Monthly Archives: June 2015

Marriage Equality in America #LoveWins

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Today, history was made. The Supreme Court of the United States ruled same-sex marriage legal in all 50 states. And I could not be happier.

This has been a long fight and the road has been bumpy. Although this is just a small step on a wider scale, it’s still huge progress in the right direction.

Not so long ago, bi-racial marriage was illegal. Some of the laws in America are (and have been) unfair, but this doesn’t mean they can’t be changed. People can make a change.

I wonder who else remembers that in school, whenever we had to write persuasive essays, one of the most popular prompts was whether or not same-sex marriage should be legalized. I always picked that one because that’s the one I felt most strongly about. This topic caused so many heated debates, arguments involving religion amongst other things. Arguments about the sanctity of marriage. So many arguments.

Yet here we are now. In this great new day, in this great new country. Where anyone can marry anyone, regardless of the color of their skin or their gender. Where everyone has the freedom to decide whether they even want to be married. Being born with a certain skin color or sexual orientation is something out of our hands. But this is a choice. And finally, everyone has it.

More Happy Than Not by Adam Silvera – Book Review

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“Genevieve is right: I don’t want this happiness, but blind happiness is better than inhabitable unhappiness.” 

I am shattered. But oddly enough, I feel more happy than not. I can’t really explain it, but this novel really rattled my head. It made me think and reflect more than I ever expected. It stayed with me–in my mind–after I put it down at 3 in the morning and woke up with me a few hours later. The characters and their relatable problems never left me. They stayed with me and they haunted me.

Aaron Soto is a young boy living in the Bronx. He has a girlfriend who loves him and friends he plays games with and a dark past he can’t shake. Then he meets Thomas, and a great friendship blossoms. Aaron has a self-discovery like no other. The thing is, there were more than enough reasons not to side with Aaron in this novel, but I did, because he felt so real. He made mistakes, and he got hurt, and he hurt others, but that is life.

Wouldn’t it be great to be able to forget all the pain you’ve suffered? To erase the bad memories and keep only the good ones? Better yet, to keep the ones you think are real. Wouldn’t it be better to live in oblivion because ignorance is bliss? Wouldn’t it?

“Sometimes pain is so unmanageable that the idea of spending another day with it seems impossible. Other times pain acts as a compass to help you get through the messier tunnels of growing up. But the pain can only help you find happiness if you can remember it.” 

I really can’t encapsulate everything my mind went through while reading this. It definitely made an impact on me, but I can’t decide if it was positive or negative. It’s bittersweet. I loved the message it delivered. To be happy, no matter what. To remember the pain. It matters. Sadness and happiness both matter. You can’t know one without the other.

“I’ve become this happiness scavenger who picks away at the ugliness of the world, because if there’s happiness tucked away in my tragedies, I’ll find it no matter what. If the blind can find joy in music, and the deaf can discover it with colors, I will do my best to always find the sun in the darkness because my life isn’t one sad ending–it’s a series of endless happy beginnings.”

Book Shuffle

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We decided to do this challenge. It’s hit shuffle on your music, and select a book that it reminds you of it.

Isis

Song: Girl With the Red Balloon – The Civil Wars
Book: Where She Went by Gayle Forman
This song made me think of a person being so loved and so wanted without her actually knowing how much. In this book, Mia is the girl with the red balloon. The girl Adam can’t stop searching for.

Song: Atlantis – Ellie Goulding
Book: The Song of Achilles by Madeline Miller
In “The Song of Achilles” the main characters are always chasing after each other. Achilles leaves and Patroclus always runs to the rescue. This song fits this book so well it’s kind of funny.

Song: I’ve Got This Friend – The Civil Wars
Book: Dash & Lily’s Book of Dares by David Levithan and Rachel Cohn
If Dash & Lily had never met it wouldn’t have been such a shame, but these lyrics are so perfect for this book. The song made me relive this novel.

Song: Come on Eileen – Dexy’s Midnight Runners
Book: Carry the Ocean by Heidi Cullinan
The moment this song came on, I smiled. I was so happy. And reading “Carry the Ocean” made me just as happy. Maybe the lyrics have nothing in similar but the way it made me feel completely connected.

Song: Lovesong – Adele
Book: Pride & Prejudice by Jane Austen
This is a very meaningful love song. It’s sweet and melancholy and precious. That is the way I see Darcy and Elizabeth’s romance. It’s quiet too, but it’s very passionate. I’d imagine.

Nicole

Song: Trini Dem Girls by Nicki Minaj
Book: Beauty Queens by Libba Bray
There isn’t much similarities here. Just that it is set on an island and most of the characters are girls.

Song: Chills by Down with Webster
Book: Far From Xanadu by Julie Anne Peters
This reminded me of Mike’s feelings.

Song: Only You by Ellie Goulding
Book: Beneath a Meth Moon by Jacqueline Woodson
I thought of Laurel and how she felt about meth for some reason.

Song: These Streets by Bastille
Book: Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe by Benjamin Alire Saenz
This might be how Dante felt when he left for Chicago.

Song: Jet Pack Blues by Fall Out Boy
Book: Where She Went by Gayle Forman
I could see Adam singing this.

Carry the Ocean by Heidi Cullinan – Book Review

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I’m still trying to make sense of the awesomeness I just read.

“Everyone is different. Nothing in the world is the same as anything else, so how can anyone be normal?” 

I have no words. Carry the Ocean stole them all from me. This is the story of two boys. Emmett, who is an intelligent, lovely, autistic boy. And Jeremy, a shy, kind boy with severe depression and anxiety. Much of this story deals with both of their mental issues and the way they deal with them. It’s highly informative and it touches on very interesting subjects. I could relate to everything the characters were going through. I could empathize, and I could love them as much as they deserved to be loved.

