BOOK REVIEW | Saint Anything

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Rating: 5/5 Stars

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Summary from Barnes and Noble:

Sydney has always felt invisible. She’s grown accustomed to her brother, Peyton, being the focus of the family’s attention and, lately, concern. Peyton is handsome and charismatic, but seems bent on self-destruction. Now, after a drunk-driving accident that crippled a boy, Peyton’s serving some serious jail time, and Sydney is on her own, questioning her place in the family and the world. 

Then she meets the Chatham family. Drawn into their warm, chaotic circle, Sydney experiences unquestioning acceptance for the first time. There’s effervescent Layla, who constantly falls for the wrong guy, Rosie, who’s had her own fall from grace, and Mrs. Chatham, who even though ailing is the heart of the family. But it’s with older brother Mac—quiet, watchful, and protective—that Sydney finally feels seen, really seen, at last.

Review:

Sarah Dessen has a knack for taking hard hitting topics and making them seem relatable, even if you have never been in the situation covered or known someone who has.  These books take you to a place where you can remember a feeling you had once upon a time and allow you to empathize with a character and family you have never meet in your lifetime.  They allow you to relate to a situation that many hope to never experience.  That in itself is incredible, especially when many think that Young Adult contemporary literature is made of fluff and rainbows.

Saint Anything focuses on the life of Sydney, a girl who seems to be stuck in the shadow of a brother who is an addict, a brother who made choices that set his life on a drastically different path than hers.  Throughout the story it becomes very apparent that to her family Peyton, her older brother, is the sole focus and to some extent that is needed.  Dessen makes the reader aware of how one person’s choices effect the choices and decision of those around us by examining the relationship between Sydney, Peyton and their parents. Sydney from the start is seen as invisible to her family and in some cases she likes it that way.  But soon it became very much a story of finding a way to be seen and heard through the chaos.  Sydney is a character that finds a way to speak her mind and make herself seen to those around her simply by finding herself and in true Sarah Dessen form, ends up being a character that pulls at the readers heart strings and makes them empathize with a character whose traits they have seen in the people around them, if not in themselves.

Although Sydney is the main character is this story, the other characters find themselves becoming the prominent character throughout different parts of the book.  I have always felt that Dessen had a flair for making readers aware of the strings that hold everyon’es lives together.  When one string is cut or tugged or tied to another it sends ripples through the rest of the strings we are touching.  Saint Anything captured the most intensely beautiful idea that there is always at least one other person who can, if you will, feel when our string is being tugged or cut.

As a final thought I think it’s important to add that books like this in the YA contemporary genre start a discussion. They present the reader with the idea that YA contemporary can be fluff and rainbows but it can also dissect the lives of those around us.  Saint Anything presents situations like substance abuse, terminal illness, friendship and finding who you are and makes them relatable to the general public.  Books like this cause us to think and examine the relationships we form with those around us and why we chose the people that we did.  Dessen and so many other authors in the YA contemporary genre use books like Saint Anything to allow people to have their voices heard and to me that is the greatest and most incredible thing literature can do. I encourage everyone to pick up this incredible book.

BOOKS & MOVIES | 2015 Edition

Before I get this started I realized that I didn’t announce the winner of the giveaway for the Winter Re-Read-a-Thon book!  The winner was Cait Toliver and she chose to get Ask the Passengers by A.S. King!  So thank you to everyone who entered and participated throughout the read-a-thon!

Next I have heard from a couple people that they would be interested in doing some of the 2015 challenges with me so I was considering making a Goodreads group for the PopSugar challenge.  If you are interested in that sound off below and I will set that up and send out a link for everyone!

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Now onto the fun stuff!  Books have been a starting point for a ton of movies over the years.  Movies like Mary Poppins, literally any Disney movie (thank you Grimm’s Fairytales) and a host of others have all brought characters that we have fallen in love with to life on the big screen.  In some fashion it is a right of passage for books to make the transition from novel to movie.  Sometimes the movie does a phenomenal job of bringing light to a story that many people love, but sometimes it strays just a bit to far and makes people wonder just how much input the author had in the movie making process.

In 2015 there are a handfull of movies coming out that are based on books and I must say that I am incredibly excited for all of them to make their debut.  So I decided to put together a list of the book to movie adaptations that I am most excited for this year!

5. Paper Towns by John Green 

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This book was the second John Green book that I had the pleasure of reading.  While I didn’t like it as much as The Fault in Our Stars, it was still a great read and one that I would highly recommend.  The story follows to main character, a boy named Q and a girl named Margo.  Margo has always been adventurous and daring and when she disappears, Q makes it his mission to find his childhood friend.  John Green has had a major role in the making of this movie (he’s producing it), so I have tons of faith that this movie will stick very close to the book like The Fault in Our Stars did.

