Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Top Ten Characters Who I Would Totally Want To Be For Halloween

TTTHi, Readers!

       Three days and counting until the spookiest day of the year!  Sometimes when I'm reading, I discover certain characters that I wish I could be.  And what better holiday than Halloween to become somebody else for a night?  This week's Top Ten Tuesday, hosted by The Broke and the Bookish blog, challenged bloggers to create a list of the Top Ten Characters Who I Would Totally Want To Be For Halloween.  Here it goes!  By the way, if I've reviewed a book below, its title is linked to the post.

1. Bast from The Red Pyramid, by Rick Riordan

Talk about a new take on the classic cat costume!  Bast is the Egyptian Cat Goddess, and she first appears in the novel as an actual cat.  However, I would focus on Bast's human look in my costume by wearing animal prints and applying some killer cat-eye winged eyeliner.

2. Mad Ophelia from Hamlet, by Shakespeare

In my AP English class this year, we read Hamlet and watched three film adaptations.  Each film, specifically the Olivier, Gibson, and Branaugh, interpreted Ophelia's madness in a different manner.  I would create my own take of her insanity by emphasizing the make-up and wearing a mid-century gown.

3. Isaac from The Fault In Our Stars, by John Green

The sassy blind side-character from TFIOS would make a quirky and understated Halloween costume.  I would dress like the movie version of Isaac, wearing tinted Ray Bans and a classy grey blazer.  Plus, for dramatic effect, I'd wear a name tag saying, "Hi, my name is... Isaac" so that people wouldn't be bugging me all night about my costume.

Effie Trinket
4. Effie Trinket from The Hunger Games, by Suzanne Collins

I think I'm somewhat influenced by the movie adaptation of The Hunger Games for this costume, but all of the Capitol fashions inspire me.  Wearing one of Effie's trademark colorful wigs or insane dresses would be the perfect ensemble for a Halloween dance.

5. Aslan from The Lion, The Witch, and The Wardrobe, by C.S. Lewis

Another kick-butt cat that I'd love to dress up as for Halloween is Aslan.  This king of the jungle is literally the king, and his ferocity is unmatchable, both in the Narnia novels and the movies.  I think that in order to dress up as Aslan, I'd probably just end up dressing up like a lion and then adding sparkles onto my face to seem regal.

6. Luke from Dream Factory, by Brad Barkley and Heather Hepler

I guess this would be a good excuse to dress up as an adorable chipmunk for Halloween, and it has the bonus of an interesting back story behind it.  The only downside of this costume is that Luke is not a very well-known character, but maybe this would be a good opportunity to spread the word about my favorite book!

7. A fairy from Fablehaven, by Brandon Mull

I'm sure there are tons of people who dress up as fairies for Halloween.  However, Brandon Mull's fairies are special.  They each have a different theme, per say.  For example, there are ice fairies, fire fairies, etc.  Each one looks unique and fantastic.  If I was to dress up as one of these fairies, I would choose an ice fairy because the make-up and costume would be gorgeous.

8. Patty Farrell from Diary of a Wimpy Kid, by Jeff Kinney

This nerdy chic pre-teen is one of my favorite characters in both the books and the movie adaptations of Diary of a Wimpy Kid.  From her wrestling to her part in the school play to her tennis playing, Patty comes along with a variety of costumes that are all equally as hilarious.  I would definitely use her movie's trademark braids and bangs in my costume.

9. Max Ride from Maximum Ride, by James Patterson

Max is the perfect combination of hard and soft - an angel who dresses in punk rock clothing.  She certainly demonstrates girl power and toughness.  In order to dress up as Max, I would wear a leather biker jacket and acid wash skinny jeans, but I would complete the look with angel wings.

10. Olaf the Snowman from Frozen

Ok, I know Frozen isn't a book, but I have a reason for putting Olaf on the list.  Aside from being my favorite cartoon character, Olaf is adorable.  I saw a little girl dressed up as Olaf at church a couple of days ago, and the cuteness factor was overwhelming.  So therefore, Olaf is the best costume.  Case closed.

I hope that you have enjoyed my Top Ten Characters Who I Would Totally Want To Be For Halloween!  Make sure you comment below with a link to your own TTT list, or leave a comment/suggestion about mine.

