Book Review |The Outsiders

Here is my review at Goodreads!

The Outsiders

didn't like it it was ok (my current rating) liked it really liked it it was amazing starRatings[ratingIndex++] = [ ‘231804’,1]; checkStars(‘231804’, 1);  (1 1/2)

This was actually the first time I read S.E. Hinton’s realistic fiction book. When I was younger, I had read a book called the Downsiders and thought it had something to do with this book. I was wrong. This book is about Ponyboy (yes, that is his real name) and his friends–they are “greasers” and looked down upon by the “Socs” (high society kids). Ponyboy and his friend Johnny get in some big trouble after a rumble with some Socs and the book follows them through running away, a church fire which made them heroes, and the effect that their hard life had on them.

As I was reading this, I instantly thought of it as a mix between the movie, Grease, and the musical, West Side Story. That is the main issue of the book–different groups of kids who misunderstand or have prejudices against each other and how they have to life with it or find a way to overcome it. Hinton does a good job making it realistic fiction because she alludes to popular slang and terms, as well as fads such as the Beatles. This probably came very easy to Hinton as she was only 17 when the book was published.

Whether or not she meant it, Hinton had a motif of eyes. Every character’s description focuses on their eyes and then is reflected in their personality and actions. I love eye motifs and think she did it very well. She based the book on an issue between two gangs at her school and she wanted to explore it from the side of the “greasers.” Again, I think she does a well enough job with this as Ponyboy begins to see things differently after he meets Cherry and as Johnny reveals his own feelings.

But, besides those two aspects, I felt this was a very dry book. The events didn’t seem to flow well enough into one another–it felt like different episodes and it was very easy to tell where an episode would end. I do believe that young teenage boys in middle school would enjoy this book, especially because of all the “rumbles” throughout.

What is Reading?

Reading is having fun. Reading is having an adventure, becoming new people, living different lives, all without moving an inch.

Being literate, to me, is the continuous practice of being able to read comfortably. You have to practice reading, just like anything else, but enjoy it. If you are mumbling and grumbling, how will you improve?

What I love about reading is it it shows our divine potential. Our divinity is our imagination, which in writers is manifest before readers as books and stories. It is their own world given to us to participate in. And, since I am a history teaching major, it also means that I become a time traveler and am able to witness history live in front of my eyes.

The books I read as a kid are still the same genres I read today. I’ve always been entranced with historical fiction and fantasy. Maybe it’s because I, myself, am a daydreamer and a writer that I year for a time and place not my own. To see mysteries at work and understand them is what I love the most. Sometimes I’ll even read specific characters’ dialogue out loud–I become them; I live a different life.

Reading is what dreams are made of and how they come true.

Book Review | Royal Diaries Series

I used to love this series as a kid. In elementary school, I started with the Dear America series–a historical fiction series in the form of girls’ journals. They then branched off to do historical fiction journals of princess throughout the world and time.

Thus far in my life, I have read: 

Cleopatra VII: Daughter of the Nile, Egypt, 57 B.C. by Kristiana Gregory 
Isabel: Jewel of Castilla, Spain, 1466 by Carolyn Meyer 
Anastasia: The Last Grand Duchess, Russia, 1914 by Carolyn Meyer
Nzingha: Warrior Queen of Matamba, Angola, Africa, 1595 by Patricia McKissac 
Lady of Ch’iao Kuo: Warrior of the South, Southern China, 531 A.D. by Laurence Yep 
Victoria: May Blossom of Britannia, England, 1829 by Anna Kirwan 
Mary, Queen of Scots: Queen Without a Country, France, 1553 by Kathryn Lasky 
Weetamoo: Heart of the Pocassets, Massachusetts-Rhode Island, 1653 by Patricia Clark Smith 
Lady of Palenque: Flower of Bacal, Mesoamerica, A.D. 749 by Anna Kirwan

This summer, I have decided to read some more. I am a history teaching major after all. Even if the series was written for middle school students.

Any way, the three I decided to read were these:

Anacoana: Golden Flower, Haiti, 1490 
by Edwidge Danticat
This was an interesting read because there is not much known about the natives in Haiti before the conquistadors came. The author certainly did her research though. She was able to integrate language and culture that we do know about these natives. At the same time, she did a good job showing personality and thought very well, showing us what she believed to be the thought-process of a native princess in Haiti.
Kristina: The Girl King, Sweden, 1638 
by Carolyn Meyer
This one was a bit more journal like–this happened now, this happened then. Even though the character is interesting (the only child of the king of Sweden raised as a prince to become King, rather than Queen), the author did not do a good job holding my interest. It barely breached the character’s thought process and feelings. However, I now want to learn more about her.
Elizabeth I: Red Rose of the House of Tudor, England, 1544 
by Kathryn Lasky 
I think I read this when I was younger. I love anything that has to do with the Tudors! Especially Elizabeth. This does a very good job diving into the mind of a princess who’s mother was beheaded and father banished her according to his mood swings. If that was your childhood and you had a brother and an older sister, you would have very little hope of ever becoming queen. You felt yourself as a forgotten princess and that is what Lasky showed very well. I thoroughly enjoyed it.

