Movie Review: Five Feet Apart (2019)


Summary: A pair of teenagers with cystic fibrosis meet in a hospital and fall in love, though their disease means they must avoid close physical contact.
Probably spoilers… because I mean… for real?
Cast and Characters…sometimes.
  • Haley Lu Richardson as Stella Grant. She has cystic fibrosis and is very particular about how she lives her life. She has a plan she follows quite closely and when she meets Will, she notices that he’s like “devil may care” and she ends up pretty much taking over his regime to help him get his little life together. We learn a few things about Stella as the movie goes on but nothing that keeps her interesting. I just find that Richardson was likable and charming and I thought she did really well, especially in that emotional part towards the end. I actually teared up. I mean, Stella is an okay character but Richardson makes her more likable and less bland which I thought she was for the most part.
  • Cole Sprouse as Will Newman. Literally the reason why I wanted to watch this movie and he doesn’t disappoint me. Cole Sprouse is very likable in his role and he’s very charming. Will seems to be a kind of wealthy kid; he has an infection in his lungs and is at the hospital for a week long drug trial. He is a bit of a rule breaker and doesn’t do what he’s supposed to do in taking care of himself, taking his pills and all the other stuff. I was expecting him to be a bit more rebellious
  • Moisés Arias as Poe Ramirez. He’s Stella’s best friend also has CF and he’s the quirky best friend. He often talks his romances and he’s ultimately there for Stella, six feet apart of course, but he’s there for her. He’s charming and likable in his way as well. Moises Arias is fine, anyone probably could have played Poe. I like the friendship he has with Stella and the one he creates with Will.
  • Kimberly Hébert Gregory as Nurse Barbara. Nurse Barb is loving towards her kids she’s in charge of. I love the relationship she has with Stella in particular. She’s like their mother away from home. She’s caring and concerned and she has reasons as to why she can be strict when it comes to allowing the romance. Completely understand her. I even feel bad for her at times because she really just wants to keep these kids alive for as long as she can. I don’t know the actress well but I really liked her, she’s very motherly and charming.
Really Sweet Moments. This movie has some really nice pockets of sweetness. True story, my friend and I were watching it and we were like “ughhh” and then Will comes into Stella’s room when she’s about to have surgery because the thingy in her stomach is infected. Will watched her YouTube videos and saw that her sister Abby used to sing a song to her before a surgery, so he sneaks into the room and HE SINGS THE SONG HER SISTER USED TO SING FOR HER before a surgery. That was so FREAKING SWEET. There are a lot of other moments that are like that in the film.
Main Lead Chemistry. I’m not particularly into the romance between Will and Stella but I did think Richardson and Sprouse had nice chemistry. They were cute when they were interacting but the quiet moments were the best, whenever they were just looking at each other, or weren’t trying to have some conversation.
Nice Soundtrack. The soundtrack was very hopeful and sad at the same time. That is all.
Character Development. We don’t get much of it. There are some pieces of dialogue that  say who is a character is and what not, and we get to see who they are in some forms by looking at their hospital rooms but they don’t really grow throughout the film other than falling in love with each other. At least no growth that doesn’t have anything to do with the romance aspect. I was like meh, I don’t really care about these characters. They’re cute I guess but meh.
Cliché/Teen Tropes. In our first attempt to watch this movie, I literally called out all the tropes, particularly that are formulaic in teen movies/stories. Beautiful people are having a hard time, in this they’re sick, and the girl is uptight and the boy is all chill and stuff. They end up becoming friends but they can’t be close because of something, in this it’s because they’re sick. The girl has a quirky best friend who may or may not be a minority, in this he’s a POC AND gay. I could go on and on and it was kind of irritating because it’s so obviously that it’s like “meh, nothing is new in this.”
Boooooring. Usually, I read the book before I see the movie but I didn’t do it for this time… I will read it though, I checked it out from the library to read it, but this movie is so boring! It also felt so long and it’s only 116 minutes. Will and Stella just talk and talk and talk. I guess they can’t do much because of their disease but it’s not interesting to watch them talk.
What Stakes? So, this is clearly trying to be like The Fault in Our Stars, which I really loved both the book and the movie (I don’t like Gus though lol) but it doesn’t necessarily have the same charm or the tension that it thinks it has. At least not consistently. They’re both sick. Will is there for a drug trial but with what he has, and Stella of course having CF. But I did not think that either of them was going to die. At least not for real. I mean there is a death which I totally called because these types of movies always have these moments but outside of that one time, I thought Will was going to die BECAUSE OF STELLA’S STUPID DECISION, that was really it.
The last 20 minutes. I’m not sure if it was exactly the last twenty minutes or not, but something happens and Stella loses her mind and honestly, the acting in her freak out scene was really good and I really felt it to the point where I did tear up, but everything after that got on my nerves. Stella was being really stupid, like I get it, you want to live passionately now but don’t be a dumbass. GAH! Then there’s not really any consequences for what she did. I mean, it doesn’t end in a perfectly happy ending or anything but if I was Will, I would have been way more upset than Will was and I like AHHH! Unrealistic!
Overall, Five Feet Apart is not that great. There are pockets that really stand out as being good but it’s not a consistent occurrence. Haley Lu Richardson is really good in the movie, she’s charming and Cole Sprouse is likable and charming as well. I think they had good chemistry with each other. There are also really strong pockets of sweet moments in the film. But I would say the positive stop there. I didn’t find the characters interesting outside of the good acting. It’s very cliché and really hits all of the teen romance tropes and I found that it was trying too hard to be like other movies of its kind, that are better. Not to mention, it’s super boring. I watched this movie in two sittings and the second time I’m pretty sure I kept making jokes. I also thought there were no stakes, I didn’t think anyone would actually die or have anything really bad happen to the point where I was worried about a happy ending. Plus, the last twenty minutes or so really angered me.
Rating: 2 out of 5 stars. 
Have you seen Five Feet Apart? Do you want to? If you like teen romance then sure… check it out if Richardson and Sprouse catch your eye which they are the best parts of the film.

