[REVIEW] ZEN IN THE ART OF WRITING BY RAY BRADBURY

Dear Reader,

Remember when I watched that video by Ariel Bissett and was convinced that I, too, needed to buy a typewriter? Well, in that same video, she recommended the book “Zen in the Art of Writing” by Ray Bradbury. She said she loved to read this book whenever she needed motivation to write. So I requested it from the library because, just like how I’m a sucker for books about books/reading, I’m also a sucker for books about writing.

“Zen in the Art of Writing” is actually a collection of essays written by Ray Bradbury that were published in his lifetime. He talks about his processes and inspirations. He has essays about Fahrenheit 451 and The Martian Chronicles–about how they came to be as well as what they have continued to be and mean to him. He also just has a lot of anecdotes from his childhood and even adult life that really prove just how weird of a character he was.

And I mean that as a sincere compliment. After all, everybody knows that the weird ones are always the ones to change the world.

Before picking this up, I had never read anything by Ray Bradbury. We didn’t have to read Fahrenheit 451 in any of my high school English classes and I had never even heard of his other stuff–though I understand now that his other work was extremely successful as well.

But I devoured this. It was a pretty easy read because of how short it is. All of his essays are so compact and he doesn’t really stray from his main point–which is something I tend to worry about when reading something written by “one of the greats.” Bradbury is a bit different, though. His writing isn’t overtly flowery and his vocabulary isn’t super complicated or outdated, even. He wrote about his editing process, so I know he has one, but his writing reads more like a stream of conscious thought. Even so, when he does use larger words or phrases something in a more poetic fashion, it doesn’t seem out of place. In fact, one of my favorite things he does is using multiple beautifully-stated examples or metaphors to explain something. It is how he thinks. It just comes across as authentic.

Like I said, I checked this book out of the library, meaning I had to resist marking the pages. I do plan to buy my own copy, though, so I can highlight, star, and underline to my heart’s content. For the time being, though, I decided to take notes on my typewriter of certain quotes or sentiments I liked. I might even make a post later of my favorite parts. It’d be too much to include here, though, because my notes go on for pages.

At this point, it probably goes without saying that I rated this book 5 stars. It’s one of my new favorites and I’m so excited to not only reread it, but to share it in my future classroom. There were so many passages and lines that I wrote out because I know they can benefit students. There are a few entire essays that I want my future classes to read, but there are also so many quotes and sentiments I want to share with them about writing and editing and reading and living.

In this book, Bradbury talked about why we read–and why we read what we read. About science-fiction, he said “It’s not escapist, it’s essential; it’s problem-solving.” He also talked about why we write. Everyone has a story–and just like how there was only one Shakespeare and one Dickens, there is only one of every single person in the world.

“You, the prism, measure the light of the world; it burns through your mind to throw a different spectroscopic reading onto white paper than anyone else anywhere can throw. Let the world burn through you. Throw the prism light, white hot, on paper. Make your own individual spectroscopic reading.”

Everyone is a poet, he said. This is clear when you get them talking about something they love–when you see their passion burning through them in front of your eyes.

Of course, everyone has their own story and their own things to share, but they might get caught up when they try to communicate. Language trips them up. So it is vital that we learn the tricks of the trade–you must learn technique so you don’t trip when you try to run.

God that man was a genius. Not only was he great, but he had the power to make everyone else feel like they could be great, too.

Sincerely,

Sammy

THE BOOKS I READ ABROAD

Dear Reader,

I always try to make reading a priority. This is a lot easier when I have more free time, but even when I have free time, I don’t always devote it to reading. I haven’t read nearly as many books this summer as I would’ve liked–although I will argue that I’ve been productive. I’ve been trying to write and organize some things and I’ve actually left the apartment on occasion to go to the rec and work out. Big things are happening.

It’s funny, though, because I had a lot less free time in Europe, but I spent the majority of it reading. Wifi wasn’t always available (or reliable), but I had three books in my bags that always were. Also, while I enjoyed the people on the trip, it was exhausting having to constantly interact with people. I would often slip to the back of the bus or up to my hotel room when I needed an escape.

God I love books.

I started chipping away at The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern at the beginning of the trip. The storyline is really intricate and seems pretty convoluted at first, so I would just read a few chapters before bed while I stayed in Luxembourg. At the end of the week, though, we took a six-hour bus ride to Switzerland.

