this one. There is definitely a lot of drama and lots of intrigue. But, I can only take Lily and Rufus getting into the same fight so many times. However, this show is more about the young’ins and they are crazy. They have been through every ridiculous situation out there (drugs, alcohol, pregnancy, long-lost siblings, almost-incestuous relationships, mean girls, class issues, corporate espionage, secret societies, death, car accidents, missing persons, backstabbing, banishment, amnesia, and on and on and on). However, I’m a little tired of the constant relationship back and forths and am often annoyed by the couplings. Can Serena please be with someone…anyone… for more than 2 episodes?
Still, I love this show. It divulges quite a bit from the books (as any tv show based on a book does), but it is really addictive. You can’t help but be jealous of the gorgeous clothes and the gorgeous people. I will continue to watch it as long as it’s on, but I can’t guarantee I won’t be shaking my head thinking, “This. Is. Ridiculous.”
Pretty Little Liars
This one is currently running, but we only have 3 episodes left this season. Pardon me while I shed a tear.
Four high school girls reconnect after the death of the 5th member of their group, Allison. When they start receiving messages from a mysterious A who knows things only Allison knew, they get caught up in a dangerous game of cat and mouse and start to realize Allison might not have been the person they thought she was.
This show makes me so tense. I am dying to know who A is and who killed Alli. I haven’t read the books, but I have read spoilers online. Still, there is no guarantee that the show will follow the storyline of the books.
The primary antagonist of this show is the mysterious A character. He/She only speaks to the girls through various non-verbal messages (text, email, post-its, etc.) A’s threatening messages usually involve some sort of blackmail about the many secrets the girls hide (a mom who stole money from work, a student-teacher relationship, being a lesbian, parents who cheat, past relationships with sister’s boyfriends, etc.)
Hints online suggest that we might find out who Alli’s killer is by the end of season. Are Alli’s killer and A the same person? That’s one we’re going to have to wait a little longer for. Also, showrunner I. Marlene King insists they are going to keep A’s identity secret as long as possible.
This one is definitely a puzzle, but I’m enjoying trying to figure it out. Even if it doesn’t sound like you’re thing, check it out. At least for the opening credits. Some of the best I’ve seen in a long time!
And Now….the Granddaddy of them All….
Probably the best YA-based tv show on right now. Also, currently on a break. I hate you CW. Look for it again in April.
The town of Mystic Falls, VA seems to be a magnet for all things supernatural (Vampires, Witches, Werewolves). Lots of pretty teens deal with keeping the supernaturals a secret, while also trying to protect all the people they love.
Popular human Elena Gilbert seems to be the center of everything. She is torn between her love for two vampire brothers. Stefan, the good one, is her boyfriend. Damon, the bad one, loves her but is fighting his urge to be a better person. I am definitely a Delena shipper. These two are just two hot to not be together. (Plus, Stefan seems to have much more chemistry with new vampire Caroline.) Add in the fact that both brothers used to be in love with the vampire Katherine, who is the greatxabunch grandmother of Elena and who could be her twin, and you have some serious drama.
As you watch the show, you discover that Mystic Falls has a long history of supernatural connections and the present is no exception. Everything that has happened over the course of history seems to have built to the present, where Elena struggles to figure out how it is all connected to her. As she tries to figure out the mysteries of the past, the present seems to be ever on the tipping point of all out supernatural destruction of one sort or another.
This one is very sexy and very bloody. I hope it stays around along time. Unlike every new character on the show. Who seem to have a 2-episode max before they die.
All in all, I love me some YA-inspired tv shows. All the drama of a good YA book with tons of yummy actors. I’m gonna be on a boat for the next week, so I’ll be taking a little break from my tv. My DVR will be waiting patiently for my return.
So, this afternoon, I’ve been working on a big project–adding tags to my blog posts. I had not been doing this before as I’d been writing my blog and that’s silly. Tags help people find you! So, I decided I would make sure I do this from now on. As the true librarian that I am, I also decided that I needed to go back and retroactively tag all my posts. So, I’ll be working on that for a bit.
The best part of this project: I was trying to think of a good way to tag books that are so awesome that you can’t put them down and I had a really inspired idea. Can’t Put It Down. CPID. Kinda looks like CUPID. So, that’s what I’m gonna call them Cupids–books that you can’t put down. Now, you’re like, “Sarah, anybody can make an acronym, why is this so awesome?” Welll, there’s more to the name than just an awesome acronym. Think about it…people who are shot by Cupid’s arrow become totally single-minded. So in love that they just can’t do anything else, but yearn for the one they love. Sound familiar? Book is so awesome…must keep reading…must not eat or sleep…must finish book. Total Cupid Syndrome.
