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Dork Diaries Book 1 by Rachel Renee Russell

6054449Dork Diaries Book 1: Tales from a Not-So-Fabulous Life by Rachel Renee Russell
Dork Diaries #1

Published 2nd June 2009 by Aladdin

Goodreads

Summary:

It’s Diary of a Wimpy Kid for girls in this hilarious novel!
Meet Nikki Maxwell! She’s starting eighth grade at a new school—and her very first diary packed with hilarious stories and art in Book One of the #1 New York Times bestselling Dork Diaries series!

New school. New mean girl. New crush. New diary so I can spill about all of it…

I put a lot of really personal stuff in this diary along with my sketches and doodles.

But, mostly it’s about how TRAUMATIC it was transferring to my new private middle school, Westchester Country Day.

And, how a lot of the CCP (Cool, Cute & Popular) kids were really SNOBBY and made my life TOTALLY miserable. People like, oh, I don’t know, maybe…

MACKENZIE HOLLISTER!!

And, it just so happened that I got stuck with a locker right next to hers. I could NOT believe I had such CRAPPY luck. I knew right then and there it was going to be a VERY, VERY long school year 😦 !

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My little sister has been reading the Dork Diaries series and I’ve always wondered about the content of these. My brother is a huge Wimpy Kid fan, and seeing how both Wimpy Kid and Dork Diaries are constantly on the best sellers list, I finally decided to give it a go too.

I was pleasantly surprised at how interesting Dork Diaries is. The main character Nikki, is incredibly believable as a tween protagonist. I reminisced a lot about my own youth, and how I behaved when I wanted certain things and my own great sense of entitlement at the time. Dork Diaries has a lot of plus points: there’s so many things that we could discuss to kids about in this book, both as an educator and as a parent. It makes for good conversation, and its a book that is bound to be enjoyable for both boys and girls (albeit, leaning towards girls).

I did have my fair share of concerns, one being the use of the word retarded to describe herself, whenever she does something that’s silly. It’s not excusable. Its derogatory, its hurtful and its just not necessary. I would have preferred if she just stuck to the word “silly” to describe her own silly behaviour. Another concern is the fact that Nikki describes her parents are brain dead, for the simple reason that they do not buy her a phone despite her constant hints. Again, the language used here is very coarse and something that I don’t want younger children to use. They are not ok and it will not ever be okay.

I get the perspective that these are important key points that educators and parents can pick up and explain to them the dangers of using such hurtful words, or the concept of being rude and inappropriate but if we continually expose them in situations that “should be” taken as humour, it might be taken lightly to them too.

While I do have my concerns, Dork Diaries is still overall a very good and enjoyable book. As always, with children books, exercise with caution and always educate, educate, educate!

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Final Girls By Riley Sager

32796253Final Girls By Riey Sager

Published 11 July 2017 by Dutton

Goodreads

Summary: “The Final Girls need you. . . .  The Final Girls are tough, everything survivors should be.  But the new threat is clever, ominous, even closer than you suspect. You are about to gasp. You might drop the book. You may have to look over your shoulder. But you must keep reading.  This is the best book of 2017.”—Lisa Gardner, New York Times bestselling author of Find Her

Ten years ago, college student Quincy Carpenter went on vacation with five friends and came back alone, the only survivor of a horror movie–scale massacre. In an instant, she became a member of a club no one wants to belong to—a group of similar survivors known in the press as the Final Girls. Lisa, who lost nine sorority sisters to a college dropout’s knife; Sam, who went up against the Sack Man during her shift at the Nightlight Inn; and now Quincy, who ran bleeding through the woods to escape Pine Cottage and the man she refers to only as Him. The three girls are all attempting to put their nightmares behind them, and, with that, one another. Despite the media’s attempts, they never meet.

Now, Quincy is doing well—maybe even great, thanks to her Xanax prescription. She has a caring almost-fiancé, Jeff; a popular baking blog; a beautiful apartment; and a therapeutic presence in Coop, the police officer who saved her life all those years ago. Her memory won’t even allow her to recall the events of that night; the past is in the past.