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This was heaven. I claimed the last row of seats, sprawled out, and read the last 200-or-so pages.

I really don’t binge books like this that often. The only books I read in one sitting tend to be graphic novels or short books that I need to finish for class. The Night Circus was completely different for me.

The story jumps back and forth between time and tells it from multiple different perspectives, but once you get to the point of the book where you’ve figured it all out–and once you get to the point where all the side stories are reaching their climaxes–it’s hard to put it down.

I was completely captivated–and I’m sure the people around me would’ve noticed my occasional audible reactions if they weren’t asleep or had headphones on. I wouldn’t have cared, though. I was nestled up against the window so the falling rain would be in my peripheral and didn’t take my nose out of the book until it was done.

The writing is so vivid that I saw it all playing out like a movie in my head, but I think that it would work so well as a series because there are so many twists and turns–it wouldn’t be hard to ensure that each episode has a cliffhanger or two. I would love if this turned into a Netflix series or something. In this day, we have so much that could ensure that it would be visually stunning and truly magical.

Of course, that’s a risky thing to wish for because I would hate if they screwed it up–Eragon and Percy Jackson fans were pumped for their movies, and those certainly didn’t live up. That’s the risk when you have a book that good–and The Night Circus is that good.

It’s definitely one of my new favorites and is a story that’s going to stay with me. After I put it down and went back to the real world, I felt like I could see the beautiful things in life so much clearer. It might’ve been because I was in Europe and seeing cool sites anyway, but a week after I finished it, I was walking around Prater in Vienna–not a circus, but an amusement park. It might have reminded me of this book because of how old it is and all the history it has, but I was walking around, thinking, there’s definitely magic in this air.

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While in Luxembourg, my friends and I went to an English bookstore. I picked up a book called Readers of Broken Wheel Recommend and knew I had to buy it after reading the back. Ultimately, it’s a story about a girl who travels from Sweden to the US to visit a friend. She ends up in a town in the middle of nowhere and ends up opening a bookstore.

First of all, I’m a sucker for books about books. I think most booklovers are. When books you already love are mentioned, you gain a connection to the story and the characters that are talking about them, and when books you haven’t yet read are brought up, you get more books to add to your reading list. Plus, the protagonist that loves books more than people is too relatable.

Second, I knew I had to buy it as a memento from the trip. I’m constantly trying to build my library, and when I put this one in my classroom, I can say that it’s a book that I bought while I was studying other school systems and learning how to be a better teacher, which I think is cool as hell. It also at least mentions travelling/Europe, so it’s relevant in that case, and it’s translated from Swedish to English–which I also think is cool.

As for the story, I thoroughly enjoyed it. Again, though, this is in part because I’m a sucker. The story begins by describing the main character as too plain to be a protagonist and too focused on stories to have a life of her own. This immediately sets the book up to be relatable, and then when everything that you would expect to happen happens, you just feel comforted.

There are enough secondary storylines and gems within the novel (book recommendations, fun anecdotes, good quotes) that I don’t feel like I’m spoiling anything by spelling out the pattern.

Young woman moves to small town and falls in love with the life she ends up living there. She opens a bookstore, makes friends, and falls in love. That’s the dream. That’s the cliche, and it’s all set up from the beginning that her life is not like a book–but then, obviously, her life has to end up as a story worth telling.

So I really enjoyed it. I wouldn’t rate it 5 stars or even recommend it to everyone–I told Sarah to read it and she decided she was done with it within 100 pages. It’s pretty lengthy, and while it drags in some places, I would say it even leaves a bit to be desired. Still, I liked it. And I liked that I read it abroad. I’ll look at it on my shelf and think back to buying it in Luxembourg and reading it in the Swiss Alps. I smiled like a goof at some of the pages and decided almost immediately that I would love to own a bookstore one day. It’s not for everyone, but I was entertained and even a bit inspired. That’s a good read by my standards.

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Around Christmastime, I bought Where’d You Go, Bernadette and was really excited about it because I had heard how smart and funny it was. So I started it in January–around the same time that I also started a classical mythology class that turned out to be way more demanding than I had figured. That was the main reason why I put the book back on the shelf after finishing “Part 1,” but the reason why I never went back to it is because I just wasn’t that interested.

