November 27, 2012

Beautiful Creatures Movie

Hollywood's recent recognition of the untapped potential that the YA genre holds, means that quite a few popular series are currently in production, or being shown.

While the ABC family network in the US has produced Pretty Little Liars (originally by Sara Shepard), The CW (US) has transformed two of L.J. Smith's series; The Vampire Diaries, and The Secret Circle into extremely popular television shows with great fan bases. Furthermore, Alcon Entertainment and Warner Bros. Entertainment have transformed the 'delicious southern gothic supernatural tale' (Lorena Blas, USA Today) into a feature film starring Alice Englert as Lena Duchannes, and Alden Ehrenreich as Ethan Wate alongside well known actors such as; Viola Davis, Jeremy Irons, Emma Thompson, and Emmy Rossum.

If you haven't read the hugely successful book by co-authors Kami Garcia and Margaret Stohl, then here is a little bit of what it is about:

There were no surprises in Gatlin County.
We were pretty much the epicenter of the middle of nowhere.
At least, that's what I thought.
Turns out, I couldn't have been more wrong.
There was a curse.
There was a girl.
And in the end, there was a grave.

Lena Duchannes is unlike anyone the small Southern town of Gatlin has ever seen, and she's struggling to conceal her power and a curse that has haunted her family for generations. But even within the overgrown gardens, murky swamps and crumbling graveyards of the forgotten South, a secret cannot stay hidden forever.

Ethan Wate, who has been counting the months until he can escape from Gatlin, is haunted by dreams of a beautiful girl he has never met. When Lena moves into the town's oldest and most infamous plantation, Ethan is inexplicably drawn to her and determined to uncover the connection between them.

In a town with no surprises, one secret could change everything. 

You might find that a bit mysterious, but it is great background for the trailer, which you can watch below.

I loved this trailer, it captures the mood of the novels, and provides a great teaser for the plot, with great visuals - I must give them snaps for using "Seven Devils" by Florence + The Machine aswell!

To read more about this upcoming film, here are some useful links:

November 21, 2012

National Year of Reading 2012

46% of Australians are illiterate - 46% of Australians are unable to read or write. To anyone, this statistic seems ridiculous and improbable. To readers, this statistic seems unimaginable; not being able to read would be torture for some of us. But this statistic is not a statistic, it is a group of people who are not stupid. These people who have slipped through the cracks are not just a statistic, but real, everyday people who must rely on others to complete everyday tasks. They cannot read a road sign, write an address, fill out a job application, read medication and food packets - they cannot read a book.

Because of this terrible reality, 2012 is the [Australian] National Year of Reading [NYOR]. Sponsored by Libraries and Library associations all over Australia, the aim of the NYOR is to raise awareness of the cause, and raise literacy rates. You can read more about the sponsors, aims, and background story of the NYOR here.

The great team over at Block Branding were charged with a Radio campaign, presenting the real life stories of adults who have learned to read through the national sponsored NOT STUPID PROGRAM
in which Adults [18+] can learn to read through the nation wide READ WRITE NOW program.

 You can also hear them read their full stories [extended versions]: Trevor, Margaret, & Jonathon.

Trevor is 46, Margaret is 62, Jonathon is 28: these people have faces, lives, children, partners, jobs, names - yet they can't read or write their own names. These people are not faceless, they are among us, struggling in plain sight. They are not to be looked down upon, but supported.

To promote the National Year of Reading, the State Library of Western Australia hosted an event last Friday (November 16th), to which I attended. Throughout the day, people would read aloud. Whether it was from a picture book, a poem, or a novel, all ages and reading levels joined in. A group of people from Student Edge read, and Better Beginnings read with one of their sponsors, Rio Tinto.

It was also an open mic, and lots of people came up to read. [Unfortunately, I didn't get enough pictures!]
1. Colleen 2. A great read from Lord of the Rings 3. Perma read from Inkheart by Cornelia Funke 4. Sam read a poem

There were also giant chalkboards placed around the Perth Cultural Centre, they each had a theme, and everyone was welcome to write on them... here are some of what was there.

November 11, 2012

REVIEW: The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer by Michelle Hodkin

Enticed by the well produced trailer, and hype about it in the YA world, I knew I had to purchase a copy of The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer. You might have seen my post "The Unbecoming of Me" a while back. If not, check it out - it includes the trailer and ominous letter from the beginning of the book.

Mara Dyer believes life can’t get any stranger than waking up in a hospital with no memory of how she got there.
It can.

She believes there must be more to the accident she can’t remember that killed her friends and left her strangely unharmed.
There is.

She doesn’t believe that after everything she’s been through, she can fall in love.
She’s wrong.

My feelings towards The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer are somewhat divided: certain aspects indulged my flare for young adult drama, whereas other aspects left me feeling a bit muddled. 
The premise of Mara Dyer separates it from the others in the current market, pitching a psychological thriller with an apparently wicked romance. It depicts teenager Mara Dyer's descent into a PTSD induced psychosis / she is losing her marbles. 

The novel continuously raises questions of what is real, and what is not; putting you in the same position as the protagonist. However, I found the self-doubting approach that was used to be confusing at times. Maybe I was just distracted? Tired? Whatever the cause, it was odd for me to be slightly at sea during some points. On a similar tone, I found the time span of the novel to be interesting. While reading, I didn't feel a sense of time, it seemed as if the whole thing was taking place in a suspended reality; maybe because of Mara's delusions, or perhaps the isolation of the characters [Noah & Mara] in their own little bubble. 

While mentioning characters, there are two things which I must address in bullet points; clichés, and a certain Mr. Noah Shaw.

1. Clichés: I read a review at "Rhapsody in Books Weblog" and a part of the review just stuck with me. It makes complete sense, so thus I will quote it:
"You’ve got some “Blair Witch Project,” some “I Know What You Did Last Summer,” some standard scary tropes like “creepy locale,” “foreshadowing event,” “freaky doll” and “shocking secret villain” along with the usual teen triangle tropes like “hot sexy guy,” “insouciant girl,” “mean jealous girl,” “crazy jealous guy, and “repressed adolescent passion.” Taken together and mashed up with a few more oddball trope…"
2. Noah: There has been such talk about Noah, almost every review that I read has at least a mention of him - he seems to be as vital to the plot as Mara. [Maybe it should be called 'The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer & Noah Shaw'?] There has been love him or hate him reactions. Mr Shaw seems to be viewed as either a swoony bad boy, a clichéd tool, annoying, or just extremely desirable. I find myself sitting on the fence: unable to decide what I think of him. I think that is the point though, he has different facets to his personality, and it is up to Mara to discover what truly lurks beneath. [Please forgive the use of 'what lurks beneath'!]

This is Hodkin's debut, and is clearly the first part in a series. If you have not yet read 'The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer', I suggest you wait a while. To quote from the website:
"Mara's story begins with The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer and continues in the sequel, The Evolution of Mara Dyer. The third book in the trilogy, The Retribution of Mara Dyer, will be out in Fall 2013."
 I suggest this because of the major cliffhanger at the end of book 1, and the questions that are raised and are not answered [apparently] until book 2 [and for some, most likely book 3]. 

Overall, I enjoyed 'The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer'. It was a quick read, keeping me hooked - even though it was 452 pages! - and intrigued to see where it would go. 
I can't wait to read book 2, and I would recommend it for females aged 13+. If you have any questions or thoughts, please comment below!

P.S. You can read chapter 1 here

P.P.S. Here are some other reviews:

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