How I Would Fix: The Darkest Minds

How I would FIX The Darkest Minds.
I had a lot of thoughts over the last few days of how I would fix this movie. I think it’s an unfortunate incident and while I have not read the books, I have a few ideas of how I would fix it to make it better just from a film standpoint. I’m sure once I read the books, I’ll have more insight but I will take what I gleamed from the movie.
First of all, I would make it a television show on Netflix. I weighed my options of other channels and I considered Freeform, since they did so well with Marvel’s Cloak and Dagger and Siren is apparently doing well. I also considered the CW because of The 100 and the other shows that have abilities on them. However, I think Netflix would be the best option as they are doing really well with their movies and their YA adaptations.
I don’t know what the characters look like in the books, so I don’t know if Ruby is black, I doubt it honestly, but I think it was cool to have a YA sci-fi film where the lead was a person of color, so I think it would be imperative to maintain that in the show. So, I would recast Lidya Jewett as young Ruby and bring in a darker-skinned actress to play teenage Ruby. As for the other characters, they can keep Miya Cech and Skylan Brooks as Zu and Chubs because they were fine and don’t seem to be doing anything at the moment film wise. At least nothing serious. As for Liam, well I’m sure it wouldn’t be too hard to find a blue eyed, tall and cute guy.
Episode Set Up
So, I think a big mistake in the film was how quickly it had to brush past the whole kids dying thing to get to teenage Ruby. No matter how quick it was in the book, if it was a TV show, we could spend the first episode getting to know Ruby as a kid and her family so later when she finally returns to them, we feel something for her. Anyway, a nice introduction to the Daly family and then at the end of the first episode, show the first outbreak of the disease by showing that Grace kid die. Boom. Interesting set up.
Next episode, we learn (without narration) about this mysterious disease and we physically see kids, Ruby’s classmates and friends, dying. We should be able to see what this is doing to their parents, to the kids who are surviving. Plus, the fear that Ruby’s parents would have about their own child. I’m not sure, but if all the kids get sick but the ones who don’t die gain powers, then perhaps we should see Ruby get sick and her parents worry for her and then at the end, she gets better. Moving forward, I feel like the first three episodes in a 13-22-episode show should focus on young Ruby for us to see her go to the camps, feel bad for her since her parents turned her in (because reasons) and how she made her strategy to survive. If it’s 13 episodes then obviously maybe leave young Ruby to three episodes and in the fourth time jump to teenage Ruby but if it was longer then take a bit more time.
When she meets Liam, Chubs and Zu, we should see them as a unit and how they work well together and allow us to care about them as we continue to see them.
I would keep Lady Jane around for a little while as well.
Romance and Relationships
In the movie they wanted us to care about Ruby and Liam falling for each other and to care later when she uses her ability to erase herself from his mind, but I didn’t care because I didn’t get the chance to care since it’s forced into my face without real reasons other than their teenagers and teenage love, I guess lol.
In the show, when Ruby joins them, there is a mysterious air about her which Liam would be interested in and she would be drawn to his good looks, passion and leadership skills lol but we would see them work together, survive together, get to know each other which would give the audience the chance to root for them and then later feel sad when she makes her decision at the end of the first season. It was also clear that Zu was pretty close to Liam and later they tried to make it like she was close with Ruby, but in the show,  we would see and believe that. She had an older sister which is why she would connect with Ruby, so we’d learn about what she lost and why she gets so attached.
Plus, I would spend an entire episode showcasing Chubs, Liam and Zu’s backgrounds and how they escaped their camp.
Later, when we officially meet Clancy Gray, he’s enigmatic and he’s the only other person who understands Ruby. It happens so fast in the movie that I’m shocked Ruby didn’t pick up on his weirdness quicker. I would have. In the show, we would have time to see this little utopia he made and how quickly the others get ingrained. Liam on the front lines, Zu with the other young kids and Chubs was not into it and I would like to see his distrust grow. As for Ruby, she and Clancy would spend a lot of time together learning her powers where his interest in her makes sense then just his weird looks. He got obsessed and if we got to see them spend a lot of time together, actually, then the audience would be like “Word”.
Action and Climax
The movie was very anticlimactic but the action was handled pretty well. I wish we got to see more of the abilities showcased since it’s such a big part of the story. I would definitely keep their eyes reflecting their abilities, that was cool. The chase scene was pretty dope so definitely have to keep that in the show. The fight at the end between Ruby and Clancy was kind of meh and I think it would have been much more. Not to mention, as I kind of ranted about in my review, Liam’s telekinetic ability should have been showcased way more, with different ways to use it other than to just move things. We saw him destroy a road and bring forth a ton of trees, but we didn’t really see him do anything like that again. He should have been able to create force fields, even if they weren’t large, or move people. We saw that it could happen but Liam never really did it. He should have been able to fly, I mean sheesh lol.
Not to mention, why weren’t any of the other kids fighting? Sure, some of them got under mind control but I would have been fighting if I had the abilities they had. Plus, the Greens with their high intelligence could have been doing more than just… talking lol.
In the movie, we have three villains. Lady Jane, a bounty hunter who definitely has it out for Liam it seemed. The government. Clancy Grey. The league which was a little ambiguous. The first season could be heavily focused on the first book, which is cool, but I think it would be okay, to split the first book into a season and a half at least. Sooo, I wouldn’t introduce Clancy as a villain until the second season. His name would be around as it was in the movie since he was “cured” and his father was some big shot but the Slip Kid would be a mysterious figure until we meet him. So, Lady Jane would be the main villain as she was an awesome bounty hunter and I think the movie did nothing with her and she was interesting. She said she caught Liam before and now he had an even bigger price on his head, I would have let her catch them and keep them for at least an episode or two just to make it interesting.
The government has its part in the beginning and would remain a threat throughout since they’re looking for Ruby. Then you have the League, who we don’t know if we can trust as a looming threat with Cate and Rob. I think it would be interesting because you never know who might show up while our Runaways are just trying to make it to the Utopia.
Ideally the first season could end with the first book so the second book could be the second season. Being that this would be on Netflix there wouldn’t be a midseason finale, so the first season could end with Ruby being with the League and doing the whole hand paint thing or whatever. BUUUT if it’s 13 episodes, I would actually end the first season with the Runaways getting to the Utopia and feeling like they finally made it. So that way, the main villain of Clancy would be revealed in the second season. Perhaps after they escape Lady Jane, maybe the government is closing in and they give them the slip and at the skin of their teeth, they find the entrance to Utopia. They would think they have to fight since the Slip Kid’s sentries are standing watch but then they recognize Liam and they take them into the hideout and see all the kids and end the season with them being all like
Play triumphant music and everything. It would be a nice ending for a shit show that will start in season two. I think it would be awesome.
In the End
If The Darkest Minds was a television show, I think it would have allowed for the story to be told the way it should be. As I said before, I’ll probably get a bit more insight once I read the trilogy but it’s very rare that I watch a movie based on a trilogy and think of how I would fix it without really knowing the full story. I had so many thoughts after this one that even without that extra knowledge, I believe it could be done.
I think it should have another chance, but as a Netflix Original. 

