Friday, May 29, 2015

Saint Anything by Sarah Dessen

Peyton, Sydney's charismatic older brother, has always been the star of the family, receiving the lion's share of their parents' attention and—lately—concern. When Peyton's increasingly reckless behavior culminates in an accident, a drunk driving conviction, and a jail sentence, Sydney is cast adrift, searching for her place in the family and the world. When everyone else is so worried about Peyton, is she the only one concerned about the victim of the accident?

Enter the Chathams, a warm, chaotic family who run a pizza parlor, play bluegrass on weekends, and pitch in to care for their mother, who has multiple sclerosis. Here Sydney experiences unquestioning acceptance. And here she meets Mac, gentle, watchful, and protective, who makes Sydney feel seen, really seen, for the first time.

The uber-popular Sarah Dessen explores her signature themes of family, self-discovery, and change in her twelfth novel, sure to delight her legions of fans.

Source for summary and picture:

Overall Review:
    Oh, boy. Where to start with this book?
    I’ve read lots of Sarah Dessen books--all of them, actually--and she’s a very consistent writer, let me tell you that. All of her books seem to contain the same things: misunderstood characters, wacky but much-needed friends, a love interest who is somehow both boring and exciting, and a fairly unemotional main character. Her books can come off as boring and slow, but I’m always somehow drawn in--I don’t know if it’s because I’m a wimp and hate reading books that end sadly, or if it’s just Dessen’s amazing writing. Either way, there’s a reason why I bought Saint Anything just weeks after it came out.
    I love Sarah Dessen’s other books, I really do. But Saint Anything, in my opinion, seriously raised her amazingness to a whole new level. I like book friendships, and Layla’s and Sydney’s was one of the best I’ve read about in a while. Layla could definitely come off as a brat sometimes, but she was good at heart, and you could tell that she was just trying to find her way in life.
    Another high point was the relatability of the story. Maybe our lives aren’t exactly like Sydney’s, but the main ideas of the book are definitely existent in real life. Feeling invisible? Check. Discovering that people aren’t always what they seem? Double check.
    One thing that could’ve been better was the love interest, Mac. I wasn’t really feeling the whole Mac-and-Sydney relationship. It’s not that Mac was a unlikeable, exactly. He was more . . . unrelatable. He just seemed kind of cold and distant and unfeeling, I guess. I don’t know what it was, exactly. He just wasn’t very happy. And I thought that Sydney needed someone happy in her life (which is probably why I liked Layla so much).
    Yeesh, this review is long. I’m not going to go into further detail on this book like we usually do (though Kalee and I haven’t really been posting . . . sorry about that), but if you want me to, feel free to leave a comment or email us at, and I’ll add more to give you a better sense of how the book is.
Thanks for reading,
JC <3
P.S. Whoops . . . I forgot to rate it, haha. So I'd give this book . . . a 9/10. Okay, bye!

Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Tomorrowland Review

Picture from
If the picture doesn't show up.. I'm sure JC can fix it haha


Hello, this is Kalee! I recently went to watch Tomorrowland with a group of friends and ... you probably don't want to be reading this review if you liked this movie. This movie showed a lot of promise. It had an epic, action packed trailer and I honestly thought I was going to like it. The idea seemed interesting and for the first couple minutes I thought it was going to satisfy my expectations. Then it plummeted. My friend, who was hyper after eating too many red vines, was more entertaining than the actual movie.

The trailer was very misleading. It shows an amazing future with cool jet packs and what not. (Spoiler, but necessary if you're thinking about watching this movie) The characters spend very little time in the actual "fun" tomorrow land. They, however spend a lot of time attempting to get to Tomorrowland, which involves a lot of driving. Take this into consideration if you want to see this movie. This movie is not about the future if that is what you or your child was expecting. (Spoiler alert over) All I could think while watching this movie was, "Wow, this looks really expensive." I had bought those extremely expensive movie tickets to get a better picture as well.

The graphics were really nice. A lot of the technology they showed off in Tomorrowland, such as the pool looked greatly innovative and unique. You could tell that they put a lot of emphasis on the scenery and robots. I wish we could have seen more of it.

My overall rating would be a ... 5 out of 10

-Beware there are spoilers-

The overall plot seemed very jumbled and a lot of the steps the main characters did not seem necessary to the overall story. The movie seemed extremely long. The plot got lost and I honestly did not understand the goal of the movie. I did not understand at all when Frank Walker, or George Clooney, was talking about Thomas Edison. I completely missed the part where they were explaining why in the world there was a rocket in the Eiffel Tower. I was still trying to understand the whole Thomas Edison thing. These reoccurring bad explanations were a major problem throughout this movie.

The way this movie was set up made it seem like they were aiming for a wide range of ages. Typically, a movie's main characters are around the same age as their target audience. That way people can connect with our main characters more. The older Frank Walker was for the adults, Casey for the teens, and Athena for the younger audience. So if I, a teenager could not understand the plot, how could say a sixth grader? Admittedly, I was pretty bored through out the movie, so I wasn't trying particular hard to understand it. I think the writers of the script were making the explanations more complicated than they had to be. They tried to hard to make the characters sound smart. It would have liked it better if someone just told the audience, bluntly what in the world was going on and why. There was also plot holes like how did Athena prevent Frank from getting robot laser blasted when the future time telling thingy told her that he would. So if the future time thingy was showing her the future what was it actually showing? Where did it get that image from? There was a cute then awkward romance, too. In that order.

