Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Parks and Rec plus YA

Tuesday, February 25, 2014
So lately, I've been watching Parks and Recreation on Netflix (season 6 here I come!) and I basically find it hysterical and awesome. Plus, I adore Amy Poehler. I was trying to come up with a blog post today and I may or may not have been watching Parks and Rec at the same time, which led me to thinking: if the Parks and Rec characters were YA fans, what would they read? Thus, without further ado, I present to you my Parks Pairings:

As an empowered feminist, Leslie would definitely appreciate this satirical piece of genius (okay, so I'm kind of a huge fan of Beauty Queens, if you haven't noticed).

Ben is a huge fantasy fan, so he would either love Eragon or proclaim it a Lord of the Rings ripoff. It could go either way. 

Since she loves dark and morbid material, I think she would really get into the twisted, amazing plot in The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer... not that she'd admit it, of course. 

Well, Tom would pick up this book thinking it's actually about beauty pageants, but he might learn something about why it's not okay to objectify women! Maybe?

After a long day of work (either as a nurse or for the government), Ann would probably want to relax with a glass of white wine (even though it gives her headaches) and some light reading. 

Are you a Parks and Rec fan?

Sunday, February 16, 2014

Book Blogger Love-A-Thon Awards

Sunday, February 16, 2014

I'm really excited for this mini challenge, especially since I feel like I don't celebrate other blogs enough on here. These are only some of my favorites- if I listed all of my favorites, I'd still be working on this post by the time it's supposed to be posted- but these blogs are fantastic. Definitely check them out! :)

Best Blog Design
Rather Be Reading Estelle and Magan have one of the most beautiful blog designs EVER. It is a work of art, while still being clean and easy to navigate. 

Best Weekly Feature
YA Highway: I never miss a Field Trip Friday post. Not only are there awesome writing links, but they have a ton of other interesting links about everything from reading to social issues to funny videos.

Best Discussion Posts
Writer of Wrongs: Every time I see one of Gillian's discussion posts in my BlogLovin' feed, it's an auto-read. They're just so fun and engaging! Check out Second Book Syndrome, if you need an example. :)

Friendliest Blogger
The Story Siren: When I was first starting to send ARC requests to publishers, I had no idea where to begin. I emailed Kristi to ask for help because she was one of the first bloggers I had followed and she was so sweet! 

Most Helpful Reviews
IrisjeXx: Iris (besides being one of the nicest, coolest bloggers out there) has really awesome reviews. They're thorough but also fun to read. 

Favorite Author Blog
Susan Dennard: Her writing tips are GOLDEN. Seriously, I used her prewriting tips for my current WIP and it's made the process so much easier and so much fun!

Favorite Author Twitter
Maureen Johnson: She's equal parts quirky, funny, and intelligent. 

Favorite Bloggers to Fangirl With
Aly at My Heart Hearts Books: I love talking about the Mara Dyer series (and our shared love of Noah) with her, and just books in general.
Alicia at Books and Words: Alicia and I don't just talk books- we also fangirl over our favorite TV shows, including Sherlock and The Crazy Ones. :)
Iris at IrisjeXx: We discovered each other's blogs through the Something Strange and Deadly book club, so obviously we like to fangirl about Eleanor's exploits!! 
Commenters: I love fangirling with everyone who stops by the blog. Even if it sometimes takes me a bit longer than I'd like, I reply to each one of your comments! 

What are some of your favorite blogs?

Book Blogger Love-A-Thon Dear Me

Dear Past Bloggy Self,

Wait, stop, don't publish that first review yet. Don't do ANYTHING blog-related yet. Just go take a look at other blogs, learn the ropes, get a feel for the community- there's so much you don't know and it'll be a lot easier if you don't have to figure it out as you go along.*

On the same note, don't pick that generic background that 200 other blogs have. Seriously, you can just look up html tips, or free blog templates, or really anything other than the templates Blogger offers.**

Get a Twitter, a Facebook page, and a Tumblr much sooner, especially Twitter. You'll get to talk to other bloggers and authors and publishers, which is just as awesome as it sounds.***

Ultimately, Past Bloggy Self, the most important thing you need to know is this: post what you want to post. Post about Harry Potter or feminism or John Green or whatever makes you happy. Don't feel pressure to measure up to other bloggers- real blogging success is when you're proud of the content you're publishing.****

Best of luck,

*Then again, figuring it out as I went along DID teach me a lot about blogging. I had to start with plot summaries before I could get to the actual plot critiques. And even in my not-so-spiffeh bloggy days, I was able to make some great bloggy friends.