What do you think of this plan? Let me know your thoughts!
What other YA novels should have a television show? What YA movies should have been television shows?
Thanks for reading and be sure to like and follow this blog for more posts like this!

Book Review: Long Way Down


Summary: A story that takes place in sixty potent seconds—the time it takes a kid to decide whether or not he’s going to murder the guy who killed his brother. Told in short, fierce staccato narrative verse, Long Way Down is a fast and furious, dazzlingly brilliant look at teenage gun violence, as could only be told by Jason Reynolds.
Characters. Will is the main character and it’s told through his POV and we really get to see and understand him as a person. He’s a fifteen-year-old who is upset and wants revenge for his brother dying because of the unspoken rules. He’s a good kid but he’s distraught but he gets to experience different people who were directly connected to him and his brother. I can’t go into too much detail about him without spoiling the story but he was great. The other characters were also great to know and understand and to see their purpose.
The Story. Without going into too much detail Will’s brother Shawn was killed and he think he knows who killed him. So according to the rules, you don’t cry, you don’t snitch and you get revenge and he just needs to continue following that last rules. So, while he’s on the elevator, each floor he meets someone different who has something to say to him, to explain and all of that. Amazing. It reminded me a bit of A Christmas Carol in ways just without the whole Christmas spirit and what not. But so good.
Jason Reynolds is a WORDSMITH! Let me say this RIGHT NOW! This man can write a story and he can do it by putting some words together that are KILLER. I mean, I would stop and reread lines just because it was so powerful. I mean wow. There’s a particular line where Will says something about how his mother had to realize that once his older brother Shawn turned 18, she had to take her hands off of him and put them together to pray. I was like WHATTTT. I mean, that’s amazing. There’s another line about God in there that was great. Nothing was wasted.
Emotional. I didn’t cry or anything but I could feel all of the panic, anger and confusion that Will felt throughout the story. Most of the book takes place in the minute it takes to ride the elevator. We meet several different people who had some kind of connection to Shawn and Will and every person had something to say that needed to be listened to and I felt everything. Plus, the use of words
The Ending. Okay so throughout the book, Will is in the elevator and each person he’s talking to gives him a story about what happened to them and when they finally reach the lobby, they all leave and the last person turns back to him and says “You coming?” which leaves the ending open ended which in ways is great because it allows the reader to make their own ending. I mean what do you think Will did? I think he didn’t follow them.
The Ending!? This isn’t a con because it’s negative but it made me UPSET! When it ended, I was like REALLY?! REALLY!!!! That’s how it ends? Man, I love open endings sometimes but sometimes GIVE ME AN ENDING SO I CAN FEEL HAPPY ABOUT THE RESOLUTION! So, upset.
Overall, I very much-LOVED Long Way Down because it was such a real story but it was contained. It was a minute and so much happened. I loved meeting all of the characters, I loved how Will would react to things and how the other characters would speak with him, show him love, even if they weren’t necessarily close to him. I loved the emotional aspect of the story, as well as the writing because Jason Reynolds is a wordsmith. A WORDSMITH! The ending was also phenomenal but of course the ending was also soooo annoying because it was OPEN ENDED! *sighs* Short review but I can’t go into too much without telling the story, just know it was really good.
Rating: 4.8 out of 5 stars.
Have you read Long Way Down? If not, what’s wrong with you? Read it. Right now. If you’ve read anything else by Jason Reynolds, then read this book. Read it.
Let me know your thoughts down below and be sure to like and follow this blog for more reviews!

