Saturday, August 25, 2012

"Stereotypical Freaks" Book Review!

"Stereotypical Freaks" by Howard Shapiro, author of 4 children's books including the critically acclaimed Hockey Days and it's sequel Hockey Player for Life was a truly spot on graphic novel for a nearly 18 year old senior in high schooler such as myself.

I don't usually read graphic novels but this book really appealed to my age group where I couldn't help but see amazing parallels to my life. Shapiro did a fantastic job of tackling such a difficult topic to write where I loved every minute of the story.

Stereotypical Freaks is about 4 high school seniors who all come together in a band where they share the same kind of music yet they are all different kinds of people; labeled smart kid, geek, star player, and quiet weirdo by their classmates. Naming the band describes them as stereotyped by their peers yet they are incredibly unique and amazing together. Together they join the Battle of the Bands even through a difficult time when one of the band members shares some troubling news and suddenly the Battle means everything to each and every one of them than they could have possibly imagined before.

I truly enjoyed this book down to the very last page! As a writer myself I really enjoyed how we get to see into the minds of teenage boys in reality. None of it was mythological or was all real and as a teenage girl myself, it was nice to read inside a boy's head! The characters really grow in this book and you couldn't help but feel all the emotions that they face.

What I REALLY ENJOYED in this book was the chapters!
There's recommendations for music to listen to while you read the chapters and it's very unique yet enticing. I really enjoy music and listening to music that Shapiro recommends was incredibly new and fantastic!

Great job Howard Shapiro!

P.S.: Heads up...don't listen to the Hunger Games movie score song called "Rue's Farewell" during the intense scene at the end of the book...because I did and I cried even more because that scene in the movie was literally JUST AS INTENSE!

Check out Howard Shapiro and his other books here:

Friday, August 24, 2012

The Truth About BOOKS and their MOVIES

With movie franchises you constantly hear things like "the movie wasn't good enough...nothing like the book." But when it comes to books made into movies there's a lot to consider and even a new mindset going into that movie theater.
Franchises including The Hunger Games, Eragon, Twilight, and even Percy Jackson-fans have never truly been happy about these movies and there is only so much the movie industry can do to make us "happy." The closest fans have ever become "happy" about the movie adaption was The Hunger Games but it took a community to create those feelings among the fans.  
As an old Hunger Games fan myself I saw the fan community grow into a network of leaders and family. The vibe some of these websites introduced to the Internet early on was how people started reacting to the series: Retweets on Twitter constantly of fans enjoying the Hunger Games and their own personal info to share with the rest of the community, Blogs posting of Hunger Games events for the holidays where they encourage YOU to get involved...
There was so many sites like ; ; ; ; that have really created the fans to grow and prosper positively way before news that the series was becoming a movie.
For even more examples of their unity with the fans are people like Sam Cushion, a music writer who does unofficial music for the Hunger Games and the Matched trilogy on iTunes. On Facebook you have pages like District 9 3/4 to unite Hunger Games fans and Harry Potter fans. Even a page called The Hunger Games Army so fans can get together and go crazy with spoiler alerts together.
But what really got me was the Facebook page called: Let's not make Hunger Games a twilight thing with "team Peeta" or "team Gale". This is actually a brilliant idea because what really got people rolling was the disaster over the Twilight series franchise.
When I was in the 8th grade (2008-2009), I remember finishing the whole series in one week then I noticed literally every student in the hallways carrying a Twilight book in hand. For a while that was "the Trend", everyone read the books-everyone talked about the series...then the movie came out.
Now the difference here between myself and everyone else around me was my reaction to the first Twilight movie. EVERYONE all of a sudden hated the series, saying the movie was TERRIBLE. That really made a dent into the Twilight community and the series has never been the same among people today.
What happened here was the community of Twilight. Before this uproar of hatred the community was very obsessive over the series with some amazing podcasts on Zune Marketplace, some who even went to the place where they were filming the movie in Oregon; MANY websites all about the series, bands formed from inspiration for the series, the books themselves even changed the location of Forks, Washington FOREVER.
Honestly the Twilight community is great but the people didn't find that very appealing on the outside. Even worse Twilight has become a franchise that the future has learned mistakes for so they don't mess up.
Franchises are a constant issue today because of the PEOPLE. But the most ironic thing about the Twilight series was when The Twilight Saga Breaking Dawn Part 1 came out and the true fans emerged out of the crowds of hatred and showed that they still love the series. Kids at school wore clothing for Twilight to go see the movie in their clothing...just like they had in the fall of 2008.
For teens around my age today (14-18 wars old) have gone through this Twilight boom around middle school time (5th-9th grades) where teens are constantly pressured and bullied. Twilight became something among middle school students as something terribly stupid. We fans had to hide our fandom out of fear and walls built by kids at school and even on the Internet.
What the Hunger Games did right was a change in the community. They created unity, passion, leadership, and trust among the fans. What was even more amazing was the casts reacting to that 100%, telling the media they're Team Katniss, wearing Mockingjay pins at the premier.
For the amazing Eragon series, there IS NO Eragon community but they do have a HUGE FAN BASE but no community online really. The series is a huge hit but there isn't much of a way for fans to connect. The movie is discussed constantly as a terribly bad adaption to the book where there wasn't enough want for another movie (Eldest) to hit the big screen. There WAS talk of remaking Eragon the movie but that was the end of it-more like a moot point. With the last book, Inheritance, out the fandom has silenced. There was SO MUCH POTENTIAL in this series but there was no ball moving to back it up.
Percy Jackson and the Olympians by Rick Riordan is an interesting case... When the first movie came out there were lines going out the door at my movie theater for DAYS. But the issue here was the movie ended up being a huge disappointment in a million ways, even I gave in on this one but I still loved the series to death!
Rick Riordan's book signing last fall for Heroes of Olympus book 2 came to Olympia, Washington where I drove down to meet the mastermind. A kid asked him a very important question where Riordan's answer has never left my head since. The kid asked if he was proud of The Lightning Thief movie and he told over 1,000 kids and parents that day that he has NEVER seen the movie because he's got the best version of the movie in his head.
Even though Rick Riordan is the author of the Percy Jackson and Olympians and the Heroes of Olympus series we can do exactly what he says to heart.
What disappointed fans will complain most about with movies are sentences like: "the character isn't like how I imagined", "they took out a bunch of info", "Why did they change it?"
But what we must keep in mind is the fact that books can describe beautiful scenes in detail for pages but that's horror for movies. Movies can't explain what's on those 3 pages because it's a visual film and they have a time frame of under 3 hours of movie where a book (if you made it into a movie down to every single word in the book) would be an 8 hour movie.
It's literally impossible to make a movie  exact to fan's likings. But all our perceptions of the books are completely different from the kid next to you in math.
But it's exactly like what Rick Riordan said in Olympia less than a year ago where we can do the same no matter who we are or what we do: "I have the best version of the book in my head."