I certainly saw merit in the praise it received. I thought the characters were really well developed and the writing was great–everything was smart and funny all around. I guess I just didn’t see the point of the book, I guess. This is kind of funny now that I’ve finished it because I can see it clearly now–and I can see why I was so uninterested. Though there is a driving plot in the story, this novel is so much more about what it has to say, now what it has to tell about what happened.

The story is about Bernadette, a wife and mother, who disappears, and her young teen daughter who is trying to find her. The story is told from letters and emails from multiple characters and direct narration from Bee (the daughter), but because Bernadette’s voice is still present throughout, you’re not worried that she’s really gone or won’t be found–or, at least, I wasn’t.

So even though the plot summary may make it seem like it’s a gripping mystery, that’s probably not the best expectation to have. It’s more a story about family and love. Bernadette is neurotic and has crazy standards for success and it’s interesting to see watch as everything comes together.

It really is an enjoyable read. All of the characters are super intelligent and Bee is so lovable–even when Bernadette isn’t. I’ll definitely be rereading it, though, and I’m excited to see how I see the story with the new perspective I now have because of it.

God, aren’t books great?

Sincerely,

Sammy

MY NEW NETFLIX LOVE

Dear Reader,

I have about two weeks before school starts, and less than one until I move in. So I should probably be preparing, right? I mean, there’s still so much to do! I have to plan out what I’m going to fit in my room, I have to pack it all up, and then I need to prepare for class of course. I should probably give that book list another look before heading back to school.

I know all of this. I know what I should be doing, and I’ve just barely started it all, but then good old Philip DeFranco recommended “Crazy Ex-Girlfriend” on Netflix–and he highly recommended it. So, me being me, I decided to start watch it.

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And holy shit.

To be fair, I had pretty low expectations of the show. I hadn’t heard that much about it and the last thing I watched because Philly D said to (David Cross’s standup) wasn’t spectacular. So, I just started it because why the hell not? I’m between shows anyway so might as well.

Now here I am four episodes in and obsessed. Let me explain why.

First of all, it’s a musical. And it’s not like Glee where they’re all covers or like Scrubs or HIMYM where there’s one episode in the whole series where everyone sings a lot. No, every episode has like two original songs that are super funny in their social commentary style.

It reminds me a lot of Amy Schumer or SNL, actually. One of the first songs is all about the effort it takes to get ready for a date and it just seems like the type of song that people would share all over Facebook, tagging their friends like “@Sarah omg this is literally me last night.”

But also–and this is important–they can actually sing! And not in the way like you give a Disney star a song just because she can carry a tune. No, these people were born for shows like this because they’re funny, they’re good actors, and they’ve got amazing voices.

Also, the lead is a normal sized human. WHAT? Yeah I know, my standards for TV these days must be super low for me to be impressed with actors who can actually act and people who look like they eat like me, but honestly. When I watched Gossip Girl I wanted to skip meals and try diet pills (no joke–well, half joke–but to be fair I was in a bad place during my freshman year of college). When I watch Crazy Ex-Girlfriend and see her jumping around trying to fit into spanx and then thrashing around in a leopard-print leotard in the next cut, it’s comforting.

When I see her walk into a grocery store looking like this

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I feel at home. I feel like my demographic is being represented, okay? It’s important.

Also, back to the singing, freakin’ Santino Fontana is on the show. AKA Hans from Frozen. Yep, that voice is speaking every episode, which is honestly enough for me to watch. Plus he’s the good guy now–the one I’m rooting for–so I’m proud of his redemption.

Like I said, I’m only four episodes in, but I really went into this thinking it was going to be stupid. I mean, a girl quits her job and moves across the country to chase a guy she dated for a summer when she was fourteen. A show like that can’t hold up, right?

So I thought.

Anyway, I thought I’d share my new obsession because I just want it to be appreciated by others. Maybe it’s because I sort of grew up listening to Broadway (thanks Mom) but this show really speaks to me, okay? If you can make a point and be funny in an original song, you’ve won my heart.

Also the production value of this show must be crazy so I’m thinking they’re going to need a pretty big audience if it’s going to keep getting renewed.

EVERYONE WATCH IT–SEASON 1 IS ON NETFLIX!

