COLLEGE YA ALL DAY, EVERY DAY: I Hate Everyone But You Review

Summary: Told through a series of emails and text messages, Gaby Dunn and Allison Raskin’s I Hate Everyone But You follows Ava and Gen’s friendship while attending their first semester of college at different schools. Ava and Gen promise to document their everyday happenings to one another, with Ava at school in California and Gen away in Boston. From self-discovery, new relationships, sexuality, mental illness, first loves and heartbreak, Gen and Ava help each other figure out their new lives while trying to keep their own friendship together.

My Rating: 3.5/5 Stars

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My Thoughts:

I Hate Everyone But You by Allison Raskin and Gaby Dunn has been popping up on my TBR radar since the book came out in September 2017. If you’ve been here even for a bit, you’ll know that I love using the phrase “a bit”, but also that I am always on the hunt for college YA, or young-adult books that have college-aged protagonists or protagonists who are in college. After reading Gloria Chao’s American Panda, I decided to keep my college YA reading going by picking up I Hate Everyone But You.

I love how the book is told in a series of emails and text messages, perfect for readathons and one-to-two sitting readers. Definitely different in subject matter, but I was reminded a lot of Love, Rosie by Cecelia Ahern, since the book is told in a familiar format. Through the emails, we are able to get a first person POVs from Gen and Ava. While we get plenty of humor-infused emails (go back and read the titles of said emails, I personally love “Love, Lust and Beer Pong” and “All the Single Ladies”), the text messages also provided plenty of humor and personality. I admit that I liked Ava’s emails better, mainly because I related to Ava more. I could relate to Ava’s struggle with trying to make friends and navigating new relationships, as well as her temptation to go home on the weekends. Her POV showed the less glamorous side of being a freshman and trying to figure out this new life. And this isn’t to say I didn’t like Gen because I thought she had some funny encounters herself and it was cool to see her adapt to life in Boston.

However, I felt that the book could have have taken place over one year instead of over one semester. Yes, I Hate Everyone But You is on the shorter side, but considering its one semester length, some of the events and the relationships felt a bit rushed. Also, who has the time to get into all the things Ava and Gen do in one semester, let alone their first?? I was lucky enough to find time for a Stranger Things marathon my first semester, between my coursework and adjusting to college life. Additionally, Ava and Gen’s plots were a tad stereotypical when it comes to the “expectations” of college. From the start, Gen parties every weekend and Ava finds herself trying to join a sorority when she’s not too sure if she even wants to take part in Greek life. I think it would’ve made more sense for AVA to NOT be in sorority, but going Greek ends up influencing her storyline.

I Hate Everyone But You addresses a variety of topics. For Ava, the biggest is mental health and for Gen, it’s sexuality. In my opinion, both topics weren’t handled in the best fashion. Ava often references her mental health as a joke, but then delves into some darker moments. I feel like it needed to be fleshed out a bit more, especially when she has problems with her therapist (I also found these emails to be a tad confusing).Gen’s sexuality could have also used a bit more development (I understand that it might not have because Gen is trying to figure it out herself), but I hated when she flipped out on Ava about it.

Overall, I recommend reading I Hate Everyone But You if you enjoy books with unique formats or if you’re looking for college YA. Before heading into the book, I was unfamiliar with Gaby and Allison’s Youtube channel, Just Between Us, but I’ll be definitely checking it out now!

Have you read I Hate Everyone But You? Do you watch Just Between Us? Share in the comments!

Top Five Wednesday: Favorite Mentors 

Today’s Top Five Wednesday is all about our favorite bookish mentors or teachers. While I could go on and on about my love for Professor McGonagall and Lupin, we’re encouraged not to talk about our HP mentors–do I sense a future T5W post for discussion???

Surinder from The Bookshop on the Corner by Jenny Colgan – I love how Surinder pushes Nina to open up her shop and encourages her to do what she wants in her life. I also love her humor, and I think she needs to move to the Highlands ASAP to reunite with her best friend.