Book Review: To All the Boys I Loved Before


I know there’s a movie on Netflix that I will watch and review soon. I wanted to read the book first and it prompted me to want to watch the movie more, which is a good thing.
Summary: What if all the crushes you ever had found out how you felt about them…all at once?

Sixteen-year-old Lara Jean Song keeps her love letters in a hatbox her mother gave her. They aren’t love letters that anyone else wrote for her; these are ones she’s written. One for every boy she’s ever loved—five in all. When she writes, she pours out her heart and soul and says all the things she would never say in real life, because her letters are for her eyes only. Until the day her secret letters are mailed, and suddenly, Lara Jean’s love life goes from imaginary to out of control.

The Characters. I liked all the characters, the main ones for the most part. I think Margot and Josh were probably a little lower on the list for me, but they weren’t unlikable. I understood them, but they weren’t that important to me. Honestly, the ones I’m going to mention are the main two of the story.
  • Lara Jean Song Covey. She’s the kind of character that I think some people would find annoying and there were times where I would roll my eyes at her, but I overall enjoyed her. I thought she was a quirky, kind, humorous leading character and I thought she was very likable. Ironically, she reminds me of an anime character, which is something she references in the book about how people always think she’s dressing up as some anime character for Halloween, but her energy and how she reacts to things makes me picture how over dramatic the anime characters can be when something happens. While she’s clumsy and a bit over dramatic, she’s endearing and strong and she loves her family. Cute character.
  • Peter Kavinsky. Peter is like the cool guy at school, everyone likes him, and he’s swoon worthy. When we first meet him, he’s being helpful to LJ, but she also reminisces about him which gives us a little more insight about him through her eyes. Once he approaches her about the letter, I thought he was going to be a jerk about it and what not since he’s the cool guy and Lara Jean isn’t popular or anything like that, but he turned out to be just that but with a heart and kindness in him. I really ended up liking him. Alright, he’s not so much a jerk but he had jerk tendencies. I really liked how he related to Lara Jean’s family and how he seemed to care about her in ways that were probably a surprise to him. I’m interested in reading the other books just to see what happened with him.
Family dynamic. I really liked the Covey family. They had a realistic dynamic. Being a younger sister but also an older sister, I understand the feeling of having the responsibility fall to you when the oldest moves on to college. I liked that the sisters were close that they would sleep together just to share the closeness before Margot left for school. Even though Kitty was a little brat sometimes, I liked her relationship with LJ and of course their dad wins the award for “Trying His Best”. You get a real sense that they had a tragedy in their lives and while it was still sore, they tried to work together like a family. They weren’t perfect, but it worked.
The Un-Romance. So, Lara Jean and Peter make a contract to pretend to date for various reasons. LJ had a little crush on Peter after he kissed her in the seventh grade. From the moment he stopped to help her when she got into her car accident, I knew from that moment on there might be a little something between them and I liked it. I quite surprised at how much I liked it lol. It wasn’t really a romance throughout, it was a pretend one, but they worked. I liked how Peter got close to her younger sister and even her father. I thought it was cute how he wrote the letters throughout the day even though half the time, they were things like “You look nice” or “Meet me here…” but it was endearing.
The Writing Style. I really liked Lara Jean’s voice, she was sweet and quirky, and I really enjoyed seeing things from her perspective. I think she could be a bit long winded in how things were talked about or addressed, but I liked how the story just flowed without feeling weird and just caught up in her mind, since it’s told in first person. It was thoughtful, and I liked how Lara Jean viewed things around her.
The Story Idea. The idea of past crushes receiving letters written about them is enough to give pause. I think it’s cool that LJ would write letters to help herself move on and then keep the letters hidden. It’s a mystery as to how they got sent out because she is in utter shock when Peter comes up to her talking about her letter and she has no idea what he’s talking about. I thought that idea was cute. It was everything else afterwards, like the pretend to date thing that I thought was familiar.
Josh/Love Triangle. I really dislike love triangles. If they’re done well with interesting characters and serve a point for the story then okay, but I don’t think it was all that necessary here. I mean, Lara Jean liked Josh before and because of the whole letter fiasco, she and Peter made an agreement to work together to keep Josh from bothering her and to help Peter make his ex-girlfriend jealous. Josh of course doesn’t like this. So, throughout the book, whenever he gets the chance, he brings up how he doesn’t think Peter is good enough for her, she’s innocent and what not and to an extent I get what he was saying and trying to do, but not only did he come off rude, but the love triangle just annoyed me. It was just the Josh part of the equation that was just ugh. I didn’t mind Josh, I was indifferent to him, but I felt like he was unnecessarily… kind of a jerk for the sake of a triangle.
Cliché and predictable. Don’t get me wrong it’s super cute, but super cliché and predictable. I knew how it was going to end, I knew what was going to happen almost like clockwork throughout the story. There may have been a few character moments that might have surprised me but in terms of the plot points, I pretty much called all of them because it’s a formula and this book followed the formula. The idea was a bit different, but the execution turned out to be familiar.
Overall, I very enjoyed To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before, I thought it was cute and it felt like a very energetic person was telling me the story. I liked all the characters for the most part, particularly Peter and Lara Jean. They really had a relationship that played well and didn’t feel forced or trying to hard. I thought the whole idea of it was cute and I really enjoyed the writing style as Lara Jean had a voice that kept me engaged. The Covey’s were also a great family. My main negatives are the fact that the love triangle was unnecessary and while I see the point, it made a character who didn’t have to be a negative become a negative. I also thought it was cliché and predictable once the plot gets moving. Otherwise, great read and I read it quickly. It’s fun. I feel like I said “cute” a lot in this review lol.
Rating: 4 out of 5 stars.
Have you read To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before? Did you like it? How does it compare to the Netflix movie?
Let me know your thoughts in the comments below and be sure to like and follow this blog for more book reviews!

