SPOTLIGHT: Harbor Me by Jacqueline Woodson

Today I’m excited to be featuring Jacqueline Woodson’s latest novel, Harbor Me. I really enjoyed Jacqueline Woodson’s Brown Girl Dreaming and Another Brooklyn, and she visited my school during my freshman year! Harbor Me is her first middle-grade novel since National Book Award winner Brown Girl Dreaming. I read Harbor Me last week, and I loved this diverse, emotion-filled story.

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About Harbor Me:

It all starts when six kids have to meet for a weekly chat–by themselves, with no adults to listen in. There, in the room they soon dub the ARTT Room (short for “A Room to Talk”), they discover it’s safe to talk about what’s bothering them–everything from Esteban’s father’s deportation and Haley’s father’s incarceration to Amari’s fears of racial profiling and Ashton’s adjustment to his changing family fortunes. When the six are together, they can express the feelings and fears they have to hide from the rest of the world. And together, they can grow braver and more ready for the rest of their lives.

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Top Five Wednesday: Reading List for Film Adaptation Class

It’s every college student’s favorite time of year: textbook shopping time! Yes, it’s time to buy books that you’ll maybe or maybe not use over the next three and a half months. Maybe you’ll get money back for them in a few months or maybe they’ll become really nice, expensive doorstops. Luckily, as an English major, I don’t spend an extreme amount of money on textbooks. Bless you my STEM major friends for your insanely priced books.

Just in time for back-to-school, today’s Top Five Wednesday aks us to create a reading list based on a class of our chouce. I’d love to take a class on YA books one day -not just because I would so buy those books instead of rent them and add them to my personal collection. However,I took a class on graphic novels last semester, which influenced me to add a new minor and of course pick up some more graphic novels!

I’d especially love to take a class about books that were turned into film adaptations, featuring the 5 books below. I think it would be really fun to read the book, watch its adaptation, and compare and contrast. While there are SO many books and movies to choose from, I’m going to be focusing on some of my favorites from my own read pile. Syllabus to come next week.

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I READ A MG AND OF COURSE I LIKED IT: CITY OF GHOSTS REVIEW

Summary: Ever since Cassidy Blake almost drowned (correction: she did drown, but let’s not think about how she’s still alive), she can pull back the Veil that separates the living from the dead and enter the world of ghosts. At least she got a comic-loving best friend out of it. But Cass’s life with ghosts doesn’t end here. When Cass’s parents get their own TV show about the world’s most haunted destinations, the family heads off to Edinburgh, Scotland. Aka the city of ghosts. In a city filled with phantoms and restless spirits, Cass realizes she has a lot to learn about the Veil and herself.

My Rating: 4/5 Stars

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That’s Not What Happened by Kody Keplinger Review

Summary: It’s been three years since the Virgil County High School massacre. Three years since Leanne lost her best friend, Sarah, in the mass shooting. Everyone knows how Sarah died, proclaiming her faith in a bathroom stall, but Leanne knows that’s not the truth because she was right there. Leanne didn’t tell the truth then and people were hurt, so now that Sarah’s parents are publishing a book about their daughter, this might be Leanne’s only chance to set the record straight. But there are other survivors to say what happened- and didn’t- that day.

 My Rating: 4/5 Stars

 My Thoughts:

Kody Keplinger’s The DUFF was one of my first young-adult books (it’s film adaptation made me laugh out loud so much), and I think I also read A Midsummer’s Nightmare around that time. That being said, it was really fun to meet Kody at the I Read YA Event at Book Con 2018, where she signed That’s Not What Happened. She put a star next to her signature in my book because she felt it was the first time that day where her signature actually looked like her signature!

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That’s Not What Happened is the first book that I’ve read that centers around a school shooting. As you may imagine, the book felt very current compared to the discussion on gun violence here in the US. No matter your opinions on gun control, That’s Not What Happened is a hard-hitting read that more so focuses on the aftermath and tragedy of the fictional Virgil County High School Massacre. In her introduction in the ARC, she writes that her research was largely based on Columbine and other mass shootings in the US.

The book is told through the present day and flashbacks from the perspective of our main character, Leanne. Like her friends who were also survivors, Lee suffers from PTSD, which felt realistic and was quite gut-wrenching. The book’s plot is honestly a traumatizing experience for Leanne, as she tries to uncover the truth behind the death of her best friend Sarah. Sarah has become a martyr in their community and  the country for supposedly defending her faith before her death. I actually liked the incorporation of religion in this book, as it added more tension. However, it was sad and even demeaning at times when the religious community in Lee’s small Indiana town went too far when defending Sarah.

There are many flashbacks, which directly and indirectly focus on the shooting, including letters from survivors about the victims. Like many elements, the letters are quite emotionally-heavy, as they talk directly about the shooting and the victims themselves. I liked the incorporation of the letters for showing that this horrific day is seen in myriad ways.

Overall, That’s Not What Happened is a emotion-filled read that will keep you turning the pages to find out the truth, like Lee. While there are a few twists, this book is more so about the healing and heartache that Lee and her friends face everyday.

This review is based on an uncorrected proof. By no means being provided this book affect my thoughts and opinions.

That’s Not What Happened comes out on August 28, 2018.

Is That’s Not What Happened on your TBR? Have you read any of Kody Keplinger’s books? Share in the comments!

My Fall 2018 Anticipated Releases Guidebook

I tend to start most of my anticipated releases posts screaming about all the amazing books that are coming out that season. But never have I ever felt most truthful than now by saying that are SO SO SO MANY AMAZING BOOKS COMING OUT THIS FALL 2018. Today I’m going to be listing books coming out between September through November by month, and I’ll be discussing my MOST anticipated books of the fall. Books highlighted in pink are books that I have already read for review. These review will likely be coming out either before or on their release date.

