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review 2018-03-18 21:20
A Wrinkle in Time (Time Quintet, #1) by Madeleine L'Engle
A Wrinkle in Time (The Time Quintet #1) - Anna Quindlen,Madeleine L'Engle

Last weekend, the movie adaptation for A Wrinkle in Time was released in theaters here in America. And after hearing about the great representation it contained, I wanted to go see it and support the film on opening weekend. However, I am a person who loves to read the book first before watching the film. So I woke up early on the morning of Friday March 9, 2018 and read the first book in Madeleine L'Engle's Time Quintet before I left to watch the movie later that day. It was quite the experience, let me tell you that.


The book follows the main character, Meg, who clearly has a lot of self-esteem issues. She sees herself as plain and boring and stupid. She also tends to have a real bad attitude problem. As the story progresses, she learns that her missing father is lost through various dimensions and it's up to her, her younger brother Charles Wallace, and a school friend named Calvin to go along with three "heavenly" beings to rescue him. 


The story itself is interesting enough. I really like the imagination L'Engle created throughout her books. She made it scientific, whimsical, and bizarre. I was fascinated with the explanations about how the "wrinkles" work and what it means when it does. The plot was exciting and the true identity of "IT" was horrifying to say the least. I really enjoyed reading about how the science works in this world.


What I didn't enjoy as much was her characters. Let's start with Meg. I understand she is going through her adolescent years and having her father missing really messed with her self-esteem issues, but she was infuriating! She complained left and right, she was mean for no real reason other than because she had a short temper, and she was so immature when she finally found her father that she blamed HIM for all the "bad" things that happened to her and her brother. I know she's young but that's no excuse to be a complete jerk to the people who are trying to help you. That care about you. I'm so glad "movie" Meg is a lot more tolerable. (More on this later.)


Calvin is another character that I couldn't stand in the book. He shows up out of no where, insults Meg, and can be a snob at times. And we're supposed to believe that Meg finds him attractive so it's okay he treats her like crap? Really? Oh, not to mention it was because a boy paid attention to her so she started to feel better about herself. Give me a break. He was a jerk and I didn't like him one bit. Once again, so glad "movie" Calvin is not like that. (More on this later.)


Last character I want to talk about is Charles Wallace. He's basically one of the few characters from the book I actually liked. He has this "other worldly" presence about him. He knows more than is being told and I found him so fascinating. I love the intelligence he contained. I wanted to learn more about him! I guess I have to keep reading the series in order to get that information. X3 His movie version was good, but he came off more as a child than some "other being." It's not a bad rendition of the character. Just a different one.


Basically, this is one of those cases where the movie, in my opinion, is better than the book. I know! Blasphemy! But that's just how I feel. The book leaves a lot to be desired. I just wasn't attached to any of them by the end of it. Whereas the movie, I love how the characters were portrayed in the movie. Meg is so complex. She has self-doubt and doesn't think highly of herself, but she's not mean for no reason, she's not a hateful person like she is in the book. She is compassionate and understanding and she learns and grows throughout her adventures. I loved her relationship with her brother and how far she was willing to go for him. I love that she is a mix child in the movie (in the book, she's white) and how normal it is to have a family like this. I love that.


I also much more prefer Calvin in the movie than the book. In the movie, he's kind and charming. He treats Meg with respect. He never talks down to her and he never insults her. He's there to support her and be her friend. AND he's not the "cure-all" for all of Meg's problems. She still needs to deal with her own demons. It's just nice that she has a friend to support her whilst she does so.


Oh! And the "heavenly" beings of Mrs. Whatsit, Mrs. Who, and Mrs. Which were so much more enjoyable in the movie than the book. Especially Mrs. Which. Mrs. Which in the book kinda shows up, tells the kids what to do, then leaves again. In the movie, she's a sort of support to Meg. She helps her, or tries to, see the beauty of who she is and I thought that was a great message to show to kids. 


I am in love with the beauty of this film on multiple levels.


The one thing I did not really like about the film was the lack of plot. My favorite thing about the book was how eerie Camazotz was and what went on there. Not to mention how horrifying IT was. But the movie didn't focus on it. It focus on the message of having confidence in yourself, about the love of a family, and doing the right thing no matter what. All those are great messages and I don't dislike the movie for that, I just wanted to see a little more of what made the book interesting for me.


All-in-all, I think you should read the book. It's pretty interesting when it comes to the science portion and when they get to Camazotz. However, the book can get a bit... preachy so keep that in mind when reading it. But once you do read it, definitely go see the movie. It's a beautifully stunning, well-told story about family and love. Kids NEED to see this movie. It's absolutely wonderful.

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review SPOILER ALERT! 2018-03-18 19:44
On The Edge by Francine Pascal
On the Edge - Francine Pascal,Kate William

Series: #40 in Sweet Valley High

Headed for trouble...
Regina Morrow and Bruce Patman have been going together for months. But when beautiful, devious Amy Sutton is paired up with Bruce on a school project, she schemes to steal him away from Regina. Little by little Bruce's resistance to Amy's charm begins to crumble.
Regina is furious when she discovers that Bruce has been seeing Amy behind her back. Hurt and betrayed, she turns to Justin Belson, a troubled senior at Sweet Valley High. Regina's friends are worried. They think Justin and his crowd are bad news--it's rumored that some of them are drug users. Is Regina on a dangerous course? (from Goodreads)

This was such a sad book.

Amy Sutton and Bruce Patman are working on a health class project together about drugs. The more time they spend together, the more Bruce starts lapsing into his playboy self from the beginning of the series, and the more he falls for Amy. They hide it from Regina Morrow, Bruce's girlfriend. When Regina catches them at a BBQ held by the Wakefield twins, she feels betrayed by everyone present and turns to one of troubled kids in school, whose friends are known drug addicts. She goes to a party and tries cocaine. And things don't end well.

There is no subplot.

The end sets up the next book Outcast with molly being treated like she has the plague. 

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review 2018-03-18 19:16
Secret Admirer by Francine Pascal


Series: #39 in Sweet Valley High


A little too personal...

Sweet Valley High is in a frenzy when the school newspaper begins to run personal ads. Even Penny Ayala, the shy, serious editor of the paper, decides to place an ad, and a boy named Jamie responds. His letters are witty and sensitive just like hers, and he seems to be Penny's perfect match.

Elizabeth Wakefield encourages Penny to pursue her secret admirer. But when she overhears a group of boys laughing about "Jamie," she realizes that Penny's perfect match is only a joke - "Jamie" doesn't even exist! Can she stop the boys from breaking Penny's heart? (from Goodreads)


I relate to Penny Ayala more than any other Sweet Valley High character. For example, she'd rather read than go to a dance and wears comfortable clothes and no makeup. Wow, that describes me to a T. And even more than relating to her personally, this story more or less actually happened to me. Both of us were set up at our school for secret admirer notes used to humiliate us. Except that she got a boyfriend out of it and I'm still single and that was almost ten years ago. 


The subplot features Jessica Wakefield and Lila Fowler as they use the personal ads as a competition to see who can get the cutest date. The end results are hilarious.


The set up for the next book comes through Regina Morrow as she worries about Bruce Patman not showing up to the dance, instead working on a project with Amy Sutton. And she starts to wonder, is it more than just a project...

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review 2018-03-18 18:51
Leaving Home by Francine Pascal


Series: #38 in Sweet Valley High


Elizabeth has decided that she wants to go to boarding school in Switzerland more than she's ever wanted anything. Her entire family is upset, but she goes ahead with her plans for a scholarship. Can Jessica, Stephen and the whole gang pursuade her that she'd be much happier at home? (from Goodreads)


Leaving Home is set around Elizabeth Wakefield’s desperation to get a scholarship to a Switzerland boarding school for a creative writing course that starts the summer after her junior year and ends at graduation her senior year. It’s all she can talk about and eventually everyone and their mother (including the Wakefield’s mother, Alice) are sick of it, her twin sister Jessica especially. And to be honest, there were a few times I wanted to slap Elizabeth. For example, her thought process at one point was basically, “Jeffrey’s and my relationship will work out. It will be nothing like Todd and me, who just moved across the country whereas I want to move across the world” or “When I get to Switzerland I want to meet a cute boy, but I also want Jeffrey to stay devoted to me and only me.” Stuff like that. It was just really out of character for her. But as much as Liz bothered me, Jessica and Steven really took the cake with their charade. It was too cruel. But then if the Sweet Valley High books have taught me anything, it’s that Jessica will stop at nothing to get her own, stopping nothing short of murder.


The subplot featured Winston Egbert, my favourite character. Winston lost his jacket and accidentally took home a poor (literally poor, not just sad) man’s jacket. And in the pocket he finds a lottery ticket (which he had one in his pocket as well). Anyway, this is a winning lottery ticket and Winston spends the rest of the book at war with himself about whether to give the ticket to the man or keep the money for himself.


The set up for the next book features an idea by Lynne Henry for a personals column in the newspaper, The Oracle. What will happen? What chaos could this cause? Find out in the next book, Secret Admirers.

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review 2018-03-18 18:13
Surprise Endings by Robin Jones Gunn


Series: Christy Miller #4


I think my biggest issue with this book is that Christy is a pleaser and fictional pleasers make me want to hit my head against a wall.


I understand that there has to be angst and drama to keep this series going, but as I said, Christian contemporary is either a hit and when angsty, whiny teenagers are involved it's usually a miss. I'll continue with the series so I can see what happens and read all of Robin Jones Gunn's other books, so I guess we'll see how this goes. 


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