My Bookshelf: Lola and the Boy Next Door

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Title: Lola and the Boy Next Door

Author: Stephanie Perkins

Genre: Young Adult/Romance

Amazon Summary:
“Lola Nolan is a budding costume designer, and for her, the more outrageous, sparkly, and fun the outfit, the better. And everything is pretty perfect in her life (right down to her hot rocker boyfriend) until the Bell twins, Calliope and Cricket, return to the negihborhood. When Cricket, a gifted inventor, steps out from his twin sister’s shadow and back into Lola’s life, she must finally reconcile a lifetime of feelings for the boy next door.”

Jeers:

  • There was very little sympathy for Lola’s birth parents. People fall on hard times, it happens, and not everyone addicted to drugs is a terrible person.
  • I hated how long things dragged on with Max (the hot rocker boyfriend).
  • I think school is a much bigger deal in young people’s lives but she took away from that in order to force St. Clair and Anna in at the movie theater rather than just having standalone books.
  • The gift Cricket gives her at the end is like beyond what anyone could accomplish and is setting impossibly high standards (okay so I’m a little jealous but whatever).

Cheers:

  • I thought that the story was wonderfully 3D and I liked all the characters.
  • I loved Cricket, though I have no idea why he was actually into Lola.
  • It was a very sweet story and I enjoyed reading it.

Would I recommend it?:
Yes. I’d say read Anna and the French Kiss first, since the setting of Paris is way cooler than San Francisco (in my opinion) but all three books can be read in whatever order and you won’t be that confused. It’s really sweet and really captures the confusion of youth.

Amazon link:

http://www.amazon.com/Lola-Next-Door-Stephanie-Perkins/dp/0142422010/ref=cm_cr_pr_product_top?ie=UTF8

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My Bookshelf: Tales of The Madman Underground

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Title: Tales of The Madman Underground

Author: John Barnes

Genre: Young Adult/Historical Fiction

Amazon Summary:

“September 1973: The beginning of Karl Shoemaker’s senior year in stifling Lightsburg, Ohio. For years, Karl’s been part of “the Madman Underground”- kids forced to attend group therapy during school. Karl has decided that he is going to get out of the Madman Underground for good. He is going to act-and be-Normal. But Normal, of course, is relative. Karl has two after-school jobs, one dead father, one seriously unhinged drunk mother . . . and a huge attitude. Welcome to a gritty, uncensored rollercoaster ride, narrated by the singular Karl Shoemaker.”

Jeers (possible spoilers):

  • I did not want Darla and Karl to end up together. I don’t know if that’s even what happened, but Darla is fucked up and I didn’t like her.
  • There were a lot of people and I sometimes got confused on who some of the less central characters were.

Cheers:

  • Literally everything else.
  • The writing was good. The characterization was good. The plot was good.

Would I recommend it?:
Yes. I loved this book so much that I let a friend borrow it. She then kept it in her trunk for 4 months and it ruined it. It was a signed copy. I didn’t read it since then because it’s in shit condition, but I finally did and I’m glad I did because I forgot how much I loved it. (But if anyone wants to know why I have trust issues and won’t let people borrow my books, this is why.)

Amazon link:

 http://www.amazon.com/Tales-Madman-Underground-John-Barnes/dp/0142417025

DEAD

You know who I am. I’m the person no one likes. I’m the person no one wants to sit with at lunch. I’m the person who everyone knows is bad news. I’m the one person that you will always hate, even if you don’t know my name. I’m the freak, the loser, the weirdo. The one who’s different. I’m the one who no one will ever give a chance. The one who just can’t take it any more.

And you know what? I’m everywhere.

And you know me. Don’t pretend like you don’t. I’m the girl you tease because I still have braces. I’m the boy you shove in lockers just because I can’t fight back. I’m the girl you call a lesbian just because you don’t like me. I’m the boy you strip naked and tie to a goal post just because you want to have a little fun.

