Monday, November 28, 2016

Wrecked by Maria Padian

Wow! Just wow! That is how I felt when I finished Wrecked. I felt wrecked. There was so much truth and accuracy in this book on rape culture; Maria Padian really hit the nail on the head. It was almost sickening reading about it and knowing that it is that correct. This book really needs to be on a high school reading list. I know it won't because of the subject matter, but that's a different story. This book is really incredible and I believe anyone about to go into college, anyone in college, anyone who just got out of college, anyone who parties hard a lot, or anyone who is a friend or family member of anyone who fits the aforementioned groups should read this book.

(Source: Kelsey Darling)

Plot

The book is told in alternating perspectives of Haley and Richard as they work through a campus investigation of two other students: Jenny and Jordan. Haley and Jenny are roommates; Richard and Jordan live in the same housing unit; Haley and Richard are just starting a relationship. Everything becomes complicated when Jenny accuses Jordan of raping her at a party; then Jenny selects Haley to be her representative and Jordan chooses Richard. 

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The only two people who know what happened are Jenny and Richard, but Jenny was intoxicated to the point of unconsciousness, and Richard doesn't agree that what transpired between them was non-consensual. 

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We also get little tidbits of information of what really happened at the beginning of the chapters from the points of view from Jenny, Richard, and other people at the party that help the reader put everything together, so that in the end, the reader also knows exactly what happens.

Highs and Lows

  •  The book feels very real. There are statements that are made that I have heard out of people's mouths in real life. 
"Known about them hooking up or about her charging him?"...
"Oh, is that what he told you?" Haley says. "That it was a hookup? That's rich. Trust me: if you knew my roommate, you'd know that isn't even remotely possible..." 
"So what was she doing at a Conundrum party?" Richard responds. "Everyone knows you go there to throw down." (p. 143)

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"For your information, nobody 'ditched' anybody. She wandered off. The rest of us managed to stay together; what's up with her? So if you want to know what sucks, I think it sucks that she didn't come to me before reporting everyone and dragging us into some investigation." (p. 156)

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"I want this all to go away," Jenny says to no one in particular. "I want him to leave me alone. I want people to not stare at me as if I've got some scarlet V for victim embroidered on my shirt." She looks at Haley. "I want my friends to believe me and not just feel sorry for me." (p. 262)

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  • I really didn't like the character Carrie. I see why she is important, but I feel like her and Richard's history plays too much of a role when it's really not that important. And I just don't like her personality. She was way too pushy and bossy; like, she wanted to help Jenny, but only as long as Jenny did what Carrie told her to do.
  • I also feel that both Carrie and Haley judged Richard to harshly for comments he made. I mean, one, he's a guy; guys aren't usually the talk about emotions type; that doesn't mean that they agree or disagree, but you can usually take what they say for face value. Two, he doesn't exactly have the same vocabulary. He doesn't always choose the best word for the situation, but that's where you need to look at his physical gesture. It's harder with people you don't know, but when you know a person, you should be able to put their verbal notions and physical notions together to know what they mean.
  • Richard also makes a good point towards the end of the book regarding a regretful one-night stand and rape. He knows that what transpired between Jenny and Jordan was rape; but sadly, there are people out there who have called rape just because they regret it, or they don't want to get in trouble with parents or their partner, or a million other reasons. And the most upsetting part of that is that a few bad apples have ruined the bunch and caused people to question the validity of the victims report.
"You seemed to think that rape is another term for morning-after regret," she says.
"I don't," he says firms. "I think they are two very different things. But both are real. And both have endless...permutations. One's a crime. One's a whoops. The problem is, sometimes we disagree on how to tell them apart. And I know damn well there are people out there who would burn me at the stake for saying that, but that's what I think."
She reaches for her glass with her free hand. Takes a sip before responding. "I think it's you vocab choices that piss people off. For example: 'whoops'?"
"I'll spell it our," he says. "Two people at a party. Both have a lot to drink. They start grinding on the dance floor. They end up spending the night together. They realize in the morning that had they been sober they never, ever, would have hooked up. Whoops." (pp. 310-311)

  • Most importantly, the book emphasizes consent. The only form of consent is yes. No means no. Saying nothing means no. Pushing a person away means no. "Stop" means no. Consent can be taken back at any time. If they are intoxicated or under the influence, they are not in the right state of mind to consent so that means no. Something might be okay the first time, the second time, and so on, but the tenth time they say no; consent has been taken back, and that is completely okay. And this goes for everything, not just sex: hugs, kisses, touching, anything that could make a person feel they have been violated physically and/or mentally. 
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In Summation

I really enjoyed the book. There is really good character development and plot. And most importantly, it feels extremely accurate. In situations like this, it's not always black and white. I will always take the side of the victim first, because in my opinion, it takes a horrible person to lie about rape; however, a person is also innocent until proven guilty. There is also a lot that is unfair. Because Jenny decided to go to the school over the police, when Jordan withdrew, the case was dropped because the school cannot investigate someone who isn't a student. And at this point, it's been way too long for Jenny to go to the cops because physical evidence disappears after 72 hours. But she didn't want to go to the cops because she wanted to keep everything private, which is the exact opposite of what happened. There is no way to know what would have happened had she gone to the cops first; that could have turned into the same huge mess.

