My Life Next Door

My Life Next Door

I know it’s the middle of winter, but I wanted to share this cute summer read. My Life Next Door by Huntley Fitzpatrick is about two lovers that come from polar opposite families. While Samantha comes from a small not-so-affectionate wealthy home, Jase Garrett comes from a large, rowdy, and loving but poor home. They have lived next door from each other for years, but they do not meet until this summer. Samantha immediately falls in love with Jase and his crazy and affectionate family. She had never been in such a warm loving environment. Even though the Garrett’s didn’t have a lot of money, they were very close and had strong relationships with each other. The only problem was that Samantha’s strict mother would never approve of her dating someone of low standing. Now Samantha has to choose between doing what makes her mom happy or doing what makes her happy.

Awww…I love this book! It’s an adorable summer romance but it’s not mushy and dramatic like I just made it sound. It’s actually super funny and interesting. The Garrett’s are seriously the coolest family ever. (Even if they are fictional.) They don’t need money to be happy. They don’t need to get expensive presents for each other to show that they care.

So this Valentine’s day, do something special with your loved ones. It doesn’t even have to be expensive or cost anything at all. Just do something thoughtful and nice or go somewhere and have fun together!

Haha, yeah this is me.

fake valentine's date

Just kidding! Ok, not really, but I will do something cool with my friends and family! Don’t forget to have a…HAPPY VALENTINE’S DAY!!!

The Gap

This is an awesome video I recently saw so I just wanted to share it. It’s really inspirational to people who do creative work. I’ve always loved reading and I recently realized that I also love writing. I mean stories, not history papers. Those suck. Anyway, this video inspired me to actually start writing. I’ve been thinking about it for years, but I finally just did it. I realize that even though my work won’t be perfect at first, I can get to the point I want to be at if I keep working at it. I started small; I wrote a story for Fanfiction based off my favorite book series Percy Jackson and the Olympians. If any of you have read this series, I would really appreciate it if you would check it out and review my first short story. And if you haven’t read it, then you should. I don’t care how old you are. My older sister in college used to criticize me for reading ”little kid books” so I got a bit offended. I followed her around reading the first book out loud so she had hear the story, whether she wanted to or not. By the end, I had converted her to a Percy Jackson fan. Mwahaha. (If you’ve read my second post Harry Potter vs. Mom, then you know I have a habit of doing this.) Anyway, sorry for going off topic. My story’s called Aphrodite vs. the Stoll Brothers and my pen name is The Amazon Princess. Here’s the link: https://www.fanfiction.net/s/10090582/1/Aphrodite-vs-the-Stoll-Brothers

When I saw this video, I also thought of two books I read this summer: A Single Shard and I, Juan de Pareja. It was actually assigned to me as summer homework because they’re easy books to analyze. I had to read a bunch of books like this and basically analyze the heck out of them in several worksheets and essays and blog posts. Unfortunately, I transferred schools at the end of the summer so I wasted my whole break doing a ridiculous amount of homework. On top of all this, when I transferred, I got a brand-new set of summer homework at my new school. (Sorry about my rant guys, I just really felt like complaining about this.) Despite all this, I still love both of these books. I guess reading I, Juan de Pareja and A Single Shard is the one good thing that came out of all of this. Both books are about aspiring artists trying to reach their dreams, but due to their low social standings, they are not allowed to become who they want to be. Here’s a short summary of each in case you want to check them out.

I, Juan de Pareja

I, Juan de Pareja by Elizabeth Borton de Trevino is about the life of a man named Juan who is born into slavery. He lives in Spain in the 1600s. In his early childhood, his first masters die and Diego Velazquez, a young painter, inherits him. Juan is content to help his kind new master prepare the elements needed to paint, but he always craves to learn to paint himself. Unfortunately, the rules at the time do not allow slaves to participate in art. Because Juan cannot resist the temptation, he begins to learn to paint by watching his master and secretly practicing in private. Because Diego Velazquez and Juan became good friends, Juan feels guilty about painting in secret. Juan hopes that someday he will be able to freely paint to his heart’s content.A Single Shard

A Single Shard by Linda Sue Park is a historical fiction book about a twelve-year old boy named Tree-Ear who lives in eleventh or twelfth century Korea. Tree Ear is a young orphan boy who lives under a bridge with his elderly crippled friend Crane-man. They live in a small village where almost everybody creates pottery for their job.  Tree-Ear is particularly drawn to Min, the most talented potter in the village. Tree-Ear begins to work for Min in return for meals. All Tree-Ear ever wanted to do was to make pottery, but he is not allowed to because he is an orphan. He helps Min every day by doing chores like preparing the clay but he never gets to do the work he really wants. He continues working hard every day in hopes that someday Min will teach will teach him the art of making pottery.

I guess I thought of these two books when I saw The Gap because both Juan and Tree-Ear struggle with their “gap.” They have good taste and they are talented at the art they love, but when they first start, their work isn’t all that good. There is a gap between when they start creating and when they become good at it. It just takes a lot of work to close that gap, but when they do, their work is amazing.

