meg says read this, Read This

Read This: The Last Boy and Girl In the World

designed_by_expanded_gallery2Happy Friday, friends! Today I’m going to re-share an entry from last year about one of my favorite reads of 2016. Siobhan Vivian’s The Last Boy and Girl In the World was on my top favorites list of all time before I even finished reading. I live in Florida, and we have no shortage of summer storms. This past week the skies were dark and gray and it seemed to just rain and rain all day, every day. Whenever those days roll around I feel like I’m the “last girl in the world,” and my mind always wanders back to this incredible novel. That mixed with the news that Vivian’s next novel Stay Sweet will be released next spring has had this heavy on my mind. TLBAGITW is an amazing summer read, late night stay up and turn the pages instead of going to sleep read, beach read, poolside read, airplane read, snuggled up in your covers on the weekend read – basically it’s an anytime, anywhere, you have to read this book – read. Here’s my original post gushing about this book, I’ll admit my mild obsession peeks through a bit, but that should just be a testament to what a wonderful story it is. If you didn’t read it after my first urging, what are you waiting for?!

“Be still my heart” should basically be my mantra after reading Siobhan Vivian’s latest, The Last Boy and Girl in the World. Pure genius, I’m telling you – well, more like sweetly yelling at you with an excited urgency. See, if you’ve been reading my blog for long you know I have an intense love affair with young adult fiction but since I read Mosquitoland back in December, there hadn’t been a YA title that truly captured my attention. Then a few weeks ago Siobhan Vivian tweeted a link to the first six chapters of TLBAGITW, and I was absolutely captivated. I honestly had trouble sleeping that night because I couldn’t wait to read the rest – that’s how hooked I was. There is a particular quality of magic in this book. Something that makes it sparkle and shine and stand out among the rest. Truly, Keeley and Morgan, Jesse and Levi – all of these characters really found a little home in my heart. I had the library put the book on hold for me and when I saw it was in transit, I ducked out from work for a minute on Friday to pick it up before they closed. By Saturday afternoon, I was finished. Even though I tried to space out my reading binge a little because I didn’t want the story to be over yet. Also, I had to take a few breaks near the end because I was in tears.

Now, I’ve given myself a bit of time to really absorb it all, and sort out my thoughts.  I don’t think this has really aided in watering down my obsession, though. I still want to tell everyone I know to go ahead and read this book. My friends who are in the camp of “I just can’t relate to high schoolers” – get over yourselves for a second, right? Because it’d be a shame to miss such an enchanting story.

The premise of an unknown weather related disaster reminded me slightly of The Age of Miracles. I’m not complaining because I loved that book too! But other than that The Last Boy and Girl in the World really set itself into a world of it’s own. Vivian really hit it out of the park with this one. I know these are all vague descriptions, but I’ll tell you this: If you were one of those girls who grew up with an overwhelming crush on one particular guy – you will love to read what unfolds between Keeley Hewitt and Jesse Ford. Some of the scenes and the lines, are enough to make you swoon – but not overboard cheesy where you’re thinking “gag me” as you dive into all of the romantic details. I think many of us can relate to the idea that sometimes, regardless of what catastrophic disaster is happening around us, it’s nice to be selfish for a second and be distracted by our own grand stroke of luck in the scheme of things. That’s kind of what happens here when Aberdeen seems to be suffering from frigid temperatures and never ending rain that causes the town to flood and leads to even bigger problems.

Vivian also found a way to touch on friendship in one of the most beautiful ways I’ve seen written about to date. For anyone who has had a friend from a very  young age, and seen your friendship change as you get older – you know that this isn’t always easy. We’re not the same at eighteen as we were at eight (and for that matter twenty-eight). Some bonds don’t survive the tumultuous ride of life, and that pain is one that can cut the deepest. Love in a friendship though, can sometimes make it transcend anything. I think that happens here. We’re reminded how sometimes, even though you can’t replicate what you had in the past, you can learn a way for the friendship to be a part of your present and future, just in a different capacity.
In a few hundred pages Siobhan Vivian successfully covered topics from friendship, relationship, all different kinds of love, family drama, growing up, and transitional periods in life with so much reality and heart, I find it impossible not to keep this book in one of those esteemed spots for avid readers. The kind of spot on your favorite books list, that it will always be one of the first you recommend when people ask for suggestions. There’s adventure and angst and such vivid storytelling that when I recall the chapters, I feel like I can still see the scenes in my head.All of this to say, if you haven’t gotten your hands on a copy of this yet – what are you waiting for?!
(Image borrowed from official site.)
meg says watch this, Watch This

Watch This: The Disaster Artist Teaser

Tallahassee used to have this great spot called The Hop Yard. They had a beer garden, and an entertainment stage, and pretty white lights and picnic benches, and they served a variety of craft beer. Many a night were spent there – in my last few years in the city it was definitely one of my favorite places to hang out. We had celebrations, goodbye parties, random weeknights, and occasionally I’d go by myself (which wasn’t ever a big deal because the people who showed up were awesome, and would I be me if I passed up an opportunity to see a summer screening of Almost Famous on the big screen? I think not.) One of the coolest events they’d put on, was throwing up a big projector screen and having movie night. (Everything from Elf to Rocky Horror Picture Show to Clueless.) It probably comes as no surprise that this was right up my ally. Well, my friend Jackie and I were pretty much regulars, and one night they were showing the 2003 movie The Room. Neither of us had ever seen it, (or heard of it at that point) and had no idea what to expect. Boy were we in for an entertaining evening. Admittedly this film is kind of horrible, but it definitely brings truth to the “so bad it’s good” idea. Some have even called it, “the worst movie ever made.” I say it’s a viewing experience.
All that being said, James Franco is directing a movie that is “the story of the making of The Room” based on Greg Sestero’s book. Awesome idea right? The film stars James Franco, Dave Franco, Seth Rogen, Josh Hutcherson,  Zac Efron, Hannibal Buress, Melanie Griffith, Sharon Stone, and more…. There’s been chatter about the film floating around for a while, but the first teaser trailer for The Disaster Artist was released today. I might’ve already watched it three times. We have a while until the December 8th wide release date (info from the Wiki page), so you have time to watch The Room if you haven’t seen it yet. In the meantime, enjoy this teaser trailer…
Friday Five, meg says listen to this, meg says read this, meg says watch this