Og from Ready Player One by Ernest Cline- I guess Halliday acts as the biggest mentor for Wade and the others, considering that he created the game our characters center their lives around. However, I like Og a tad more (yes, I guess he immediately earns brownie points because he’s alive) because he genuinely wants to help the gunters, and I could see him becoming a bigger mentor for Wade in the Ready Player One sequel.

Dr. Erland from The Lunar Chronicles by Marissa Meyer- Dr. Erland is one of my favorite characters in TLC and he is PRECIOUS! I’m in serious need of a TLC reread, but Dr. Erland helps Cinder so much in the first novel, and if you’ve read Cress, YOU KNOW WHAT SCENE I’M TALKING ABOUT WHEN STUFF HITS THE FAN AND DR. ERLAND REVEALS SOMETHING ABOUT HIS PAST AND HOW HE IS CONNECTED TO ONE OF OUR CHARACTERS! I remember an ocean a wave of sadness hitting me when I read that scene three years ago (like I said, it’s time for a reread).

Scythe Faraday & Scythe Curie from the Arc of a Scythe trilogy- Listen, I love Citra and Rowan, but I am here to admit that Faraday and Curie stole my heart while reading Neal Shusterman’s Scythe and Thunderhead. I especially love the relationship between Curie and Citra, and I need more Faraday in the third book. He was such a grandfather figure to Citra and Rowan in Scythe (Curie is definitely Citra’s kickbutt aunt).

Top 5 Wednesday is a collaborative group of book bloggers from various platforms who love sharing lists on Wednesdays. The T5W group can be found here on Goodreads.

 

Review: Black Bird of the Gallows by Meg Kassel

Summary: Angie Dovage knows there’s something more to Reece Fernadez, the cute boy who’s just moved in next door. And the crows taking over her town are definitely not normal either. When someone, or something, supernatural tries to attack her and Reece is there to save the day, Angie is thrown into a plot involving good and evil that’s set to destroy her town. But nothing is as bad as falling in love with a harbinger of death.

My Rating: 3.5/5 Stars

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My Thoughts:

I received an ARC of Black Bird of the Gallows at Book Con 2017. It was a really sweet experience meeting Meg Kassel, especially since this is her debut novel, and she was so excited to meet and chat with everyone in line.

Yes, I am aware that Black Bird of the Gallows came out in September, but I ended up stashing it on my physical TBR for when I’m at school and don’t have access to my library and bookshelves as much. If you are ever behind on your ARCs and want to catch up, I recommend checking out the State of the ARC meme, hosted by Avalinah’s Books. I was also a bit tentative to pick up Black Bird of the Gallow because I usually don’t reach for paranormal or supernatural stories, but I thought it’d be a great way to branch out of my normal reading habits. Meg and some reviewers’ excitement also made me want to give it a shot.

If you’re on the lookout for some readathon books, I recommend giving Black Bird of the Gallows a go because the writing style makes the book super easy to fly through. It made me want to keep reading and never let go of Angie and her dog, Roger. I liked how the book took place in an urban setting and how much time we got to spend learning about Angie’s family and background. It was interesting to learn about Angie’s mom, and I didn’t expect her to be swept into the paranormal aspects of the story. Honestly, Angie was a really cool main character, between her great friendship with Deno and Lacey, HER MINT VOLKSWAGEN BUS, and her DJ skills—I’ve never read a book with a character who’s a DJ. While I think Deno and Lacey were a great support system for her, I disliked how Angie makes such a fuss over making out with Deno, but it never actually comes into play.

As I mentioned above, I don’t read too many books with supernatural elements, but the world-building and supernaturalness of Black Bird of the Gallows felt really unique. While my favorite part of the novel was learning about Angie’s family, I liked learning about Reece’s past history, the crows, and the Beekeepers. It set a really creepy tone for the story and I didn’t know what to expect when it came to the great tragedy that Reece has warned Angie about. Reece’s character development was strong, and I liked seeing him open up more to Angie.

