Sunday, April 9, 2017

This Is Your Tape

I read and reread Thirteen Reasons Why by Jay Asher, and I can honestly say it was an eye opener. It makes you reconsider the second look you give that person in passing, and it definitely makes you more aware of how the small things can affect someone so desperately.

They recently made a Netflix series, and I am always skeptical of these. A lot of the time the movie, or tv series, takes away from the novel, so the book nerds are always so disappointed because ALL HOLLYWOOD NEEDED TO DO WAS KEEP IT THE SAME! I was dubious, but I indulged and finished the series. the event you haven't read the book or watched the end of the series.

The one thing I really liked about the series was the casting. I felt they did a perfect job depicting characters; Clay wasn't the overly sporty super good looking junior, Hannah was beautiful but not like the cheerleader types, Bryce was EXACTLY how you pictured. It worked. And I think all the actors did a great job with the characterization as well.
The HUGE difference from the book was the fact that we had insider information on characters we didn't know anything about prior. Justin Foley was a jerk- he spread rumors, he allowed his friend to rape his girlfriend- we as the reading community were like there is no redemption for him. However, in the series we are taken into Justin's home life where he has a neglectful and drug addicted mother who has an abusive boyfriend. So suddenly we are not so quick to judge Justin on his bad decisions and what he did to Hannah; we are left feeling like "Justin needed a hug" (as one of my sophomore girls said). I felt this was conflicting; Hannah Baker made these tapes because these people did different things that expressed the 13 reasons that eventually lead to her suicide. So why should I feel bad for them? They are ultimately horrible people; most of the people on the tape are just doing something to boost their popularity or just to be mean to someone. So why do I feel bad for them? I don't think this was a bad choice; I just felt it was interesting. I am supposed to be on Hannah's side, yet I have a soft spot for the jerks who made her feel small and alone.

After the second episode I knew we were making detours from the book. So, just like The Walking Dead and Game of Thrones, you enjoy the series for the sake of the series- not because you want it to be identical to the novel you love. There were  a lot of things I was uneasy with, but I did not dislike the series. It was filled with drama, it was terribly sad, at times graphic, but some of it was unexpected. They misnamed characters, changed events, rearranged the tapes, and added more details- but the show was consistently 50 minutes each episode. Ultimately, not that bad of a show. Honestly though, certain things should not have been points of concern: like Jessica and Justin's drama over his drug break down, Clay's sudden need for vengeance when his character never displayed this emotion, Justin's need to "get rid of Clay" to solve their problems, and the fact that all the boys have tattoos in high school. I know it's dumb, but it did bother me.

The end of the show really is a point of confusion. First, Clay completely bypasses the next person on the tapes and goes to the guidance counselor. Tony makes the decision to give Hannah's parents the tapes (who are in the process of suing the school district for their daughter's suicide). And Alex, the one person on the tapes who doesn't seem to have betrayed Hannah so poorly, has shot himself in the head at the end. This leaves us open for a season two...which would be a disaster. There are so many loose ends that weren't tied up; like the law suit, the school principal trying to cover the whole incident up, Hannah's parents having the tapes, and now Alex's impending death. I really think it's a let down if this were the ending, but it would be even worse if they decided to do a season two. It would completely take away from the book; not only that but it just wouldn't be enough material.
 It seems like lately Netflix series have a tendency to start off strong then let us down in the end...and in my opinion...I don't really know what to think about this one.

If you're going to watch you have to go in not expecting the exact information from the novel. It does a nice job of keeping the events the same (at least the really dramatic ones), the characters are very well established; but there are lots of different detours. Again, this is just me and my opinion- definitely check out the series if you loved the book. It kept true to the skeleton story Asher weaved of Hannah's life, although Netflix did need to include more of the drama to give viewers something else to long for.

Wednesday, March 15, 2017

I Will Have My Revenge

It takes two people to keep a secret, and in Frances's case she is one of the only ones left who can reveal the truth. When the luxury yacht, Persephone, overtakes a tragic end, Frances and her friend, Libby, appear to be the only two who escape. Days later, Frances survives and is rescued by Libby's father; she then discovers there were two other people who witnesses the tragedy: Senator Wells and his son, Grey. However, Grey and his father lie about the outcome of the event claiming it was a rouge wave that overtook the ship, but this was not what Frances remembers from that day. Her
parents, Libby's mother, and every person on board that yacht were murdered in front of her.
Knowing the truth, Libby's father offers Frances safety and a chance for new life by taking on Libby's identity. However removed she gets from the tragedy, Frances cannot forget the pain and suffering and continues to plot her revenge against her one time love, Grey, and his father.
As she slips seamlessly into Libby's new life, and her plan becomes more and more real,  Frances comes faced with countless obstacles in achieving her plan. And, when it comes down to it, will she be able to betray Grey? Or has someone else plotted to silence her for good?