Meg Says: Friday Five

 

Switching it up a little on this Friday. Here are five things I found super exciting about this week, still all relating to my latest read this, listen to this, and watch this obsessions:

  1. Sarah Dessen’s Once and For All and Paula Hawkins Into the Water are both available for me to pick up at the library. I foresee some pool or beach side reading in my weekend plans (pending this rain storm passes, otherwise it’ll probably be snuggled up.)
  2. I re-watched About Alex for (I think) the third time, a few days ago and was reminded why I was obsessed with this film in the first place. If I ever made a movie, this is the tone, vibe, soundtrack feel, cast chemistry I’d be going for.
  3. This anthology video Maren Morris released:

  4. HOW HAVE I NOT MENTIONED IT HERE?! (But across various other social media platforms.) JOHN GREEN’s NEW BOOK! Set to release in October Turtles All the Way Down. Go ahead and pre-order your signed copy now. (Literally can’t wait!)
  5. Speaking of awesome things happening in October…Stranger Things SEASON TWO!

listen to this, meg says listen to this

Listen to This: “Carolina” by Harry Styles

I know, it hasn’t been that long since I shared Harry Styles “From the Dining Table,” but seeing as it’s July and I’m still blasting these songs several times a week why don’t I go ahead and share another track? With lines like:
“She never saw herself as a west coaster
Moved all the way ’cause her grandma told her
“Towns, better swim before you drown”
and “I met her once and wrote a song about her” – Carolina has easily been one of my favorite tracks from the beginning. Not only is it a catchy song, but it also captures are a certain sentiment. Have you ever been on a really incredible first date, or even just first meet that turns into spending hours with this new person finding out all kinds of little details of their life story? Those encounters will have you drunk on serotonin, and that new found person will be taking up all the empty spaces in your mind with their laugh, their smile, their cute little anecdotes. We all have our own interpretations, but those fun, new, flirty feelings even if they’re fleeting, are what “Carolina” reminds me of every time I listen. If you didn’t give his album a listen the first time around, definitely check it out. “Carolina” is a great place to start!

meg says read this, Read This

Read This: The Serpent King

For those of you looking for book recommendations, I just finished The Serpent King by Jeff Zentner this weekend. It was on my list for a while, but I had to work myself up to this one. Astonishingly beautiful, even though I had to wait for the tears to pass to finish it. That being said, most definitely check it out!
Dillard, Travis, and Lydia are high school seniors in small town Forrestville, Tennessee. They’re kind of a misfit band of three musketeers in a school that doesn’t have too many open minded students. Lydia has a fashion blog (appropriately named Dollywood,) and has big dreams of leaving their town for the city. Lydia’s dad is a dentist, her mom is in real estate, and they live a comfortable life together. They’re supportive and caring parents, and they try to be inclusive of her friends when they can. Dillard shares a name with his father, and grandfather, who were both snake handlers in their church. Dillard’s father is in prison for child pornography, and it seems Dill is carrying his father’s shame on his own back. Even Dillard’s mom harbors hard feelings as if it’s her son’s fault for the hardships they’ve fallen on. Dillard doesn’t let himself dream big, feeling he has a responsibility to take care of his mother, but he has huge talent lurking below the surface and a calling to honor his musical ability. Travis is the quiet one of the bunch. Most of the time he’s lost in thought related to the fantasy world science fiction series he loves. He makes worlds of his own in his head, and imagines himself a knight to escape the brunt of his father’s drunken rages. Each of them has their own demons to escape, whether it’s fear of being found out that your reputation of “being yourself” isn’t so true, if you’re hiding the biggest part of your life, or the fear of succumbing to inherited darkness, or the fear of not being able to stand up for yourself in the way you most badly want to, be the defender of the people who matter most.
This is Zentner’s debut novel, and it is so astonishingly beautiful. The way he phrases such delicately crafted details is incredible. Zentner weaves a story of friendship, coming of age, love, faith, what it means to be a family, and taking risks because the outcome has to be better than being stagnant. I found it painful, but also refreshing how realistic he was about each character’s home life and background. Everyone has a story, even the people closest to you, you think you already know. There are battles everyone faces each day, to rise above circumstance, to outlast the struggles inside. I stayed up late into the night, tears steaming down my face, shoulders shaking as I cried for these kids and their stories. Each time I thought I was ready to continue, I’d turn the page and the next passage would make me start all over. That said, it’s totally worth the heart wrenching roller coaster it takes you on. The Serpent King flows the way life does with its ups and downs and times of uncertainty, but usually you come out alright on the other side. This is one of those stories that is so realistically balanced in truth, that I dare say it should be required reading – it enables you to get such a well rounded view from many perspectives. It’s a reminder to treasure the little things, and that stepping out on a limb is the real way to get the greatest reward. I knew this book was gonna be a shake up, the kind that turns you inside out a little with all of the feelings to process, but I’m so glad Ifinally read it. The book was so dang great, I can’t even be mad it felt like somebody reached into my chest and pulled my heart out. What are you waiting for? Dive in!