I went into the book knowing that there was romance, but I didn’t expect Reece and Angie to be so insta-lovey. Angie finds Reece attractive from the start of the novel, but I didn’t expect her feelings for him to come so soon (the lunch period the day they meet), especially with the Beekeeper and crow encounter that morning. I also think that the fact that Angie and Reece knew each other from where they were younger was meant to be cute, but I found it to be a tad creepy and unexpected. I wish we got to spend more time with Reece’s family because I thought their history was really interesting and although they help during the destruction of the town, I thought they would have a larger role. I also thought that Angie’s sacrifice at the end would come with bigger consequences, and while it’s nice to have a happily-ever after, I would have been quite satisfied with to see Angie take on some supernatural elements of her own. With the book’s paranormal vibes, it would have fit perfectly.

Overall, if you enjoy paranormal romances or are looking for a creepy story for Halloween time, I highly recommend picking up Black Bird of the Gallows for its unique supernatural aspects and world building.

Have you read Black Bird of the Gallows? Share in the comments!

I Sense a New Favorite TV Show: Brooklyn Nine-Nine Season 1 Discussion

As some of you may know, I am a Pawnee Goddess, frequent customer of the Low Cal Calzone and Tom’s Bistro, patient of Dr. Richard Nygard, avid Johnny Karate watcher, and supporter of Treat Yo Self. In other words, I am a Parks and Recreation fan.

A few weeks ago, I watched the first two seasons of an increasingly popular and deservingly so show called The Good Place, and now like everyone else, I must wait until the third season. Like books, I definitely enjoy watching TV shows when they’ve already ended because Netflix and Amazon Prime have spoiled me into becoming a binge-watching machine. In addition, February 25 marked the third anniversary of the end of Parks & Rec, my all-time favorite TV show. Since then, I’ve been craving a show that makes me feel almost as happy as Parks and Rec. Because of how much I love Parks and Rec and The Good Place, I decided to remain in Michael Schur territory and watch Brooklyn Nine-Nine. This is also a good time for me to admit to you guys that yes, I have tried watching The Office, and no, I can’t get into it, and yes, is literally the best show out of the two. Anyways,…

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Like The Good Place, I’ve seen nothing but rave reviews of Brooklyn Nine-Nine on Twitter and Youtube, so I figured it was time that I tried it myself. The only problem? Brooklyn Nine-Nine is only available for streaming on Hulu, one of the few subscriptions I don’t have *hides because this also means that I still haven’t watched The Handmaid’s Tale*. Luckily, spring break came around and my local library has all four seasons of Brooklyn Nine-Nine that have come out so far on DVD (and they’re also ordering The Handmaid’s Tale!). Over spring break, I completed the first two seasons of Brooklyn Nine-Nine , and I’ve come to the conclusion that I absolutely love this show and it gives me so many Parks & Rec feels! For those who are unfamiliar with the show, Brooklyn Nine-Nine is a police sitcom set in the fictional 99th Precinct of the NYPD in Brooklyn, following a team of detectives under a newly appointed captain.

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While different in subject, Brooklyn Nine-Nine has reminded me so much of Parks & Rec because of its set and characters. For most of the season, I thought that Brooklyn Nine-Nine might’ve been filmed on the Parks set, but the show started while Parks & Rec was still on air. However, the precinct is a pretty similar style of the Parks and Recreation office—same floor tile, wallpaper, and desks, but I haven’t noticed any Parks Easter eggs (hopefully yet, anyway). A lot of people believe that The Good Place and Parks & Rec take place in the same universe, and I can definitely see Brooklyn Nine-Nine fitting in there as well. And here’s my character breakdown of who would be friends with who between Parks and Brooklyn (honestly guys, this was my inspiration to do write this post):

  • I am convinced that Rosa and April are cousins
  • Amy and Leslie would be best friends for their go-getter attitudes and love for pants suits (but of course no one could replace the  cunning, pliable, chestnut-haired sunfish that is Ann Perkins)
  • Andy, or should I say, Bert Maclkin, would replace Santiago as Jake’s partner
  • Boyle definitely plays Cones of Dunshire and would partner up with Tom to open a Tom’s Bistro in Brooklyn
  • Ron would appreciate Holt’s no need for conversation (and would probably find him hilarious like everyone else except for the squad).
  • Chris and Terry= workout buddies
  • Gina would be the newest member of the Treat Yo Self team
  • Jerry/Gerry/Larry is the combination of Scully and Hitchcock

