BR: Scarlett Epstein Hates It Here

Part of having an online presence is this weird isolation from real life, whatever that is. I remember growing up with the Harry Potter fandom, reading fanfiction, and not really being in tune with who was popular in school, or crushes, or friendships. I was kind of in my own bubble hovering maddeningly in a corner with occasional bursts of contact with the outside world. Reading Scarlett Epstein Hates It Here reminded me of these days. It was an accurate representation of coming of age under the Internet’s influence and the shock of the real life.

Unlike the fiction in Fangirl, here, the story takes on a dark commentary on Scarlett’s real life. The story reflects her difficulties in imagining Ashley and Gideon complexly. She simplifies them into these stereotypes, particularly Ashley, who is literally a robot in her story. The fact that her story garners quite a few fans is also telling because it is a testament to her ability as a writer, just like her father and his new wife. The parallels between her work and her father’s is also interesting, because, in both, they misjudge and misrepresent others.

Ruth and Dawn have this really interesting connection with Scarlett, because she assumes a lot about them, only to realize later on that she was way, way off. For instance, the story Ruth shares of her youth and her family shocks young Scarlett into seeing that perhaps her judgment of others is not entirely accurate or fair. Through Dawn, a strong feminist message is sent in a painful way as Scarlett realizes that she has been overlooking her mother’s value as a person because they value different things. Like her father, she assumes that Dawn isn’t worth much as she doesn’t function the same way. Books and imagination are hard to consider when you are trying to earn a practical living. To Scarlett, her mother is a source of embarrassment due to her profession, her lifestyle, her inability to find someone to appreciate her as a companion.

The losses Scarlett endures offer as a wake up call for her life. Avery and Scarlett lose touch with each other as Ave develops a relationship with her boyfriend. Her struggles to find a balance between her friendship with Scarlett and Ashley isolates her. It’s hard not to feel affection towards Avery, even though she’s not in the narrative for long periods of time.

This brings me to the negatives of the book: it’s very episodic and not much of a plot-driven story. It’s not very character driven, either. I wish we would have spent enough time with Dawn, or Ruth, or even Scarlett’s dad. Gideon is featured in snippets. I didn’t really like the story Scarlett creates, because it took over the narrative way too much. I feel as though the story was hijacked by this fanfiction.

Still, the story is very different due to its humor, its tone, its balancing of feminism, commentary on pop culture and Internet culture, and the exploration of growing up in a time where the Internet can skew one’s perception a lot. It’s a refreshing tale and a realistic one, too. Do check it out, if you’re ready to see a girl take on the world and be bold.

I have been thinking a lot about how much things have changed for me over
When I approached Since You've Been Gone, I slacked and hesitated. Then, one night, I
  ★QUESTIONS:Question #1: The Opening Ceremony: What book did you think had an incredible opening? I'll

Anl. Life Lessons In Star Wars

I watched The Force Awakens and I have been a fan ever since that late December of 2015. Afterwards, I have managed to acquire the original trilogy and the newest film on DVD and have been watching the daylights out of them.
Mental Power

What I truly love about these films is the lessons they posit, and the wonderful characters who are exposed to such pressures that push them to learn or at least understand difficult ideas. One of the most interesting lessons in Star Wars has to do with developing an understanding of one’s mental and emotional strength. The Force is not a literal blunt physical strength. It is invisible and yet very powerful. Darth Vader is seen choking people with the Force. Kylo Ren pauses a blaster in midair with ease by the Force.

But, as Han Solo puts in the original trilogy, the Force is part of an old religion and is all woo woo. Yet, by The Force Awakens, he openly admits otherwise: that it is all real. The Force is not too far from the imagination; it is a metaphor for spiritual and overall mental strength. It can lead to great strength, but one must train to be mindful and meditative. In essence, this is what Luke Skywalker and Rey learn eventually. They learn to still their minds in moments of fear and stress, and they concentrate.

Here and Now

In other words, the lesson is to stay present in the here and now.