Throughout the book, Emmett and Jeremy share a special relationship. It really brings the book together, they way these two boys care for each other. They truly understand one another, and it was a delight to read about their adventures as well as their struggles.

“People are good medicine, but they can’t be your foundation of functionality. You must build that yourself.”

I adored the way Jeremy overcame many of his obstacles. With the help of the wonderful people in his life, he was able to take on challenges that had been torturing him for a while. All I wanted was to protect that boy. I wanted to take all of his pain away. In the same way I wanted Emmett to succeed and be as happy as can be. His frankness was both endearing and hilarious. He was the most uplifting presence at times. At one point in the story, it hit me how much I loved these characters. It hit me so suddenly and I didn’t know what to do with this discovery.

“That’s the big thing I learned this year: it’s okay to go slow. That everybody else’s pace and definition of success isn’t mine. What is easy for other people isn’t necessarily so for me. Though some things are easy for me and hard for other people.” 

The only thing I can do is just recommend this to everyone out there. I was able to laugh, cry, and experience so many things in this novel. I read it slowly because the characters’ anxiety gave me anxiety, but once I overcame that it was a breeze. It was just all-around great. I can’t wait for more Emmett and Jeremy and my new favorite, David. Now I’ll have to watch the Blues Brothers!

“It’s like Elwood Blues says: everybody needs somebody to love. I’m an everybody. I get a somebody.”

Ashamed of Being a Reader?

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I’m an avid reader. I tend to carry a book with me everywhere I go. If not a physical book, then I’ll have one on my phone. This is all to restate, I read a lot.

I got into the habit of reading just a couple of years ago. Before that, you’d never catch me with a book in my hands. Not unless it was a book from the Twilight saga. (We’ve all been there). Recently, I went through my bookself and realized I have over 200 unread books. That’s a big number. It doesn’t scare me, though. I want to read all of them. I’m looking forward to reading all of them eventually. I want to keep my home library for as long as I can, to be able to go back to these pages and remember the experiences they gave me.

Recently, though, I’ve had quite a lot of people comment on my reading. People who have no filter or are just too blunt, have come up to me as I’m reading a book to simply ask me if I have a life. How could I ever have a life if I spend so much time reading? They think it’s not right to spend so much time delving into fictional stories. They judge me for carrying a book with me. They can’t understand.

My usual excuse for these insulting people is calmed and relaxed. I explain that I’m an aspiring author and reading is vital in my improvement and growth. They’re never fully satisfied with my response. They still give me looks of pity. There’s no point in clarifying anything to them.

I work full-time. I’m about to start college. I’m writing three novels. I go to bars, restaurants, parties. I go on trips. I co-run this blog.

If that isn’t a life, then I don’t know what is. And in the middle of all of that, I find time to read. Am I ashamed of being a reader?

Absolutely not.

Simon vs the Homo Sapiens Agenda by Becky Albertalli – Book Review

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I’m tired of coming out. All I ever do is come out. I try not to change, but I keep changing, in all these tiny ways. I get a girlfriend. I have a beer. And every freaking time, I have to reintroduce myself to the universe all over again.

I experienced this book entirely different from everyone else. The thing is, I came out of this book with a big depression. Why? It has one of the most cheerful endings I’ve ever read. And yet I wanted to burn the book and then cry for a hundred years. Hence, why I say I experienced it differently, probably from what the author intended as well.

This novel follows Simon Spier, a teenage boy who is secretly gay and secretly emailing a boy who goes to his school and calls himself Blue to keep his true identity secret. Simon constantly rediscovers himself and the world around him in really endearing ways. He deals with his sexuality, his family, his friends, and his love life.

I flew through this book. I picked it up and I could not put it down. It took me a while to fall for Simon, our main character, but when I did, I fell hard. That boy made me laugh and smile and roll my eyes all at the same time. His friends were really interesting, diverse people, and I really appreciated that variety. Representation is so important in books, especially young adult novels. So, I was cheering on for Simon and his happily ever after.

However, I did not love the ending of this book. I didn’t. And I wish I had. I waited desperately to solve that epic mystery and once I did, I wanted to take it back. I know that this is an unpopular opinion because the majority adores this book. And I can see why. It’s filled with great characters and important themes. Bravo. But none of this changes the way I felt about that reveal. I had my heart set on something much different, and I was apparently the only one who felt this way.

Anyway, I think this book affected me emotionally much more than any other book. Even my favorite books didn’t give me such a book hangover. I think I’ll go back to it in a few years and give it another read, and hopefully it’ll bring out the appropriate cheerful reaction from me.

Book Review-Point Pleasant by Jen Archer Wood

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Point Pleasant is a fanfiction turned book that explores the story of the Mothman. Along with the paranormal/mystery story line there is elements of friendship, family, and love. The basic gist of it is a man comes back home after thirteen years, and has to deal with everything he left behind along with the Mothman.

This book took me so long to get through, and I’m really proud to finish it. I did not like it though. Well, some elements were nice, but on the whole, no. It wasn’t my cup of tea. It told me more than it showed. The main character knew everything about everything. One look in someone’s eyes, and he would know  every little emotion they were feeling, and why they were feeling it. And the background. Pages and pages of background and explanations repeated over and over.

The relationship in it was very unhealthy. They manipulated each other throughout the whole book. At the end, they tried to get to a healthier relationship, but it was too late. I didn’t find either of them likable, and they were the main people. My favorite characters were in the story for less than fifty pages.

The good in this story would have to be the art, and the take on the Mothman was interesting. That’s pretty much it.