Because, really, we’re all just having a bit of fun. That boy you spit on for four years straight is having a real laugh with his therapist. That girl you teased until she took a blade to her wrist will smile proudly as she shows the scars from when she tried to take her own life. Its all just fun. Nothing serious, just a little joke.

That’s the problem with the world. Teenagers shouldn’t be taken seriously, as everyone knows. We don’t know anything. We’re just hormonal. There isn’t anything for us to be depressed about, we’re just kids. We can’t be so pressured to get into good schools and make good money that we have mild psychotic breaks, because our moms still cook us dinner every night. Our problems aren’t real, because we’re the children of middle class families. Our fears are simply foolish, because what we fear is nothing compared to the horrible reality of life. Our tears don’t matter, because a little name calling isn’t enough to knock the earth off it’s axis. Our love isn’t real, because we haven’t lived yet. We haven’t lived yet, and some of us won’t live at all.

5000.

That’s how many teenagers will kill themselves each year. But its not that bad, right? It could be worse, right? It could be 5500, or 6000, or 8000, right? There are billions of people in the world, so 5000 doesn’t matter, right? No one liked those 5000 kids anyways. They were just the kids who had bad hair and wore the wrong clothes and talked with a lisp and couldn’t play sports. They’re just the boy you make fun of and the girl you trip in the halls.

500000.

That’s a much bigger number, right? That’s the number of teens who try to kill themselves each year. Do you know how big a number that is? No? Think of Wyoming. The state. Look it up. See how big it is? About 500000 people live in Wyoming.

But its okay. No one really likes that state anyways. It’s nothing compared with California, Pennsylvania, or even Idaho. Wyoming is just a nothing little state. It’s unspectacular in every way. No one would even notice if everyone from Wyoming just died.

Excuses.

Would anyone notice if you died? Would the football team be able to find a new running back? Would the cheerleaders be able to complete their pyramid? Would your funeral be filled with crying friends and family? Would that girl that hates herself so much that she starves herself be missed? Or how about that boy who everyone is nice to, just nice, not friendly, because they all think he’s going to come to school with a gun?

Are you going to take teenagers seriously now?

I know I’m not. We’re just a bunch of whiners. I can’t think about killing myself without picturing someone saying how dramatic I was by jumping off the bridge. Or hanging from a tree. Or laying on the floor with an empty pill bottle in my hand.

Dead.

5001?

Isn’t it sad that down to my death I’m thinking only of what others think of me? I can only think about if maybe someone will talk to me or even smile at me or even wave at me just so that I could have a little hope. Shouldn’t I be able to go through life a strong, singular person?

No. I shouldn’t wait for friends or life or happiness. I should be that strong person and take matters into my own hands. I know how to stop the name calling. I know how to stop people from stepping on me. I know how to make just about every unpleasant thing in my life stop.

By stopping my life.

So here’s my plan. I’m not going to take anyone down with me. If someone else wants to stop their hurting, they’ll have to have the guts to do it themselves. No, what I’m going to do is make as many people hurt as possible. Not physical hurt, mind you. Just guilt. Remorse. Sadness.

I want you to feel as bad I do. I want everyone to read this. I want you to go to bed at night wishing that you could die too because it was you who killed me. You are the knife that cuts my wrist. You are the rope that stops my breath. You are the bullet that blasts through my brain.

Oh my. A gun. I wonder if I could get that into school.

So, will you take things seriously? I wouldn’t if I were you. I mean, 5000. That’s it. Today, I’ll be one of those 5000. You won’t see anyone at my funeral. You won’t see anyone asking me why I did it. You won’t see anyone missing me.

You’ll just see yourself in the mirror. Can you see yourself now? Look at that face. The face that everyone loves. That is the person who helped kill me. With your hate. With your actions. With your words.

Fat. Ugly. Freak. Faggot. Idiot. Spaz. Weirdo. Douchebag. Slut. Dumbass. Whore. Moron. Bastard. Twat. Skank. Dipshit. Asswipe. Asshole. Dult. Fatass. Bitch. Dork. Pussy. Jackass. Loser. Loser. Loser. Loser. Loser.