4. The Choice by Nicolas Sparks

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Let’s be honest here for a second.  If anyone is a hopeless romantic its me.  I read all the cheesy romance novels, love the hopelessly unrealistic love stories and swoon over the handsome man who sweeps the girl off her feet.  The whole idea of a slightly troubled relationship or the bachelor who just can’t grow up until he meets the perfect woman, OR the story of two lovebirds growing old together just tugs at my heart strings.  And let’s be honest now, Nicolas Sparks knows what he’s doing when he writes for us hopeless romantics in the world.  The Choice follows the story of a bachelor who ends up falling for the girl next door.  And then comes all of the wonderful Nicolas Sparks magic.  Nicolas Sparks books have always translated very well into movies so I am incredibly excited to see one of my favorites make the transition!

3. Dark Places by Gillian Flynn

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Gone Girl came out earlier this year and wowed everyone who went to see it, to my knowledge at least.  So when it was announced that Dark Places would be coming out this year I was super excited.  While I have not read this book yet, I did read Gone Girl and it was amazing.  If you haven’t read it yet I would HIGHLY recommend that you pick it up. Dark Places focuses on another chilling story, featuring the main character Libby, whose mother and sister were murdered in their farm house.  Libby’s testimony ends up sending her brother to jail for the crime, but then she joins Kill Club and starts to rethink was actually happened.  This story sounds amazing, haunting and chilling so I can’t wait to see what the all-star cast of this movie does with the story.

2. Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children by Ransom Riggs

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Speaking of creepy stories, this book by Ransom Riggs features not only a chilling story but also some brilliantly creepy photography inside it’s pages.  Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children is a young adult book focusing on a boy named Jacob who grew up listening to his grandfather’s stories of levitating girls and invisible boys.  After his grandfather dies, Jacob finds a strange letter that sends him to Welsh island where he finds the children that his grandfather told him about. It’s creepy and supernatural and I’m super pumped to see how they choose to translate this to film and if they do the sequel as well.

1. Mockingjay by Suzanne Collins

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MOCKINGJAY IS COMING! I couldn’t possibly be anymore excited to see the final chapter in the Hunger Games movie saga.  The Hunger Games trilogy is a dystopian novel that while many people realize is definitely disturbing but in a way that captures everyone’s attention and draws them in, also holds some terrifying parallels to our society today. We are the capitol and the districts all at once and that in itself is terrifying and heartbreak.  It’s also extremely interesting.  For me these books represent what Young Adult literature should be, especially in the dystopian genre.  Books are meant to make us think, make us notice things in our society we wouldn’t have before.  I have been incredibly pleased with this movie franchise so far and I can’t wait to see how they wrap things up.  You better believe I am going to marathoning this trilogy before I go to see the final movie.

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These are the top 5 book to movie adaptations I’m excited for this year.  Let me know down in the comments below which ones you are excited for and your thoughts on the ones I chose!

Anticipated New Releases | October

This Thursday is all about new books!  Now a good portion of the new releases this month of ones that are part of a series or trilogy that I have sitting on my shelf (seriously I need to get better at reading all of those), but some of them are stand alone novels or intros to new series.  I have a long list of new releases for October but here are my top 5!

 

1. Neil Patrick Harris: Choose Your Own Autobiography by Neil Patrick Harris

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As a kid everyone loved the choose your own adventure books, at least I know I did.  They allowed me to kind of be the writer for once and experience my own story in my own way.  Which honestly was really cool for a kid who loved books and fantasized about writing her own someday.  Neil Patrick Harris combined two of my favorite things in one area and I for one couldn’t be more excited.  It will be very interesting to see how his take on the choose your own adventure books pans out in autobiography form!

2. Snow Like Ashes by Sara Raasch

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It’s the year of circular cover themes in fantasy land!  While the circular theme has been circling (wooo for puns in the blog) it’s way around YA novels like Divergent and several others, I really enjoy the take this author has given it.  My inner cover snob is jumping up and down because this cover is absolutely gorgeous!  The plot for this book sounds amazing too.  This book has a kick ass female lead who decides to take her destiny in her own hands, even though ultimately she might have never been the one controlling it.

3. As You Wish: Inconvieable Tales From the Making of Princess Bride by Cary Elwes, Joe Layden and Rob Reiner (Foreward by)

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Wesley my love!  You’ve come back!!  Princess Bride is one of my all time favorite movies and if you haven’t seen it I highly recommend that you check it out!  Seriously this movie had it all.  Romance, pirates, murder, weddings, true love.  You name it, it had it.  I’m so pumped that this book is coming out to shed some light on the making of the movie.  Especially due to the fact that the main writer is Cary Elwes, one of the main stars of the movie.  I cannot contain my excitement for this book!

4. Even in Paradise by Chelsea Philpot

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This book sounds like an amazing contemporary.  Now I’m not entirely sure what this book is about but the cover was what initially caught my eye.  I know its a contemporary and from the looks of the cover it looks like it might be just the summer contemporary that I have been looking for!