Book Review: Tiffany Sly Lives Here Now (2018)


Summary: I’ve got seven days to come clean to my new dad. Seven days to tell the truth…

For sixteen-year-old Tiffany Sly, life hasn’t been safe or normal for a while. Losing her mom to cancer has her a little bit traumatized and now she has to leave her hometown of Chicago to live with the biological dad she’s never known.

Characters. We actually met a LOT of characters in this book but I think going through all of them or even mentioning would kind of ruin you getting to know them as Tiffany does so I’m not going to do that.
  • Tiffany Sly. She is our protagonist and our narrator. She just turned 16 and is traveling to California to live with a father she’s never met. In the first chapter, we learn that she is terrified of flying, and also terrified to meet Anthony Stone. She has anxiety and she’s always worried about things that could possibly kill her. Irrational fears and what not. She is very nervous about meeting her father, but she’s also a bit in doubt since not long before she departed, another man came to her home, thinking he might be her father and he wants her to take a DNA test. So she’s thinking about that, plus, the other man is going to serve her father a court order so she has to take a DNA test and she’s thinking about that time frame. Seven days to confirm who might be her father. She marches to the beat of her own drum, she doesn’t conform, at least not completely, she does try not to test the waters, but she can’t help but to speak out against certain things she finds ridiculous that her new family does. She’s easy to befriend Marcus, even though he did come off as weird in the beginning and everyone freaks out about him, but she was pretty easy about it. She’s from Chicago, so she tries really hard not to be a stereotype in this new place, that’s also majority white. I really liked Tiffany, there wasn’t anything about her I didn’t like. She’s super tall, so of course people assume she likes and/or plays a sport but she’s into music. I loved her “nerdiness” and just how it was just natural and a part of her and not something shocking because she’s a black girl into what she’s into.
  • Anthony Stone. He is a potential father for Tiffany, but he is the one she’s going to live with. We don’t really get to meet him until the second or third chapter, and he’s interesting but also seems very detached and I did not like him, mostly in the beginning. I softened up to him more towards the end, but it was a hard journey. I felt like Tiffany when it came to him. She was kind of awkward with him, but unsure if he could be her father, especially once she meets him and sees what he looks like. There are moments where it feels right, where you wonder “Wow, maybe he is her father” but then he does something outrageous and you’re like “NO! He can’t be her dad!” I mean this dude has some pretty ridiculous moments, but he’s also kind of tragic in ways. A lot of things that dealt with him made me cry, especially at the end. Oh man. I had so much whiplash with him but I think Dana L. Davis wrote an interesting man.
  • Marcus McKinney. Definitely my favorite character of the book, he’s definitely a secondary leading character but I loved every bit with him. When we first meet him, I was a little unsure to what he was doing, or what he looked like because of his description but it becomes clear later. It does take a while to learn what is up with him but I think that’s part of his charm as well. He doesn’t care anything about what other people think about him and he just lives his life because it’s his to live. There is something different about him and Tiffany doesn’t really pick up on it until later, but she never makes a big deal about anything. Marcus doesn’t either. He became a great friend for Tiffany and she for him. He wrote a book in the book and I actually want to read his book.
Realistic Dialogue. I definitely have to give Dana L. Davis praise, because the dialogue in this book was very realistic. Especially for the teenage characters. I always complain when I read certain young adult books because it seems like the authors don’t really understand how teenagers respond to things, or how they speak to each other. Sometimes it comes off really pretentious or childlike and just ugh, but Dana L. Davis does it so well. Tiffany sounded like a true 16-year-old teenage African-American girl. The conversations she would have with her grandmother on the phone, with her best friend, even the conversations she would have with London and her other sisters. It just really flowed well and it sounded genuine instead of generic and awkward. I mean outside of Tiffany being awkward in general.
