All the Bright Places ~ Jennifer Niven

Theodore Finch ran into Violet Markey on top of the bell tower at school and his life was forever changed. Finch was fixated on suicide. Any well-known person who had killed themself, he knew the story. Violet had suffered through losing her sister in a car accident. Both teenagers were struggling mentally, but in a way, they saved each other. Finch became as fascinated with Violet as he was with suicide, because he knew something was not right with her, even though most people thought she was fine.

Mr. Black was one of the first people to not continue Violet’s extenuating circumstances when he forced her to work with Finch on a U.S. Geography project about the best places in Indiana. Because of his actions, Violet became close to someone she would not have otherwise. The relationship between Ultraviolet Remarkeyable and Finch changed both in ways neither could imagine. Violet stopped wearing her sister’s glasses (the ones that she did not need), grew out her bangs, and began driving again. Finch “stayed awake” for longer than he ever had before.

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Top Five Wednesday ~ Characters You Wish You Could Drown

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Top Five Wednesdays were created by gingerreadslainey. To see the list of topics, who else participates, and the rules, you can check out the Goodreads group.

This week’s topic is the top five characters you wish you could drown. This was quite a difficult topic for me, because I struggle to dislike characters. I always find myself making up reasons that the characters are good people or have good reasons for what they did, and I guess I am pretty good at convincing myself. Well after much thought, here we go!Read More »

My School Assigned Summer Reading

School is almost officially out (only two more finals!), which means it is unfortunately time for summer assignments from school. I have summer assignments from four classes including AP Statistics, AP Physics, AP US History, and English. Every year since the summer before eighth grade, it has been required to choose a fiction and a non-fiction book from a set list, all following a certain theme. For each book, we either have to annotate a copy of the book or write ten journal entries. Some books I have read in the past for these assignments were The Book Thief by Markus Zusak, Farewell to Manzanar by James D. Houston and Jeanne Wakatsuki, Marcelo in the Real World by Francisco X. Stork, and Uprising by Margaret Peterson Haddix. This summer, the theme for the assignment is Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness. Along with this theme, the essential questions we are supposed to address are…

How does one define the American Dream?

How are American values affected by various social factors?

How do race, gender, and economic status affect one’s social standing in America?

What are the vices and virtues of the American Dream?

The two books I have chosen from this list are Little Brother by Cory Doctorow and Outliers: The Story of Success by Malcolm Gladwell. I had not heard about either of these books previously, but what I love about this assignment is the introduction to new books I never would have read before. I am going to include a Goodreads synopsis for each of these books below, just in case anyone wants to read them. If you have read either of these books, or have heard anything about them, let me know. I really hope I end up enjoying them.

Little Brother (Little Brother, #1)Marcus aka “w1n5t0n,” is only seventeen years old, but he figures he already knows how the system works–and how to work the system. Smart, fast, and wise to the ways of the networked world, he has no trouble outwitting his high school’s intrusive but clumsy surveillance systems.

But his whole world changes when he and his friends find themselves caught in the aftermath of a major terrorist attack on San Francisco. In the wrong place at the wrong time, Marcus and his crew are apprehended by the Department of Homeland Security and whisked away to a secret prison where they’re mercilessly interrogated for days.

When the DHS finally releases them, his injured best friend Darryl does not come out. The city has become a police state where every citizen is treated like a potential terrorist. He knows that no one will believe his story, which leaves him only one option: “M1k3y” will take down the DHS himself.

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In this stunning new book, Malcolm Gladwell takes us on an intellectual journey through the world of “outliers”–the best and
the brightest, the most famous and the most successful. He asks the question: what makes high-achievers different?

His answer is that we pay too much attention to what successful people are like, and too little attention to where they are from: that is, their culture, their family, their generation, and the idiosyncratic experiences of their upbringing. Along the way he explains the secrets of software billionaires, what it takes to be a great soccer player, why Asians are good at math, and what made the Beatles the greatest rock band.

My Newly Organized Bookshelves

After my super fun day at BookCon, I needed a new place to store my recently acquired books. My bookshelves had previously been super organized, but I was ready for a change.

My empty bookshelves….

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My piles upon piles of books….

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And after hours of me avoiding studying for finals and getting distracted by other things…

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Thanks for reading! Let me know if you have any suggestions for new blog posts or book review…

Top Five Wednesday ~ Books You Read in One Sitting (or close to)

118368It has been two and a half months since I have started this blog and I have decided to try something new. Top Five Wednesdays were created by gingerreadslainey. To see the lists of topics, who else participates, and the rules, you can check it out in the Goodreads group. The week’s topic is books you read in one sitting or close to.

5) Bunheads ~ Sophie Flack

I read this book a couple of years ago, and being a dancer myself I found it relatable. The author of this novel was actually a professional ballerina, which makes the novel so much more accurate in depicting the emotions involved in dancing.

4) The Darkest Minds ~ Alexandra Bracken

I think anyone who has read this book can understand why I finished it so quickly.

3) The Giver ~ Lois Lowry

Being a typical hater of classics, I was not sure how much I was going to enjoy this novel. I read it because I had seen the trailer for the movie and ended up absolutely loving it. After the reading the book I was extremely disappointed by the movie.

2) Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe ~ Benjamin Alire Sáenz

I cannot explain why I enjoyed this book so much. The emotions throughout the story just captured me and would not let me put the down the book until there was not anything left to read.

1) Paper Towns ~ John Green

I know, I know, everybody read Paper Towns in one sitting, but between the black santas, peeing in beer bottles, and road trips in graduation gowns with no underwear, how can you not finish the book in one sitting?

So that is it for my first Top Five Wednesday! Let me know if I should do more of these in the future. 