I love the entire cast of characters on B99, but I think my favorites so far are Jake, Rosa, and Gina. I honestly laugh at all the right moments when it comes to Jake, and I am most definitely rooting for him and Amy to get together– my favorite scenes include when Jake talks to her through the teddy bear and having to hideout in Holt’s bathroom with Terry at his birthday party. I think my favorite episode of the first season is “The Party” because EVERYONE has at least one moment where I laughed out loud (my favorite episodes of Parks & Rec are also like this). I feel like there’s a lot to explore about Rosa, and like I said above, she reminds me so much of April Ludgate, but I will say that she’s better about expressing how much she cares for the squad. And yes, Brooklyn Nine-Nine is a comedy, but Gina provides the best comic relief. “Tactical Village” is not only one of my favorite episodes for getting to see more of Amy and Jake’s relationship, but also for Gina and Holt’s obsession over Kwazy Cupcakes (which I may or may have not downloaded on my phone).

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Overall, I’ve really enjoyed Brooklyn Nine-Nine for its cast of characters, humor, and over arching storylines. While each episode has a new investigation, the reset button doesn’t affect our character’s problems and relationships. I’m invested in how Jake and Amy’s relationship will play out, and it’s been fun to see Holt’s guard come down a bit (him being a robot is still questionable though). I’m hoping to somehow watch seasons 3 and 4 before my spring semester ends, but if not, I’ll definitely be watching them right at the start of my summer break and will be catching on season 5 ASAP.

Do you watch Brooklyn Nine-Nine? Share in the comments!

I LOVE COLLEGE YA & HERE’S WHY: American Panda by Gloria Chao Review

Summary: Mei has always tried to meet her parents’ expectations. After all, at seventeen year old, she should be a high school senior, not a freshman at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Her parents’ biggest expectation? Going to MIT as a biology major to then go to medical school at Harvard and become a doctor. Mei’s biggest problem? Mei hates germs. Her dilemma grows worse when she only has eyes for Darren Takahashi, who is decidedly not Taiwanese– only Taiwanese boys are allowed for Mama Lu’s daughter. After seeing her brother disowned by her family for dating the wrong woman, Mei can’t bring herself to tell her parents the truth, but she can’t live with lies either.

My Rating: 4.5/5 Stars

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College YA & American Panda Thoughts:

Spring break finally allowed me to read Gloria Chao’s American Panda. I’ve seen nothing but great reviews for Gloria Chao’s debut novel following a COLLEGE freshman. Why the emphasis on college there? BECAUSE I LOVE BOOKS WITH COLLEGE-AGED PROTAGONISTS OR CHARACTERS WHO ARE IN COLLEGE!

Young adults aren’t only found in high school, folks. YA, or at least YA contemporary, is typically categorized as such because the central characters often experience some sort of “first”. But let me tell you, college is filled with plenty of young adults and firsts, and I’m not just talking about having to do your laundry for the first time.

So why I am always on the lookout for college YA?

I’m a college student. Give me people who also live in dorm rooms and live away from home and have to operate on -3 hours of sleep and go to class.

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Growing pains. Yes, I love plenty of YA books with high school aged characters, but as I get more mature (fine, older), I find myself not being able to relate the problems that come with being a high school student and the drama as much.

So why did I love American Panda for being a college YA?

Mei is somewhat more able to stand up to her parents. Yes, potentially being disowned as a college student whose parents pay for your tuition has a lot of problems, but being away at school acted as some sort of barrier between Mei and her parents. I also appreciated her hot chocolate time with Darren.

MEI GOES TO CLASS AND DOES STUDENT-LIKE THINGS, INCLUDING HOMEWORK. Even though I still want to know if she goes to the dining hall or even has a meal plan.

The balance between school and family. I would say the biggest element of American Panda is family, but it was nice to see Mei be able to live her life at school and then spend time with her family. Contrary to her roommate’s belief, some college students (ME) don’t mind seeing their families on the weekend.

There’s no partying or drinking. Yes, this is definitely a no-no on her parents’ list, but I loved how Mei is never tempted to party and has no effect on the plot.

So what else did I love about American Panda?