5.  Kiss Kill Vanish by Jessica Martinez

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Valentina Cruz no longer exists.  If that doesn’t grab your attention I don’t know what will.  This book sounds fantastic!  I hadn’t heard of it until I was scrolling through Barnes and Noble a couple weeks ago and I’m so excited for this book.  Valentina is a girl who has witnessed something unspeakable, a crime committed by the two people who are closest to her.  This book sounds action packed and brilliant and I will definitely be getting it on my shelf as soon as possible!

WISHLIST WEDNESDAY: #3

Last week there was no Wishlist Wednesday but this week I’m back with a new book that I’ve been dying to get off my Wishlist and onto my shelf!  Wishlist Wednesday is a blog hop that is hosted by Pen to Paper!  As with every week if you would like to join and do a Wishlist Wednesday post of your own feel free and make sure to comment below so I can see what books you guys want to read as well!

 

This Weeks Book is…

Last Chance (Bite) by Sarah Dessen

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One of the first contemporary YA authors that I started reading was Sarah Dessen.  I’ve grown with her books and found new and amazing books that I love by her.  I thought I had almost all of them in my possession when I stumbled on this one on Amazon.  I didn’t even know this book existed and apparently it is one of the more elusive Sarah Dessen books!  I have yet to be able to find it any place other than Amazon and a possible copy on Abe Books.  I adore Sarah Dessen’s writing style so I’m astounded that I didn’t just buy this book when I found it!

Synopsis from Amazon:

Never in one place long enough to make friends or put down roots, Colie doesn’t expect her trip to the North Carolina coast to change a thing. Always the outcast, she’s resigned to a holiday with only her eccentric aunt Mira for company. But when she finds a job waitressing at the Last Chance cafe, she also finds acceptance, new friends, and the beginnings of romance..

BOOK REVIEW: Ask The Passengers

13069935Goodreads Review: 5/5 stars

Astrid is a girl who is struggling through finding herself and she’s doing it alone.  She’s doing it alone because she feels as though as can’t trust anyone else in her life not to push her in a direction or tell her that her thoughts are wrong.  So instead Astrid tells the people 30,000 feet above her in an airplane her thoughts and feelings.

This book deals with the issues of finding yourself, coming out, the LGBTQ community, stereotypes, bullying, forgiving yourself and learning to love who you are.  It presents the fact that we as humans need to be more accepting of others and not become the people in the cave (if you’ve read Plato you’ll get that).

Through a beautiful writing style that is honest and truthful, A.S. King sheds light on a topic that is not new but is still controversial.  I adored the fact that in her conversations with the people on the plane, they responded to her.  Their stories gave her an answer to her question.  And it brought up more topics that deal with relationships and forgiveness for mistakes.  I was ridiculously happy that this book was written in a way that expressed a view that accepted everyone whether they are black or white, gay or straight, fat or skinny.  It expressed the idea that people gossip but it’s not the end of the world even though it might feel like it.

I could go on for days about my feelings for this books but I think the quote from Lauren Myracle on the cover pretty much says it all.

“So special and perfect and true and right…I’ll hold it in my heart forever.”

THURSDAY QUOTABLES: Ask The Passengers

Thursday Quotables is a weekly book blog meme that is hosted by Bookshelf Fantasies and deals with quotes and passages from whatever book you are currently reading!

So this week (or at least today) I am reading Ask the Passengers by A.S. King.  I don’t really know how to describe how I feel about this book other than to flail about a bit and be in complete and utter awe of it.  I picked it up after watching Ariel Bisset rave about A.S. King in videos on her channel and I was not disappointed.  I will be posting my review of it later this week hopefully!

And the first quote from this book is my personal favorite:

“Is it okay to lie in order to be happy?”

This quote is from Astrid as she is sitting in her backyard contemplating her life and who she is and what she wants in a relationship and/or what is acceptable to want in a relationship.  For me this quote hit home and made me think of decision I’ve made in the past and whether or not it truly is acceptable to lie in order to be happy.  Whether you are lying to yourself or to those around you. Sound off below on your thoughts dealing with this quote!

The second quote and last quote that I will be using from this book is from a couple pages down and is another one that really struck me (keep in mind that I am not terribly far into this book yet):

“As I slwly walk down the aisle, I want to ask for their help. How do I forgive myself? I have an imaginary conversation with them, and then they tell me: Just do it.

This quote occurs almost directly after the previous one and it is from the perspective of the person on the plane.  I love the fact that the conversation of Astrid and the people 30 thousand feet above her mirror themselves and answer each other.  It is by far one of my favorite aspects of this book.

Now you all get to participate!  Sound off below about some of the quotes from what you are currently reading that made you think, or laugh, or just struck you as something you wanted to share! And don’t forget to check out Bookshelf Fantasies blog for more cool blog memes!