In the end, Jenny, Haley, and Gale all make very good points about how everything ends up. Jenny feels that Jordan just got off, while she has to live with this the rest of her life; it'll always be there in the back of her mind. Haley feels that Jenny should be happier; Jordan is no longer on campus and cannot stalk her or come after her anymore. Gale is more the voice of reason; Jordan can still go to another college and do the same thing since no official chargers were filed, which leaves him to do it to another girl, but Jenny should feel safer knowing he's gone and that a lot of attention has been brought to the subject of consent. 

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It saddens me that rape culture is so prevalent in our society; that we have to teach our daughters to cover up instead of telling our sons not to look; that shoulders and knees are "sexual;" that just because a person has had sex makes them a whore and slut. It's not right. When a person says they've been raped, our first questions should be who did it, where did it happen, how are you feeling. Instead, we ask what they were wearing, had they been drinking, who they were with. It's easy to blame the victim, especially with how certain ideas are drilled into our heads from a young age. It's extremely important that we change the dialogue, not just with youths, but with everyone. 

Rating: 8/10
Genres: Young Adult, Contemporary, New Adult

Monday, November 21, 2016

Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets by JK Rowling

I always have mixed feelings about Chamber of Secrets and I'm never certain why. I mean, it's good, a lot of stuff happens, but for me, it's always just kinda there. Like, you need it to advance to the next book, but that's about it.

(Source: Google Image)
That being said, it's still an awesome book and this is why:

  • Gilderoy Lockhart is a hoot! I think he could give Greek god Narcissus a run for his money in the vanity department. I mean, everything he says is so ridiculous, it's hard to think that people fell for all of his lies. The only thing better than a vain Gilderoy Lockhart is a Gilderoy Lockhart whose Obliviate curse just back fired on him and no longer knows his left hand from his right. 
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  • The Death Day Party. If I was a ghost, I would definitely celebrate my death day! I love that they purposely rot food in hopes of being able to taste it. But Nearly Headless Nick needs to learn he is much too good for the Headless Hunt. I feel bad that they take away his glory at that party, and that he is continuously rejected to join; he's a very sweet ghost. I've always wondered, though, if it were somehow possible to completely behead Nick so that he could join. I mean, if you're going to spend the rest of your life dead, I'm sure you'd want something more to do.
  • I love that Percy has a secret relationship with Penelope Clearwater. I remember the first time I read it and didn't see that coming; I really thought he had something to do with the Chamber. But now, it's so obvious, it's cute. I mean, he turns into a total ass in Order of the Phoenix, but it's nice to see that even dorky Percy has a soft side.
(Source: Google Image)
  • Ginny is adorable! I love her crush on Harry. And I love that in book 6, Harry is finally crushing on her while she's off breaking hearts. Ginny develops a stronger sense of self throughout the series, but I love it when she's so innocent; really, when all of them are so innocent. You know, before Voldemort becomes a more prominent figure in everyone lives and everyone has to worry about dying and whatnot. I mean, when you look back, getting into the Chamber and destroying the Basilisk is pretty easy compared to all of their other trials. Wow, that really went off topic. But yeah, Ginny is such a sweetie.
  • Mr. Weasley getting into a little scuff with Lucius Malfoy: priceless! 
  • The introduction of Dobby! This is probably the best part! Anyone who doesn't love Dobby doesn't have a soul because he is so freakum adorable! I love him so much, I pretend he doesn't actually die in book 7 because that would just kill me and I can't handle that. 
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  • Tom preserving himself in the journal and how all of that unfolds is genius! And what I find the most fascinating is that if Mr. Weasley hadn't let Ginny go back and get the diary, that could have changed everything! I mean, he really got lucky that it fell into the hands of someone so close to Harry, and then ended up being in Harry's possession. That is pure luck!
I could definitely do without the spiders; the thought of all of those spiders gives me the ebby jebbies. I definitely agree that it should have been "follow the butterflies."