Mei is Taiwanese-American, but her parents expect her to follow their Chinese traditions and expectations. I really enjoyed learning more about Chinese culture (sidenote: where can I found a Domaeron plush??), and I would love to see more books with characters and authors of such diverse backgrounds. While her family’s expectations drive Mei nuts, I liked how she still appreciated her culture. For example, a lot of Mei’s dancing is infused with Chinese dance, and she acts as a mentor/teacher for young girls of a similar background.

Mei’s mom’s voicemail intros for each chapter were hilarious. I liked how they became a bit more heartwarming toward the end (even though her wisdom and tidbits about Ying-Na were funny), and I’m happy about the state of Mei and her mom’s relationship at the end of the novel.

I read the entire book in a day! Plenty of people are able to read a book in just one sitting, but I haven’t had the opportunity to in a long time. Snow days are good for something! I also found myself not wanting to part with American Panda because I needed to know what happened then and there. I highly recommend reading American Panda for a readathon or de-reading slump motivation because it’s such an addicting read and on the shorter side (just over 300 pages).

While I loved American Panda overall, there were a few things I didn’t enjoy just as much:

There was a lot of MIT lingo that I felt could easily have been replaced with regular college lingo. For example, instead of Mei using the course numbers to say what class she was in, she could have just said Intro to Bio or Calculus 101. However, I think readers who are familiar with MIT/are current MIT students/are past MIT students/are MIT tourists like the ones we see in the book will really appreciate all the MIT-ness, and it was a cool personal touch from Gloria Chao, a MIT grad.

Some of the chapters, especially in the beginning, jumped around a tad much and I was quite confused. I’m specifically talking about Chapters 5 and 6, where Mei has to go to the medical center. I realize now it’s used as a jump start for Mei to realize she doesn’t want to be a doctor, but I felt like it was just thrown at us. We go from her having dinner to her parents to then going to the medical center at 3 AM and finding out she has herpes (trust me, not a spoiler) and having a weird encounter with Dr. Chang??? I really couldn’t distinguish between reality or if Mei was having a stress dream of sorts.

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Have you read American Panda? What college YA books do you enjoy? Share in the comments!

A POST ABOUT MY FAVORITE PLACE: Library Lovers Book Tag

If you’ve been here for a while, you know I love using my local library. I basically live by the following Throne of Glass quote: “Libraries were full of ideas—perhaps the most dangerous and powerful of all weapons” (and don’t forget the paper cuts). As I read more and more book blogs, I’ve realized how fortunate I am to have access to two libraries throughout the year, at home and in my college town. I really encourage you to use your local library if you have access to one (find more motivation from yours truly here). So when I saw The Library Lovers Book Tag on The Darlings Diary, I knew the tag needed to have a home on my blog as well.

How often do you visit your local library?

When I’m home for school breaks, I visit my library 2-3 times a week. The amout of visits per week really depend on if I’m going there to pick up books I’ve ordered from other branches or to pick something off their shelves.

Are you the type of person who checks out more books than you know you can read or are you someone who only checks out the exact amount of books you intend on reading before they are due?

I am definitely an over-ambitious book-checker-outer (and yes, that is the official name of us library users). In the summer, I typically take out 3-5 books at a time. Luckily, my library system is really awesome about renewing books, and I can have them out for up to 8 weeks (unless the book is really popular and a lot of people want to read it).

How old were you when you got your first library card?

I want to say 6 or 7, and you better believe I headed straight to the rack full of The Baby-Sitters Club.

Do you go to your library looking for a particular book or do you check out anything that peaks your interest?

I more often than not go with particular books in mind, and before I go, I use their online database to see if the book is on the shelf. If not, I’ll put it on hold from another branch. However, I find myself venturing into the adult section more and picking up whatever peaks my interest—it’s how I discovered Jenny Colgan!

From what section of your section of your library do you check out a majority of your books?

Definitely YA, but like I said above, I’m starting to use the adult section more often (YA will always have my heart, but growing up is weird, friends).

What is your favorite part of using your local library?

Getting to read (almost) ALL the books without having to obviously buy them! I save so much money and space, and more importantly, using the library gives me the opportunity to read nearly everything my heart desires. And the used book sales are awesome—give me 25 cent books all day, everyday!

