Author Archives: alliecat88

Book Reviews: Forever by Judy Blume

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I was looking forward very much to reading this book after all I had heard about it: “it’s a teenage classic” “bound to be adored by even the new generation of teens” etcetera…
Unfortunately, I was completely disappointed with the actual content of the book. It tries far too hard, and takes itself too seriously, most of the time seeming more like you’re reading the inner monologue of a condescending Health teacher rather than a teenager. The characters are irritating, flat and have next to no personality. Kath’s best friend being among the most annoying with her constant, seemingly random personality shifts and complete lack of realistic attributes. For a book of less than 200 pages long it tries to cram far too much into the one book – loss of loved ones, depression and suicide, sex and relationships and more – and leaves every single plotline flimsy and undeveloped. I don’t know what things were like in the seventies, when this was written, but the actions and speech of the teenagers in this novel have no relevance to teenagers today and therefore no impact.
There are dozens of books which have taken similar plot points and turned them into wonderful, impactful stories about relationships and growing up (see Before I Fall or The Perks of Being a Wallflower as examples). This is not one of them. Recommended for ages 15-18. Contains sexual references, sex scenes, coarse language and mature themes.
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View this book on Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/37743.Forever?ac=1

Book Reviews: How I Live Now by Meg Rosoff

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I have a number of mixed feelings about this book, which is interesting but has a great many flaws.
On one hand, the story’s premise is a good one, and Daisy makes for a good, strong narrator, but there are many things which make little sense in the circumstances of the story, or that are just downright gross. The first and most obvious thing within the story is the questionable romance between Daisy and Edmond – I like to think I have a very open mind when it comes to novels, but I do have to say that doing unspeakable things with your underage first cousin, who can, for some absurd reason, hear your thoughts, is digusting. End of story. Another issue I found was with the writing style, which had no indication of dialogue aside from capital letters in lieu of speech marks, and by the end of the novel became incredibly confusing. Not much is done to expand the plotline of the war either, aside from a few grotesque scenes, the novel focuses mostly on Daisy and Piper’s journey, which was fine but made the war an almost unnecessary afterthought in the story. By the end of the book all semblance of sense within the writing style and plot fragments, and the conclusion feels confusing and clumsy after what was, despite it’s faults, still a fairly satisfying book. The main high point of the story was Piper, who appeared to be the only character who maintained some degree of sense throughout the book.
Not terrible, but not the most enjoyable book either, this makes for some interesting casual reading but lacks substance and logic.
Recommended for ages 15-17. Contains sexual references, coarse language, violence and mature themes.
Star3

View this book on Goodreads: http://www.goodreads.com/book/show/161426.How_I_Live_Now?ac=1
View all current information on the movie adaptation: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1894476/?ref_=sr_2

Movie Reviews: Warm Bodies

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A surprisingly touching and tender movie, despite it’s loose horror theme, Warm Bodies is an unexpected gem of a rom-com.
The special effects in all but a few scenes are realistic enough, and the makeup is fantastic, but the real driving force behind this delightful movie is the actors. Nicholas Hoult is stellar as the love-struck zombie, R, and almost impossible to look away from. The way his face fills with all the hope and fear and love and vulnerability R feels without ever betraying his undead characteristics or saying more than a few words at a time is amazing to watch. Teresa Palmer is also excellent as Julie, the object of R’s affections and Rob Corddry and Analeigh Tipton (M and Nora, respectively)’s few lines are some of the movie’s best.
While I had hoped for a bit more comedy, as this is classified as one, I was still endlessly entertained and thrilled by Warm Bodies, and blown away again and again by Hoult’s performance.