So after reading this, go to the empty classroom on the third floor. I’ll be there. I’ll be there and I’ll be waiting to burn the image of my dead body into the mind of all the students in the school. Has someone, a teacher perhaps, stopped people from going in? Push past them. Push into the classroom to see me dead. A real live dead person. Is there a lot of blood? And I a swinger? How did I do it? I don’t know yet. But you’ll know. You’ll know and you’ll remember it forever. Are the cops there yet? Did someone call the police? Did anyone scream? Faint? Puke? I bet you’ll faint if you haven’t seen me yet. You big chicken. Go look at me. I can’t hurt you. I’m dead as dead as dead. Someone trying to keep you out again? Tell them I sent you. I want you to look at me, no matter what! I want you to help everyone else get a look at me too. Step right up, folks, and see a real dead person! No gimmicks, no scams, and it’s only five dollars!

Just kidding. I won’t take your money. You can’t buy anything when you’re dead.


 

If you’re having suicidal thoughts please call 1 (800) 273-8255, the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline.

This is a complete work of fiction. 

My Writing Mentor

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I have been writing since I was in first grade. I started identifying as a writer in third grade, and in fifth grade I started doing it regularly. By the time I was a freshman in high school, I had finished a 50,000+ word “novel.” I kept writing, and I published my first novel in September.

I’m officially an author! It’s awesome, finally achieving this goal I’ve had all my life. I’m still just starting, but I’ve made about $40 so far. Yes, it’s not a lot, but that’s 4 pizzas I wouldn’t have been able to eat before publishing, and I’ll continue writing and continue building an audience and putting myself out there until it picks up, and I won’t give up. Because I honestly love writing. I don’t know what I’d do without it.

Knowing that, some of you may be surprised to learn that in middle school, I hated English class. Absolutely hated it. Mrs. J was my English/history/7th grade teacher (it was a small school) and she installed a deep loathing of English class deep into my soul. Mrs. J, if you’re reading this, you suck. Seriously. I never remember hearing one nice word from her.

I worked hard in her class, at first. I admit that I sucked at history, but I loved writing, even non-fiction, and I remember specifically that we had an entire lesson on poetry that included filling out a whole huge packet on poems over the course of the semester. I wrote poem after poem, and I never got any praise or anything out of it. Mrs. J blatantly had favorites, and only they ever heard nice things from her.

Mrs. J, I’ll once again say that you suck. I was bullied in middle school, and she knew, and she still made no effort to be nice to me. She didn’t like my mom, and my family didn’t have money, so she hated me. She made me feel like an idiot in her class, and if it wasn’t for my 8th grade teacher sitting me down with my parents and telling me that my test scores indicated that I was a smart girl, I would have believed that I was stupid. So thanks, Mr. R, for being nice to me. A+ for you. I’m sorry about when I forgot you were in my living room last year and you heard me talking about sex with my boyfriend. My bad.

Going into high school, I didn’t have high hopes for English class. Freshman year was pretty boring, mostly Shakespeare and vocabulary words, but then sophomore year I had Mr. C. Mr. C, a writer himself, was one of those amazing teachers who actually enjoyed teaching. He wanted everyone to think and learn and grow as a person. His class was about discussions and expressing ourselves.

Mr. C was the first person who told me I was a good writer. He encouraged me to submit short stories for publishing (erm… still working on that…) and called me a wordsmith. In front of the whole class. I believe his exact wording was, “I may not be a wordsmith like Bethany, but…” Yeah. I freaked out. It’s probably the best compliment I’ve ever gotten. I put great effort into picking the right wording to make things sound just how I want them, and to have it recognized was amazing. He really gave me the encouragement to keep writing, even if he couldn’t revive my interest in the study of literature.

Has any one person significantly influenced your writing? If so, how?