Carrie Ryan's Daughter of Deep Silence is a thriller that revolves around the idea of retribution. I am a huge fan of Ryan's work as I read her other series, The Forest of Hands and Teeth, twice through. Her writing is great, and she has this way of creating such a connection between the reader and the heroine. Frances finds herself suddenly orphaned with no one and no life to return to after the tragedy. Libby's father takes her in and gives her a life, but you can still sense her anger, her pain, and of course her need for revenge. She has plotted and planned; the lengths she goes to for this plan to succeed is truly remarkable. Every single detail down to the name of the senator's secretary has been thought through and thoroughly placed.
I marked this as a "self-discovery" book because throughout Frances becomes less Libby and truly begins to realize who Frances is and was. It is evident to readers the need for revenge has overtaken Frances and Libby's identities so the line between real and fiction is fading. The journey this novel takes is definitely suspenseful. Honestly, I feel it was a great thriller that truly left readers wondering who are the Wells's covering for, and what happens when they catch on that "Libby" is alive and on their trail. Definitely a great read with a unexpected end.

Monday, February 27, 2017

Hello Flowers.

The Cellar by Natasha Preston started, for me anyway, with the pretty covers. I know it's always about the color and the cover design. Upon reading the back cover, I was interested. As I started reading, I became terrified. I think this may have been a contributing factor as to why it took me a while to finish. *By the way, I did finish this and the next book a few months ago, however time has been escaping me lately. Again, my apologies.*

The story starts off with Summer Robinson and her utmost perfect life. She's a pretty teenager with a super caring and loving boyfriend, her family seems all too perfect. One evening, Summer went out to meet her friends at the local club, yes I know clubs are for older people but for some reason they can get in I think it takes place in England...I don't know, but she never makes it. Summer is kidnapped by a man only known as "Clover" who seems to be mistaking her for a girl named Lily.  She was drugged, and upon her coming to, Summer finds herself in the cellar of this man's home where she meets three of her "sisters": Rose, Poppy, and Violet. She was not being mistaken for Lily, this man has renamed her in order to fit into his perfect family.

Summer soon discovers these three women were also abducted, but none had a home, a family, or any kind of life to go back to. Each morning, the four women must dress in almost identical clothes to sit down at breakfast where Clover greets them. Then they have the entire day while the man of the house is at work to read, watch movies, or just sit idling. Clover puts on this persona of a fake family to come home to because he has no one to call his own. The women are given a home and expected to obey. The flowers are a symbol of how everything grows together; and now Summer finds herself expecting to be the perfect "Lily" in order to blend into the family.

Weeks turn to months, but Summer is still optimistic that her family and the love of her life, Louis, will find her somehow. However, the cellar is always locked, and even when opportunity strikes for escape, Summer has seen the result of those who try to cross Clover. Summer must continually keep herself strong in the hopes that one day she will be able to be free; but first she must endure the torture Clover has in store- which in reality is just becoming a family filled with love, affection, and perhaps once he has known his "flower" for a longer time, much needed sexual release. The other women seem delusional, but there is this constant hope within Summer, as well as her family members, to get her back home.

Quite honestly there were a lot of times in this novel I was legitimately scared. The villain, Clover, is a psycho. He slips into everyday life by having a normal job, a normal life, and when he does go shopping for clothes he always seems to have the right answers to draw suspicion away. It was actually terrifying to know how easy it was to kidnap and hold these women, and it was even worse to know the man considered them his "family". It makes you really consider serial killers, serial rapists, and kidnappers.

I believe the story ended a little conveniently, but I don't think the author could ethically ended it differently. You travel with this young naive protagonist through the horror of murder, rape, and kidnapping; your only hope is the light at the end, even if it's death for some. I did give this story 4 stars on Good reads because it was well written and it caused me to have these feelings of fear. In fact there were a few nights when I had legit nightmares of events. There are other novels Preston wrote with a similar premise, but I think I want to skip those. The book is very close to real life and the mind of a psychopath, so I feel one is enough to give me a good view on what we see. Be my guest to keep going. The book was easy to get through...physically anyway.