Humorous. I laughed quite a lot reading this book. The dialogue is so funny, and the interactions between characters is always entertaining. The book is told in Tiffany’s point of view, so we get a lot of her inner thoughts and her reactions to things, her irrational fears, her though processes, or her telling us how other characters are looking at her, or reacting was very funny. Also, Marcus being so enigmatic as he was, was also pretty funny too and he did it without trying it was just part of his character. Also, Neveah is maybe where most of the humor comes from when it comes to dialogue. That little girl will say whatever it is she wants and doesn’t find the problem with it.
The Family Dynamic. Tiffany’s mother passed before the events of the book, she is still very hurt from it, but she has hope, since she is going to live with her father in California. She’s never met him so it’s a first anyway, but I think we see of the family is pretty interesting. I don’t necessarily agree with what the Stones do, or even believe in, I think it’s a little extreme, but that’s how it is for some families and I appreciate that the book really touched on that. Their family was dysfunctional and they tried to pretend like they weren’t. I always find that very interesting because there is so many options to explore. Also, when Tiffany gets added to the mix, it’s very weird and awkward at first, but as the book progresses, the women of the family, well some of them, really become a strong lifeline for her, or her for them. It was a great natural progression.
Very emotional. I cried. A lot actually. The book deals with death and grief, and loneliness and family, and abandonment and I can understand a lot of that. I’m definitely not going to get into anything, but I do think if you’ve lost a parent, or someone you were close to, this would really hit home for you. Also, Tiffany has anxiety, among other things and seeing her deal with that, or dealing with her father who doesn’t believe in that kind of stuff, it’s hard and challenging but the way it’s handled is really beautiful. I think the end, the last few chapters are what really got me, especially after the trip in Malibu. Oh man, I can imagine if you don’t cry but don’t be surprised if you do.
Thought provoking. Marcus McKinney is a fantastic character, probably my favorite in the story but he is so smart and his beliefs are truly amazing. I’ve never met anyone like him but I can imagine I’d befriend him as well. He’s a bit odd at first glance, sure, but the way he thinks about God and energy, I was like “he’s legit” and I actually feel the same way in some instances. I talked about it with my coworker the other day and we both were like “so deep”. I mean, I really thought about it while he would explain it to Tiffany. Plus, there was something special about him anyway, so he felt like a pure person.
Unfinished Plotlines. I do think there is a lot that happens in this book. We get a lot of information and while I do think the book handles a lot of it really well, I do wish it would have gone a bit deeper, particularly with Pumpkin. She apparently she’s on the spectrum and at first I thought it was just something the mom made up, or they thought because they didn’t know how to really parent her outbursts, but the mom does try but nothing else really comes of that. Not that it had to be a big part of the story, but since it was brought up and since it was something Tiffany was around, I thought we should have seen more of that. Also, with London, there is something that happens with her and it does kind of become a little big something, but it kind of just ends. It was kind of strange to be honest.
Overall, I really loved Tiffany Sly Lives Here Now because it felt like an authentic story. Tiffany was a realistic teenager, she didn’t feel like an adult’s view of a teenager which I appreciated. I loved her interactions with other characters, and how she just marched to the beat of her own drum, she didn’t care because it was who she was. She loved her music, she loved the idea of what a father would be like to her and I think that’s all beautiful and so realistic for a teenage girl whose never had a father. I thought while complicated, Anthony Stone was a great character and someone who I ended up really liking and thinking was tragic by the end. Marcus was my favorite and I just want to sit and speak with him and also read his book. It’s funny, it’s emotional, it made me go “TELL EM AGAIN GIRL” and I finished it in a day so I loved it. My only real negative was that I felt there were a few storylines that didn’t get wrapped up as easily and I thought about it afterwards. But regardless, fantastic story.
Rating: 4.8 out of 5 stars.
What I’m reading Next:
Tyler Johnson Was Here by Jay Coles


Movie Review: Before I Fall (2017)