Yoda teaches this lesson in the original trilogy: anger leads to hate and hate leads to destruction. Ultimately, he depicts various wisdoms: first, looks can be deceiving. Rey was shown as a scavenger who is inexperienced when it comes to the Force. Somehow, her awakening is registered on Kylo Ren and Snoke’s radar. She is an equal if not a superior Force user to Kylo, a man behind the terror across the galaxy. The same can be said about Kylo Ren, who is presented as a threat to the universe and yet, when Rey sees him without his mask, she finds him sympathetic and “sensitive.” This is very important to note because Rey’s initial assumption is that he’s just a “creature in a mask.”

 

Identity and Independence

Identity and independence are also themes in the Star Wars stories. We see it on both sides: Rey breaks free from Jakku scavenger life to become a Force user. Luke becomes a Jedi master after wanting to be a simple pilot with the resistance. Kylo Ren wants to achieve what his Darth Vader failed to do, and he rebels against his family in doing so. Finn was a nameless stormtrooper and yet Poe gives him a name, an identity, and they together accomplish missions for the resistance.

Love

The biggest weapon to be used in Star Wars worlds is love. It is Anakin’s love for his children that ultimately gets rid of the Emperor. Luke’s love for Leia drives him to save her in the first place (and even later on, he loves her and Han enough to save them from Jabba the Hutt). Compassion is a driving force (no pun intended) in these movies. Snoke accuses Kylo Ren of being too kind to Rey because he can relate to her. Why is this a negative thing? Well, it’s mostly a “light side” trait. Luke understands his father and is compassionate enough to believe the best in him is yet to come, which turns out to be the key to Darth Vader’s demise and the triumph of Anakin Skywalker (who knows what will happen to Ben Solo. I choose to believe that the best of him is yet to come. But, even if that’s not the case, I find his struggle so, so meaningful and powerful).

Friendship is another strength in these movies. There are epic relationships, iconic, throughout Star Wars. The companionship of cute droids, nonhuman beings, and even humans make the main characters have lots to lose. The stakes are higher than ever. R2D2, C3PO, and even BB8, they are all endearing that I wonder if there is a lesson there, too. After all, the most enduring friendship in the series is that between a human and a wookie. Always, this universe was able to bring to life wonderful characters and break down barriers in its vastness. In the new installments, we see female stormtroopers, black stormtroopers, female force users, and young people part of both sides. I cannot wait to learn what else these films have to offer.

For More:

Lessons from Jedi Master Yoda 
Star Wars Is Not About Good and Evil 
What Star Wars Can Teach Us 

Community is a show that is amusing, sure, but it is also about growth and development.
For whatever reason, I was always under the impression that the Pirates of the Caribbean
Set in 1960, the film opens with the death of Ellie's mother as she prepares

Disc.: Facebook, Social Media, and Mental Illness

Social media is rarely seen with a concentration on mental illness. It is fascinating to think of it under the mental health lens because of its prevalence. Those not on social media are often seen with judgment and concern. The norm is to be on the Internet. In other words, to be connected to strangers, family, friends and coworkers. The point of this post is not so much to chastise or condone the use of social media. After all, this is cross-posted all over social media. What I am suggesting is perhaps a change in how we use and regard it.

Comparisons and Competitions

What comes with an influx of information is comparisons and competitions. I have seen so many posts about self harm, and starvation, encouraging eating disorders and fostering mental illnesses, rather than suggesting help. There were so many times where I felt like I wasn’t “sick enough” to go to a doctor, and it wasn’t until family and friends sat me down and dispelled these ideas out of my head that I went to get professional assistance. It’s good that some websites are starting to suggest that there is help out there for those who need it, but this is only when certain keywords are used in a search bar. Unfortunately, there are too many keywords that can be used to find the disturbing material worsening a person’s illness.

Endless Scrolling

Availability of endless content can be helpful because it can lead to awareness but it can also be a distraction and deterrent of productivity. I know that when depression hits, it can be extra hard to stay focused on one task rather than aimlessly watching YouTube videos or reblogging images and quotes on Tumblr. It makes things much worse when you’re already feeling unproductive or unfocused.

Like for Like?