That is, until Lisa, the first Final Girl, is found dead in her bathtub, wrists slit, and Sam, the second, appears on Quincy’s doorstep. Blowing through Quincy’s life like a whirlwind, Sam seems intent on making Quincy relive the past, with increasingly dire consequences, all of which makes Quincy question why Sam is really seeking her out. And when new details about Lisa’s death come to light, Quincy’s life becomes a race against time as she tries to unravel Sam’s truths from her lies, evade the police and hungry reporters, and, most crucially, remember what really happened at Pine Cottage, before what was started ten years ago is finished.

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Boy, do I have a lot to say about Final Girls.

I bought this book in the height of its hype and I’ve been tying to finish it for over 6 months. That’s how long it took me to finally finish this damn book.

It’s not that it’s no good, it’s just way too draggy and unnecessarily so. The idea and premise of this book is excellent. I mean, come on. The idea of a gang of final survivors from massacres is just fantastic! But I just couldn’t buy into Quincy’s character. I couldn’t picture her in my head; she felt so 2 dimensional and just didn’t seem like she could be a real person at all. There’s just something about her that I didn’t care for — something that screamed ‘boring’ and incredibly ‘first-world-problem’-y. (There’s pages and pages and pages about her professing her love for her boyfriend, but also not being into it and lusting over some other guy and yada yada yada. I want to be her friend, but I also don’t etc. So boring — I began speed reading at this point. Nobody is missing out anything anyway.).

3/4 of this book is incredibly slow and boring. At some point it even stopped making sense. Here comes another “Final Girl” Sam, let’s invite her into our home and start painting nails in the middle of this crisis aka A GIRL IN YOUR GROUP JUST DIED BUT LET’S FORGET ABOUT THAT FOR A SECOND AND JUST MAKE A BONFIRE. Honestly. A lot of the baking scenes, the over-explaination of her feelings towards Sam (and everyone else) could have been done without.

The book travels back and forth in time, from the present day to the day of the attack but again, a lot of what is revealed from the past doesn’t come along to the very end and even then it was sort of a whut kind of moment for me. The book picks up the the last quarter, which is its only saving grace but I am sad to report that the ending didn’t wow me and I’m just left with more confusion than a conclusion. I just didn’t get the ending. I thought it was going one way and then suddenly a whole new story came about outta nowhere. Didn’t really see that one coming but I also don’t think it really gelled the story together, personally.

I really wanted to love this book. I heard nothing but good reviews about it and it was billed as one of the best thrillers of 2017. I wanted to be wowed, but I wasn’t. I just couldn’t be. A thriller that doesn’t grab you from the start, is pretty difficult to dive into, especially one that literally has nothing going for it for 3/4 of its entirety.

It could have been, but it wasn’t meant to be. Final Girls is not for me, but if you’re willing to push through and give it a shot, why not.

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One of Us Is Lying By Karen M. McManus

32571395One of Us Is Lying by Karen M. McManus

Published 30 May 2017 by Delacorte Press

Goodreads

Summary: The Breakfast Club meets Pretty Little Liars, One of Us Is Lying is the story of what happens when five strangers walk into detention and only four walk out alive. Everyone is a suspect, and everyone has something to hide.

Pay close attention and you might solve this.

On Monday afternoon, five students at Bayview High walk into detention.
Bronwyn, the brain, is Yale-bound and never breaks a rule.
Addy, the beauty, is the picture-perfect homecoming princess.
Nate, the criminal, is already on probation for dealing.
Cooper, the athlete, is the all-star baseball pitcher.
And Simon, the outcast, is the creator of Bayview High’s notorious gossip app.

Only, Simon never makes it out of that classroom. Before the end of detention, Simon’s dead. And according to investigators, his death wasn’t an accident. On Monday, he died. But on Tuesday, he’d planned to post juicy reveals about all four of his high-profile classmates, which makes all four of them suspects in his murder. Or are they the perfect patsies for a killer who’s still on the loose?
Everyone has secrets, right? What really matters is how far you would go to protect them.”

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STOP EVERYTHING THIS IS MY NEW FAVOURITE BOOK.

I knew right from the summary that this book is going to be my next favourite thing. It had potential to be great and it lived up to my expectations.