A Tale of Two Cities

A Tale of Two Cities

Hi guys. So I recently had to read A Tale of Two Cities by Charles Dickens for school. I really thought that I would hate it, since I usually hate everything that is over a hundred years old. At first, I did hate it. About halfway through the first chapter I was lost. I was like “I know this guy is speaking English, but I don’t understand one word.” After my teacher explained the first few chapters, I finally got into old-English reading mode and I began to love the story. I never thought I’d say this, but it’s an awesome book! Here’s the general summary for those of you who haven’t read it:

Oh gosh…this is going to be hard…it’s a very complex story line but I’ll give it my best shot.

Ok, so this story takes place in England and France during the French Revolution. One of the main characters Lucie Manette learns from a messenger named Lorry that the father she thought was dead is actually alive. They have a happy reunion. A few years later, the Manettes go to court to defend a man named Charles Darnay. There they also meet Sydney Carton the defense attorney. A love triangle quickly develops between Lucie Manette, Charles Darnay, and Sydney Carton. Hmmm… so team Darnay or team Carton?

Team Carton

I don’t know about you guys, but I’m all for team Carton 🙂

Meanwhile, in France, peasants are getting sick and tired of aristocrats treating them like crap so they begin planning and plotting against them, which eventually turns into the French Revolution. What many people don’t know is that Charles Darnay is the family of one of the most hated aristocrats in France. So how are all these things connected? What happens? Well, read it and find out!
Sorry for the confusing summary, but A Tale of Two Cities is a hard book to summarize without giving away spoilers. Anyway, I promise it’s an awesome book so if you haven’t read it then read it!

The Giver

the giver

I have recently read a short story called “Jest and Earnest” by Annie Dillard. In this story, the author observes three situations in nature involving different animals. Each represents a different aspect of the amazing and scary world we live in. Using her animal examples, she describes the world as cruel, beautiful, and a combination of both.

I think that we often look at the bad more than the good. We often fail to notice or appreciate the beauty of things we see everyday. After reading “Jest and Earnest”, I became more aware of this. I thought about an amazing book I read called The Giver by Lois Lowry, where both the cruel and beautiful aspects of people’s lives have been (for the most part) eliminated.

The Giver is a story about a boy named Jonas who lives in a utopian society. In his society, there are no wars and no suffering. Everyone is nice and polite. However, this society also does not have many of the simple pleasures we enjoy today. Objects are made to be practical, not beautiful. No one can see colors and no one has strong feelings. People take pills to suppress strong feelings like love, hate, and anger. Upon turning twelve, Jonas, along with all of his other peers in his age group, receives a job presented to him at the Ceremony by the community’s Elders. Jonas is chosen for the exceptionally unique job of becoming the next Receiver of Memories. He is expected to gain the memories of the world from the current Receiver, who changes his name to the Giver when he begins passing his memories on to Jonas. Although many are pleasant, several are painful and all of them give Jonas wisdom and knowledge about the world’s history. He learns about pain and pleasure and cruelty and beauty. These are some of the things that give life meaning. Jonas wants to share his experiences with his community, but they fear learning of the past. They prefer to continue living in ignorance, yet they know the memories of the past must not be lost so they choose one person to hold them all. Jonas must devise a plan to share his memories with his community.

Although The Giver is written in simple language, it is really a book for everybody. It is an incredibly-thought provoking story. I would definitely recommend it.

Legend Series

Legend series

There are many different types of motivation. One of these is discontentment. Discontentment may seem like a bad thing, but it can actually be good sometimes. When people are discontented with their weight, they often work harder to lose weight and live a healthier lifestyle. When people are discontented with their grades, they often work harder to get better grades. On a larger scale, people throughout history have changed the world due to their discontentment. Many have created life-changing innovations because they were unsatisfied with the way things were done before.

Similarly, in Legend by Marie Lu, motivation is the driving force to make a change. In the near future, America is divided into two warring countries: The Republic in the west and the Colonies in the east. Both main characters, June and Day, live in the Republic.

June and Day’s lives are opposite in almost every way. While June is a wealthy prodigy of the government, Day is a wanted criminal. When June’s brother Metias is killed, everyone believes Day did it. June’s militaristic school sends her on a mission to find Day and bring him to justice. But not everything is how it seems. Soon June and Day come to realize that their government is much more corrupt than they originally thought. With most of the population discontent in their society, rebellion seems inevitable. June and Day must work together to end the old regime and reform the republic for the better.

Artemis Fowl

Artemis Fowl

I have learned that we all have our three types of “knowns”: our known knowns, our known unknowns, and our unknown unknowns. What we do with them is up to us.

For example, Artemis Fowl puts his “knowns” to evil uses. This 12-year old criminal mastermind has many more known knowns than the average person. In other words, he is a genius. His family is no longer as rich as it used to be, so Artemis seeks ways to regain the money lost. He does not settle for any known method to gain wealth; he goes beyond the known knowns, beyond the known unknowns, and straight to the unknown unknowns. No one knows that fairies exist – until Artemis discovers them. Artemis resolves to use this now known known to restore his family’s wealth. After he captures one of the fairies, Captain Holly Short, Artemis thinks he can hold her ransom and the other fairies will give him all of their gold in order to get her back. Unfortunately for Artemis, he does not know what he is up against. These fairies have a highly advanced military and they are ready to fight.

This eight book series by Eoin Colfer is amazing. Artemis Fowl may just be one of the most interesting characters I have ever read about. In the beginning, he starts out as a villain. As the series progresses, however, Artemis Fowl changes. I realize this book is meant for younger readers, but I believe older readers will enjoy this story just as well.