Google+ YA Romantics

Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Page to Screen: Paper Towns



Confession: I often avoid seeing movies that are based books that I like. My book club and I had planned to see Me and Earl and the Dying Girl (which I still haven't read).  However, that movie left the theater right before we were due to meet, so the obvious thing to do was to go and see:


I was worried. I read Paper Towns some years ago and really liked it, but the casting had me concerned. That supermodel was all wrong to play Margot, and if Quentin were really that adorable looking, the book would obviously have turned out a different way.

I went into the movie with no expectations, and ... I really liked it a lot. I thought it captured the spirit of the book and I was happy that there were changes. The Harry Potter movies aside, I think the most successful book-to-movie adaptations are the ones that aren't afraid to actually adapt the book a bit.

What's different about the movie?

If you don't want to know what was changed from page to screen, you should stop reading here. If you haven't read the book, this won't make much sense to you, but carry on unless you are afraid of spoilers.

No Honeybunnies
I was really happy that Ben's character was toned down a bit. Thankfully, there were no mentions of honeybunnies or all the different bunnies he was always going on about. On screen, Ben was definitely channeling Anthony Michael Hall in every John Hughes movie, but I have no complaints about that.

Q gets cuter 
I can understand that in a movie targeted to a mainstream teen crowd, Quentin had to be more cute and less awkward than in the book. One review I read called the movie version of Quentin "unsurprising" and "average." That's harsh, but I sort of see the point. In the book, since Q is the narrator, his voice is stronger and I he comes off quirkier and smarter. 

More Girls
Watching this on screen made me realize that Paper Towns is a fairly guy-centric book. Margo is pretty much a MPDG, and all the other girls in the book have very minor roles. While I really loved that the movie emphasized the great friendship between Q, Ben and Radar, I was happy that Radar's girlfriend Angela got a bigger role in the film. 
P.S. I was wrong about Cara Delevingne. She made a great Margo.

Ninja Night
I loved seeing the prank sequence come to life on the screen. Sadly, there was no trip to Sea World, but I still thought this aspect was fantastic and otherwise true to the literary version.

Road trip 
Who doesn't love a road trip? I thought the small changes made to the trip were really smart and added some needed suspense and humor.

Pok√©mon Sequence 
Hilarious. And exactly right for these characters if they're high school seniors in 2015.

The Ending
Really, really liked the way the ending was done. I was really afraid that there'd be some (highlight for spoiler) completely inappropriate Hollywood happy ending, (end spoiler) but I really liked the very slight changes to the ending. 

Have you seen the movie? Read the book? If so, tell me your thoughts!

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Hot Off the Presses: New YA Releasing July 28-August 3

Hot Off the Presses -- brand new YA releases!

Welcome to Hot Off the Presses!  

Tuesday is book release day, so every Tuesday I tell you about all the great new YA books you can buy in the week to come. If you're a reviewer, you can also link your blog or Goodreads reviews of any YA book publishing in the current month so we can all check them out!

LAST week of the July giveaway! This month's winner can pick any book up to $15 on either Amazon (for US winner) or The Book Depository (for international winner.)

Enter by linking reviews of YA books that release in July or by commenting on other people's linked reviews.

Hot Off the Presses aims to include every traditionally published YA book. Please let me know about books that came out this week that I might have missed! Some titles may have different release dates outside the US.

Click on the photos to get to each book's Goodreads page!

Oblivion Every Last Breath I Knew You Were Trouble
Oblivion (Nevermore #3) by Kelly Creagh (Atheneum)
Every Last Breath (Dark Elements #3) by Jennifer L. Armentrout (Harlequin)
I Knew You Were Trouble (Jessie Jefferson #2) by Paige Toon (Simon & Schuster)

Blind Wish All We Have is Now What You Left Behind
The Blind Wish (Jinni Wars #2) by Amber Lough (Random House)
All We Have is Now by Lisa Schoeder (Scholastic)
What You Left Behind by Jessica Verdi (Sourcebooks)


Adrift Thirteen Chairs Her Cold Revenge
Adrift by Paul Griffin (Scholastic)
Thirteen Chairs by Dave Shelton (David Fickling)
Her Cold Revenge byErin Johnson (Switch Press)


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Monday, July 27, 2015

Just Finished Reading: Six Impossible Things by Fiona Wood

Six Impossible Things
by Fiona Wood
To be published in the US on August 11, 2015
by Poppy

Synopsis from Goodreads: Fourteen-year-old nerd-boy Dan Cereill is not quite coping with a reversal of family fortune, moving house, new school hell, a mother with a failing wedding cake business, a just-out gay dad, and an impossible crush on the girl next door. His life is a mess, but for now he's narrowed it down to just six impossible things...