Throughout the whole book, I was thinking about who could have done this to Simon and its written so well that I couldn’t figure out who the killer was till the very end. This book was such a thrilling ride. It was so exciting, and I loved that it was told in four different perspectives. It’s always great to be able to see the same scene from different point of views and I think it helps to get into their psych and doing all the guess work. This book is just so addictive. Once things got started it was just extremely hard to stop. I had to force myself to pace through this book because I just didn’t want it to end so quickly.

There are so many interesting twists and turns to the plot that at once point it seemed like everything was figured out, but more angles were explored, more people were pinpointed and suddenly, everything isn’t so clear anymore. I thought personally the secrets that were exposed were kind of mild but when interlinked together, it sort of made sense of those whole situation. It sparks a heavy discussion about our current society, its demands, its prejudice. The entitlement. In a way, the conclusion of the murder case really made me think a lot about the motive and the question remains: was it worth it?

I loved this book. From the characters (and their self discovery and growth!), to the moving plot (when they started to take things into their own hands, that was my favourite!); everything about this book is perfect.

I want this as a Netflix original movie or even a series, kind of like Pretty Little Liars. I mean, why not? Please someone, grant me this wish!

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#metoo by Lori Perkins

36531293#MeToo Essays About how and Why This Happened, What It Means and How to Make Sure It Never Happens by Lori Perkins

Published 3 November 2017 by Riverdale Avenue Books

Goodreads

Summary: #MeToo: Essays About How and Why This Happened,

What It Means and How To Make Sure It Never Happens Again

More than 16 million people had posted their #MeToo story and support against sexual harassment by mid-October as a reaction to Rose McGowan’s brave admission that she had allegedly been raped by Hollywood mogul Harvey Weinstein. A groundswell of reaction to and exposure of this sexual predation was unleashed that has spread throughout Europe and beyond. New revelations of unacceptable behavior in every industry break every day as people come forward in response to the viral #MeToo posts. Protests are scheduled such as the “Take back the Workplace” Hollywood march in November of 2017, and legislation is being drafted in New York and California to finally change the way things have been for far too long.

This is the turning point. Things are going to change.

This is a historic moment and it needs to be memorialized, passed around and passed on. Although social media is a fantastic means of igniting a fire, it needs to keep burning, like a torch.

So Riverdale Avenue Books, a woman-owned leading hybrid publisher, is putting its money, words and power, behind this and publishing this collection of 26 essays from people who understand want to make this change, and we, as a society, have got to figure out a way to drive that change forward.

So pass this book around. Share it with your sons, brothers, fathers, your daughters, sisters and mothers, your co-workers and friends. Read passages to them, if they won’t read it for themselves. Leave it on the desk of someone who should know better.

Help us make this movement more than a hashtag.

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#metoo, #metoo, #metoo.

I’ve been following the discussion on #metoo and honestly, this is one of the more important conversations we need to be having with each other. As I followed the news, I felt myself getting angrier and angrier. At a tender age of 13/14, I met a boy. And in the span on those turbulent 9 months, those were the most difficult times of my life. Back then I didn’t think of the word for it — I didn’t see it for what it was, but I knew that whatever happened wasn’t right. It wasn’t then, and when I think about it now, it’s not okay now either. At that age, I thought it was my fault, that maybe I brought it upon myself for being too forward with a boy a year older than me. That maybe I had led him on into thinking that this was okay.

I was wrong, and I want to tell my 13 year old self that whatever happened to me then, was not and will never be my mistake. #metoo taught me a lot — about sexual harassment, the different types of; the fact that sexual predators can be so sly and cunning and be as young as kids in high school. It’s something that’s been going on for centuries long, one that I hadn’t put my finger on or a name on it — until now.

I think the saddest part of reading this is that most people didn’t have an adult or person they could trust. The people they trusted betrayed them the most, and in search for help, they found themselves stuck in a cycle of hurt and distrust. Sexual harassment and abuse does a lot to a person’s psych. It damages them in some form and sadly… the predator usually doesn’t realise he’s in the wrong. Then there’s the people who are aware and don’t do anything, or the people who minimise the situation by telling you “it’s your own fault”.

I didn’t ask for this. I didn’t. It just happened when a boy gave me the ultimatum of a negative and a negative. I lost, no matter my decision.

I need you to read this. I need you to.

I want you to know that I’m here for you.

We need to change the system and make it safer for our children.

Please, I pray it will never be you too.

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