meg says read this, Read This

Read This: 99 Days

First of all, let me just say that Katie Cotugno has a genius way of being able to weave a juicy plot, into a story of summer love, lifelong friendship, the meaning of family, and the events in life that make us grow up.

In 99 Days we find out early on that Molly’s mom has done the unthinkable – used the love triangle of her own daughter’s (disastrous?) adventures in love – as the plot for her best-selling novel. Because who isn’t going to read about the sweet girl betraying the boy she grew up with, her first love Patrick, by getting together with his older brother Gabe? Dramatic, I know. So what does Molly do when this story lands itself on the cover of People magazine? Run off to boarding school out of state, of course. Even with a year hiatus from the town holding the secrets of her past, she can’t stay away forever. So, the summer before going off to college in Boston she finds herself back at her mom’s place. Of course, Molly does what any teenager practicing avoidance and any kind of social interaction would do –  lays in bed eating Red Vines and watching Netflix documentaries. Not surprisingly, though that’s a comforting activity, it gets old fast. So, Molly unexpectedly finds herself with a new job to busy her self, (helping with the re-opening of a restaurant at the country club,) and slowly tries to mend the pieces of her broken friendships.

Cotugno tells Molly’s story of learning forgiveness (extending it to others, like her mom and looking for it with her friends by owning up to mistakes she’s made.) We all know I’m a sap, but I felt Molly’s struggle of trying to listen to her heart screaming to her about someone she knew like the back of her hand, and someone new who was fun and present and real, and seemed open. Cotugno also delved into the meaning of family – with Molly’s relationship with her mom but also her relationship with Patrick’s family – she used to be like one of their own.

While yes, this has a great pace for an indulgent read by the pool or at the beach – don’t dismiss it as a fluff read. 99 Days is heartfelt, emotional, funny at times, and it’s true to life. Maybe you see yourself in Molly, or one of her friends. It’s a refreshing take on coming into your own from the throws of teenage-hood, and growing up.

If you haven’t read this one yet, check it out!

meg says read this, Read This

Read This: Everything Everything

I guess you could say I’ve taken a bit of a break from young adult novels in the past few weeks, (well, in terms of usual ratio,) but I saw the movie trailer for Nicola Yoon’s Everything Everything, and thought to myself “why the heck haven’t I read this yet?” Too impatient to wait on the library’s hold list, I picked up a copy at Sam’s Club, and dove right in. Maybe I’m off my game, but I was thrown by the plot twist. And I LOVE that. I genuinely love when I’m surprised by the words on a page, and am so overwhelmed absorbing the information I didn’t expect to see, I have to pause. Everything Everything tells the story of teenager Madeline who has lived her whole life in the same house, breathing filtered air, with only in-person contact with her mom and her nurse (who takes her stats and vitals all day,) and a time or two a visit from a teacher – because she is allergic to everything. Can you imagine? Though, maybe it’s like some things in life – when you haven’t experienced them yet, you don’t know to miss them. You can’t miss the smell of the ocean, if the salty air has never wafted below your nose, and you can’t miss the taste of a steaming hot slice of pizza burning the roof of your mouth, if those ingredients have never touched your tongue. You probably won’t daydream all day about holding hands with a boy, if you haven’t interacted with one in real life. Maddy lives life vicariously through the pages of the books she devours, and is entertained by movie nights, and made-up board games with her mom. Life as Maddy knows it, changes when cute, mysterious, Olly and his family move in next door. How convenient their bedroom windows face one another. What starts with hand gestures, and condensation notes on window panes, leads to e-mails and the ole trusty instant messenger, and then opens to a whole other world of experiences beyond what Maddy could have imagined on her dreamiest days. Armed with a credit card, and a mischievous streak of braveness not to let her life pass her by, Maddy makes some huge decisions – taking her life and all of it’s possibilities into her own hands. Everything, Everything is a story of love and friendship, trust and betrayal, adventure and risk, and listening to your gut. I know I’m late to the game, but this was a fantastic read, and I found it refreshing. If you haven’t yet, check out this great novel. (I have to admit, I’m excited to see what they’ve done with the movie adaptation!)

meg says watch this

Meg Says Watch This: Comet

Once again, I found myself in the rabbit hole of suggested movie picks on Netflix, based off what I’d watched recently and Comet came up multiple times. Justin Long and Emmy Rossum star in this endearing flick, that’s got a little bit of everything. The comedic timing is fantastic, but the tangled web of a love story can pull on your heart strings a little. It totally forgoes any sort of linear time line, and I think that leaves a lot of room for audience interpretation (especially in the final scene sequence.) Think Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind or Science of Sleep. I’m a fan of both of those films, and I’d say this one nestles in that category of blurred lines of reality pretty nicely. For fans of star crossed love stories – here’s a film for you. It doesn’t hurt that Dell and Kimberly’s relationship starts off with a chance meeting while standing in line to watch a meteor shower in Hollywood Forever Cemetery. That encounter leads to a relationship that is tumultuous and beautiful and at times painstakingly heart wrenching as the two stumble through struggles and pitfalls, tearing away from one another only to find each other again later on. The cinematography is spellbinding, with a gorgeous soundtrack to match. If you haven’t checked out Comet yet, I encourage you to go ahead and watch it now. For those of you who’ve seen it, what did you think? Too reminiscent of similar tales, or original enough to win you over? Share your thoughts in the comments, I’d love to hear from you!