Young Frank and Robot Athena end up falling for each other. They never tell each other as children though. I'm not bugged by the whole falling in love with a robot thing though. The relationship was cute and they did attempt to deal with the "she's a robot" thing. Zeros and ones can't feel genuine emotion. Then Frank is suppose to leave, because he creates a device that can predict the supposed doom day. Athena and old Frank meet up later in the movie. Then its kind of weird. There's romantic tension between the two, but he looks and is much much older than her. It's just sort of ... weird.

The overall theme of the message was kind of cheesy and has been done many times before. It's "We can change our fates" and "Protect the planet or we all gonna die." The second message is presented in a different way though. It's more like, "Us, humans are aware that global warming will kill us all. We are just too lazy to do anything about it because it doesn't effect us now." Of course, they said it in a bit of a more complicated way. I also don't know why they really needed Casey there to tell them that they can change their fates seeing that that's a common theme throughout movies and video games. Just have a chat with someone who knows of Nintendo games, such as Fire Emblem Awakening and they can tell you the same thing.

Just a little nit pick thing. When Casey was watching the trailer thing for Tomorrowland, I would have preferred it if the trailer was meant for the audience member watching it. The trailer revolved around Casey, but I thought it would have been cool if the movie treated the viewers liked they were the ones watching the trailer. Maybe have characters looking at the screen as if they were looking at the viewers. Maybe have the space lady person extend her hand towards the audience. I just thought it would be cool. It could also be an opportunity to get the audience invested in trying to get to Tomorrowland as well. I get that it was character development for Casey though.

This movie isn't as bad as I make it sound but I was disappointed at all of its wasted potential. I feel like the writers could have done a lot more with the story line. The acting was good and the effects were extra superb. I think I would have been a tad more interested if Frank had stayed the main main character though.

Thank you for reading! What movie would you like to see next?

Saturday, May 23, 2015

Collab Story

"On the count of three."
Myra looked back at Elliot and I as she prepared to jump into The Pit. Only the heavens knew what lay in The Pit. For all we knew, we were just about to jump into the gaping mouth of some sort of prehistoric monster. The Pit was just a giant, gaping hole in the Earth. If I had to guess, it was at least a hundred yards deep. I had no idea how Myra expected us to survive the fall, but when that insane girl got an idea in her head there was no stopping her.
“You’re insane,” Elliot said, his voice breathy and nervous. He was trembling a little, and his face was pale and sweaty. I couldn’t help but agree with him.
"Well," she yelled and turned around to face us again. "What do you smart alecks want to do? We have no other option. The cave underneath the sea was a bust. There was no mystical giant jewel or whatever the old man was talking about. This Pit, whether you like it or not, is our last hope."  
I grabbed Elliot’s hand. I hated the idea as much as he did, believe me. But Myra was right. We were desperate. And desperate times, after all, call for desperate measures. “She’s right, Elliot. We can’t . . .” My voice was shaky, so I cleared my throat. “We can’t just do nothing.”
Giving him no time to reply, I ran towards The Pit and jumped. The ground gave away to empty air and we were soon beyond the point of return. I squeezed Elliot's hand and closed my eyes. Myra had jumped, too, right?
I could barely hear the sound of Elliot’s screams as the wind rushed past my ears. It was weird. I had expected to be scared--I was terrified enough just staring into The Pit, and I hadn’t been able to imagine what it would feel like when we actually jumped. But I wasn’t afraid. Instead, I felt . . . almost peaceful--even as Elliot gripped my hand like his life depended on it.
I started feeling an incredible amount of pressure on my head. The world was turning topsy-turvy. What little lunch I had that day was ready to come back up. Then there was nothing. No feeling at all. I couldn't even feel the air rushing past me anymore.
Elliot was still screaming, tears dripping down his face. It seemed louder now that we were . . . what? Suspended? I looked around, sucking in air when I realized that everything--the falling pieces of rock from the crumbling walls of The Pit, Elliot, still flailing his arms and legs around, me--had stopped. Literally.
I sucked in my breath again. Frantically, I began to attempt to get Chicken’s--I mean Elliot's--attention. He turned to me eventually with his teeth firmly gritted together. "Does anything seem off to you? Like magic?" I asked. I turned back to look for Myra.
Elliot was still hyperventilating a bit, so I whacked him on the arm. “Where’s Myra, Elliot?” He shook his head, not answering. I grabbed his shoulder with the hand not holding his, wanting to get his attention but not willing to let him go for fear of letting him drift away into oblivion. “Elliot, focus. Where’s Myra?”
"Myra?" His gaze was unfocused. "Myra!" He looked around and, as expected, he didn't see any trace of the insane girl. Did she just leave us to die?
And then, and then -- poof. The world disappeared, giving way to darkness.

Author comments:
Kalee: It sounds like we have a wimpy male character, which is not necessarily a bad thing.
JC: Character development! Okay, so . . .