Most Anticipated Books:

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FAVORITE BOOK & CUTE THINGS: August 2018 Owlcrate Unboxing

After years of swooning over Owlcrate unboxing videos, bookstagrams, and blog posts, this fangirl finally decided to get an Owlcrate of her own! I admit that I get nervous when it comes to book subscription services in case I’m not a fan of the book being included in that box. However, I know that Owlcrate includes both quality books and merchandise, and I have some of their merch from Book Con and Book Expo. For my birthday, I asked for the August 2018 box, Ruthless Royals. I was really intrigued by their social media hints for this box, especially since there was an exclusive Throne of Glass item and a never-before-seen item inspired by The Cruel Prince. I also wanted an exclusive edition of this month’s book, which I guessed correctly!

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Grace and Fury by Tracy Banghart Exclusive Edition- Grace and Fury is one of my favorite books of 2018. I have an advance copy that I read and reviewed, and I knew that I wanted my own finished copy. I absolutely love the Owlcrate exclusive edition, which is signed by Tracy Banghart. The box also includes a note from the author and a bookmark.

The Belles Inspired Pocket Mirror (Catarina Book Designs)– I haven’t read The Belles yet, but I love the design on the mirror and know it will come in handy.

Throne of Glass Tea Towel (Little Inklings Design)– I’m a sucker for any Throne of Glass merch and I really like the quote. I have plans to turn the tea towel into a wall hanging.

Gemstone Ring (GeoCentral)- This was an unexpected item, but I really like this ring and I can see myself making it a statement piece in some of my outfits. Or a nice bookstagram prop. I really like how the ring’s color/pattern was unique to each box.

The Cruel Prince Inspired Book Tin (Stella Bookish Art)- Owlcrate hinted that The Cruel Prince inspired item was something that they’ve never done before, and I really like the uniqueness of the book tin. The artwork throughout is absolutely stunning! I think this will also make a great bookstagram prop and I might keep some bookish things in it for my dorm room. Or maybe for my love letters (can you tell I’m still on a To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before high??).

Villanious Queens Bookmarks (Craftedvan) –I can’t get over the adorableness that are these magnetic bookmarks, featuring the Queen of Hearts, Maleficent, and the Evil Queen.

Before She Ignites Artwork/Quote Card- I haven’t read the Before She Ignites series, but I like this quote and plan on hanging it up in my dorm with my photos.

As always, the box also included a Owlcrate pin, a Ruthless Royals guide, and a teaser for  next month’s theme, Masters of Disguise.

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Overall, I loved the Ruthless Royals box! My favorite items include the Throne of Glass tea towel, the magnetic bookmarks, and Grace and Fury. I’m not really interested in the Masters of Disguise theme, but I can definitely see myself ordering from Owlcrate again in the future.

Do you subscribe to Owlcrate? Did you get the Ruthless Royals box? Share in the comments!

To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before Movie Review

So one advance screening and three at-home rewatches later, I feel confident to launch into my review of my most anticipated 2018 film, To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before. Just like the beloved book by Jenny Han, I absolutely loved To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before, and it will always be a movie I can return to again and again. This Netflix film also gives us the opportunity to channel our true Covey-Song selves with being able to put on our comfiest pajamas with plenty of chocolate chip cookies and face masks at hand.

IMG_E5419When it comes to book-to-movie adaptions, us bookworms most like to discuss the differences between book and movie. There were minor changes made, but nothing that was significant enough to affect the plot, in my opion. For the most part, the changes usually involved the setting of certain events. I admit that I was a bit sad that Lara Jean lives in Oregon, not Virginia, in the movie, but I’m sure this had something to do with the movie being filmed in Canada and having to find a similar US setting. I don’t want to go into too many spoilers, so I’ll talk about the most obvious change that you can find in the trailers. Kitty was made to be older in the movie -she’s starting the sixth grade. Director Susan Johnson revealed that they wanted a bit more mature, older Kitty in the movie so she could act as a comic pinpoint. Which is fine by me, because I laughed out loud at almost everything she said.

While the actresses who play the Covey-Song girls aren’t all Korean, I was still so happy that the film was not whitewashed, many thanks to Jenny Han, because it just made the To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before feels even stronger. I’ve seen some debate over if Janel Parrish was too old to play college freshman Margot, but I did like her as Margot- even though I always pictured Margot to be a bit more nerd-chic for some reason. And like I said above, I LOVED Anna Cathcart as Kitty. Her comic delivery was just so good! I know there’s a lot of loves being thrown around here, but Noah Centineo as Peter K was just so perfect and much love to John Corbett as Dr. Covey. I think I also liked movie Chris a tad more than book Chris?? Her questions about Dr.Cover’s career choice was one of my favorite moments. Most importantly, I think it’s safe to say that Lana Condor is the Lara Jean we all hoped for. From her wardrobe to her bad driving skills to her introvert self to her messy room her love for her family, Lana is the Lara Jean I always imagined. And let’s not forgot about that Jenny Han cameo! I love how she lingers in the background for a bit so readers really have the chance to recognize her.

Speaking of messy rooms and camera shots, I obviously give this move an A+, but its camera angles and cinematography gets A+s themselves. This movie was just so beautifully shot, and I loved the sequences, like when Lara Jean is opening the hatbox and the different shots as she shows the letters, pictures the boys, and sweeps the hatbox aside when Margot comes in.

I’m so happy that we can watch this movie again and again on Netflix, and I’ll likely buy it if it ever comes out on DVD. Netflix powers, please give us P.S. I Still Love You and Always and Forever, Lara Jean adaptations. Especially after that ending.

Have you watched To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before? Share your thoughts in the comments!