Sunday, December 30, 2012

Merry Christmas!!

The best Christmas book ever, in my opinion, is "The Best Christmas Pageant Ever."

Just sayin'=)

We had a wonderful Christmas Day and are having a wonderful Christmas season!! I wish you and yours many blessings this season and throughout 2013!!!

My family went for a walk the day after Christmas through a local park-- thus, the pictures. It was very majestic walk and I always love spending time with my family=)

Friday, December 14, 2012

The Joy of Reading

Life can be hard. High school life can be really hard, I'm finding out. Some teachers are nicer than others; some make more sense than others. People float around in bubbles, you could say, not wanting to let anyone in or anyone out. Friendships change. They fade away or strengthen. Everything in this life changes. And that can be a good thing and a bad thing. Actually, I wouldn't keep everything the same even if I could.

But in this ever changing world, books are the only thing that remain the same. And I love that. They can be the most real part of this world. They can be the most sane part of this insane life. Their characters are just as real to me as the air I breathe. I can always visit them in my mind and feel them in my heart. They are the only people who can be guaranteed to never change, to always remain faithful. Some of the most real relationships I've had, I've had with characters. From Anne Shirley to Severus Snape, every single character of every single book I have read has a place in my heart. From Elizabeth Bennet to Minny Jackson, they are all part of me.

My ten-year-old sister is officially hooked on reading. She began reading Harry Potter a few days ago and is enthralled. She has been swept away in the fascinating world of Hogwarts. My mom told me that she's been smiling and crying and laughing. I'm so happy that she is finally enjoying reading! I guess the only that I am disappointed about, though, is that she "HATES" Severus Snape. Ugh, I'll have to work on that. . . .

I'm so happy, though, that she'll meet the characters that never cease to amaze me. And that she is discovering that not all things that take place in your head aren't real. . . .

"Of course it is happening inside your head, Harry, but why on earth should that mean it is not real?” -- J.K. Rowling, via Albus Dumbledore

Sunday, December 9, 2012

If I Stay and Where She Went

Books: If I Stay and Where She Went
Author: Gayle Foreman
Rating: PG14 for language, mature subject matter, and sexual content

These books have left my mind in a total state of awe. WOW. WOW. I have learned so much from the characters, the writing, the plot, and the author. Gayle Foreman is an amazing writer who can vividly portray her characters and their stories. Seriously, the story jumped off the page.

What I Liked
The first book (If I Stay) was incredibly touching. It is the story of Mia, a typical teenager with a love for music, who is in a horrific car accident with her family. While in the hospital, she reflects on her life; past, present, and future. The characters became so real to me. From the first sentence, I was placed under a spell and practically lived in Mia's world for a few hours.

I had high expectations for book 2, Where She Went, that were not completely met. The story is good, but it lacked a certain "real" factor that the first book had. Where She Went is about her life after the hospital, told from her boyfriend's point of view. This book was still a good read and I liked it for many of the reasons I liked the first (good plot, good dialogue, and I got to revisit all of the characters).

Both of these books portray the message that life is beautiful. Life is fleeting, life is short. We don't know when it will end. One of my favorite songs ("One Life to Love" by 33 Miles) has a line that says that you only have "one chance to find out the one thing that you don't want to miss." That was what this book practically screamed. Value your life and don't be anxious about the future. Just live in the present and value the people who are in your life now.

What I Didn't Like
I don't have a major problem with swearing in books. I don't do it, I don't condone doing it, but sometimes a swear word just fits in a book. Take The Help, for example. The language fit with The Help. It fit with the certain characters and that time era. And none of the words were extremely bad, crude, or offensive.

That was not the case with these books.

Swear words and crude language were practically dripping off of the pages. Swearing happens, I know that. But this book could have been so much better if some of the language had been left out, because it just didn't fit in most of it.

Though the swearing was disappointing, the thing that disheartened me the most was the sexual content. There was nothing explicitly pornagraphic about these books, but many relationships of a sexual nature are described. For example, in the second book, a male character remembers of the one night "flings" that he has previously been experienced. He talks about never wanting to see that person again after the night was over and just wanting to move on. This is not only wrong, but also degrading to women. Certain women are portrayed as no more than mere accessories to a partying lifestyle.

In an attempt to be real, these books were fake. I've heard the argument about how sex is a part of life and books are about life. I understand that there are going to be pregnant characters and total womanizers in some books. Another of my problems with that is that there are no consequences to these actions. In most YA books, pregnancy is usually not an outcome. There is rarely an emotional consequence either.

In Sum
As Young Adult writers, we have mostly teens reading our books. Being a teen, I speak from the perspective of both a writer and a reader. When teens read what we have written, we become responsible in some way for their thoughts and actions. By placing a lot of sexual content in our books, we are condoning sexual relationships before marriage. We need to tell teens (and adults) that there are so many reasons to wait for the man that God has planned for you! If a sexual relationship is absolutely necessary to the story, then my challenge to you is to show it in a real light. Show the consequences.

And remember, as authors in general, we are responsible for people who have read our books. We also need to remember because of that, we will be tempted to put less-than-moral things in our books. We need to remain steadfast to our morals and our beliefs.

Thank you for reading=)

It. Is. Finished.

. . .no, not my book, unfortunately, but that mad 30 day adventure known to Wrimos as NaNoWriMo. Though I did not finish my novel, I got a lot done and was finally able to find time to write again.

I know it may not seem like that to you, dear reader, but I'm really trying to blog more! I have just been so lost in the world of my novel lately. I'm finally emerging from my November adventure, though, and coming back to the real world.

Yesterday, my four-year-old cousin wished me a happy Thanksgiving. We all laughed and told him that he was a bit late. However, I never wished my readers a happy Thanksgiving nor told you all how extremely grateful I am for you! There have been many times that I have felt like giving up writing this year because of comments that have been made or trying to unsuccessfully balance school and writing. But when I see my wonderful ten followers, I am encouraged. I am inspired by all of you and the wonderful people you are.

Thank you.