**If I had just looked up free templates, though, then I wouldn't have learned basic html, or started playing around on Paint.net. 

***But waiting a bit allowed me to "figure out" Twitter before I jumped in.

****There's really no clause for this one. Just wanted to say that maybe all the mistakes I made as my Past Bloggy Self were also learning experiences. Just a thought.

What would you do differently as a new blogger?

Book Blogger Love-A-Thon Feminism

So when I'm not reading books or writing about books, I'm reading or writing about feminism. Seriously, I've always considered myself a feminist, but I became really invested in women's rights after reading Libba Bray's Beauty Queens (that book is like my Bible). In fact, I have a whole feminist-y project in the works which I'll be posting about soon (but you can get a sneak peek on this tumblr here, if you'd like).

Since I've already done a Feminist YA Lit post (though I do have a few additions for a new post someday soon), I had to think outside the box for this. That said, here's a graphic I made to help you choose your next feminist read!

Which book did you get?

Saturday, February 15, 2014

Book Blogger Love-A-Thon Mad Libs

Saturday, February 15, 2014

One day I was skipping with Hector. Out of the blue, a blimp came out of nowhere! It was so blue, gigantic, and bulbous. At first we were afraid, we were petrified, but we gallivanted. We hopped on a black stallion to make our getaway.

As we escaped, we turned up the radio because Don't Stop Believing came on and made me shimmy. Everything was extremely smooth sailing until an elephant appeared in the middle of the road. We swerved to avoid it, but while Hector stayed on the black stallion, I got thrown onto my side in the woods.

I couldn't get up, and felt peculiar as I lay there staring up at the trees. What was I going to do? I heard a QUACK among the leaves, and felt surprise. Surely, this was going to be my end. As my eyes fluttered shut, the last thing I saw was a head of mauve hair and turquoise eyes.

When I woke up again, I was on a bean bag. My body hurt a whole lot less, and I could sit up. There was a puppy and monkey in the room, along with a pickle and root beer. The door suddenly opened to reveal Po, a concerned look on his face. I blushed and averted my gaze, but he giggled and said, "Don't be shy. It's okay."

He came over to sit by me, and we started talking after I told him my name. We chatted about writing, singing, and Netflix binging and realized we had a ton in common! I thought he was clammy and couldn't help feeling a little swoony.

Just as he reached out for my hand, the door crashed open and in came Daniel. "Don't let him charm you away, my love!" he yelled, running at Po. They each had ladles in their hands and began to fight. "Stop!" I yelled, feeling so thrilled. They didn't listen to me. Before I could intervene, Po fell to the floor and disappeared in a cloud of smoke.

"What was that?" I asked, staring at the empty space. Daniel dropped his weapon, and came over to me. "Magic, but you are safe now, boo." He hugged me close, and I suddenly knew that this was the real deal and not just a dream.

Just as Your Song started playing in my head, I woke up. I cursed my adventurous luck. Why had it only been just a dream?

This was loads of fun! Who were your Mad Lib book boyfriends?

Book Blogger Love-A-thon Book Spine Poetry

For this Mini Challenge, I discovered something: I don't have a collection of books that really works for book spine poetry, at least not the lovey-dovey kind. So instead, I went more of a feminista route.

Rebel angels
Lost girls
Nobody's Prize

I can't wait to see your book spine poetry!

Book Blogger Love-A-Thon Interview

I'm so excited to participate in the Book Blogger Love-A-Thon, hosted by Alexa at Alexa Loves Books and and Katelyn at Tales of Books and Bands! It's my first year being a part of this event, and it seems like it will be a lot of fun, as well as a fantastic way to meet more of the blogging community!