 

Gotta appreciate that plastic-library book shimmer commonly found in my bookstagram photos.

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Do you use the library? What’s your favorite part of using the library? Share in the comments!

Love, Fangirl Fury: Love, Simon Movie Review

March 16th marked the day that almost ALL of us YA bookworms have been looking for: the premiere of Love, Simon, the film adaptation to Becky Albertalli’s Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda. For me, March 17th was even bigger for me because I went to see Love, Simon in theaters! It’s definitely an understatement to say that I am jealous of anyone who was able to attend an advance screening beforehand, so I’m glad that I was then able to complete my mission of seeing the film opening weekend. For those unfamiliar with Love, Simon or Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda, the story follows a teenage guy named Simon who has a normal life filled with family, friends, and plenty of iced coffee- MV5BZTVkOWJkOTYtM2FlZS00YTBlLWE2YTYtODEyZWJjMTZkM2IzXkEyXkFqcGdeQXVyMTQ4NzkzOTA@._V1_UX182_CR0,0,182,268_AL_except for that fact that no one knows he’s gay.

Before jumping into anything else, I have to say that I adored Love, Simon. I often get nervous about book-to-movie adaptations not doing the book justice and while there were a few changes (like many book-to-movie adaptations), I think Love, Simon perfectly captured the message behind Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda. And yes, I know Nick Robinson doesn’t perfectly match the physical characteristics of book Simon, but to me, he was the perfect Simon. He captured the Simon we all know and love, humor and awkwardness included. One of my favorite light-hearted scenes with Simon was when him and Leah dress up as John Lennon and Yoko Ono for Halloween, and Nick mistakes him as fancy Jesus. Speaking of Leah, whose wardrobe and character I loved, since we now have Love, Simon, does that mean we’ll get an on-screen version of Leah on the Offbeat??

IMG_4501Out all of the things I loved about this movie, my favorite aspect was .. Simon’s bedroom! Seriously, I already have the blueprints going for me to have chalkboard walls around my bed! Thanks to Becky and Adam Silvera’s Twitter accounts, I knew there was a lot of detail put into Simon’s bedroom. I think I’m going to have to buy the movie when it eventually comes out on DVD just so I can pause Simon’s bedroom and analyze everything on his desk and walls! A few things I noticed were copies of Adam ’s More Happy Than Not and Becky’s The Upside of Unrequited (and maybe Nicola Yoon’s The Sun Is Also a Star?), some Adventure Time Funkos, a Hamilton playbill, a UCLA poster, and of course, a Hufflepuff sticker! Also speaking of Becky and Adam, who else caught them as extras at Bram’s Halloween party?? The two authors both wore masks, and Adam’s mask was complimented by a unicorn onesie. I obviously want to watch the film again for a few reasons, but I’d love to rewatch to try and pick up on any more cameos.

A few of my fellow bloggers have mentioned on Twitter that they cried from the moment Simon tells Abby he’s gay to the end of the film, and while I can understand their feels, the only scene that really had me wishing that I brought Kleenex was when Simon’s dad tells him that it doesn’t matter that he’s gay and that he how regretted not realizing sooner that Simon was gay. Josh Duhamel is one of my favorite actors and I just loved seeing him as Simon’s dad. While Simons’ family obviously isn’t the focus of the film, I wish we got to spend a bit more time with them.

Some of the funniest scenes took place during the Cabaret rehearsals. While my high school memory doesn’t seem to remember teachers being able to talk so freely (Haley, it’s a rom-COM for a reason), I LOVED Ms. Albright’s remarks (specifically when she shuts down two of the guys who make fun of Simon). I of course have to mention my movie-buddy & Netflix obsessed sister’s reaction to the first Cabaret scene, where she realized that there were TWO actors from Thirteen Reasons Why in the movie—she was freaking out that both Katharine Langford and Miles Heizer were part of the cast.

Overall, Love, Simon met my expectations and more, and the film marks the beginning of many more YA book-to-movie adaptations to come in 2018 & 2019!

Have you seen Love, Simon? What other book-to-movie adaptations are you looking forward to? Share in the comments!