So, in the future, if you see something tagged Cupid or Cupid Syndrome, you know it was a total page-turner that I was totally hooked on. I hope to have some of these to share with you soon!
Things have been so crazy here! Thank goodness it is the end of the semester! I am so excited to take a nice break and then come back for my FINAL SEMESTER OF GRAD SCHOOL, after which I will be a REAL LIVE LIBRARIAN. So exciting!
Anyways, you’re probably wondering what I’ve been reading.
Well, in the last month, I’ve technically read four books, but I wanted to wait till I was done to review them. That’s because I’ve been reading the Vampire Diaries books by L.J. Smith. I have the nifty two-in-one versions that combine the first two books and the last two books into two compiled volumes. So, basically, once I finished the first book, I had to go right into the second because they are in the same volume and all. Then, when I was done with that, I figured I might as well read them all before I write about them. Truthfully, I haven’t quite finished the last one, but I’m getting there. Enough about my madness, let me talk about the books.
Here’s the deal. Again, this is one of those cases where I watched the tv show first. In the spirit of full disclosure, I should tell you that I am in L.O.V.E. with the tv show. SO exciting and dramatic and sexy! I went into the books with the typical understanding that a book and a movie are never the same. This has never been more true in my eyes. I liked the Vampire Diaries books, but they are definitely not the tv show. If you go in expecting them to be the same or vice verse, expect the tv show to follow the books, you are going to be really disappointed. Besides the names of the characters and some of the minor plot points, these are two TOTALLY different entities.
So, to look at the books themselves, I thought they were enjoyable. Standard vampire danger and allure. Romance. Requisite love triangle (not nearly as hot as the tv stelena/delena struggle). Epic battle of good and evil. These are a good read for a lazy day, but not something I am just crazy about. I actually found it kind of hard to connect with the characters. Overall, however, a good time.
What’s up next, you ask? Well, it’s Christmas break, so I will definitely be doing some reading. A few years ago, I took the break as an opportunity to read the entire Gossip Girl series. I can get a little single-minded, occasionally. This year, I have some ideas in mind. I don’t have room to take a ton of books to my parents with me, so everything waiting on my bookshelves will continue to wait. I think, with the help of the public library, I am going to tackle reading the 5 Fitzgerald novels. I am OBSESSED with the Jazz Age right now. Although, really, who isn’t? Have you seen Boardwalk Empire? Plus, then I will totally be in the right frame of mind for reading Vixen and/or Bright Young Things, which I will (fingers crossed) hopefully receive as Christmas gifts.
That’s about it for now. Stay classy!
I love books. A lot. People know this about me. Lately, however, I seem to be suffering from a lack of books. What? A lack of books? Anybody that has seen the bookshelves in my bedroom knows that I definitely don’t suffer from a physical lack of books. You may call what I’m suffering from a theoretical lack of books due to the lack of spare time in my life recently. I just can’t seem to spare anytime to get my hands on the wealth of books I’m dying to read and enjoy them. I’m just not connecting with my books. It’s pretty terrible. Look what it’s doing to me. It’s turned me into some kind of crazy philosopher spouting ridiculous mumbo jumbo about my emotional connection with my books. LOL. Actually, don’t worry, I’m not going insane. I just can’t write about books due to the fact that in the last 3 weeks, I’ve read about 75 pages total (not even all in one book, to boot). So, in summation, I don’t have any reviews to share.
There is, however, hope on the horizon. On Thursday, I’m going to Kansas. Yes, that’s right…KANSAS!!!!!! Aren’t you guys excited for me? Wait….what did you say? Why would anyone be excited to go to Kansas? Well, DUH, K-State Homecoming. Go Cats! Plus, I get to spend Halloween with my BFF! And best part of all, lots of plane time to devote to reading! Yay! Hopefully, in honor of Halloween, I will be finishing some v. vampy novels to share.
That’s about all I’ve got for now. I wish you and your books all the happiness in the world, as I work tirelessly to reconnect with mine. Can’t wait to share some new stuff soon. (There might even be a super fab new concept coming to my blog….but shhhhh…..don’t tell anyone!)