The way the Internet works is through constant approval: people want likes, shares, comments, and it is so hard to get accustomed to having no audience to your work. With that said, there is also the way people feel more honest when they’re not judged by their appearance. I have met like-minded people on the Internet because we shared interests or hobbies. But, there’s also the exposure to trolls on the Internet, who bully people mercilessly and brutally. Too many lives have been lost because people were incessantly mocked. It comes with the territory of being anonymous online.

Being compassionate, open minded, and accepting would help a lot on the Internet. Extending kindness to others is crucial as mental health is difficult as it is, and every bit of support helps tremendously.

For More:
While it is endearing,  My Big Fat Greek Wedding relies on stereotypes to communicate the difference
When I approached Since You've Been Gone, I slacked and hesitated. Then, one night, I
In order to minimize the effects of collision the ground, it is helpful to try

The Olympic Book Tag

olympicbktag

 

★QUESTIONS:
Question #1: The Opening Ceremony: What book did you think had an incredible opening? I’ll Give You the Sun 

Question #2: The Games: What is your favorite fictional competition? The photography competition in Hold Still. 

Question #3: The Original: The modern games are based on the original Greek competition. What is your favorite book based on a classic?This took quite a bit of research, but, His Dark Materials by Pullman is apparently based on Paradise Lost, which is one of my favorite classics! I haven’t read it yet, but I know I’ll love First and Then because it’s based on Pride and Prejudice. 

Question #4: The Eternal Flame: What is one ‘ship that you won’t let die, even after the books made it clear it was never going to happen? Draco and Harry in the Potter books. Draco and Hermione. Ben and Radar in Paper Towns. Frodo and Sam in Lord of the Rings (shush you).

I keep wondering what would happen to Mary in Pride and Prejudice and Kitty. 

Question #5: Gymnastics: What’s a book that had so many twists and turns it left your head spinning? (in a good way)

The White Cat trilogy by Holly Black. If you have an interest in wild cards, check it out. 


Question # 6: The Controversial Judge: What’s a book that you have a totally different opinion about than most other people? 
Unlike many people, I actually am quite fond of Leaves of Grass by Walt Whitman. I remember being engrossed in it and feeling relieved to find a kindred spirit in the poet. Same goes to Ralph Waldo Emerson and Transcendental texts. I found romantic ideology to be quite inspiring. It has definitely shaped my life as an adult.

Question #7: Beach Volleyball: What is your favorite fictional duo?
Simon and Clary in The Mortal Instruments. They’re wonderful friends and I adore their connection.

Question #8: Weightlifting: What is the most massive book on your shelf?
Either a Mortal Instruments or Dark Artifices or a Harry Potter book, for sure. I gave away all my theory books and textbooks (thank goodness).

Question #9: (Tell us your favorite Olympic Sport): What is a book that you just tore through with world record speed?
Vampire Academy series!

Question #10: Synchronized Swimming: What is a book series that you kept reading, even though you didn’t have any idea why? 
Maze Runner, The Selection. 

Question #11: The Tortured Fan: What fictional family, group, nation, organization do you irrationally root for no matter how many times they break your heart? 
The Malfoy (Harry Potter) and Duchannes (Beautiful Creatures) family.

Question #12: Closing Ceremony: What book had an ending that just blew your mind? 
Carry On. 

Question #13: Relay Race: Who do you tag?
Anyone who’d like to be tagged! 

I have been thinking a lot about how much things have changed for me over
When I approached Since You've Been Gone, I slacked and hesitated. Then, one night, I
Part of having an online presence is this weird isolation from real life, whatever that

Anl. Community and Growth

communitygrowinapairCommunity is a show that is amusing, sure, but it is also about growth and development. All the characters grow up considerably over the course of six seasons (and a movie?). In particular, characters: Jeff, Britta, Troy, Abed, and Annie develop a lot throughout the series. They grow into their own identities. It’s not always perfect.
Jeff Winger
Jeff doesn’t quite go down the path we are told to expect of him. He openly admits that he texts all the time yet no one is on the other end. He longs for his father’s attention. He was bullied by Shirley when she was young. He is definitely not the cool and collected person we assume he’d be. He is competitive in the paint-ball matches. He fully embraces Abed’s movies and dialogues.