Chamber of Secrets definitely helps set up the next books, especially Half-Blood Prince, when you learn about the horcruxes. And, it's the book before my most favorite book of all time-Prisoner of Azkaban!

Thursday, November 17, 2016

Reading Challenge Complete!

This year I set myself a challenge to read 100 books. At first, I was hesitant, and then I thought I would easily make it, and then I hit my book slump and thought I would finish the year 5 books short. But, I did it! I rallied and finished my challenge, and I'm going to exceed my goal once again! I have read series, standalones, novellas, and everything in between. In total, 33,226 pages. This year, I have read books that didn't do much for me, but I also read books that I will read a million times over. So here is my year of books.

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  1. The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe by C.S. Lewis
  2. The Road to Oz by Frank L. Baum
  3. The Emerald City of Oz by Baum
  4. The Horse and His Boy by Lewis
  5. The Patchwork Girl of Oz by Baum
  6. Little Wizard Stories of Oz by Baum
  7. Tik-Tok of Oz by Baum
  8. Cinder by Marissa Meyer
  9. My Life of the Road by Gloria Steinem
  10. Scarlet by Meyer
  11. Cress by Meyer
  12. Fairest by Meyer
  13. Winter by Meyer
  14. City of Bones by Cassandra Clare
  15. City of Ashes by Clare
  16. Prince Caspian by Lewis
  17. City of Class by Clare
  18. City of Fallen Angels by Clare
  19. City of Lost Souls by Clare
  20. City of Heavenly Fire by Clare
  21. The Bane Chronicles by Clare
  22. Welcome to Shadowhunter Academy by Clare
  23. The Lost Herondale by Clare
  24. The Whitechapel Fiend by Clare
  25. Nothing but Shadows by Clare
  26. The Evil We Love by Clare
  27. Pale Kings and Princes by Clare
  28. The Voyage of the Dawn Treader by Lewis
  29. Dorothy Must Die: Stories Vol. 2 by Danielle Paige
  30. Shadow and Bone by Leigh Bardugo
  31. Bitter of Tongue by Clare
  32. The Fiery Trial by Clare
  33. Born to Endless Night by Clare
  34. Angels Twice Descending by Clare
  35. Siege and Storm by Bardugo
  36. Ruin and Rising by Bardugo
  37. Clockwork Angel by Clare
  38. Clockwork Prince by Clare
  39. Clockwork Princess by Clare
  40. Stars Above by Meyer
  41. The Color Purple by Alice Walker
  42. To All the Boys I've Loved Before by Jenny Han
  43. P.S. I Still Love You by Han
  44. Dorothy Must Die by Paige
  45. The Wicked Will Rise by Paige
  46. Yellow Brick War by Paige
  47. 11/22/63 by Stephen King
  48. Lady Midnight by Clare
  49. Splintered Fate by Yelena Lugin
  50. Delirium by Lauren Oliver
  51. Pandemonium by Oliver
  52. Requiem by Oliver
  53. How to Be a Woman by Caitlin Moran
  54. The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern
  55. Speak by Laurie Halse Anderson
  56. Oola: Find Balance in an Unbalanced World by Dr. Dave Braun and Dr. Troy Amdahl
  57. The Wrath & the Dawn by Renee Ahdieh
  58. Shattered Fate by Lugin
  59. In the Crossfire by Lugin
  60. Illuminae by Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff
  61. The Silver Chair by Lewis
  62. Looking for Alaska by John Green
  63. Schizo by Nic Sheff
  64. Thirteen Reasons Why by Jay Asher
  65. Highly Illogical Behavior by John Corey Whaley
  66. The Last Battle by Lewis
  67. Hold Still by Nina LaCour
  68. I Was Here by Gayle Forman
  69. All Better Now by Emily Wing Smith
  70. Wintergirls by Anderson
  71. Mosquitoland by David Arnold
  72. Me Before You by Jojo Moyes
  73. After You by Moyes
  74. People Who Knew Me by Kim Hooper
  75. The 5th Wave by Rick Yancey
  76. The Infinite Sea by Yancey
  77. The Complete Persepolis by Marjane Satrapi
  78. The Last Star by Yancey
  79. Modern Lovers by Emma Straub
  80. The Leaving by Tara Altebrando
  81. The Phantom Tollbooth by Norton Juster
  82. The Argonauts by Maggie Nelson
  83. See Me by Nicholas Sparks
  84. Marked by P.C. Cast and Kristin Cast
  85. The Claiming of Sleeping Beauty by A.N. Roquelaure
  86. Betrayed by Cast and Cast
  87. Chosen by Cast and Cast
  88. Red Queen by Victoria Aveyard
  89. Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children by Ransom Riggs
  90. Beauty's Punishment by Roquelaure
  91. The Star-Touched Queen by Roshani Chokshi
  92. The Princess Saves Herself in this One by Amanda Lovelace
  93. Harry Potter and the Cursed Child by JK Rowling
  94. The Girl on the Train by Paula Hawking
  95. The Woman in Cabin 10 by Ruth Ware
  96. And Then There Were None by Agatha Christi
  97. The Couple Next Door by Shari Lapena
  98. Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone by Rowling
  99. Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets by Rowling
  100. Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban by Rowling
The bold ones are the books I most enjoyed this year. Some of them were re-reads, but most of them were new to me and I am so glad I discovered so many wonderful books this year.