Sincerely,

Sammy

[BOOK REVIEW] HARRY POTTER AND THE CURSED CHILD

Dear Reader,

I’ll admit it: I was a little late to the Harry Potter party. While my sister was reading these stories at 8 years old, I didn’t even read the first one all the way through until I was 16. I honestly wouldn’t have it any other way, though, because a lot of it would have been lost on me. (Also, Sarah had to wait a few years for the release of the sixth and the seventh, where I got to read all of them back to back in the last month of summer before my senior year of high school.)

So yes, I was 16 when I experienced the magic, and it was amazing. The series honestly changed my life a little bit. As someone who is also planning on writing a few books, I was so inspired by the fact that this entire world and this seven-year adventure could be created purely from imagination and told so perfectly. And then for the books to be just as lovable? It’s truly amazing.

So, if we’re being completely honest, anything JK Rowling writes about these characters that I fell in love with four years ago is, most likely, going to be amazing to me. And, spoiler alert, it was. (Oh, quick note, there aren’t real spoilers in this review, but we’ll get to that.)

And I keep seeing things around the internet regarding why people didn’t like the play or why people are “outraged” that it’s not another book or whatever. And all of those people are surely entitled to their opinions, but I do not think it’s overrated. I do not think it’s too little too late or a desperate grasp on something that’s over now.

loved it. I cried so much, sometimes just because of nostalgic reasons and sometimes because I was touched by the story. I laughed out loud–mostly at what Ron said because I forgot how damn much I love Ron. I read it in one night–maybe like three and a half hours which is so quick for me–simply because I couldn’t put it down. I thought it was amazing and now I want to read and watch the whole series again.

So, like I said, there are no spoilers in this review because I hate the thought of ruining someone’s first time reading something, but I’ve decided to do something new. The purpose of my book reviews from now on will be whether or not I recommend it, whether or not I liked/loved it, and what a person should look for when reading it–what type of person this would suit.

But I always feel like I have to leave out so much and I hate that, so I’m starting a new thing where I’ll post a separate review, on the same day, but it will be password protected so no one will get spoilers if they don’t want. The password today is “ireadit” and the purpose I’m trying to create for this is to start a conversation. My favorite part of reading is talking to others about it–and I think that’s why I love Harry Potter so much. Never have I ever read a book so popular among my peers, my friends, my family. And, so often, the conversations I have after reading a book make it mean that much more to me. It helps me make sense of all of it and decide my own personal opinion.

So, if you’ve finished this and want to go to that post, I really want to hear your thoughts! Comment you opinions or your questions or your grievances with the book. And, if you finish this book in three weeks, the beautiful thing about the internet is that the post–the conversation–will still be there, ready for you to add your input.

Well, here goes the trial period. Hope to see you over there.

Sincerely,

Sammy

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[BOOK REVIEW] ME BEFORE YOU

Dear Reader,

Two days ago I went to Books a Million because Me Before You (the film) comes out on Friday and I obviously have to read the book first. Despite having the mission to find and purchase one book, I spent $100 on six (and a membership). But even though my wallet is hurting, my blog will now THRIVE with all the new book reviews, right?

9780718157838-me-before-you-reissue-jacket-2.jpgAnyway, I started Me Before You late that night and in between the chores, grad parties, and now online class that I have to work on, I’ve been reading this all-consuming book.

As an aspiring writer who understands the distance I have to go in order to mature my writing, whenever I read books, I will either underline certain parts or write them in my notes app on my phone or label them with a sticky note to later transfer into my journal where I write my thoughts and reflections after reading a story.

This book was filled with stickies.

JoJo Moyes reminds me of John Green in the sense that her writing–her phrasing, the descriptions, even some of the vocabulary–is so impressive. And maybe part of that is because she’s British and I really enjoyed seeing words like “bloke” and “lardarse” used throughout the book. But it’s also the fact that she is truly a talented writer, and it seems to come across as effortless.

The story itself is beautiful and tragic and thought-provoking and makes you want to talk about things and figure out what you believe. Just reading this story and recognizing when I didn’t like a certain action from a character, but then exploring why and, further, working to see the story from their side as well is eye-opening. It’s a beautiful thing when you get to learn more about yourself by partaking in a 400-page journey.

Reading it sparked at least five new ideas for blog posts that I can think of right now, so there is plenty more I want to say, but I’ll save it for another time. For now, I’m just going to strongly recommend this book to anyone and everyone and I will be first in line for my tickets to the show on Friday.