For his future, he defies what  he’d planned for himself. He wanted to get his old job back, but he’d changed too much. He’s unable to sustain the lifestyle he’d eagerly planned.

When he graduates college and gets his own office, his only case is related to Greendale. The school becomes the center of his world and he can’t get away. It is a community he cannot shake off. He participates in charades within the show. He joins Troy and Abed’s show, their dances, Glee club, the Save Greendale Committee.

Britta Perry 

Britta Perry starts out as a serious cynic. She is not impressed with the government, or politics, or Jeff. Out of everyone in the group, she is the least interested in connecting with Jeff because she knows that he sees her as a sexual conquest and nothing more. As the show develops, Britta becomes almost a caricature of her old self. Her lifestyle is held together by a facade as her parents are helping her behind her own back for the duration of the show.

She pretends to be a hipster out of choice. For example, she has CD player and knock-off phones. However, the audience learns that she can’t afford to be “cool” (whatever that means). This is presented as an-okay thing to be. It is a relief because, in college, there’s a pressure to conform to the rules of coolness.

Troy Barnes

 

He starts off as a failed high school football boy. Troy dons his high school jersey proud. Pierce tells him to lose the jacket. Annie reminds him that he’s not in high school any more. She tells him he’s not “prom king.” Jeff tells him that he’s deciding to keep it or lose it for other people. In conclusion: that’s not a way to live.

This football wonder then becomes attached to Abed. They go on adventures and do things together as much as possible. He goes from being a simple jock to a repairman prodigy. If you thought you saw this coming, remember that he becomes a young millionaire.

Abed Nadir

Speaking of splitting the unlikely duo, Abed also changes a lot and finds himself throughout the show. He goes from being an isolated person to being part of a pair (whether it’s with Troy, Annie, Jeff, or Frankie). Quite the eccentric, he adjusts to the “real world” as much as he can: by infusing it with his interests in film. He often refers to his friends as characters, often reenacts shows and movies, comments on themes in Community. He goes from being the most obscure and seemingly socially awkward part of the group, to perhaps one of its most promising participants. He is the voice of reason, the meta narrator, and he is in fact what brought the group together. He assembled it. He takes in Frankie.

Annie Edison

She goes from being a young girl to an adult. What comes to mind is her appearance. She started out wearing cute dresses and cardigans. Her hair up and pinned, and by the end of the series, her hair down and relaxed, her clothes casual and less rehearsed. She openly tells Jeff to kiss her, not for her sake, but for his. And, Annie is in charge of her life as she interns for the FBI.

Your Turn:

Who are your favorite communities to belong to? Why do you like them? Share in the comment section!

For More:

–Community Wiki 

–Why Community was Canceled 

I watched The Force Awakens and I have been a fan ever since that late
For whatever reason, I was always under the impression that the Pirates of the Caribbean
Set in 1960, the film opens with the death of Ellie's mother as she prepares

Your Older Sister: On Self Care

I want to expand on the idea of self care. In addition, I’d like to give you some ideas on how to take it slow and care for yourself, the one person you got for life. First, let me start with why it’s nice to care for yourself. It may seem like a given, but if you have mental illness or low self esteem, these things don’t come naturally.

 

Also: I hate to point fingers here, but the media and society as a whole don’t really encourage self care. It is portrayed as a selfish act and indulgent as hell.

That is a small minded way of seeing self care. It is rather simplistic to assume that taking care of oneself negates the care we have for others. In fact, I posit that caring for others is dependent on care for oneself. If you want to be a better friend, lover, child/offspring, perhaps you should consider spending some time with yourself. Let me give you some ideas.

Cleanse 
The truth is, we need to cleanse ourselves from a world that is often filled with awful, terrible things. You’ll need to process what you have experienced. On a literal level, you’ll need to cleanse your body, face, and hair. These things are taken for granted, but, I remember being so overjoyed to be in my own shower after being in the hospital because: a) privacy, b) an opportunity to not stress out, c) self-soothing. Try to see them as opportunities to pamper yourself. Take your time. Breathe. Notice your body. Observe the crevices and creases. When I was little, I used to count fingers and toes, grateful. I try to remind myself to do that every day now to put life in perspective. Love the body you’re in. Work towards that goal, and know that some days will be better than others.