Read This

Wordy Wednesday, Read This: “Fire with Fire”

I lucked out on a recent trip to the public library last Friday and was able to pick up three new titles I’ve been excited to read! Jenny Han and Siobhan Vivian’s Fire with Fire (follow up to Burn for Burn,) Sarah Dessen’s The Moon and More and Tera Elan McVoy’s Criminal. As I mentioned earlier this week, I haven’t been reading for pleasure in a while. Actually, if you check out my reading log on my Tumblr account, it’s been quite some time. (Let me add though, that list is for books I finish reading. I can’t tell you the number of books I’ve picked up and read fifty or so pages of, but my attention span just couldn’t last this summer.) From these three choices I picked Fire with Fire to start. It’s pretty lengthy, (which is exciting when you’re a bit addicted to the author team – these BFFs to do great work together!) but I’m sure you’ll fly through it because it’s a great page-turner, leaving you on the edge of your seat, dying to find out what happens next!

Honestly, if you haven’t read Burn for Burn go ahead, do yourself a favor and start there. Then when that’s finished, go ahead and read this one. Fire with Fire had some twists and turns I wasn’t expecting, and some I was anticipating. The psychological game, and how easy it is to get wrapped up in the story reminds me of my (perhaps a little bit unhealthy) fascination with Pretty Little Liars. 

If you’re looking for a fun, intense, suspenseful, maybe even a little bit super-natural on top of the regular perils of high school friendship and romance? Definitely give Fire with Fire a read! Lillia, Kat, and Mary are back at it again…now having to deal with the consequences of the plot twist of their plan from the first in this trilogy. But just wait until you find out what happens next…

Watch This

Watch This: “Tonight You’re Mine” (aka “You Instead”)

I know, it sounds like I’m always making excuses but I didn’t realize it would be this long of a time period between posts here, or else I’d have qued up some entries. Of course there were the days I was out of town traveling, and then getting back to Florida proved to be this crazy trek. And somewhere in between all that I developed like a sinus infection, or something. So excuses, excuses blahblahblah: hiatus over. Meg Says, Watch This entry is here!

The weekend before I went to NYC, I was staying at my parents at the beach again. It was my brother’s birthday weekend. For like the fourth beach visit in a row it just rained and rained, (which really isn’t a surprise because I physically can’t remember the last day it didn’t rain here in Tallahassee.) Anyway, I was browsing Netflix and I came across this lovely little film called Tonight You’re Mine (or alternately titled, You Instead.)

As readers are already aware, I’m still kind of on the whole music festival bandwagon. I found this movie about a month after Bonnaroo. I don’t think I’ve adjusted back to reality yet, and if you gave me the option to go back on any given day (even as sick as I am right now,) I’m pretty sure I wouldn’t blink before jumping in the car.

Anyway, the really cool thing about this movie is that it was actually shot during the T in the Park Festival in Scotland. That means the crew had to edit footage at the end of each day because hello! You don’t get re-dos on festival days. It just makes for a really genuine festival scene feel – (because it’s real.) You get the random people running around, dancing, playing in the rain, having jam sessions in their tents, drinking, smoking, laughing, just living it up. This isn’t a work of art that would get Oscar buzz, (it’s different than that,) but I think it deserves credit on its own accord.

I would recommend you watch this movie IF:

A) you have festival withdrawal as well.

B) you wanna see the festival scene.

C) you’re a sucker for romance.

D) you like good music.

Okay, so I’ve rambled this much and you still don’t know what the heck the film is about! Adam is part of a rock duo, and Morello is in a punk girl band. As the film opens they get in a silly, unnecessary altercation. A well-meaning security guard is disappointed in their lack of love, so he handcuffs them together in order for them to “work it out,” and runs away with the key. Adam and Morello both have significant others who are there at the festival, and they both have respective shows to preform. You don’t have to tell me that the film is cheesy or predictable, I’m aware of both and yet still I could feel my heart melting as I watched it. You know that Brand New lyric, “and I know that you’re a sucker for anything acoustic…” Well, I know it makes me horribly typical and cliche, but I am. I have always been some weird hybrid version of a romantic and a realistic, sunshine personified with a splash of cynicism. I don’t know how you can be both, but I am. And still…this. Because I am all about staying up all night, hand holding, and instantaneous connections. I thrive off those moments that feel like they are so ultimately cinematic. This film seemed to accurately capture the kind of connections that occur when random people are brought together by the thread of a common bond. As unrealistic as you might think some of this might be, I think there’s a realistic touch. Music as the driving connection can really bring two people together, and a music festival is like the breeding ground of magic. You’re removed from outside influences that would get in the way in some other sort of social setting, and people are free to completely be themselves, and what’s more attractive than that? I think this film found a way to encapsulate all of that in an hour and twenty minute screening. That feat in itself is fascinating to me.

Instead of giving you guys the trailer that would basically spoil the whole movie, here is a little video for the acoustic of “You Instead” :