Star4

Book Reviews: Anna and the French Kiss by Stephanie Perkins

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Undoubtedly the sweetest book I have read this and possibly any year, this narrative is one of love and friendship and family, all neatly wrapped up with some sharp witticism thrown in.
At its heart this is a simple yet deliciously tingly romance, but readers will also find passion, humour, and perhaps even a few tears within its pages.
Anna’s story is a richly woven one, and is sure to please fans of romances of all kinds. The setting, the food, the characters – all is magical and adorable and perfect.
This is exactly the kind of romance teen literature needs more of. It’s dramatic but not overdone, and charming and funny and silly and healthy, which many teen novels seem to lack nowadays. There is no co-dependent, angsty girls here, clinging onto the guys they like with all their might. There is just simple, beautiful connection, which is how life and love should be, and is ultimately the greatest theme within this novel – the connections we form with other people, for better or worse.
Recommended for ages 14+. Contains sexual references, coarse language and moderate themes.
Star4.5

View this book on Goodreads: http://www.goodreads.com/book/show/6936382-anna-and-the-french-kiss?ac=1

Book Playlist #1

Music and books are often bound together perfectly – songs can inspire the writing of novels and vice versa.
So here is a list of songs (with links) and books which I think match each other well, hope you enjoy!

Will Grayson, Will Grayson by John Green – To Whom it May Concern by The Civil Wars

Mockingjay (The Hunger Games #3) by Suzanne Collins – No Light, No Light by Florence + the Machine

Vampire Academy by Richelle Mead – Better Than Revenge by Taylor Swift
(bear with me, sceptics, the lyrics of the song match the Rose/Lissa/Mia situation perfectly)

Crossed (Matched #2) by Ally Condie – And Run by He Is We


Runaway (Airhead #3) by Mag Cabot
– Superhero by Cher Lloyd

Hope you like my first book playlist, feel free to comment suggestions for songs and books which I can use in another list!

Book Reviews: Hold Still by Nina LaCour

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This book was good, but it could have been much, much more. What was meant to be a story of grief and loss felt underdeveloped and slightly unrealistic, relationships between characters were often confusing and it didn’t seem like the behaviour of the teenaged characters was quite right. The boys populating the story seemed more like the fantasies of what girls want them to be like – openly sensitive and vulnerable in a way that I have never heard of guys acting. I have also never heard a guy say “he’s my best friend” about someone, yet they say it frequently in this story.
Despite its flaws, this was not a bad book. It had its good parts and many of the characters were interesting, it just was not as deep or powerful or thought-provoking as it could have been. The way the characters deal with their grief, while probably in line with real-life reactions, didn’t strike any chords with me as a reader. All I could glean from it was that if I lost my friend, I would have no amazing carpentry or photography skills to fall back on.
All in all this felt more like a Looking For Alaska by way of Paper Towns attempt, with a little bit of Thirteen Reasons Why thrown in but it never reaches the emotion or poignancy of John Green or Jay Asher’s work. Somehow, though, I still found things to enjoy about this book. It’s worth checking out if only for the awesome cubby-house ideas. Recommended for ages 15-18. Contains coarse language, mature themes and sexual references.
Star3
View this book on Goodreads: http://www.goodreads.com/book/show/6373717-hold-still?ac=1
View all current information on the movie adaptation: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt2334536/?ref_=fn_al_tt_1

Movie Reviews: The Mortal Instruments: City of Bones

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There should be no doubt in anybody’s mind that this movie was designed for those who had read and loved the book, rather than as a movie that could stand on its own. There are gaps in the movie that are filled in the book, so for those people who hate this movie and are dismissing it as Twilight-esque, I encourage you to read the books. I think this movie would be better enjoyed as a companion to the novel. Nonetheless, it was highly exciting and enjoyable and stuck to the original story about as much as could be expected. Some highlights for the movie were the inclusion of some of the funnier lines from the book, which sets the story apart nicely, and Jamie Campbell Bower and Robert Sheehan who play Jace Wayland and Simon Lewis to perfection. It’s no fantastic, it’s not horrible, it is just what you would expect – a funny, action-packed and enjoyable movie best enjoyed along with the novels rather than as an alternative.
WARNING: If you have only read the first book than I suggest waiting to see this until you have read City of Glass, as they added some major spoilers for some reason!
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