But, the cleansing is not just physical; you can also need to emotionally empty the negative feelings otherwise they will fester. I find journaling crucial. You can go on a run just to release the anxiety. Walking is a good alternative, if you’re like unfit like me. Yoga and meditation are also quite helpful.

For More:
–  “Reasons to Meditate.” 
“Why is Meditation So Important”
“Shower Meditation.”

Create
When life throws you curve-balls and you don’t know how to process it, sometimes it helps to be creative. Try not to pressure yourself into it, obviously, because you don’t need more stress in your life. But, if you can, try to take pictures, draw, paint, create graphics, dress up, play with your hair, get a haircut, change up your appearance, paint your nails, do your makeup, reorganize your room, your books, your clothes, create play lists. There are so many things you can do to put out positivity into the world. Here are some more ideas.

For More: “Why We All Need A Creative Outlet.” 
  “What I Wish I Knew About Creativity When I Was 20”
“Every Millennial Needs a Creative Outlet.”  

Connect 
I think one of the best ways to break the loneliness of sadness or negativity is to converse with someone. If you’re like me, and you can’t bring yourself to physically speak because of anxiety and mental illnesses, try to do it on a grander scale. Listen to some poetry or audio books. It is a great consolation, finding your place shifted and changed as you are exposed to stories of different people. Sure, some would argue that literature can be about escape, but I suggest otherwise. I see it that the point of literature isn’t so much about traveling through time and space, but perhaps to find the similarities, to notice the links we have with others, the common grounds we may have.

And, even if you read completely different perspectives, it helps to be engaged in a dialogue with them as you are experiencing their narratives. It is this beautiful connection where the conversation keeps going on, whether as you are writing a response, or talking about it with someone else, or maybe tweeting the writer, or even just thinking about it to yourself. It’s all connections. It is all a back and forth.

For More: “Pretty Bad Ways to Start a Conversation.” 
“This is Your Life on Writing.” 

One of the most prominent voices you'll ever hear is your own. Self talk plays
I wish therapy was discussed more in media, In doing so, it can be approached
In order to minimize the effects of collision the ground, it is helpful to try

Anl.: Pirates of the Caribbean: Find Yourself

For whatever reason, I was always under the impression that the Pirates of the Caribbean movies are about Jack Sparrow. But, what if the stories are actually about identity, across the board, not just for the pirate? The first film certainly focuses on the journey of all characters towards self-acceptance. I posit that perhaps it is not so much a funny story, too, despite of Disney’s attempts at mocking Jack Sparrow (and I know it gets worse as the movies progress. I remember, distinctly, Jack having multiple eyes drawn on him, and comical music playing the background, as he runs away from some non-white people…which, you know, isn’t offensive or anything. Please note my sarcasm).

