Category Archives: YA

Divergent Movie

Recently a friend and I saw the movie based on the popular young adult trilogy called Divergent. Having read the first book some time ago it was a little difficult to remember what all went on in it, especially little details that dedicated or more recent readers would’ve been angry about the filmmakers missing. The movie stars Shailene Woodley as the main heroine, Tris, and Theo James as Four. Woodley is also in The Fault in our Stars that comes out on June 6th, a day that I think that I will never be emotionally prepared for (really, go read the book). She did a decent job of playing Tris, a shy girl that ends up being a major player of the rebellious faction called Dauntless. If you need a refresher of the plot you can go to my posts here and here. I say she did decently because she just seems like a meek person overall and I didn’t really see her playing a character that risks it all to join a faction that jumps off trains. However, she had nice hair and that’s really all that matters. Theo James played the love interest, Four. I honestly think he was cast because of his sex appeal because that boy was fine. He played the part well, though and I liked how caring he was with Tris even though he wanted people to think he was all tough (typical). Since I haven’t read the book in a while, the movie seemed to follow it pretty accurately but some have said major characters are left out. According to Flixster, the next installment of the trilogy Insurgent is set to come out on March 20th, 2015 so I’ve got a little time to read the other books and find out what happens to the dystopian society that Tris and Four are revolting against (Hunger Games reference, anyone?). The movie theater I work at had a big promotion for the movie coming out. We had faction bowls like they had in the books where people could submit their names to win prizes. We also had a big board where you could anonymously write down your fears. Some people were less-than-intelligent and wrote twitter usernames or inappropriate things but others wrote clever things like “oblivion” or “daleks”. All the employees got to dress up according to what the factions in the book wore. The first day I was Dauntless and I wore leather leggings and combat boots, along with some temporary tattoos I got at Hot Topic that were identical to the ones Tris gets in the book. The second and last day I was Erudite, and I wore a blue dress. A lot of the employees participated and it was a really good promotion overall, regarding participation. Did you go see Divergent when it came out in theaters?

 

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Jellicoe Road

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Photo credit: http://www.pinterest.com/pin/272256739943836661/

 Before I start this post, I want you to do something. Say ‘jellicoe’. Say it a few more times. Now say it with an Australian accent. Wasn’t that fun? Now that you’ve gotten that out of your system, you can continue to read this post. This book has raving, all-praising reviews on Goodreads, which I read before starting the novel. Here’s a challenge: go find one review of this book other than mine that is negative. Once you come back, whining about how it was impossible, I’ll let you in on a secret- you can’t find a negative review about this book. It honestly sounded like this was going to be the next big obsession of mine and I started to read the first few pages. That’s when things began to go downhill. The parts of the book that people admittedly stated were confusing were not confusing to me. I don’t know if I just wasn’t reading with devoted attention or if the book was really that bad, but I don’t see what all the fuss was about. Fans of this book should probably not read this post, for my safety and yours. I have some specific issues with this book, number one being that it was based in Australia. Of all places to have a book, you pick a giant, barely inhabited island that was colonized by prisoners. I have nothing against the people of Australia, however. Your accents are gnarly and I probably miss Steve Irwin as much as you do. Now that we’ve got stereotypes out of the way, we can get back to the important topic of the setting. I have read a grand total of two books that were based in Australia now and I didn’t like either one of them. Personally, I think it’s time for me to stop reading books based on the huge island of kangaroos and koalas and other creatures that start with ‘k’. My second problem with this book is the characters. Everyone on Goodreads said these characters were believable and awe-inspiring. I felt that they were underdeveloped and just out of nowhere, if that makes sense. The main characters are ensued in a territory war. Why highschoolers are fighting with rich people from town and military cadets in training over land is beyond me. This war wasn’t really explained well, all that I got from it was it’s been a tradition since people can remember. The people are very strict about the territory boundaries; some girls from the Jellicoe school accidentally crossed over borders and the cadets took them hostage in their tent. A little extreme, if you ask me. There was also a story within the story about five teenagers and their experiences on the Jellicoe Road and the beginning of the territory wars. This added to my problems with character development because the people in the story turned out to be real people in the bigger story. That’s the part most people found confusing. I just didn’t see much change between the way they were and they way they became. Overall, the only things I enjoyed about this book were the cutesy quotes that most everyone likes and trying to read it in my head with an Australian accent. The latter proved to be quite difficult. I didn’t enjoy this book as much as everyone said I would but we all have those books every once in a while. Now that all the people of Australia have completely lost their respect for me, I might go watch Finding Nemo in the hopes that that will somehow make up for all I’ve said. Happy reading.