Summary: February 12 is just another day in Sam’s charmed life, until it turns out to be her last. Stuck reliving her last day over and over, Sam untangles the mystery around her death and discovers everything she’s losing.
Cast and Characters. We meet a lot of people in this movie, but I won’t go into detail about all of them.
  • Zoey Deutch as Samantha Kingston. She’s the main character of the film, she wakes up on Cupid’s Day (Feb. 12) and goes about her day with her three best friends. I guess they’re popular, but they’re kind of mean to people, particularly Anna and Juliet. Sam is expecting to lose her virginity to her boyfriend that night, they go to a party and then they get into a car accident. She wakes up the next day, not understanding what’s happening and she tries to do things differently, she tries to avoid the crash because she thinks it’ll stop. But she gets some sad news and it starts over anyway. Samantha didn’t seem to fit in with her friend group, but as the movie went along, we got to see just how different they were but they fit together (they should stop being mean though) and Sam didn’t seem to fit either. I don’t know if that’s because of Zoey or not, but she’s affected very much by what’s happening and she tries to deal with it the best way she can. It was great to see her growth throughout the film. I think Zoey Deutch is definitely the standout in this film, we spend the most time with her obviously, but I think she holds the film very well. She’s likable and even when Sam is being mean, she’s still likable because it just doesn’t fit her. I think the times when she’s emotional, you really feel it from her.
Supporting Characters.
  • Erica Tremblay as Izzy Kingston. She’s not in the movie like that, but she’s great with Zoey whenever they have scenes together and she looks just like her brother Jacob Tremblay.
  • Halston Sage as Lindsay Edgecombe. She is one of Sam’s best friends, probably the “leader” and she’s the meanest of the group. With her friends, she’s not bad, she’s not like Regina George where she’s mean and fake the entire time but she’s mean to the people she’s mean to. Lindsay is that girl who will turn on you when you tell her about herself, or who will claim you did something to cover for what she did. Halston Sage is fine in her role, she manages to be both mean and sympathetic.
  • Elena Kampouris as Juliet Sykes. One of the main victims of the bullying and she’s a bit odd, and her role is minor though important and I think Elena does a good job at playing this role of a withdrawn character.
  • Logan Miller as Kent McFuller. An old friend to Sam, he throws the party that they go to and as the movie goes on, we learn more and more about him and his past with Sam. He’s very likable.
The Story. So I’m a sucker for time loop stories, I think it’s interesting to see how people handle having to repeat the same day over and over again, getting to make different choices and try to find out why it’s happening and how to beat it. It’s very interesting to me and I like how this one just happened. There wasn’t really any set up to it, it was a mystery that had to be figured out as well. Each day happened and Samantha learned a bit more every day and it was great to watch her experience different things. Of course it was bad that things were emotional for her but it was great to see how she reacted to each new day.
The Music. Adam Taylor is in charge of the music and I liked it. It was a mixture of being whimsical during some of the quiet moments, especially when Sam was allowing herself to enjoy life and the moment. Most notably the moments with her sister, or the moments at the end. I also liked that the contemporary songs weren’t just in the film, but they were what the characters were listening to which helped it sound less jarring when a random pop song or rap song popped in. There is a song though that sounded like a less impressive version of “Irreplaceable”.
The Ending. So, I don’t know if it was because I was emotional watching the last 30 minutes of the movie, but I teared up. It’s common knowledge now, if you’ve been following this blog, that I’m a crier at movies in general lol, but still! I think the ending had a lot to say in terms of understanding purpose, how to treat people, living your life to best of your ability etc. It was pretty interesting how it turned out.
Cliche/Cheesy. This is a type of story that’s been done many times. It’s Groundhog Day, Source Code, Edge of Tomorrow, and any movie that has to deal with living the same day over and over again. This doesn’t really bring anything new to that genre as it still follows that same formula. Plus, it’s based on a young adult book so it has to be attached to those tropes that are found in those books. The bullying troubles, mean girls, the weird girl, stuff like that and while this movie tries to add a bit more to it, it just can’t feel original.
The Story/Message. So this is here in the cons as well, because while I like the story (I generally enjoy time loop stories), I think that it’s a bit unfortunate with how it ended. Why did it have to end that way? Why did Samantha have to be the one to make the hard choices? Perhaps the book goes into more detail about it but the movie doesn’t really help out with that and it makes the ending feel unsatisfying. It wants to be deep and stuff but since there are so many unanswered questions, it just feels cheap.
Overall, I enjoyed Before I Fall very much so. It’s a movie based on a YA book and though it’s easy to tell that, I don’t think it super dramatic like those can be sometimes. I thought the acting was good across the board but Zoey Deutch really stands out in this film, she truly manages to hold her own and her character is compelling. I think the story is interesting, I really like Time Loop stories and the ending had a lot to say in terms of character, people and life. The music is also very nice. Unfortunately this movie is a bit cliché and cheesy, while it is based on a YA book and one of the better adaptations, it still falls into that category that feels like a YA book. While I did like the story, I do think it tries too hard to hammer home certain messages that’s cheapened by the ending. There are a lot of unanswered questions that make the ending feel unsatisfying. But it’s a good movie.
Rating: 3.35 out of 5 stars.
Have you seen Before I Fall? Have you read the book? What did you think about it? Is the movie a good adaptation?
What is your favorite or the best Time Loop movie? Let me know in the comments below!
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Book Review: The Sun Is Also a Star