Also, sorry this isn’t a real review where I tell you what it’s about and the who the characters are and what the biggest problem they face is. I’m just sharing the fact that I loved it and I’ll be writing more on it later to discuss what parts tugged on my heartstrings and filled my eyes with tears.

There’s plenty more to say.

Sincerely,

Sammy

GOD I LOVE MOVIES

Dear Reader,

Yesterday I watched three movies–all pretty different, all wonderful in their own right. And so now, I feel the need to share them with you all.

Here you go:

ZOOTOPIA: 

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Have you guys heard the hype about Zootopia? Because oh my god this is not just a movie for kids. It is filled with social commentary regarding gender and racial discrimination and the dangers we will face if we let our ignorance and preconceived notions dictate our perception of the world, and our fellow humans who inhibit it.

It’s also a great story that’s really funny, too. Kids are going to love it, but I love it because it’s helping educate our younger generation by inserting these important life lessons in a feel-good kid’s story.

THE HUNTING GROUND

I have been waiting a year to see this movie but it’s finally on Netflix!!! The Hunting Ground is a documentary about sexual assault on campus and all I can say is thank goodness I watched it when I was home alone because I was gasping, sighing, crying, and shout-whispering “what??” SO many times throughout the film.

Some notable parts: when the statistics come up on screen, one by one, showing the difference between the numbers of reported sexual assaults and expulsions on campuses like Harvard, Dartmouth, Stanford, etc.

For example, at the University of Virginia, between 1998 and 2013, there had been 205 reported sexual assaults and zero expulsions… for sexual assaults, that is. There were 183 expulsions for cheating and other honor board violations.

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There was another part where a voiceover came on and said, “What to expect if you are accused of a sexual assault.” It then lists different punishments that actually happened at schools around the nation to people who were found guilty.

IU suspended someone over summer vacation, Yale suspended someone for a day, and good old University of Toledo (which is about twenty minutes from my house and where a lot of my friends go) fined someone $25.

Oh, and there’s a brilliant quote from a young man that says, “those are the two facts: the woman said no, and you had sex. Then are you a rapist automatically because of that?”

I’M SORRY, YES??

Anyway, the whole documentary is beautifully done and horrifying to watch. Because this is our reality. And as someone who is very aware of the amount of sexual assault that happens on our campus, it disgusts me to think how many victims are being shamed and silenced and how some of my classmates might be rapists that are repeatedly getting away with this crime.

THE INCREDIBLES

After a long day consisting of startling realizations to the terribleness of the reality of our society, I needed a break. So my mom, sister, and I decided to watch The Incredibles and eat our weight in hershey kisses.

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I’m sure you’ve all seen this movie, so I won’t review it or anything for you guys, but man this has got to be one of the most under appreciated Pixar films. (Actually I feel like most Pixar films are under appreciated, but anyway.) I mean, the scene with Frozone looking for his supersuit is cinematic gold that will probably never be topped. It’s iconic. And when Edna is talking to Helen about pulling herself together–I mean, that is the kind of best friend we all need/need to be.

But then there’s so much, too, that I don’t think I fully appreciated when I was little! Like when Bob thinks he lost his entire family, and then he doesn’t, and he’s just so happy that literally nothing else matters! And that whole scene where he talks about not being strong enough to lose them again. UGH, TEARS.

I just love the way that Pixar represented the love in this family. Also, seriously, I don’t think there’s another couple that shows their love as publicly–and as often–as the Incredibles do.

Anyway, loved it. So much. Can’t wait for the sequel. I wish 2019 were here already.

(But not really because the future is terrifying)

Sincerely,

Sammy

{ESC} BOOK EIGHTEEN: FUN HOME

Dear Reader,

I was reading this book the other day in my living room and my mother walked in and said, “I didn’t know you read comics!”

And because I always say obnoxiously snobby things to her (it’s fine, she loves it, she thinks it’s hilarious) I replied, “oh my god Mom, it’s a graphic NOVEL.

And don’t worry, I’m not about to go into a whole big rant about the proper classification of these books, because honestly I don’t think it’s a big deal what people refer to them as or what stigma they associate with them because a story can be told a million different ways. And some stories are told better in the form of a graphic novel while others are better told in a video format–or others are best told by one person on stage with a microphone, talking to drunk people in a comedy club.