An Abundance of Katherines

If you haven’t noticed by now, I am a big fan of John Green. I love his books because they relate to teenagers on so many levels, and him being a young adult just makes it easier for him to understand what we go through and all that life throws at us. Recently, one of his books, The Fault in our Stars, has been made into a movie that will be in theaters on June 6th of this year. As an employee at the theater, we get to see a free movie every week, but it can’t be a premiere. Considering how much I loved this book, I will pay the money for the ticket and wait in the queue line with all the others anxiously waiting to bawl their eyes out. Frankly, I feel that other books by John Green are overlooked. For example, millions of people have read The Fault in our Stars but have they even read Paper Towns or Will Grayson, Will Grayson? An Abundance of Katherines is one of these books. It is about a teenage guy named Colin Singleton (ironic last name, but will get to that shortly) who has dated nineteen girls over the years all named Katherine. Not Catherine, not Kate. Katherine. Nineteen times he has loved, nineteen times he has been dumped. Colin is also a prodigy, or a child genius who loves facts and is very smart. He drafts up a mathematical theory that predicts the course of relationships and when they will end. John Green actually got one of his close friends to do all the math that was in the book and there is an appendix explaining it all. Anyways, Colin and his best friend Hassan decide they need to go on a roadtrip after Colin’s recent breakup with K-19. They end up in Gutshot, Tennessee and hilarity ensues, along with some sadness. That’s all I’m going to give away about the book because I think everyone in the world should read at least one John Green book. Now that I think of it, go buy a box set! I will most likely be blogging about the TFioS movie in June so stay tuned for that post! Now go read some John Green and join the ranks of the Nerdfighters.

   

But There are Much Worse Games to Play

Recently, I saw the second movie of the Hunger Games series called Catching Fire (like I’ve said before, working at a movie theater has it’s perks.) After I watched it, I realized that soon the next movie would be coming out and I had completely forgotten what happened in the third book. This prompted me to find one of my friends who had the book to borrow it from them so I could refresh my memory for the upcoming movie. This last installment of the series, Mockingjay, is the story of the rebellion of the people of Panem against the Capitol and how Katniss Everdeen leads this rebellion. To me, the story went very quickly and honestly, some parts confused me because I feel like they popped out of no where. In particular, there were a lot of parts in the book where Katniss is hallucinating or just imagining things so it’s hard to keep track of reality. All of the action was sometimes hard for my mind to follow, but this happens often for me when reading. There were also a lot of characters that were hard to keep track of. Some important characters were killed off for no apparent reason, in the most uneventful ways. Personally, I didn’t go all crazy fangirl for the series when it came out. I did obviously read it and I think it’s a great series but it’s not something I dedicate my heart and soul to. What I love about the last book is that people started comparing it to our way of government in America and how people would react if it got out of hand. It’s interesting to see what people take away from books, no matter how extreme. Another thing I liked was the semi-cheesy romantic ending that tied the story together and kind of completed some unanswered questions. However, the writing and diction was perfect for it and that is what made it semi-cheesy. The movie for Mockingjay will be split into two parts. I don’t really understand why since it is about the same size as the previous books in the series, most likely its just for marketing purposes, something I talked about in a previous post. I am excited to see how they adapt the final installment of the series into a movie, since there is so much action and chaos going on. I feel that the movie will help me understand the book because it’s something I can visually see and it will all come together. What did you think of the Hunger Games series?

Divergent (Part Two)

Continuing from my previous post on the first installment of this series, Divergent definitely left me wanting more. The main character, Beatrice, or known as Tris later on, switched her factions from Abnegation to Dauntless. In the society that the reader soon figures out is based in Chicago, the five factions basically rule your life. A repeating mantra throughout the book is “factions before blood.” The Dauntless recruits go through initiation and are ranked according to their skills and development during the trials they are up against. During the novel, a romance ensues with Tris and one of the instructors, Four. The last phase of initiation is the fear landscape, where the initiates are required to face everything they fear in a simulation. Meanwhile, another faction called the Erudites, the faction of Tris’ brother, is planning war against her home faction of Abnegation. To be honest, following all of the factions and the relationships between them got a little confusing during the course of reading this book, but that is nothing a little Wikipedia can’t fix. The entirety of the Dauntless members are turned into sleepwalking murderers the night after the evaluations after the last test, overrunning the Abnegation compound and killing anyone in sight. Because Tris and Tobias are divergent, the serum that the Erudites used on the Dauntless to make them become killers without even knowing it. However, the leader of the Erudites, Jeanine, has figured out how to create a serum that works on divergents as well and injects Tobias with it making him the controller of the simulation. In the end, through the sacrifice of her parents, Tris saves Tobias from his trancelike state and the Dauntless refugees escape to the Amity compound where they hope they will be accepted. However, I believe as Tris does, that this is not the end of the conflict between the factions in this series.