1. How did you come up with your blog name?

I had a few blog name ideas before The Page Sage, but they were all taken (one such name was A Novel Idea). Honestly, I was just trying to come up with bookish puns, but as I was playing around with different literary terms, I hit on The Page Sage and it stuck. Over 2 years later, I’m glad it did!

2. What genre/subject matter do you read and review most on your blog?

I review a lot of fantasy and realistic fiction, mainly because those are my favorite genres, though I’ll really read and review most any genres.

3. Name the 3 books you're excited for in 2014!

Well a Mad, Wicked Folly is definitely numero uno. I know it came out last month, but I haven’t had the chance to make a bookstore run yet. I also can’t wait for Dreams of Gods and Monsters by Laini Taylor and The Retribution of Mara Dyer by Michelle Hodkin.

There are about 15 other books I can’t wait to read (Isla and the Happily Ever After, I’m looking at you), but the question says 3! :)

A Mad, Wicked FollyDreams of Gods & Monsters (Daughter of Smoke & Bone, #3)The Retribution of Mara Dyer (Mara Dyer, #3)

4. Where in the world are you blogging from?

New Jersey, US which is currently quite cold and covered in snow. At least the shoveling serves as a good workout, right?

5. Tell us -- how did you get into blogging in the first place?

I watched Julie and Julia and thought that blogging looked like fun. No, really. Except I can’t cook, so I wanted to blog about my interests. Since writing and reading are two of my passions, blogging seemed like the natural way to combine the two.

6. Apart from reading, what other hobbies/interests do you have?

I’m really passionate about feminism, as any of my IRL friends can tell you. When I’m not on my soapbox, I’m usually singing show tunes, watching Doctor Who (though I’m kind of reluctant to say that I’m a fan since the Moffat era began), or speaking in French (though as Alicia can tell you, not that well).

And I touched on this above, but I love love love to write. I’m currently working on my 4th manuscript, which is a ton of fun and in first person, a POV the other manuscripts were not in. Other than novels, I’m really into writing slam poetry, too, which often ties into my feminism.

7. If you were stuck on a deserted island, which books would you bring with you?

Beauty Queens by Libba Bray, definitely, not just because it’s my gospel but because it’s the ultimate deserted island book. I’d bring the HP books, too, because I can never get sick of them. Oh, and then I’d probably bring a manual called “How to Survive (and eventually got off of) A Deserted Island”

8. If you were stuck in some dangerous situation (like a fire, a sinking ship, a warzone), which book boy or girl would you want to come and save you?

Hm, I mean, logically, Katniss seems like a good choice since I know she’s up for the job. But if I could choose any book character to swoop in and save the day? I’m leaning towards Po from Graceling.

9. You’re attending a party with your friends. Suddenly, the DJ changes the song and it’s YOUR song – what song would that be?

Well, I believe that’s the song by Elton John (oh sheesh, sorry for the corniness). Hm, ONE song? It would probably be something from a musical or Disney movie- basically, something that really wouldn’t fit a party. Even though my favorite song (at least at the moment) is “Parachute” by Guster (who is also my favorite band).

10. What 3 movies would you love to have your favorite author write into books, or vice versa?

I’d love for John Green to turn Dead Poet’s Society into a book. Also, it would be amazing if Sarah Beth Durst or Kristin Cashore wrote a (culturally accurate) YA version of Mulan. And for my last choice I think a book adaptation of You Got Mail by Rainbow Rowell would be perfect, though she kind of already did that with Attachments

Monday, February 10, 2014

Time for a Reread: Audrey, Wait!

Monday, February 10, 2014
Audrey, Wait!
You may have noticed all of the posts about Also Known As by Robin Benway leading up to its release week. Well, writing those posts and chatting with you, made me reaaaaally want to read Audrey, Wait! again, so I did.

It's been years since the last time I read it, and even though I've obviously changed, this book is still as amazing as I remember it (and I remember it pretty well- I can still quote most of the opening pages).

So basically, in a bit of a recap (warning: spoilers ahead):

  • Victoria is boss.

