Saturday, September 19, 2015

It's Okay To Stray, But Don't Get Lost

     I've been in school for just over a month now, and honestly I didn't plan to want to be as, well, social as I am now. In my past two years of high school, it never seemed that important to constantly be with friends or boys, but now I suddenly feel like it's everything. For all the teenagers reading this, please take advantage of being being young. Go to that party and have a great time, or maybe you'll have a horrible time, you'll still learn from it. Go out with that cute person in your classes because maybe they're the one, or maybe you'll end up heartbroken and that's still okay. Why? Because it's more experiences and feelings that you can think about when you're older and if you like writing, you can use it in your writing.
     So, I'm going to get a little personal here. Recently I started talking to a guy that I had been school friends for a pretty long time and even though it was only for a couple weeks before it ended, I saw myself change a little. And when it ended, I realized how much I regretted my "change." Writing has been my life for so long and then when we were talking, I stopped writing for a week and a half. I'm actually really disappointed in myself for that. I also "dumbed myself down" when I talked to him because he wasn't in as advanced classes as I was and I didn't want to scare him away, haha. That is what really bugs me now, though, but I do find it a little funny, not sure why. I'm in AP Government, AP English Language, AP Capstone and Seminar, AP Physics, and French 2; I like school and learning and nerdy things. I was pretty much enlightened when I was sitting in AP Capstone and I was making jokes about the economic affects of the high prices of grapes. (How nerdy does that sound, right?) I saw that I didn't want someone who I couldn't make nerdy jokes with and who I could be smart with and not feel stupid about it.
     But, I don't regret it. If I hadn't of went through that, I never would have had that realization. I never would have seen what's really important to me in friends, boyfriends, and myself. Yes, I really liked this guy, but I see now that maybe he just wasn't right for me. The right person wouldn't distract me from my goals and make me feel wrong for being smart, though I'm not blaming him.
     Bad days are guaranteed to happen, too. Don't let those discourage you either. Wednesday, two weeks ago, I got a 64% on my AP Lang test because I didn't circle the answers, got a new seating chart in my French class so I had to sit next to the jerkiest, most arrogant boy I've ever met, and the guy I liked told me he didn't want a relationship. All in one day. There's going to be some pretty bad times, but they're only there to test you and remind you what you're really here for.
          The moral of my little story is: it's okay to stray, just don't get lost. What I mean is that, although it's great for you to spend as much time as possible with friends and make as many memories and experiences as you can, don't lose track of what you really want out of life. Experiences are what help you develop as a person and a writer, and you need to develop to become the best person you can be. However, you can't let that get in the way of your aspirations and dreams. Don't let people get in the way of what you want. If someone is holding you back from your full potential, kick them to the curb. There's always more friends and fish in the sea, and you'll find the right ones when you're doing what you love because they'll have the same interests as you. Don't be afraid to join clubs or try out for teams or talk to people you've never met. Everyone is in the same boat as you. Don't forget that. I turned seventeen yesterday, and look at all this elder wisdom I've already gained ;)

Saturday, September 12, 2015

What To Take Away From The Impossible Knife of Memory by Laurie Halse Anderson




Title: The Impossible Knife of Memory
Author: Laurie Halse Anderson
Publisher: Penguin
Genre: YA Drama
Source: school library
Pages: 391 (hardback)

Good Reads Synopsis

For the past five years, Hayley Kincain and her father, Andy, have been on the road, never staying long in one place as he struggles to escape the demons that have tortured him since his return from Iraq. Now they are back in the town where he grew up so Hayley can attend school. Perhaps, for the first time, Hayley can have a normal life, put aside her own painful memories, even have a relationship with Finn, the hot guy who obviously likes her but is hiding secrets of his own.

Will being back home help Andy’s PTSD, or will his terrible memories drag him to the edge of hell, and drugs push him over? The Impossible Knife of Memory is Laurie Halse Anderson at her finest: compelling, surprising, and impossible to put down.

“Yes it is, because you can only be brave if you're scared.” 

“You're the one who doesn't understand, I've been standing on the edge with you for years.” 

