Breaking Dawn – Part 2

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FINALLY the last Twilight movie has been released. Does anyone even care anymore? All of the girls who were fans when they were 14 are in their twenties now and hopefully have moved on.

Now we won’t have to hear about Kristen and Rob’s “relationship”. I still don’t believe they were ever together. And people say, “But they had a house! They were so in love!” Then why did Kristen sleep with a director?

I saw that there was apparently a plot twist, so I looked for spoilers on the Internet. SPOILER ALERT! Basically, there aren’t any spoilers.

Here’s what happens: There is a battle scene where Carlisle’s head is ripped off and Jasper dies. When I read this, I laughed. That was the kind of ending I was looking for in the book. Then the audience finds out the entire scene is one of Alice’s visions. Like in the novel, Irene is the only one who actually dies.

I guess I shouldn’t have expected anything cool to actually happen. People die in battles. The screenwriters should have changed the ending.

So anyway, tonight I am going to see the final film with some friends. It should be somewhat entertaining, even if I leave feeling like I wasted ten dollars. Taylor Lautner will inevitably be shirtless at least once. The scene will be dramatic. Girls will gasp. It’ll be fun.

Random note: I saw Part 1 with one of my friends I’m going with tonight, and we literally laughed for 5 minutes after seeing Meyer in the wedding scene. It was so awkward. If I ever write a book that is turned into a movie, DO NOT LET ME BE IN THE MOVIE. That would be mortifying.

Click here for to the “spoilers” I referenced, complete with a poll titled “What do you think of the surprise ending?”

I planned to post about the successes and failures of  YA books made into film. However, as I Google searched these books, agitation changed the topic of this blog post.

A library website appeared to have a list of Young Adult books that have been made into movies, but that wasn’t what the list was at all. The list was composed of classics! Moby Dick was on the list. It was not practical.

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I was then reminded of the classics in the YA section of Barnes & Noble with covers that try to lure in teenagers who apparently have never heard of Jane Austen.

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I mean, I understand the importance of encouraging teens to read classic literature, but why do young people need to be tricked into reading the Bronte sisters? If they like reading enough to enter a bookstore, they are surely smart enough to wander over to the shelves that contain classics. I somehow managed to find Jane Eyre and Romeo & Juliet in the proper place when I was in high school.

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Not only are the books covertly placed in YA, but the covers are ridiculous! They don’t match the story line. Instead, they have a color scheme of black, red, and white. I don’t think I have to point out which bestselling series these classics mirror. The similarities are kind of disgusting. It’s like the publishers are trying to say the series is of the same quality as classics that have been loved by many for centuries.

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Others aren’t as annoying, such as this copy of Emma. The green is pretty hideous, but at least it’s more original.

So  to all the teenagers out there who want to read a classics, please wander over to the adult literature section. In five years you will be glad you didn’t buy the classic with the YA cover.

Classics as YA

An Abundance of Katherines

An Abundance of Katherines by John Green is a young adult novel about Colin Singleton and his best friend Hassan’s road trip after high school graduation. Colin likes girls named Katherine with a “K”. In fact, he likes Katherines so much that he has dated Katherines 19 times, and each time, Katherine dumped him. As a child prodigy, Colin believes he can create a theorem to predict the outcome of relationships and find out why he is always dumped.

The best thing about this book is the footnotes. These aren’t typical footnotes like those found in classics or complicated non-fiction books. The footnotes in this novel completely changed my opinion of footnotes because they are undeniably hilarious. I laughed out loud during most of the novel, and I am not one to vocally express myself when I find something funny.

There was only one thing I did not like about An Abundance of Katherines. The main character, Colin, is incredibly annoying. He is smart, but he doesn’t believe he is a genius, which he points out throughout the novel. He is also selfish and whiny. However, after a few chapters, I forgot about all of this. Somehow, John Green was able to keep my attention despite keeping me in the head of such an aggravating character.

Katherines has won many awards including the Michael L. Printz award for excellence in young adult literature.

Green’s other novels are Looking For Alaska, Paper Towns, and The Fault in our Stars. He co-wrote Will Grayson, Will Grayson with David Levithan, and wrote the anthology Let It Snow with Maureen Johnson and Lauren Myracle.

John Green, as well as being one of the most well-known YA authors today, founded Nerdfighters with his brother, Hank Green. Check out their YouTube channel here.

Censorship

I believe censorship is a waste of energy. Before you completely judge me for that statement and say, “but little kids need to be protected!“, realize that I am talking about older children. What I mean is, once a child reaches a certain age, censorship is counter productive. By restricting media, parents only add to the curiosity.

When I was eight or nine, I was a huge fan of Britney Spears. I watched many of her live performances in which she danced around partially naked, but I didn‘t understand the controversy. I had neighbors who were appalled by my parents’ decision to let me idolize the pop star. I remember not being allowed to show their children my Britney calendar, and I didn’t quite understand why.

Around the same time, everyone was freaking out over Harry Potter being witchcraft. My best friend’s mother threw out my friend’s books, and expected my mother to do the same. Of course, my mom allowed me to keep the books. Then, my grandfather’s wife found out I was reading Harry Potter. She thought my parents and I were going to Hell, I am sure. So one night, I spent the night at my grandpa’s house, much like I did before he married that woman. The next morning, we went to her church, where the preacher talked about the evils of Harry Potter, and how anyone who read the series was on a straight path to Hell. Even at the age of nine, I recognized that I had been set up. I thought the whole thing was ridiculous. I wasn’t going to let that woman tell me what I could and could not read. When I got home, I read my books and loved them even more.