So, anyway, the first film introduces the characters, obviously, and in a way, reintroduces them to themselves and to each other. For instance, we begin the story through Elizabeth and Will’s first meeting and the secret Elizabeth keeps from the world regarding Will’s background. From there, the film establishes the connections between the characters (particularly the main four: Norrington, Elizabeth, Will, and Jack). Norrington is hunting down pirates, especially Jack, who is the captain of the last successful pirate ship. The commodore is interested in Elizabeth and wants to marry her. He does not like Will since he can see him as a threat to his relationship with the governor’s daughter. Will is Elizabeth’s love interest. He is the son of one of Jack’s, uh, colleagues. Elizabeth is a means to an end for Jack. Will is Jack’s ticket back to the Black Pearl.
Yet, they are not what they seem. Jack assumes that he is a captain, yet he has no ship or crew. He is rumored to be captain of the Black Pearl, a fictitious ship with a cursed crew. No one believe that this ship exists at all. Throughout the film, Norrington comments on Sparrow’s quality (or lack thereof) as a pirate, calling him, “the worst pirate” he’s ever seen. In fact, the film proposes a question regarding piracy: the rules are complicated and even referred to as “guidelines,” and even the pirates are not all they may seem. I mean, literally: the pirates are the living dead; their identity only shown under the moonlight. Not only that, they break their codes to fulfill their own agendas. Barbossa and the crew’s mutiny is certainly an example of this. Another example of this bending of the rules is when Barbossa betrays Elizabeth (when he first meets her), and Will (when he asks for Elizabeth to be set free).
Jack’s identity as a captain is called into question so many times throughout the first film. An example that comes to mind is when he and Elizabeth are stranded on the Caribbean and Elizabeth asks him how he survived before on the island. He points to the rum as the source of comfort. While Elizabeth gets drunk with him on the first night, she soon realizes that Jack actually didn’t do anything heroic the first time he was left ashore. No getting on sea turtles. No sitting in the water for three days and nights.
Elizabeth pretends to be Bootstrap Turner’s daughter, which is another example of identity being misconstrued in the film. She struggles with being a lady throughout the story. She cannot wear the fancy dresses without gasping for breath. Referring to Will by his first name, and asking him to be referred to by her own first name, she breaks decorum often. In the beginning of the film, she sings of pirates and claims that she’d love to meet one. She is frequently told that marrying Norrington is a good move, however, her attraction to Will puts her in trouble, especially after he is revealed to be a pirate.

The most obvious  identity struggle is for Will–the son of a pirate, working as a blacksmith’s assistant, and yet he is doing all the work as the blacksmith, a fighter, an Elizabeth fan, and a civilian.

It’ll be interesting to see how Elizabeth in particular is treated in the narrative of the next films, because it is very rare to see women presented as more than love interests in pirate films. Wouldn’t it be nice if there were female pirates? Maybe that’s next in Hollywood. One can hope and dream, indeed.

Your Turn

Have you seen the Pirates of the Caribbean movies? Who are your favorite characters? What’s your favorite movie in the quartet? (I am watching them for the first time. So, try not to spoil them too much, savvy?).

When I first heard of Me Before You, I was drawn to the cast. Emilia
While it is endearing,  My Big Fat Greek Wedding relies on stereotypes to communicate the difference
When I approached Since You've Been Gone, I slacked and hesitated. Then, one night, I

MR: Dear Eleanor

Set in 1960, the film opens with the death of Ellie’s mother as she prepares for a speech to introduce Eleanor Roosevelt to a room of 200 people. Heartbroken and reeling, she retreats further into herself and feels resentful. Her best friend Max (Max the Wax) writes to Mrs. Roosevelt and shares Ellie’s story. From there, a road trip happens and the two are off to see the former first lady. Hilarity and sweetness ensue.
Characters Delight

I have to say that this movie was absolutely delightful. The scenery was great: almost dream-like.  The characters vivid and animated, particularly Max. I adored Max’s innocence, her childlike wonder, her love for films, her willingness to dream and let others follow their dreams (in fact, she helps Ellie, Frank, and Aunt Daisy achieve their goals, no matter how far-fetched they were). I felt too close to Ellie. She was a bit dark and tortured, which is understandable. I could relate to her loss, and I think that her character was honest and real. I think as someone with mental illness, I kind of try to be more of a Max–happy, energetic, chatty, friendly. She is everything I cannot manage to do without exhaustion and, to be truthful, Max never gets tired of being this way, it’s inspiring and heartbreaking to know that I would never manage to pull it off. So, I am left admiring her, really.

Aunt Daisy was a dream. We didn’t get to see much of her, but the few moments with her are beautiful. I love that she wasn’t perfect. She was scared and different. I like the contrast between her and the other dancers: there she was, dressed in pink tutu and bodice. Meanwhile, the other dancers were in street clothes, black and white mostly. She stood out in the most endearing way ever.

Relationships and Friendships

The relationship between Ellie and Max is beautiful. One pushes the other to grow up (emotionally, sexually, in terms of identity and attitudes towards life) while the younger girl teachers her to maintain a positive view of the world and its inhabitants, to believe the best of people, to forever accept others as they are. It’s great that these two girls never feel jealous of each other. It is a story where women help each other out, support each other, love one another, and that makes it absolutely divine to see. I am happy that I have this little film. I hope you check it out, and feel inspired, too.