The biggest issue in sequels and series, more often than not, is that later titles are never as good as the first. Of course, there have been titles and series where this is obviously not true, as well. I was pretty delighted to find that Beautiful Darkness, the sequel to Kami Garci and Margaret Stohl’s Beautiful Creatures, is IMHO better than its predecessor. I’d been really excited to read both books in this series since I got an ARC of the second at ALA. If you read my review on Beautiful Creatures, you’ll know that I thought the authors did a beautiful job creating the mythology of the magic in that novel. This second novel is abundant in magic, which makes this girl REALLY HAPPY. Anyone who has known me for a long time knows that I have always been a little obsessed with magic of all sorts. I love love LOVE princesses and fairy tales. I spent quite a bit of my childhood determined that I was a FABULOUS magician. Boxes of memorabilia in my parents’ attic can attest to an unhealthy obsession with Harry Potter. The recent surge in urban fantasy and paranormal romance has been like heaven to me. There is this little glimmer of hope that maybe, just maybe, magic is real.
If any of the previous has left you thinking “Man, this girl is nuts!”, Beautiful Darkness might not be the book for you. Creatures presented us with a very typical Southern small town, with the magical aspects very slowly appearing throughout the novel and presented as a very small and hidden underworld of the town. In Darkness, that underworld takes center-stage and the reader realizes this is much, much bigger than just a few magical people living in a normal town. So basically, although this continues the story from the first book, I kind of felt like this was a totally different kind of book. Although, this kind of makes sense. Ethan is getting farther and farther into the magic, so the book has to become more and more focused on the magic. But still, this makes it a different kind of book. The first book is so much about teenage relationships and learning to trust another person, with the magical aspects being important but merely a detail in this larger romantic story. On the other hand, this book is about the relationship between Ethan and Lena, but much more so about Ethan understanding the magical world and avoiding an epic magical war. I think this difference is important because I felt as though I was making progress and getting deeper into the story, whereas if we just had more magic girl in normal world drama, this book might have felt stale.
At this point, you’re probably like “Come on, Sarah, give us the dirty details.” Well okay then!
- Amma is awesome!!!! If you’ve read Creatures, you know this. In this book, she gets even more A.W.E.S.O.M.E., with capital letters.
- Lena is a crazy person. You’re probably gonna hate her this time around.
- Ridley actually has depth. I knew it!
- Link is smarter than you think. I just wanna give him a big hug.
- Magic exists where you least expect. This is a reoccurring theme.
- It wouldn’t be magic if there wasn’t an ancient war going on. Duh!
- And…best of all…Link’s mom watches Cat Week. It’s like Shark Week with cats. Strangely funny that Ellen just did Cat Week on her show last week.
I know, I know. These details aren’t very dirty. I just really don’t want to spoil this one for you. It’s too good. I will admit that quite a few of the plot twists were obvious before they happened. However, I also had quite a few moments where I was like, “WOAH! You got me!” I do think that part of the fun of a book is trying to figure things out and I think that this book provided a good balance of foreshadowing and complete surprise.
If I have anything to negative to say about this book, it’s only that after the intense ending of the first book, the beginning of this book is kind of calm. Therefore, at first, it took me a little bit to get into it. I think this was because I was ready to get right into more intrigue, whereas the beginning of this book is heavy on basic exposition to get people the back story if they haven’t read Creatures or if they have forgotten some of the detail. However, once this book gets into its central plot arc, it really moves.
I urge you to check this series out, especially if you are into any of the paranormal romance/urban fantasy stuff that’s really big lately. This second novel in the series, Beautiful Darkness, hits stores Tuesday, October 12. (That’s next week, so you should be pretty excited!)
Beware: There are spoilers as to the plot of Speak by Laurie Halse Anderson contained within this post.
So, anybody that’s pretty deep in the book blogging community knows about what’s been going on today–the controversy surrounding an opinion piece by a Republic, MO man in the News-Leader of Springfield, MO. You can read his article here: http://www.news-leader.com/article/20100918/OPINIONS02/9180307/Scroggins-Filthy-books-demeaning-to-Republic-education
Dr. Scroggins questions the use of/access to Laurie Halse Anderson’s Speak, Sarah Ockler’s Twenty Boy Summer, and Kurt Vonnegut’s Slaughterhouse Five in the public schools of Republic, MO.