Children are typically restricted because many adults(falsely) believe children do not have the ability to separate fantasy from reality. As children get older, restriction is more based on mature content. When I was thirteen, I started to watch the reality show, My Fair Brady, which featured the marriage of model Adrianne Curry and Brady Bunch actor Christopher Knight. My mom advised me to stop watching the show, which only made me like it more. I was by no means a rebellious teenager, but I secretly watched the entire first season of My Fair Brady when it re-aired late at night. If my mom hadn’t told me to stop watching it, I would have probably gotten bored with it and stopped watching after a week or two.

By my teen years, my parents had no idea what I read. I mean, how could they keep track when I finished several books in one week? I primarily stuck to YA lit until I was sixteen, but you could say that I was greatly educated through more mature young adult books. When I was thirteen, my grandmother took me to Barnes & Noble to pick out books before I went off to summer camp. I remember picking out a few books on my own, and my grandmother picked up Kate Cann’s Mediterranean Holiday. Little did my grandmother know, she bought me my first book with a full-blown sex scene. My parents had no idea, but at that point, I read so much that it would have been impossible to censor anything I read.

The point is, once a kid reaches a certain age, they pretty much make those kinds of decisions on their own. If I’d been uncomfortable reading a book with a sex scene, I would have put it down. If I was uncomfortable and someone tried to stop me from reading it, I may have read it anyway. As long as the media is not negatively affecting a young person’s life, censorship only makes the person more rebellious.

Sweaters and Tea

Today is the first cold and rainy day of the season, which means I was able to wear a sweater today! I love wearing sweaters. I mean, you can’t be a stereotypical book nerd without loving sweaters.

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Think of Hermione Granger. Emma Watson always wore the cutest sweaters in the Harry Potter films. The Harry Potter wardrobe department showed the world that it is possible to be smart and attractive.

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Also, just look at Martin Freeman(John Watson in BBC’s Sherlock) in this picture. Isn’t that sweater fantastic?

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And then there’s this one from Sherlock’s Christmas episode after the creators of the show found out the fans were obsessed with Watson’s sweaters. It’s one of the best nerdy – yet wearable – Christmas sweaters I’ve ever seen!

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Another important component to a rainy day is an endless supply of tea and coffee. If you prefer tea over coffee, go with a black tea. My favorite black tea is Earl Grey. I don’t know if it’s just because the word “grey” is in the name, but I feel like everything about this tea makes the grey sky a million times better.

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If you are willing to spend $4 at Starbucks, I would suggest getting a London Fog(an Earl Grey latte with a shot of vanilla) on a rainy day. About a year ago, a friend of mine had me try a London Fog, and I have been paying for the overpriced tea with foam ever since. They are seriously addictive.

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Most importantly, rainy days are the perfect excuse to stay indoors, plop down in a comfortable chair next to a window, and read.

So put on your favorite sweater, brew some Earl Grey tea, and read a good book.

 

Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children

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As a child, Jacob was fascinated by the photographs and elaborate stories his grandfather told of the peculiar children who inhabited the orphanage where he grew up on an island off the coast of Wales. Eventually, Jacob realizes his grandfather’s stories could not possibly be true. Then, at the age of 16, he witnesses the murder of his grandfather in the woods. The murderer fits the exact description of an inhuman monster straight from the stories. Jacob decides to visit to the orphanage where his grandfather spent most of his childhood to see for himself that the tales have been figments of his imagination. Once he arrives on the island, Jacob finds there was more truth than fiction in the stories his grandfather had told about the orphanage.

Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children is Ransom Riggs’ first novel, and it is young adult fiction. The novel is a New York Times bestselling novel in the category of children‘s chapter books. It is an ALA Teens’ Top Ten Nominee for 2012.  Riggs is currently writing a sequel, which is rumored to be released in spring of 2013. As well as a sequel, fans anticipate a film adaptation. 20th Century Fox has purchased the film rights, but so far, a release date has not been set. Tim Burton has agreed to direct the film, which almost guarantees that the film will be a success. Jane Goldman, who is best known for writing films such as X-Men: First Class (2011), Kick-Ass (2010), and The Woman in Black (2012), will write the screenplay. A cast has not been chosen, but with Burton on the film, the selections are not likely to disappoint.

The story was heavily supported by vintage photographs of peculiar children, making it stand out from other YA novels on the shelves. I typically find photographs in novels pointless, but I thoroughly enjoyed the visual elements in Peculiar Children. Without the photographs, the book probably would not have had enough success to stand next to John Green’s The Fault in our Stars or Rick Riordan’s The Son of Neptune.

While I enjoyed the book, I did not read the novel that was advertised on the dust jacket. The plot was interesting, but it may have disappointed readers expecting a story filled with monsters. However, if you dive into the novel without expectations, the story will capture your attention. After reading the novel, I see that if the summary printed on the book had given an accurate description, it would have ruined much of the suspense.

Riggs’ novel had similar elements to those of Scott Westerfeld’s Midnighter’s trilogy. Without giving too much away, I would say Riggs and Westerfeld both play with the concept of time in ways that intrigue the reader.

The novel also has a style that mirrors Lemony Snicket, but for a slightly older audience. People who read The Series of Unfortunate Events as children will most likely enjoy Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children.