My take: Sometimes I complain about young YA, and Poppy does seem to be an imprint that puts out a fair amount of it.

While I would call Six Impossible Things a YA book that does skew a bit young (it features a main character who's not yet fifteen) I found it enjoyable all the same. Dan's father has just come out and left the family, and he and his mother are forced to move to a decrepit old house that has been left to his mom by a relative. Dan's next-door neighbor is the fascinating Estelle, and when he discovers a connection between their attics, he's able to get a unique perspective on Estelle and her life. After all this upheaval, he makes a list of ... you guessed it: six impossible things he'd like to accomplish.

I must confess that I thought Wildlife, Wood's companion book to this one, was a stronger book with more emotional depth and more interesting narrative aspects. But Six Impossible Things was sweet and charming in its own understated way. It felt a little like an Australian John Green book - you know, awkward boy pines after unattainable girl and grows up a little in the process. Since Dan also has a depressed/dumped mother, I'd call it Paper Towns meets About a Boy.

If you're not a fan of contemporary YA this may seem a little too quiet for you. If you're a fan of the awkward male narrator and/or of Aussie fiction, give this one a go!

Friday, July 24, 2015

Freebie Friday: July/August ARC Grab Bag!



Happy Friday!


The winner of this week's giveaway will get to choose from a selection of July and August ARCs.

Want to know what they are? Check out my Instagram (link on right sidebar or search jenryland.)

Hope you all have a wonderful weekend of reading!

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Thursday, July 23, 2015

Just Finished Reading ... Everybody Rise by Stephanie Clifford

Everybody Rise
by Stephanie Clifford
To be published on August 18, 2015
By St. Martin's Press

Source: eARC from publisher

Synopsis from Goodreads: It’s 2006 in the Manhattan of the young and privileged, and a new generation of heirs and strivers are jockeying for social power and discovering that class, especially on the Upper East Side, still holds sway. At 26, Evelyn Beegan is the product of new money, propelled by her social-climbing mother through an elite prep school, a posh college, and into Manhattan. Evelyn has always managed to stay just on the periphery of this world her mother so desperately wants her to become a part of. But when she takes a job at a new social networking site aimed at her very elite peers, she’s forced to leverage her few connections to work her way to the front of the pack. With the help of her prep school friends, Evelyn goes from lush "camps" in the Adirondacks and "cottages" in Newport, to Southampton weekends and clubs thick with socialites and Wall Street types, eventually befriending target #1, Camilla Rutherford—a young woman who is a regular on the front page of every society blog. In order to be accepted by this rarefied set, Evelyn must be seen as someone with established old money. Her lies start small, but quickly grow, and as she relentlessly elbows her way up the social ladder, the ground underneath her begins to give way.
My take:  First off, I adore this cover. Without the text, it looks like something that a modern-day Holly Golightly would frame and hang on the wall of her apartment.

Speaking of Holly, I love stories about young women making their way in New York, which is why I requested this book for review.  And a quick note: Everybody Rise is not YA, and not really NA.

If you're a YA reader, would you like this? Here's a quiz: Did you read and enjoy Prep by Curtis Sittenfeld? Are you the type of person who likes reading Town & Country magazine or old Emily Post etiquette books? Are you an armchair anthropologist, the type who enjoys reading about the quaint customs of a particular social group? Do you like nineteenth century writers like Jane Austen? Would you be bored with discussions about how to use a fish fork? If you can answer "yes" to at least three or four of these questions, this book could be for you!

I was completely engrossed in Evelyn's project -- to insinuate herself into the upper echelons of WASP society -- but I can see that readers might not understand what she's doing or why. It is really hard to fathom why an educated twenty-first century twenty-something would become morally and financially bankrupt in order to impress a very entitled, narcissistic group of people who basically treat her like dirt. Her project seems like a weird obsession -- one that she will pursue to her complete destruction.