Anderson and Ockler have both taken to their blogs in response:
I am going to do the same and here are my thoughts. Of these three books, I have only read Anderson’s Speak. I can certainly say that this is one of the most moving books I have ever read. Dr. Scroggins has taken scenes and dialogue from the book out of context to portray this book as what he calls ‘filthy’. A lot of what he says is the way the book depicts high school life, is actually dialogue by the main character, Melinda, and is colored by sarcasm and negativity, due to the intense trauma that she has experienced at the hands of her classmates. Those of us who have actually read the book and taken the time to understand what it means know that this book about learning to speak up for yourself, to value yourself as a person, and to seek help without fear of embarrassment or retribution. The main character, Melinda, suffers the unspeakable–date rape at a party. After calling the cops who break up the party, Melinda is ostracized by her friends and classmates. She didn’t say anything about the rape, so nobody knows that she is suffering. Melinda withdraws and refuses to speak, as she fears that she will only make matters worse for herself. As the novel progresses, readers watch Melinda deal with her inner struggles and find her inner voice.
While I have never personally experienced something so horrible as Melinda has, there are teenagers for whom Melinda’s story is reality. This novel has and will continue to help many teenagers deal with the things that they are experiencing. It is depressing to consider that any school may ban this book and possibly prevent it from helping even one teenager who is suffering. Even teens who have not suffered any great trauma can learn a lot about valuing themselves and speaking up, even when their opinion might not be what people want to hear.
Dr. Scroggins is certainly entitled to his opinions, but I have a problem with one person trying to dictate what information all students have access to. Just like he is entitled to present his opinion, others are entitled to a different opinion. Students should have access to all opinions, so that they may make thoughtful decisions as to their personal values. In this same vein, students should have access to information and books concerning all different life experiences. (And if one person has a right to censor at all, it should only be for their own children.) Dr. Scroggins is attempting to level his own Christian agenda upon the public school system in his community. Don’t even get me started on what he thinks is ‘Christian’. Myra McEntire is a really cool Christian, who discusses this in better words than I could ever hope to (http://writingfinally.blogspot.com/2010/09/speak-loudly-in-defense-of-laurie-halse.html). The issue, at hand, is whether Christianity should even be brought up to the school board. There’s a little thing called Separation of Church and State. That means religious values have no place in dictating the workings of our public school system. As well, people of all religious ideologies should feel welcome in a public school. So, in summation, Dr. Scroggins should not expect his personal religious values to dictate what any child besides his own has access to or to dictate how his local public school system operates, no matter what the religion of the school board members.
A lot of people of spoken out on this topic and the general focus is on speaking out against censorship. One of my favorite bloggers, Liz over at A Chair, A Fireplace, and A Tea Cozy, takes this opportunity to raise a larger question: For those of us who book blog, have we said things in our reviews that could be used to help ban a book? Read her take here: http://blog.schoollibraryjournal.com/teacozy/2010/09/19/tool/
After reading Liz’s article, I immediately thought , have I written anything that can be used in such a way? I was ready to read through my past reviews and change things I had written so as not to allow book banners this opportunity to use my words in a negative way. And then, I thought, wait, how terrible is this? I am about to censor myself and what I write so others cannot use my words out of context to censor access to a book. How much does that suck? Making censorship a nasty cycle. It really saddens me to think that in this world, we have to be careful about how we present a book, so people won’t take offense to it and try to censor it. My goal with this blog is to let people know about books that I liked, books that moved me, books that I think can make a difference. The last thing I want is to prevent access to books. Take heed book banners: If you ever try to use my words to support your causes, I will not react lightly.
If I could share one piece of advice regarding this issue, it would be the following: Don’t let one person or one group of people dictate how you feel about a book. Discussing books is one of my favorite things to do, but don’t let anyone force your judgment of a book. And parents, before you write a book off, pick it up and read it. Don’t censor things from your children just because someone told you it was ‘bad’. And then, if you don’t think it’s right for your child, leave it at that. Please don’t go and try to make decisions for other people’s children.
Lastly, when it comes to anything that causes you harm, be it abuse, rape, inequality, or even censorship: #SpeakLoudly. We can’t change things if we don’t try.
P.S. Best thing to come out of this is inspiration to read great books. I’m going to the library to check out Twenty Boy Summer and Slaughterhouse Five. If you know me and want to read Speak, I’d be glad to loan you my copy.
Here’s a post that I thought was cool:
Thank goodness, someone finally sat down and dissecting the literary issues here: