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Book vs Movie: Before I Fall

Hey everyone,

In the midst of so many book-based movies coming out in the last while, I’m trying a new segment on my blog that pits these movies with their books. Who comes out the winner on top?

This month’s BOOK vs MOVIE is Lauren Oliver’s Before I Fall. Note: this post does not provide any major spoilers for those who have not read the book or seen the movie in case you wish to do so in the future.

before i fall -lauren oliver

Image result for before i fall movie poster

 

 

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Synopsis:

For popular high school senior Samantha Kingston, February 12—”Cupid Day”—should be one big party, a day of valentines and roses and the privileges that come with being at the top of the social pyramid. And it is…until she dies in a terrible accident that night.

However, she still wakes up the next morning. In fact, Sam lives the last day of her life seven times, until she realizes that by making even the slightest changes, she may hold more power than she ever imagined.

Named to numerous state reading lists, this novel was also recognized as a Best Book of the Year by Amazon.com, Barnes & Noble, The Daily Beast, NPR, and Publishers Weekly. It has been optioned for film by Fox 2000 Pictures.


Pros for the book:

  • it dived into more details about each repetition of that Valentine’s day that Sam had to live through, garnering more understanding about her situation and the events she witnessed (and ultimately changed)
  • the relationship with Kent was better explored – ah be still my beating heart
  • having explored the toxic emotions that you’d expect Sam would go through with every repetition (from anger to rebellion to eventual resignation/hope)

Pros for the movie:

  • stellar audio and visuals to really drive home the impact of Sam’s emotions as she learned more about her situation
  • Zoey Deutch’s acting (as Samantha Kingston) has always been amazing in my opinion and she really captured the transformation of Sam’s personality as the same day keeps repeating
  • Halston Sage (as bestie Lindsay) was spot-on for what I’d always imagined a mean girl with some hidden depth would look like. Either way, she was perfect for this role

Cons for the book:

  • uh, the length of the first day took FOREVER to get through – why can’t everything be condensed to movie-length sometimes?

Cons for the movie:

  • No depth into the true motives and characterizations of Sam’s 3 best friends (including the vast amount of information about Lindsay and her relationship to the girl they bully)
  • Emotional insight into Sam and Kent’s relationship, no matter how one-sided it got sometimes with Sam remembering everything but Kent having no recollection each time the day reset

I thought the movie overall followed the book well enough (and it shouldn’t be surprising if author Lauren Oliver was given room to help produce this movie). The tidbits into emotional depth and further character development in Sam would be hard to achieve on screen no matter what kind of movie as that’s the beauty of a book – the first hand experience of the protagonist’s experiences.

However, there is clearly still a winner in this. And that of course goes to the BOOK.

before i fall -lauren oliver

I recommend you read it, especially if you’ve watched the movie. For a full review on the book, you can find that here.

Feel free to comment below on your thoughts/opinions on the book or the movie! Are you a fan of Zoey Deutch as I am?

 

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Meeting Lesley Livingston, Elly Blake, Kristen Ciccarelli

This year must be a good one for me ’cause I didn’t just get to meet one great author (see post on Jenny Han), but now I’ve met 3 more!

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My Canadian pride is shining through as I had this past weekend to meet Lesley Livingston (again), author of The Valiant, and Elly Blake, author of Frostblood. In the sweltering heat that is VERY much unlike the typical weather found around here in our fall season, these amazing authors trekked out to greet their fans and do some fun readings from their latest novels.

First up, Lesley Livingston

What is my personal take from meeting her?

I met her once a long, long time ago back in 2010 when her first series was hitting the shelves. But upon re-meeting her, I was delightfully pleased to see that no matter how many books she’s published since, and the amount of her success, she’s still so down-to-earth. I find myself sometimes nervous around famous people as who am I compared to them? But she made me feel like I could say whatever nervous ramblings that fell out of my mouth without harsh judgment, and for that I love her even more.

But oh, she’s also delightfully hilarious. Her reading of The Valiant was quick-paced and it wasn’t hard for me to keep up as it never lost my attention (and that happens often so audiobooks are pretty much a no for me). She has a wonderful sense of humour, and this translates to her novels. Honestly.

Next, Elly Blake

What is my personal take from meeting her?

She’s easily one of the sweetest ladies I’ve ever met, and certainly talented. We were lucky enough to get a reading of her sequel Fireblood that just hit stores last week (do I get a whoop-whoop for that?) and I can’t wait to get my hands on it. Even though I haven’t known her work as long, I’m already a fan from her debut novel.