That’s why I love this book so much. Fun Home is a great story. It’s written like a graphic novel (with panels and captions and such), but the writing isn’t what you might expect from a “comic book.” It’s written in a really sophisticated way and it’s actually a lot more words than you might think. Some of the panels are news articles or diary entries or things written in scratchy handwritten notes that you have to try extra hard to make out.

So, while it still only took me a day to get through, it was a lot. It made me think and reflect a lot. And even though it’s an autobiography, it tells much more about the life of her father than her at some points. But it’s all so connected and just truly well done.

Also, it’s been reformatted, in you will, into a Broadway musical (a hit, I should add) and I desperately want to see it. So you can just add that to the list of things in NYC that are taunting me.

Sincerely,

Sammy

PS. Here’s a video of Fun Home’s performance at the Tonys this year that I can’t stop watching.

{ESC} BOOK SEVENTEEN: I WROTE THIS FOR YOU AND ONLY YOU

Dear Reader,

Merry Christmas Eve! I’m currently partaking in a Mario Kart tournament so I’ll make this book review quick.

I got the book “I Wrote This For You and Only You” as an early Christmas present (thanks Zach!) and I read it in one night. It’s this book of short poems that are each paired with really cool photography and I couldn’t put it down. I was marking the pages with different bookmarks and writing some of my favorites in my journal and all of a sudden it was 2AM.

I mean, it happens.

I’ll probably make another post with a few of my favorite ones, but for now all I want to say is this book is great. A lot of the poems are so deep and thoughtful and choose all the perfect words to say things I’ve felt but could never articulate. There are also other books in this collection and I’m looking forward to reading more.

Alright, I’m going back to my family now, so I’ll just leave with you with this:

“If all you do is making something beautiful for someone else, even if it’s only for a moment, with a single word or small action, you have done a great service.

Because life can be ugly and frustrating and for so many, it is.”

Sincerely,

Sammy

[VIDEO] MY YEAR IN BOOKS

Dear Reader,

Last week I spent way too much time editing and uploading this video of me discussing the 20 books I’ve read so far in 2015 (I’m having a hard time mastering YouTube lol I h8 technology).

Because it’s fifteen minutes long, I don’t expect many people to take the time to watch it, which is why I linked all of my reviews in the description of the video. But, just in case, I thought I would link the video on my blog as well.

Enjoy!

Sincerely,

Sammy

PS. Let me know your favorite books from the year/of all time because all I’m asking for for Christmas this year are books and I’m running out of names to give my family members.

PPS. Is it bad that the majority of my family (myself included) hasn’t started our Christmas shopping yet?

{ESC} BOOK SIXTEEN: BEAUTIFUL MUSIC FOR UGLY CHILDREN

Dear Reader,

This is the story of Gabe, a boy who is about to graduate high school and just got his very own weekly show that he calls “Beautiful Music for Ugly Children.” But the thing that drives the plot of this book is one little detail: Gabe was born a girl.

For as long as he can remember, Gabe has felt like a boy. But because he is in this girl’s body, he is treated differently. He is defined by the people who perceive him as Elizabeth, despite the feelings he has inside.

And isn’t that crazy? That people can be so offended by the way others choose to act? It’s okay to be confused and it’s okay to ask questions and it’s even okay to be ignorant. We all are ignorant at one point or another. There are certain things that you simply may not know until they come up. Until you become educated. But we cannot promote that ignorance. We must always strive to learn–and if we cannot understand, we must at the very least strive to accept.

This is why I love this book. You start the story with a character that you are just now learning about. Someone who has never existed in your mind before. And you see him develop in front of your eyes.

He’s on the air. He’s playing Green Day and Mika.

Now he’s talking to John, his neighbor and idol.

Now he’s talking to a viewer, and we learn his name is Gabe.

We learn more and more about him, this picture of him in our mind is forming, and then, seven pages later, we learn that he was born a girl: Elizabeth.

That’s the wonderful thing about books: we learn the characters from the inside out. And sure, we can learn of their appearance as well, but those are often the details that can be overlooked. Plots are driven by the actions of characters and these actions are driven by who they are and how they think.

And in the case of this book, a lot of the actions are driven by how others feeling about the appearance of Gabe, but that reveals much more about those characters than it reveals about him.

I think that’s a very important lesson that needs to be taught, and I think this book does a very good job teaching it. The characters are vibrant and lovable and the story is heartbreaking but hopeful.

This was a book that I finished in one night, but will stay with me for a very long time.

Sincerely,

Sammy