Today, a box of books appeared on our front step, which is probably the most
A Birder's Guide to Everything is a small movie with many credits to its accomplishments
For whatever reason, I was always under the impression that the Pirates of the Caribbean

BR: The Disenchantments

 

So, I bought The Disenchantments used and picked up my battered copy scared, because it’s like a first date. I would imagine, all nerves and pensiveness because I seriously don’t know what to expect. At first, I was nothing but old and angry, because I have known people like the ones in the story, especially Bev– the girl who has been haunted by something in her past. 

Bev and Complexity

She is so perfect and broken, that the boys and girls idolize her so much. It is different, though, because Bev doesn’t just serve a purpose for Colby. Instead, she goes through her own journey and learns to stop running from the past. I liked that she sang the song to her mom, and that she wrote the letter to friends. I wanted to hate her, because I identified with her so much, but I ended up just…understanding, and knowing what it is like to go through an incredible amount of pain. I am hopeful for Beverly. A lot. I didn’t expect to feel that she would lead a happy life someday, but, you know, it seems like it may happen.

 

Other Characters

Colby and Meg are fantastic, and I just adored them completely. Such beautiful imperfect people. I like their conversations and connection. This guy is just a pensive, artistic, brilliant person, and I’m happy that college isn’t presented as the “best” option out there after high school, because people are different. They have choices to make, their own routes to draw up, and so on. If I had been a bit younger, I would have been all over the tattoo theme in this book, but, I appreciate it now (just not with the same enthusiasm, I suppose).

Shipping and Pairings

Shipping is kind of difficult in this book. I was pairing everyone together, and it didn’t go the way I expected. It’s a bit of a serious book, I guess, but it has its light moments. I’ll say this much: Jasper is wonderful and I want him and Colby to be together (friends, partners, lovers, whatever. It’s up to them).

In short, it is a pretty good book. Do check it out, if you’re up to an emotional read.

I have been thinking a lot about how much things have changed for me over
When I approached Since You've Been Gone, I slacked and hesitated. Then, one night, I
Part of having an online presence is this weird isolation from real life, whatever that

BR: Simon Vs. The Homo Sapiens’ Agenda

Being stuck and sad makes reading, sleeping, eating, drinking, praying difficult. Everything is hard then. BUT, every once in a while, you get a ray of light out of nowhere. This ray for me was in Simon and Blue’s relationship. I have to admit that it took me a while to buckle down and read because things get to so dark that I can’t see my way out. I still don’t know how to find these silver linings. hilarious. He is also not dumb, impulsive, or silly. I was actually cheering him on.

Here’s one thing that didn’t change throughout the book and afterwards: I HATE MARTIN! A lot, okay? I just can’t sympathize because I can relate too much with Simon. Very much like him, I keep things to myself. I talk a lot, but I don’t ever share the private things. It’s too frightening to open up to anyone, really. So I related to a 17 year old. A lot. I still dislike Martin after his confessions. I don’t think they are justified at all. You can’t just ruin things for someone. I used to think this process was scary enough as it is, but there are so many more pressures presented in this book that just bewildered me even more. It’s good to be aware of consequences.

Oh, Blue, how I adore you. So sweet. I also adore, adore, adore Simon’s friends. They’re awesome people and I wish I had friends who connect with me on such a deep level. And, of course, the humor is just spot on. I can’t get over drunk cute Simon (or should we all call him ALEX!).

As it progressed, the story unfurled lots of great jokes and funny moments. I think there was a true balance between humor and seriousness. So many serious business times in the book, too, obviously.

Your Turn: Have you read any fun LGBT+ characters in YA Literature? Were they portrayed in a fair way? Share in the comments!

  ★QUESTIONS:Question #1: The Opening Ceremony: What book did you think had an incredible opening? I'll
  So, I bought The Disenchantments used and picked up my battered copy scared, because
While Snape is a fascinating character, he's by no means my favorite out of the