Happy Halloween!

Monday, October 13, 2014

It's Monday! What Are You Reading? Say What You Will

Say What You Will
It's Monday!  What Are You Reading?Title: Say What You Will
Author: Cammie McGovern
Publication Date: June 3, 2014
Publisher: HarperTeen
Genre: Realistic fiction
Pages: 352
Age Rating: Readers over 14
My Opinion: 5/10

Hi, Readers!

       There are some topics that authors have to handle with the utmost care.  Some of these topics include depression, abuse, and in this case, disabilities.  If the authors think about every single element of the story and how it will affect readers, these novels can usually turn out to be the most impactful pieces of literature.  However, when they're not done right, they leave readers with a sour taste in their mouths.  For this It's Monday!  What Are You Reading?, I chose to review one of the more sour works, Say What You Will, by Cammie McGovern.  The blogging meme is hosted by Teach Mentor Texts, Book Journeys, and Unleashing Readers.

       Amy has been kidding herself her whole life.  She has never had a single friend, and yet she pretends to be happy each and every day.  She has cerebral palsy, a condition that she entirely accepts, but she wishes it wasn't so difficult to meet other children her age.  Before her senior year of high school, Amy decides to drop the act and asks her mom to hire student helpers to carry her books during the day.  In a sense, Amy's mom is paying these children to be her daughter's friends.  Amy emails one boy in particular, Matthew, and invites him to be a student helper.  She has been observing him for years and is thrilled when Matthew accepts the invitation.  On the other hand, Matthew thinks he's a regular teen trying to make some money by working for Amy.  He doesn't realize right away that he is struggling with OCD and that he severely needs help.  When Amy and Matthew begin working together, they seem to learn more about themselves than each other.  They form a tight bond, but struggles such as college applications and prom threaten to tear their friendship apart.

       The best part about McGovern's book would have to be its honesty.  McGovern certainly doesn't shy away from difficult topics in the novel, even if they make readers uncomfortable.  She also does an excellent job telling the story over a long period of time and showing the minute changes in the characters' relationships.  I also enjoyed the changing perspective, which switches between Matthew and Amy.  It's especially interesting because, unlike most books with duel narration, both Matthew and Amy have disabilities that they are struggling to cope with.

       However, there were some things about this book that particularly bugged me, which is most likely because it had the potential to be such a fantastic work of literature.  First of all, I wish that Amy's condition was clarified.  Maybe I didn't read carefully enough, but there was never a clear explanation of cerebral palsy.  I wanted to look up more information about it on the internet to fully understand the book, but the disability really should have been described in the first few pages of the book.  Another thing that I really disliked about Say What You Will is the fact that Amy's mom paid people to be her friends.  I totally understand that Amy struggled to fit in, but paying people to be her friends is such a cliche that Amy's mother should have known it was doomed to fail.  There are so many other options that Amy's mom could have explored to benefit her child.  For example, in my high school, there is a club called Best Buddies that pairs together individuals of different backgrounds to build relationships.  Instead of renting friends, Amy's mom should have focused more on this positive building of friendships that will last a lifetime, like in Best Buddies.  Third, although I liked McGovern's inclusion of emails and text messages from Amy to Matthew at first, it started to become overkill.  There were pages upon pages of unsent emails that took away from the action occurring in real life.  One last thing that I disliked was how Amy let random kids fill her walker with beer and sneak it into prom.  The idea is entirely degrading, and Amy is such a smart kid that I couldn't believe she went along with the plan.  Of course, author Cammie McGovern was trying to demonstrate how Amy would go to extremes to make "friends", but I wish that she could have shown this in a more appropriate manner.
Read this instead!

       Sorry for the rant, but I believe that because McGovern wrote about such a sensitive topic, it must be handled very carefully.  I truly believe that McGovern for the most part handled the topic respectfully, but there were just a few elements that I really disliked, and I mean no offense to her as an author because the rest of the book was good.  I did enjoy reading the novel and it opened my eyes to completely different lifestyles, but I just couldn't ignore certain aspects of the book.  At this point in time, I don't think I would recommend this book to others.  If you are looking for a book with a similar plot line, I would suggest Out Of My Mind, by Sharon M. Draper.

Happy reading!