Where She Went ~ Gayle Forman

8492825Anyone who has read If I Stay, knows the heartbreaking story of Mia Hall, her family, and Adam Wilde could not help wanting more at the conclusion of the first novel. Where She Went continues the story of Mia and Adam a couple of years after the accident. In the heart of New York, Mia is about to graduate from Julliard and Adam is about to kickoff a world tour with his band, Shooting Star. Adam had been struggling for a while due to the stress of being a new superstar, and at one of his low points, saw an advertisement for a concert Mia was performing at. After talking during her concert, old memories came flooding back and it felt like they had lost no time at all. Unfortunately, life gets in the way sometimes…

I could not stop reading this book once I started. I loved seeing certain aspects of Mia and Adam relationship from Adam’s point of view and how the accident affected him. I typically enjoy sequels that tell the same story from a different perspective, and that did not change with this novel. That is one of the reasons I cannot wait to read Another Day by David Levithan, which I got an ARC of at BookCon.

I especially enjoyed how the novel explored the psychological issues Adam had after becoming a rock star. It really puts into perspective how people can appear to have everything, yet feel like they have nothing.

At one point in the novel, Adam alluded to the scene in Macbeth in which Lady Macbeth was trying to get blood off her hands. This was ironic because I read that scene in Macbeth in English the morning before I read that part in the book. The next day I ran into English class and started screaming to my teacher about how my book alluded to Macbeth and ended up giving her the plot of the entire story…oops.

I recommend this book to anyone who read If I Stay, and if you have not read If I Stay, what are you doing with your life? I definitely want to read more books by Gayle Forman, especially after seeing her at BookCon. She was such a nice and funny person and has such an interesting perspective on life.

BookCon Experience & Haul 2015

Well it has been about a million years since BookCon, but I have been drowning in school work for the last two weeks and have not had a free second to write a blog post! Fortunately, I only have four finals left and then I will be free.unnamed

Anyway, BookCon was absolutely amazing. I took a seven o’ clock train into Penn Saturday morning, and arrived at Penn around eight. The walk to the Javits Center took around twenty-five minutes and by eight thirty I was on the line that wrapped around the Javits Center four times. I had previously been told they were opening the doors at eight, but they did not open the doors until around nine. As soon as we were let in, I ran with my mom and my cousin to the Queue Hall and got on line for the Paper Towns Panel, which we luckily got into. After they distributed wristbands around ten, I ran up to the showroom floor.

John Green Wristbands
John Green Wristbands

I was on line for Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell and was one of the last people to get a copy. When I was waiting on line, they had told me I was most likely not going to get a copy, so when I did I was super excited. After that we ran down to the Word bookstore, which was the worst aspect of BookCon. After seeing how incredibly long the line was, my cousin and I went to the BFFs Forever Panel while my mom waited on line and bought the books we needed.

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Marie Lu Autographing Session
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Alexandra Bracken
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Adam Gidwitz
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Rainbow Rowell Signing Party

The BFFs Forever Panel was by Jenny Han, Sarah Dessen, and Gayle Forman and it was absolutely amazing. They were all so entertaining and every person in that room was laughing hysterically. After the panel, I had learned that the Jenny Han autographing line had maxed out because they allowed people to start lining up two hours before the autographing sessions. As soon as I was told that, I got on line for the Marie Lu autograph session. Because I had so many back to back events planned, my mom helped me hold spots on line. This allowed me to also get into the Alexandra Bracken and Adam Gidwitz autograph sessions. Once those were finished, I ran upstairs for the Rainbow Rowell signing, which was a ton of fun. To conclude the day, I went to the Paper Towns Panel, which was absolutely AMAZING. I could not believe I was in the same room as John Green and could not stop fangirling the ENTIRE time. All of the authors were super nice and accommodating. They signed everything I asked, but could not personalize everything. Each author was also willing to take pictures.

And now for the haul…

IMG_6241Out of everything I got at BookCon, I only paid for four books and I brought one from home. The four books I bought were Legend and Champion by Marie Lu, and two copies of the special edition of Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell. The reason why I got two copies of Fangirl was I got one for myself and one for my friend. My friend is turning sixteen next month and I actually got Rainbow to write “Happy Sweet 16 Ashley,” and sign the book. I am so excited to give the book to her because she absolutely loves Rainbow’s books and I cannot wait to see her reaction.

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Walking around the show floor, I picked up a copy of Breathe, Annie, Breathe by Miranda Kenneally. I have not heard anything about this book, but it was a free young adult novel and I am excited to read it. I also got a copy of Cold Mountain, which is a graphic novel. I have not read many graphic novels and am hoping this one is a good introduction to more graphic novels. I also got Advanced Readers Copies of Illuminae by Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff, which I have heard amazing things about and Another Day by David Levithan, which I am super excited to read because Every Day was absolutely amazing. Another ARC I got was Nightmares: The Sleepwalker Tonic by Jason Segel and Kirsten Miller. When I was on line for Alex Bracken and Adam Gidwitz, they passed out a booklet of chapter samplers of three new Star Wars books which Alex, Adam, and Tom Angleberger signed. Finally, I got chapter samplers of The Masked Truth by Kelley Armstrong and Passenger by Alexandra Bracken.

IMG_6237Some non-book things I got at BookCon were buttons related to The Maze RunnerFangirl, Landline, and Carry On. I also got a huge Paper Towns movie poster while I was there.

Ultimately, I had an amazing time at BookCon this year. Unfortunately, BookCon got moved to Chicago next year, but hopefully I will take a long-weekend trip there and go to BookCon while I am there. For anyone going to BookCon in the future, I definitely recommend having a schedule and not getting upset if you miss something. Having someone who waited in long lines for me made the day so much better, and if you can bring someone with you to wait on lines it would help a lot.