Natasha: I’m a girl who believes in science and facts. Not fate. Not destiny. Or dreams that will never come true. I’m definitely not the kind of girl who meets a cute boy on a crowded New York City street and falls in love with him. Not when my family is twelve hours away from being deported to Jamaica. Falling in love with him won’t be my story.
Daniel: I’ve always been the good son, the good student, living up to my parents’ high expectations. Never the poet. Or the dreamer. But when I see her, I forget about all that. Something about Natasha makes me think that fate has something much more extraordinary in store—for both of us.
The Universe: Every moment in our lives has brought us to this single moment. A million futures lie before us. Which one will come true?
The Characters. The way this book is written, we get to meet and learn about a lot of characters, including the supporting ones. But I’m not going to really get into all of that here, just a few, mostly the two lead characters.
  • Natasha Kingsley. She is Jamaican-American, and her family is being deported for being illegal immigrants. She is trying to figure out how to stop that from happening.  She ends up meeting Daniel by chance. Natasha comes off as cynical, she really loves science and believes everything should be able to be explained by science. She is a bit brash, likes honesty and says what she wants when she thinks it. She has a determined personality and doesn’t believe in fate.
    • I quite liked Natasha. I thought she was a very realistic teenager in how she thinks, how she reacts to things considering how she’s grown up. I loved the fact that she was black with a large afro and that she carried herself confidently and that she was extremely smart and interested in science. There were times when I wish she wasn’t so… cynical about life and hope etc but I thought that was kind of realistic for what was happening and how her life had been.
  • Daniel Jae Ho Bae. He was my favorite. Korean-American, he and his older brother were born in America but his parents are immigrants from South Korea and his father especially is steeped in doing what’s best, not doing what they want. He wants to be a poet but his parents want him to go to Yale, become a doctor, marry a Korean girl and all of that. While he wants to do his own thing, he doesn’t know what that is. He happens to meet Natasha by seeing her dancing across the street in New York City and a series of events allows him to actually meet her.
    • I like Daniel a lot, like I said he was my favorite. I like guys who are romantic without being “too much”. I like the fact that it was him who fell first and that he was intelligent enough to talk to her, to let her know he wanted to know what she knew. He was quite the charmer and he seemed like if he was real, he would be really interesting to talk to, I’d think I’d like him. Plus, the Noraebang (karaoke) scene was the best.
The relationships. A big part of this novel is how Daniel and Natasha interact with other people, as well as each other. Due to the way the novel is written, we are able to see a bit more into some of these character’s backstories, which helps humanize them in a way they might not be through what is thought and said by Daniel and Natasha. It’s great.
  • Daniel and Charlie. Charlie is Daniel’s older brother and he’s a major douche nozzle. We learn from Daniel the moment when they started to drift apart and they basically have an antagonistic relationship moving forward. Charlie seems to hate Daniel but I don’t think Daniel necessarily hates Charlie, it’s just that he doesn’t get why his brother seems to dislike him so much and Daniel had to learn how to stand up to him.
  • Daniel and his parents. Definitely an interesting dynamic. His mother is like a mother, a bit nagging but loving. The tone of Daniel’s day really starts because his mother tells him something about his brother than Charlie overhears, but we really don’t spend that much time with her. When we meet his father, it’s at their shop and his father discovers that Daniel is with a black girl and he basically tells him “no” and that he needs to stick to the plan. It’s quite interesting.
  • Natasha and her father. We do meet her mom and brother but it’s really the relationship with her father that is most prominent and interesting. She is upset with him, it’s his fault they’re being deported, she hates him because of something she overheard him say to his wife and she hasn’t said a word to him about it. But we learn a lot about him through her eyes, as well as from his backstory tidbits we learn throughout the novel
  • Natasha and Daniel. Obviously, being the main center of the story… they just work.
The Style of Writing. The way the novel is written is very different. The story is told in present tense in Daniel and Natasha’s point of view, it switches back and forth between the two. Sometimes it’s a few pages of a chapter and other times, it’s just a page or two. It also includes backstories of other characters they have come into contact with as well as minor histories of things such as: the Black Hair Care business, fate etc. I quite liked it. It makes for easy read and it helps to understand side characters because even if they are minor, they all have reasons to be involved with the story.
The Story/Romance. It’s a romance, but it’s a tentative one. The characters have to progress into it. Natasha is so cynical that she doesn’t believe in love the way that Daniel does, who is a romantic. They really do spend the day getting to know each other, learning about each other’s strengths and weaknesses and it was natural, the way young adults would. I thought Nicola Yoon handled their personal problems well, their inner voices, their struggles and all of that built into what they grow into.
Starts off slow. It did take me a moment to get into this book. I normally don’t like reading books told from different points of views. Sometimes it’s not done well and it’s annoying. That didn’t bother me here, it was just that it took a moment to get started. Once the day actually begins with Daniel and Natasha being away from home… it starts to pick up.
Not for everyone. This is the kind of book I would think is not for everyone. I mean, no book is, but definitely noticeable here. I think if the characters and the writing didn’t sweep me up, I might have disliked it. If you’re not into romance, don’t read it. If you don’t like it when characters doubt where things could go… then don’t read it. Personally, I do think this book could change your perspective on that but just saying.
Overall, I loved this book. I don’t think I’ve loved a book like this in a long time. One that featured non-white leads, written by a black woman and that didn’t have some fantasy element to it. I like adventure/fantasy type books and I loved this book and it had none of that. I loved the characters, I loved the way they interacted with each other. Normally, I’m wary of young adult books because the dialogue could sound older than what it is but I didn’t think that here, and the times where I might have, it wasn’t jarring. I loved their romantic progression, it wasn’t forced. The ending tore me up inside and was filled with hope. I cried. If a book can make me cry and no one died… well done.
Rating: 4.7o out of 5 stars.
Also by Nicola Yoon: Everything, Everything.