This book can actually be comparable to the Hunger Games in many ways, the most obvious being that it’s a trilogy. I really did enjoy this book, and while I don’t feel as invested in it as other fandoms that I’m involved with (ahemDoctorWhoahem) I will finish the other two books and watch the movies. Have you read Divergent? What did you think about it?

Divergent (Part One)

untitled Working at a movie theater is a great opportunity with many perks. Free popcorn, soda, 25% discount on everything else along with a free movie with a guest every week is beyond awesome. However, this also spoils a TON of movies for me. I saw at least half of Frozen in bits and pieces during theater checks before I actually had the time to sit down and watch it all (and even then I have the overwhelming urge to tell people to put their phones away during the movie because my job is weird and addicting). A few weeks ago, I realized that a movie called Divergent was coming out and it was based on a book. After my coworkers basically shunned me and freaked out about how I hadn’t read the book, I gave into the peer pressure and checked out the book at the library. So far, it’s a pretty good read. I’ve always been a fan of dystopian novels and this is just that. This book is about a society that puts you into factions for life based on your personality and choices that you make in a test that you participate in when you come of age. I am not that far into the book so the factions are a bit hard to follow, but I found a website here that helps make sense of them and what they stand for. Abnegation (the main character’s faction since birth) is the group of people that are plain and selfless. Candor people never lie. Amity people are peaceful and calm. The Erudites are smart and clever. The Dauntless are the rebels of society and they are very daring. The test that everyone takes at the age of 16 helps them choose which faction they want to be in. Some people deviate from the factions they are born into and that faction no longer recognizes them as their own, even their families don’t speak to them. Some, however, remain in their factions. Those who diverge from any faction whatsoever are societal outcasts. The main character is one of the factionless and the story is about her choices and how those affect her and her society, as well as how people view her. I can’t wait to read the rest of this book and the two that follow it before the movie comes out in March. Stay tuned for the second part post of this book later on in the week.

(Book cover photo from http://bookriot.com/2013/10/14/beyond-bestsellers-youve-read-divergent/)

Life of Pi (Part Two)

This book was fantastic, and I can now see what all the hype was about. I love Martel’s style of writing and the way he just puts his story together, and how it seems that he is part of the story, even though it is fiction. The story picks up from my part one post were the ship sinks and Pi is left out on the Pacific Ocean in the close quarters of a Bengal tiger. It turns out that Pi was stranded for 227 days, 7 months! When watching the movie it didn’t seem that he was out there this long. Pi tries to train the tiger named Richard Parker to respond to him, and in turn, not devour him. Days go by on the lifeboat. Near the end of the novel, Pi and Richard Parker stumble upon an island that has no vegetation other than algae, and no animals other than meerkats. Pi stays there for a few days, and says he wouldn’t mind living there forever, until he comes across something horrific. Dead fish have been cropping up in small freshwater ponds throughout the island and Pi realizes the island is acidic, with the ability to nocturnally kill anything. He finds this out after finding the dead fish and a complete set of teeth on the island. Pi eventually reaches Tomatlan, Mexico, traveling a whopping total of 10,000 miles in all, and a total of 2,000 miles away from his destination before the shipwreck, Winnipeg, Canada. In the end, Pi is interviewed by two men from the Japanese Ministry of Transport about his story and the cause of the shipwreck. They don’t believe the true story that Pi tells them, so he makes one up but they decide the first is more believable.

Life of Pi was a really great read. I love how it seems that the author is included in the story through the narrative and it made it a different type of storytelling, like mixing life with fiction (even though all fiction is based on life). Martel really knows how to use his words, whether its making the reader feel the monotony of Pi’s journey on the sea, anxiousness from the fact that Richard Parker could eat him, or just completely grossed out by some of the descriptions that are in the novel. However the author makes you feel, his words have an amazing impact. After all, “Words have no calories.”