Seriously, every girl wants a friend like Victoria. Also, more YA books should feature friendships as fantastic as Audrey's and Victoria's (femships!).
“WHY ARE YOU NOT ANSWERING YOUR PHONE?!? OH MY GOD, DID YOU SEE THE ARTICLE? I AM FREAKING OUT, WHY ARE YOU NOT ANSWERING YOUR PHONE?!? Please call me, I’m starting to act like Tizzy around here. It’s getting ugly. Oh, hi, Mr. and Mrs. Cuttler, in case you get this first. Everything’s fine, I’m just trying to get ahold of Audrey. Okay, bye.  AUDREY, CALL ME BEFORE I HAVE TO RESORT TO SKYWRITING.” 

  • James, my book boyfriend.

    James is still my favorite book boyfriend, EVER. I mean it- he is my absolute favorite.
“I liked James and James liked me and we both knew it and if you think about it, that's like a miracle. A real miracle. Everyone says that babies are miracles, and don't get me wrong, I love cute little pudgy babies, but if you think about it, me having a baby right now would not be a miracle. At all. But finding someone that gets me? That's the real work. That's where the miracles are.” 

  • The Dialogue is Awesome

I wish everyone was as witty and sarcastic and awesome as Audrey, her friends ,and her parents. 
“Did you just say ‘frolic’?”
 “Is it not a word?”
“Who the hell says ‘frolic’?”
“I say frolic. And more people should.”
“They should say frolic or actually frolic?” 

  • Positive families in YA!

Speaking of, her parents are awesomely dorky.
"I did my first downward dog today," my dad added proudly, and Victoria made a weird strangled sound and then choked on her breakfast burrito. 

  • The Psyched Factor

The ending still gets me so psyched. Audrey's awesome speech, Victoria and James in the airport, and then the Beatles' lyrics? It leaves me grinning like a crazy person every time I read it.
"Like the Beatles said, “O-bla-di, o-bla-da, life goes on.”
And it does.
Rock on.” 

  • Music! 

Audrey, Wait! makes me want to turn up the radio as loud as it can go. Speaking of, I made a playlist of all the songs listed before each chapter, if you want to take a listen below.
“You have to turn it up so that your chest shakes and the drums get in between your ribs like a heartbeat and the bass goes up your spine and fizzles your brain and all you can do is dance or spin in a circle or just scream along because you know that however this music makes you feel, it’s exactly right.” 

I'm just really glad I reread this book- a reread was just what I needed. And Audrey, Wait! reads just as well as it did the first time. I think that's the mark of a really good book, that it stands the test of time.

What has changed since I first read Audrey, Wait!? Surprisingly, my taste in music, since I really like the above playlist, while I didn't five years ago. Go figure!

How often do you reread books?

Friday, February 7, 2014

Manic Pixie Dream Girls

Friday, February 7, 2014

How to Spot a Manic Pixie Dream Girl:

1. She is insanely beautiful, usually with some stunning (and unlikely combination) of dark hair and blue eyes.
2. She is white. 
3. She dresses in a way that isn't necessarily conventional. Most of her clothes are handmade, or come from a thrift store.
4. She reads really pretentious books and listens to music by bands you've never heard of.
5. She is mysterious and kind of tragic- in a hot way, though.
6. She is "not like other girls."

Now, there isn't anything inherently wrong with being beautiful, or dressing in thrift store clothes, or listening to obscure music. What gets me all riled up when it comes to manic pixie dream girls is not any of this- it's that their characterization, what makes them important, is determined by how they affect the angsty white male protagonist. 

Who they are isn't important. Manic pixie dream girls are plot devices, plain and simple.

This is especially damaging because while the male main character goes through emotional growth- since he is complex, or if nothing else, not two-dimensional- the female character is only there for male use. She is a catalyst, she is the conflict, she is the goal, but she is not her own character.

The problem with the manic pixie dream girl continues with the above #5  (She is mysterious and kind of tragic- in a hot way, though) and #6 (She is "not like other girls") because, in a way, the manic pixie dream girl is presented as something for other girls to aspire to. She's the kind of girl who is interesting and cool and "worthy" of male attention, unlike the others (which, as many before me have pointed out, begs the question: what is wrong with other girls?). And this becomes even worse when you factor in that most manic pixie dream girls suffer from some sort of depression, which just serves to glamorize and romanticize mental illness. 