Just because I've reached my goal doesn't mean I'm going to stop reading. In fact, I'm almost done with my 101st book. And I'm excited to set my goal for next year higher, but not by much probably.

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Tuesday, November 15, 2016

Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone by JK Rowling

So, I wanted to wait until I finished my 100 books before I started the Harry Potter series for the umpteenth time; however, last week was an extremely difficult for me and I needed something good in my life. And although the series cannot fix the wrongs, it does help me go off to Hogwarts and fight a battle where I know the good guys win.

(Source: Google Image)
I read the first book when I was in 4th grade, so 16 years ago (man, now I feel old). I had never been much for reading, and it worried my mom. She loves reading, and the fact that I couldn't seem to get through the simplest of books without becoming bored worried her. Luckily, I had an amazing Reading teacher. There was a lot of hype for the series because it had been announced that the first movie would be coming out the next year; everyone I knew was reading the series. One day, my teacher approached me with a copy she kept in the classroom. She asked me to read the first 2 chapters, if I didn't like it, she wouldn't push, but she wanted me to read the 2 chapters. From the moment I read "Mr. and Mrs. Dursley of number four, Privet Drive, were proud to say that they were perfectly normal, thank you very much," I needed to know why. Once I was hooked, it was only a short matter of time before I had finished the book. When I returned it to my teacher, I was completely distraught that she had lent out her copy of Chamber of Secrets and our library had a month long waiting list for it. But my saint of a father went out and bought books 1-4 for me.

I don't know how many times I have read the series since. I always read the books in November and December, because, let's be honest, they're the perfect holiday books. I read the books when I'm feeling sad and need a pick me up. Sometimes I pick up one of them at random and read through it. For me, this is the most perfectly constructed series ever, and I think that now, 16 years later, people are still reading the books and watching the movies and wanting more, shows everyone just how brilliant Rowling is.

(Source: Google Image)
The first time I read the series, what attracted me was the magic. The thought that there is real magic in the world that allows people to fly broomsticks and Elixirs of Life could keep you alive forever and you could make things float with the swish and flick of a wand gave me dreams that brought the most wonderful smiles to my face. As I got older, the adventure is what pulled me in. I imagined myself standing next to Harry as he destroyed Quiril with the power of his mothers love. I helped free Ginny from the Chamber of Secrets. I helped discover the secrets of Sirius Black. Every book gave me a new adventure that I could picture in my minds eye as clearly as I can see anything else.

Now, I'm drawn in by the magic again, but not the literal magic. The magic that pulls me is the magic of the bond of friendship and that as long as you have a couple good friends by your side, you can conquer the world. The magic of a mothers love the protects you makes me tear up. But the magic that I love the most is the magic of believing. If you believe in your self, your friends, your belief system, anything is possible. If you believe that it is always darkest before the dawn, and that good will win in the end, then you have some of the strongest magic the world has conjured.

Harry Potter may be the boy who lived, but JK Rowling is the woman who inspired millions to read, to love, and to believe.

So obviously, I love Harry Potter. But these are a few of my favorite parts of Sorcerer's Stone:

  • I love Peeves. I know that Peeves is in all of the books, but I love him. He's hilarious, he's comic relief, I hate that he isn't in the movies.
(Source: Google Images)
  • I love that there is more of a build up of the friendship the Golden Trio than in the movie. It makes the friendship feel more powerful when it's formed after the troll in the dungeon scene. 
  • I love the different obstacles that have been put together by the teachers. In the movie, we see the Devil's Snare and Wizard's Chest and the flying keys; but Snape's potions are my favorite part! It really doesn't matter how good of a wizard you are, it is all based off of smarts. It really showcases Hermione being the brightest wizard of the age. 
There are a million moments I love, but singling them out is hard. I cherish every page every time I read it, no matter if it's been months or weeks between each read.

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