That happens ... kind of. If I had one quibble with this book, it would be that -- acid preppy pink and green cover aside -- it was very deliberately paced and quite understated. Also, the ending felt a bit anticlimactic to me -- I guess I was expecting something a little more dramatic.

If you've read this, tell me what you thought!

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Hot Off the Presses: New YA Releasing July 21-27

Hot Off the Presses -- brand new YA releases!

Welcome to Hot Off the Presses!  

Tuesday is book release day, so every Tuesday I tell you about all the great new YA books you can buy in the week to come. If you're a reviewer, you can also link your blog or Goodreads reviews of any YA book publishing in the current month so we can all check them out!

Enter the July giveaway! This month's winner can pick any book up to $15 on either Amazon (for US winner) or The Book Depository (for international winner.)

Enter by linking reviews of YA books that release in July or by commenting on other people's linked reviews.

Hot Off the Presses aims to include every traditionally published YA book. Please let me know about books that came out this week that I might have missed, but be aware that some titles may have different release dates outside the US.

Click on the photos to get to each book's Goodreads page!

Return to the Dark House Damage Done Pretending to be Erica The New Order
Return to the Dark House (Dark House #2) by Laurie Faria Stolarz (Disney)
Damage Done by Amanda Panitch (Random House)
Pretending to be Erica by Michelle Painchaud (Viking)
The New Order (Young World #2) by Chris Weitz (Little, Brown)


Noble Warrior Resonance Torn
Noble Warrior by Alan Lawrence Sitomer (Disney)
Resonance (Dissonance #2) by Erica O'Rourke (Simon & Schuster)
Torn (Feud #2) by Avery Hastings (St. Martin's)


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Monday, July 20, 2015

Just Finished Reading: Hide and Seek by Jane Casey

Hide and Seek (Jess Tennant #3)
by Jane Casey
To be published on August 25, 2015
by St. Martin's Griffin

Source: ARC from publisher for review

Synopsis from Goodreads: It's Christmas in Port Sentinel, the tiny English town where Jess Tennant has been living for more than a year now. She wasn't sure how she felt about moving away from London when her mom dragged her to Port Sentinel right before the beginning of high school, but even Jess has to admit the town has completely outdone itself for the holidays. There's a Christmas market complete with mini ice-rink, and fairy lights decorate the bare trees all over town. For one of Jess's classmates, though, the Christmas season is anything but magical. She's been kidnapped and is being held in a dilapidated cottage near a deserted beach. And Jess might be the only one who can figure out where she is in time to rescue her.
My take:  I've been a fan of British mysteries and police procedurals since I discovered my mom's huge stash of Agatha Christie books in our basement rec room. I've gone on to read P.D. James, Lynda La Plante, Val McDermid (who hails from Scotland) and Tana French (Ireland) and enjoyed their work.

For the past seven years I've been reading less mystery and more YA, so Jane Casey wasn't on my radar.  While she's written a mystery series for adults, Hide and Seek is part of her YA mystery series and had all the elements I love: a well-drawn British setting, a smart, resourceful protagonist with some interesting personal entanglements and a friendly-but-not-always friendly relationship with the police. Then, of course, there's the requisite Brit-speak that's music to my Anglophile ears: mentions of Agas and wellies and rows.

While Hide and Seek is the third in a series, I always understood what was going on with Jess's personal life, though I did get the idea that I missed out on a bunch of interesting history she had with some other characters. It would have been nice to have read the prior two books, but I didn't find it a hindrance that I hadn't.

I also thought Hide and Seek handled the whole plausibility issue of a 16-year old being involved in a police investigation really well -- at one point, the chief investigator (and her boyfriend's father and her mother's ex-boyfriend) tells her that he can't have a teenager messing around, disturbing his evidence. When Jess did things that were out of bounds, it seemed believable. The clues were all eel-place and the book had a very suspenseful ending.

If you're also a fan of British crime fiction, I think you'll find this a great read. And if you generally like YA mysteries and thrillers, try it out!


 
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