Book Review | The Help

The Help by Kathryn Stockett
So, I know a ton of people who have read this. I thought of it as a Hipster book. Wasn’t that interested. I mean, I probably would have picked it up at some point, but not while it was a craze. Then, I saw a preview for it, because it is going to be a movie!
I was hooked!!!
  1. It has three points of view: Aibeleen and Minny (both maids) and Skeeter. In the back of the book, Stockett admits she was nervous about being able to properly portray 1960 African-American maids, but I think she did a very good job and with the 3 distinct personalities, we can see the story develop in a very interesting way.
  2. It is almost stream-of-thought or personal essay written. There are a lot of flashbacks or reflection between the 3 women, which helps give insight without having weird skips ahead in time.
  3. I love books about books! This one is about writing a book about what is actually happening in the book! YAAY!
  4. It uses Ebonics!
  1. Sometimes the stream-of-though flashbacks or reflections can get a little confusing in the time-line.
  2. Even though the ending was good, it was still at the same time a little unsatisfying.
For her first novel, Kathryn Stockett did a very good job! And I can’t wait for two more weeks so I can see the movie with my mom and my sister!
My Rating
5/5 stars!

EFY Week #4 – "Lifted Up"

Lifted Up!
My last week of EFY was probably my best. This week, my company’s scripture came from Psalms 24:3-4 “Who shall ascend into the hill of the LORD? or who shall stand in his holy place? He that hath clean hands, and a pure heart; who hath not lifted up his soul unto vanity, nor sworn deceitfully.”
So our name was Lifted Up!
This week, the Red session was the largest for Provo this year: 700 participants! The average is 350 for a session. Add that to the fact that all 4 sessions were going on at once (2500+ youth!) and all having classes and lunch together!
At least the Red were housed in on-campus apartments rather than the on-campus dorms like the rest of the youth. We also had our own cafeteria for breakfast and dinner. But, with 700 participants, the only place we could fit on campus was 1 auditorium on the opposite side of campus. Getting place to place and sitting down was ridiculous. However, all the counselors and the coordinators all agreed that even though we were super worried about this chaotic week, it turned out to have less problems than the week we only had 250 youth!
My girls were amazing! I didn’t have any problems with any of them! Two of my boys tried out for the variety show and four of my girls did the musical program. They were all super tight, always hanging out in each others’ rooms. They all participated in discussions and devotionals, which made me very happy.
However, there was one girl who wasn’t able to be in the same company as the rest of her friends. It was her first year at EFY and she felt quite isolated and shy. I tried my best to make her feel welcome and even talked to some of my girls with kind, strong personalities. Her mom even called me to talk to me about the situation. Sadly, I feel like I failed in this instance because she left early on Thursday night.
Then, on Friday, one girl threw me for a loop. It was her 3rd year at EFY and I didn’t see any problems with her. However, she said she was going to make herself sick so she wouldn’t have to go to the dance (she is lactose-intolerant). She did this because no boy had asked her to dance during the Tuesday dance. I talked to her about how she was worrying not only me, but the rest of the girls because it isn’t healthy for her to have milk. Then I also told her how the past couple of years have been hard for me because I’ve seen so many of my girl friends get asked out on dates, start dating, and get married; whereas, almost all the dates I have been on in the past 3 years, I have asked the boy out and they usually have turned out bad. So I knew how she felt and told her I was tired of waiting for boys to ask me out so I started asking them out. That situation, and knowing the love she had from the other girls gave her enough courage to go to the dance. Then, she even asked my old co, the one with the same name as me, who all the girls have a crush on, to dance, and he danced with her! She enjoyed herself.
That night, I also had dance duty–I had to sit down in a corner and make sure no youth left or hid, etc. One of my girls sat somewhere near me and talked on the phone. I assumed her mom had called, but then, after about 15 minutes and her ending numerous different calls, I decided to go over and see what the problem was. She was losing self-confidence. Yes, boys had asked her to dance, but they were all weird, awkward, or not-that-cute. She sees other girls who she thinks are prettier then her being asked to dance by good-looking boys. She didn’t feel she was as good-looking as them. Kind of the same situation as my other girl. Coincidentally, they were both mixed races and gorgeous. I love mixed race girls–they get the best of both races. So I told her that, she was beautiful. Told her my story. Told her to be a huntress. She finally went to go dance with my other girls.
I was glad for such a wonderful week to end on. I was able to memorize the names of all my kids, the second time I was able to do it!
I am so thankful to have been able to do EFY this summer. It was an amazing experience and allowed my testimony to grow so much. True, I am thankful that it is over for the year, but I am still sad–I felt such at home being a counselor. My patriarchal blessing* tells me that I will use my written and oral skills to teach. I feel as if I have truly made that come to pass. I was meant to be an EFY counselor and I will never regret doing it.
 * patriarchal blessing (a blessing LDS members get that tells them Heavenly Father’s expectations and promises for them)