What I loved was hearing about the process in which she wrote. I’ve dipped my hands for years into writing (no success so far, but hey, that’s why I’m a blogger) and hearing how someone as successful as her with the trilogy she’s writing was amazing.

“I love the interactions between people the most in any story,” she said, “so world building comes on later after the first draft to create layers on top.”

As someone who easily gets frustrated with the intense effort to create well-thought out worlds while still having a solid plot with emotionally real characters, this may come as helpful advice for any fledgling writers out there.

Last but not least, Kristen Ciccarelli

What is my personal take from meeting her?

I will be honest, I haven’t read her debut book before meeting her (unfortunately, I didn’t get my hands on the ARC), but her reading of The Last Namsara BLEW me away. It’s deeply imaginative with forbidden stories told within the book that felt like I was being transported to storytellings from the greats, like J.R.R. Tolkien (who I absolutely love).

I will also admit that I came to the event solely intent on meeting the other two authors whom I already adore, but I think just from hearing her read her novel and understanding a bit more about the inspirations that shaped it, I became a fan in the span of 20 minutes. Hands down, I’m overall very impressed and I hope her first book does amazing when it hits stores on October 3, 2017.


So, have you heard of these lovely ladies before?

Let me tell you. If you haven’t, you should jump on board one of their novels and see what they’re all about in the beautiful worlds they have crafted with their words. From heavily researched historical fantasies about female gladiators to crafty worldbuilding and magical powers to a tale as old as time with forbidden stories, there really is something for everyone from these 3 ladies.

Last thoughts

I regret not being bold enough and drawing up the courage to ask for a photo with each of these amazing ladies while I had the chance, but I sure hope that this isn’t the last time that I’ll get to see them in person.

Here’s to a photo of the 3 authors (with Lesley signing one of my books!) bravely facing the heat just so they could come to this event with us.

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So, any book signings you’ve been to lately? And what do you think about these wonderful authors?

Panic Attacks and the YA world

I was going to write a review (or my June book haul which is completely delayed), but I needed to write this first.

I don’t know if it’s just me or something, but a number of books I’ve been reading lately in this year have all revolved around a protagonist with panic attacks or anxiety. And myself being one to have experienced such things, I automatically found them more relatable.

It makes me wonder. What has brought anxiety even to the midst of YA? Is it the fact that we talk more about mental health these days in our society, and are more accepting of it? Is it that we feel it’s no longer such an uncommon thing, that in fact we can relate to each other in our moments of absolute weakness? Or has this always been there, with the same numbers of people facing anxiety issues in our midst, but we are only now realizing it? I discussed this recently with a friend and honestly, it could be any of these or something else entirely.

Regardless of the why, I am thankful for the different books I’ve encountered that highlighted not just a realistic protagonist going through anxiety in her day-to-day life, but also growing from it and through it. I wanted to highlight some of these books today in this post.

If you do not know what it may feel to have panic attacks or have generalized anxiety, I will say that the experience may be different for each person. There are common symptoms, of course, but it doesn’t necessarily mean that everyone goes through the same exact course and consequently deal with it in the same way.

So for the audience here who may not have experienced such a thing, I will give you some of my own experience as a taste of what it may feel like (although it most definitely is not the same for everyone) so that you can understand why the following books meant something to me. If the following may be uncomfortable for you to read, feel free to skip it to look at the books.

It starts with a tingling sensation in my legs, from the very tips of my toes. Or sometimes, it may start off with a hitch in my breath, and a sense of foreboding that something oh so wrong is about to crash over me like a wave. Or the worst kind, it starts with the beat of my heart.

It picks up. My heart pounds faster. My brain tells it to stop. What’s there to be causing such a reaction? My breathing gets faster. Something is wrong. Of course, something is wrong. The tingles in my legs are similar to the ones in my arms and hands now. Can I grip anything? Why won’t it stop shaking? Nothing I do is making a difference! When will it be over? Is it ever going to stop? Is it ever going to stop?

People are staring. Or are they not? Do I even want them to? If they do notice, no one is doing anything about it. Is this all just in my head? But why can’t I make it stop then?

And as my heart pumps, pumps, pumps, I wonder if this is what dying would feel like. And I wonder if it would feel this lonely. Even in the midst of strangers.