Perversely, the MPDG trope also demonizes mental illness. Since she typically tries to cope with her depression through emotionless relationships, continuously shirking the affections of our poor wittle male MC, we're supposed to sympathize with him and dislike her. She is heartless while he deserves love. Just look at Lady Brett in The Sun Also Rises or Daisy Buchanan in The Great Gatsby.

There have been works that have debunked the idea of the manic pixie dream girl (for example, John Green's Looking for Alaska and Paper Towns; the movie (500) Days of Summer; etc.), but what I really want to see is a story told from the MPDG's perspective. I want her to get the chance to be the three-dimensional character she deserves to be.

Better yet, I want more stories told about girls and/or from girls' perspectives who don't just fit one mold. Stories that are about girls of every ethnicity and religion and background, stories about girls who are insanely beautiful or not, or girls who read a lot, or girls who prefer TV, or whatever

Ultimately, I just want girls in books to be characters, not plot devices. And I don't think that's too much to ask for.

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Hermione and Ron Forever

Tuesday, February 4, 2014
In case you missed it, J.K. Rowling said in an interview this past week that she regrets putting Ron and Hermione together, which naturally caused a pretty big uproar among Potterheads. It was online chaos! Ronmione shippers were pitted against Harmione shippers, not to mention Dramione shippers, and I'm sure the Snape/Hermione shippers (I'm sorry, but someone send them help) had something to say, too.

10 years after the last book, Potterheads are still incredibly protective of their literary couples, and it's kind of awesome that this fandom has remained so passionate and loyal for so long.

That said, I also think that the interview isn't that big of a deal.

Don't get me wrong, I was heartbroken when I first heard the news. How could Hermione and Ron, everyone's favorite book nerd and ginger (respectively), end up with anyone else? Does this mean that everything- the fourth year drama, Ron's showdown with the Horcrux in year seven- is a lie????

by inthelaurels

And then, after I got past that, I thought, No, of course not. J.K. Rowling isn't writing an eighth book where Ron and Hermione get a divorce. And as far as I know, the new Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them movie won't have Newt Scamander using a time-turner to disrupt the romantic events of the HP books. Why?

Because the Harry Potter books are over, and there's no way to change what happened in them. Regardless of how our beloved J.K. Rowling feels so many years later, the story is finished and Ron and Hermione did end up together. Whether that is a good pairing or not doesn't change that fact (though, I will say that Hermione and Ron balance each other out, which is why I believe their relationship would work).

Once Deathly Hallows made it into the hands of us, the readers, the ending was the ending, plain and simple. And as John Green put it, "Books belong to their readers." So I'm not going to get all bothered over this interview- J.K. Rowling has the right to say what she wants concerning the books she wrote, just like we have the right to adore Hermione and Ron.

And besides, were the books ever really about romance anyway?

How do you feel about the news? 

Monday, February 3, 2014

The Fault in our Stars Movie Trailer

Monday, February 3, 2014
So I'm a few days late with this, but The Fault in our Stars trailer came out this week. If you are not one of the eight million pageviews it has already received, watch it below (or watch it again, I don't blame you.)

How. Perfect. Is. That.

It's like we're really seeing Hazel, Gus, and Isaac on the screen. With most movie adaptations, there's at least a brief moment of, "Oh, look, it's [Movie Star] acting like [Book Character]." But not in this trailer- in TFIOS, it's like each actor really embodies their characters.

And I mean, actors aside, did you hear that dialogue?!?! It's taken right from the book! And then there's the pedophilic swingset, Hazel's "ceci n'est pas un pipe" shirt, the kiss in the Anne Frank house... it's like seeing the book come to life.

All of this is definitely worthy of a fangirl happy dance.

Then there are the other parts, and if you've read the book, you know what I mean. Basically, they're the reason I'll have about two or three tissue boxes with me in the movie theater come June- I mean, I teared up the first time I saw the trailer, let alone the entire film. 


On a different note, that blue coat Hazel wears in Amsterdam? (See above.) I have a coat just like that, which A.S. King complimented me on at a book signing, so it's basically my favorite coat of all time.

Anyway, leave a comment about your trailer reaction so we can squeal over it together!

What are your thoughts on the TFIOS Trailer?