- - - - -

     This was the first book we read for my book club at school, and when I first was old about it I didn't think much of it because it was a drama and I'm more into action and adventure type books. Man, was I wrong. Yes, it's a drama, but it's so much more than that. It's actually suspenseful for some parts and there's romance, but not the mushy, somewhat-annoying kind. From the description, I knew it was going to be a deep, heavy book, but I didn't understand quite how deep it would get. Laurie Anderson covered a lot of controversial topics in this story, such as drug addiction, alcoholism, PTSD, and child neglect. In no way can I relate to the main character, Hayley, because we live two completely different lives, but she still felt real and had so much depth. Overall, this was just an amazing book.
     First, I'd like to point out my favorite thing about the story: the writing style. Laurie Halse Anderson has a gift, and I'm honestly jealous. Her word flow is GORGEOUS. Each sentence drifts into the next, making it so easy to read. I found myself reading faster than I ever have just because she made it so effortless. There were no pointless or confusing words and no "speed bump" words. There were some grammatical and spelling errors throughout the book, but no one's perfect. 
     I also loved all the tension and drama she created for Hayley. That sounds awful because she goes through some really insane, horrible things, but wow, it didn't go to waste. When authors show no mercy to their characters and just release every nightmarish things ever thought of on their characters, it's so entertaining. Like, "oh, you're running from a horde of demented zombies? Let me break your leg and turn your best friend against you. Then, I'll throw you off a cliff into freezing, shark-infested water." Nothing hooks people more than pain and distress, I mean really, who wants to read a book about someone who has a normal, untouched life? No one. Because that's boring. Little kids don't laugh at smiles, they laugh at people who fall over and break things.
     In contrast to Indelible, which I did my last "What To Take Away From" on, the story of Hayley and her father is so real. For Indelible, I said that it was too unrealistic, far-fetched, and confusing. This book is on the complete other side of the spectrum. I would have thought I was reading an autobiography if I hadn't known it was fiction. I don't know how to describe how legitimate the story felt, so read it. Just read it and you will understand.
     Finally, I really liked the character development and... reverse-development? Hayley watched her father slowly transform in front of her eyes, getting worse and worse all the time, and her friend's lives falling to pieces around them. There were a few main-ish characters and I really liked how all of their stories and pasts played into Hayley's and added to her own development, like her friend's emotional disintegration helped to create the Hayley we see at the end of the book. Her characters were thought out very well and it sounds so awful, haha, I admire the way she destroyed them. It was done beautifully.
                                                                                                                             -Taylor

Saturday, September 5, 2015

The Book Blogger TMI Tag


     So I know I'm not really a "book blogger" but I wanted to do a tag and I thought the questions for the book blogger TMI tag were good and still related to my blog, so I'll give it a shot!

How old are you?
     I am sixteen, turning seventeen in September.

What book are you reading?
     I just finished the Impossible Knife of Memory by Laurie Halse Anderson

What are you wearing?
     Jean shorts and a white tank top... as always.

Favorite OTP?
     This is probably the hardest question ever but I'm going with Four and Tris from Divergent or Patch and Nora from Hush, Hush.

Blogger or Wordpress?
     Blogger... that's kind of obvious...

Going outside and being active or staying in and reading a book?
     A mix of both when I'm not writing.

What is the last book you read?
     The original Peter Pan and Wendy.

What is the book you're going to read next?
     Icons by Margaret Stohl

Ebooks, yes or no?
     I would have to say no, but I mean, I'm never going to turn down a book.

Where do you prefer to read?
     It doesn't really matter to me as long as I'm comfortable.

Who is the last person you tweeted?
     The Candid Cover about songs that play in the credits of Shrek and Divergent because they're great, haha.

Who's blog did you look at last?
     Books and Ladders

Who is your favorite blogger?
     There's too many, but if I can choose a blogger from any genre, it'd be Zoella. She's my queen.

Who is your favorite booktuber?
    ABookUtopia and ReadByZoe. I LOVE THEM.

What do you do when someone tells you reading is boring?
     Recommend they read the Percy Jackson series because that's the series that got me hooked and it's a good series for people of all ages, even though it's aimed at younger readers.

Who is the last author you spoke to?
     Jenna Moreci over Twitter, if that counts.

Who is the last person you texted?
     My mom and dad in a group text. I don't really text that much.

Who is your all-time favorite book character?
     I'd probably have to go with Hermione or Fred and George from Harry Potter because I grew up with that series and always kind of looked up to Hermione, and Fred Weasley was my first real crush and still is.

UKYA or USYA?
     USYA I guess, because I live in the US and haven't really read any UKYA that I'm aware of. Is Harry Potter considered UKYA? If it is then I'm switching to UKYA.

What is your preferred drink whilst reading?
     Tea or water, the only two things I drink haha.

If  you hated reading, what would you be doing instead?
     Watching movies and maybe have a social life... maybe.

How many bookshelves/bookcases do you have?
     I have a massive pile of books stacked against the wall next to my bed. It's my favorite thing in my room.

If you had the choice to meet all your favorite book bloggers or all your favorite authors, which would you pick? 
     Sorry guys, but all my favorite authors. Honestly, who would pass that up?

Insta-love: yes or no?
     No, because the characters need to develop a love interest, unless there's something that attracts them, like the umbrella in How I Met Your Mother.

Favorite Author?
     J.K. Rowling. She's my idol. Her world building and detail just blows me away.

What is the number-one book on your wishlist?
     Probably Four by Veronica Roth because Divergent is life.

Do you prefer books with female or male protagonists?
     It doesn't matter to me, as long as they're relatable.

What is the last song you listened to?
     Thunder Clatter by Wild Club.

Which do you enjoy reading more- negative reviews or positive reviews?
     I guess both.

                                                                                                                    -Taylor