I close my eyes, and I wait it out. And hope that there is an end.

This was what I felt during my first panic attack. I read maybe one book before this occurred on a character with anxiety. I didn’t fully understand it. I didn’t fully appreciate the growth, the portrayal of strength in the midst of such a personal struggle. I will admit that not every author may go about this issue in the same way, and I will respect if others’ experiences make them feel differently about how they’re portrayed in YA or the following books. However, no matter what we may or may not agree on with the particulars, I hope most people can agree with me that I am grateful these authors put a spotlight on something like this in any way in their writing. They don’t have to. And to do it well and right may require so much more effort that isn’t necessary if they didn’t want to do it.


  1. All Things New by Lauren Miller

all things new -lauren millerThis whole novel focused on mental health and put it almost into a philosophical spin. I absolutely adored that. I know it’s not out yet in stores, but I fervently hope that you do pick up a copy when it comes out the beginning of August.

This protagonist faces a completely different level of anxiety than I do, but it doesn’t make her story any less poignant to me. We are all broken in some ways, some more visible than others. This novel showed how we can face these things, not necessarily on our own, but finding it in a community of people we feel we can trust. Whether it be from a physical support group to go to, or the people placed in our lives that we’re blessed to have found, this story stirred something in my heart to respond in the same way.

2. By Your Side by Kasie West

by-your-side-kasie-west

One of my earlier reads of the year (although technically in the 2016 count), I really appreciated Kasie West tackling this subject. I’ve always loved her writing, but this book was different as it was just a light contemporary novel I breezed through like her others.

The protagonist in this book starts off really facing her fears. She gets left behind in a library all alone, with all those who supposedly care about her having forgotten she wasn’t with them anymore. I don’t know about others, but I relate to the fact that being alone with oncoming attacks is sometimes worse than facing a room of strangers or even friends watching me embarrass myself. And being left behind adds to the anxiety of being alone even when there are people around. I like how this book does develop the protagonist’s character, and her choice to admit to someone close to her know that she isn’t always all right. And that it’s okay.

3. Crash into You by Katie McGarry

crash into you -katie mcgarrySurprisingly, this book features anxiety too. I love the way Katie McGarry can make situations and people feel so real that you’re practically living it with them. Likewise, I really enjoyed this protagonist.

The main character wasn’t always seen as strong. It didn’t help that she had older brothers and protective parents. But it made opening up about her fears so much harder. Although it wasn’t nearly as hard to admit to my family and close loved ones about being less than okay, it’s still not an easy journey. Not everyone understands what you face, and why. They may think similarly to how this girl’s family did – trying to pretend that everything was okay and ignoring the little signs that showed that in fact, nothing was getting any better. The journey this protagonist takes for herself, regardless of the romance featured, made this an easy read through one sitting. I wished I could have such strength in myself.

4. Everything All at Once by Katrina Leno

everything all at once -katrina lenoThis isn’t a book I have technically reviewed yet. But that’s because I’m currently going through this novel. Although I haven’t read anything from this author before, I find her take on this girl’s journey to learning to live life with a different perspective something that resounds in me. I will write more on this later, but it doesn’t focus so harshly on anxiety so much as showcases that strength comes from within. I can’t wait to see what else the novel has in store, but having anxiety on the back burner isn’t necessarily shoving it away from the spotlight. It’s another way I appreciate the subtle nod to those who understand, and the real, reflective amount of personal growth it sometimes takes to face it head on.

5. I See London, I See France by Sarah Mlynowski

i see london, i see france -sarah mlynowskiAlso a book that hasn’t been reviewed yet on this blog, but it’s coming soon, no worries! Recently released this week in your local bookstores, this novel seems like it’s all fun and cute romance, but surprisingly, holds a main character that deals with some anxiety herself. Although I didn’t relate to every aspect of this character, as I will mention in a full review, I think what stood out to me was her will to face the fear straight on. We can hide all we want, wishing another one would never hit us, or we can live our lives and hold on. Personal challenges may be the best way to help us face incoming attacks. I’m not saying conquer, but at least face. And as a friend said to me, simply facing it is sometimes enough. That in itself is strength, not weakness.


So, I’ve held up like way too much of your time. Whether you fully understand or not, I hope this at least made you pause and think huh, never thought of it quite this way before. I may not have said it all that well, so go and read the books! And if any of you do understand this feeling, I hope you know you’re not alone in it.