Feed: A Review

Title: Feed
Author: M. T. Anderson
Genre: Science Fiction
Quotation: “We went to the moon to have fun, but the moon turned out to completely suck.”
Would recommend to: anyone who is weary of the development of technology.

Feed‘s book jacket describes it as a science fiction tale of two teenagers who fall in love and choose to fight the “feed”, basically the internet in your head, together.

I was expecting a story relatively similar to Divergent or The Hunger Games, both stories that include strong protagonists that challenge the current way of life to find something better. That is not what Feed is.

Feed is the story of Titus and Violet and their struggle to overcome socio-economic prejudices they didn’t even know existed and figure out what life would be like without the feed.

Basically, people, rich people, are fitted with feeds, kind of like having an internet directly connected to your brain. These feeds have messaging capabilities, shopping selections and Google at the tips of everyone’s thoughts.

When Titus and his friends go to the moon because they are bored, they meet Violet, a girl their age who has been planning a trip to the moon for a while since she’s much poorer than the other teenagers. While on the moon, their feeds are hacked and they live without them for a few days, seeing for the first time what it’s like to create your own entertainment and not be in-the-know 24/7.

When they get their feeds back and return to Earth, readers see the disturbing world these kids live in. Pants are $400 dollars and they get cars for going through tough times. They think air farms can replace trees and they visit beaches in space suits because of all the pollution.

M.T. Anderson’s novel is really a deep commentary on what can happen to our world if we let technology take over our thought process, if we let corporations become our brains. The in-depth analysis of the effect technology can have on our senses comes way before its time (Anderson wrote Feed in 2002) and speaks for itself. It is deep, introspective, and truly a warning for anyone that relies too heavily on what technology can do for them (such as having Google at the tips of our fingers).

And while his commentary is deep, his characters are flat. Besides Violet, they all rely on popular trends to tell them what to do and have very little understanding of compassion. This is Anderson’s way of convincing readers not to let this happen — to read, to reflect on life, to enjoy the trees, to take in everything they can around them and to not let technology cloud out our humanity.

Anderson is known for writing comprehensive pieces for young adults and encouraging his readers to think about the words on the page. Other books he’s written include the “Octavian Nothing” series, Thirsty, and Burger Wuss. 

Happy reading,

Top 5 Wednesday: First Sentences

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This top 5 Wednesday is dedicated to my favorite first sentences in books. The lines that have hooked me and made me want to devour every other line of the book. Let’s get started!

1. 1984
“It was a bright cold day in April, and the clocks were striking thirteen.”

The Catcher in the Rye
2. The Catcher in the Rye
“If you really want to hear about it, the first thing you’ll probably want to know is where I was born, and what my lousy childhood was like, and how my parents were occupied and all before they had me, and all that David Copperfield kind of crap, but I don’t feel like going into it, if you want to know the truth.”

3. Slaughterhouse-Five
“All of this happened, more or less.”

4. Fahrenheit 451
“It was a pleasure to burn.”

The Bell Jar
5. The Bell Jar
“It was a queer, sultry summer, the summer they electrocuted the Rosenbergs, and I didn’t know what I was doing in New York.”

What are your favorite first lines from literature? Let me know in the comments below.

Happy reading,

Treasure Tuesday

treasure tuesday banner1. I am currently reading “The End of Dieting” by Joel Fuhrman.

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3. Do you need any advice? Buzzfeed presents some of the most powerful advice from literature. Some of my favorite quotes are from Perks of Being a Wallflower, Tuck Everlasting, and More Than This. 

4. One week from today I’ll be home cuddling with my puppy! I couldn’t be more excited.

5. Michael Phelps crushed the Olympics (again). Who is you favorite Olympian this year?

6. Here’s an adorable photo of a pig eating ice cream. Enjoy!pig

Happy reading,

Not That Kind of Girl: A Review

Title: Not That Kind of Girl
Author: Lena Dunham
Genre: Memoir
Quotation: “You’ve learned a new rule and it’s simple: don’t put yourself in situations you’d like to run away from.”
Would recommend to: anyone who needs to feel like they aren’t alone.

Not That Kind of Girl
Lena Dunham is the creator and writer of Girls, the hit show on HBO that follows the crazy lives of four girls in the city.

Not That Kind of Girl was published in 2014 and hit #2 on The New York Times Best Sellers List after just one month on the market, and I can see why. 

I’ve been meaning to read this book for years, and when I finally got it I was thrilled. I wanted to see what advice I could get from someone “different” or “edgy” or someone who “doesn’t fit the norm.” I thought I had a lot to learn. (It turns out I didn’t, but it’s always nice to be reminded of why you don’t need to be friends with the creepy guy in your German class or that you should in fact eat the last Oreo in the packet before heading off to bed at 3 a.m.)

Ever since reading Yes Please by Amy Poehler, I’ve loved books like Dunham’s. It’s essentially a collection of short stories involving anecdotes about Dunham’s life along with lessons learned and quippy remarks about how to live a better, happier life.

The greatest thing about Dunham’s book is the sheer honesty of it all. She doesn’t just talk about the bad stuff like every good memoir does, but she also talks about the potentially embarrassing and weird stuff (though I don’t think Dunham knows the meaning of either word), like learning how to masturbate at age eight or platonic bed sharing with male friends way past college.

The book is broken up into sections including love, friendship and work. Readers learn about Dunham’s life before she was a star, while she’s a kid, in a college, and even about that embarrassing time she worked in an over-priced baby clothing shop. Every moment she catalogs brought her to where she is today. It’s an amazing story about how every choice we make and chance we take leads up to where we are supposed to be in life.

I’m not sure what Dunham’s intentions were when writing this book, but I found solace in knowing I’m not alone when it comes to having strange fears as a kid (dying in our sleep) or questioning whether we really should have spent so much time pursuing that guy that really wasn’t that good for us. I think a lot of readers can find comfort in books like Dunham’s because they remind us of all the things we already knew about life or ourselves, and they say it in a funnier way than we ever could.

Reading Not That Kind of Girl felt like reading a book my best friend wrote. It was personal. It was real. It was written so simply with a hint of sarcasm and advice in every chapter. It really was just a joy to read.

Happy reading,

Top 10 Tuesday: REWIND!

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Top 10 Tuesday was created by The Broke and the Bookish in 2010. It combines what I love most in this world into one—lists, books, and blogging. It couldn’t be any better suited for me! This weeks topic is up to me! Blogger’s were challenged to go back to a topic they missed or just really want to do. Today I’m going to be talking about my top 1o fictional best friends. Let’s get started!

1. Ron and Hermione from Harry Potter
Not only are Ron and Hermione great friends to Harry, but they are the exact friends that I want to have in my life. They are not only supportive but they know exactly when to push Harry and how. Before I came to college, I wanted to find my Ron and Hermione, and I’m glad to say that I think I have.

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2. Clay Jannon 
from Mr. Penumbra’s 24-hour Bookstore
Clay is surrounded by books and inspired to solve problems in life. He enjoys adventure and he’s good to his friends. I think he would be an amazing best friend for a bookworm such as myself.

3. Earl from Me and Earl and the Dying Girl
Greg (the main character of the book) can sometimes be an idiot, and Earl is always there to tell him when he is. Again, he’s a great friend to Earl and he’s just the kind of friend I need in my life to tell me when I’m being ridiculous.

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4. Maddie 
from Code Name Verity
During the darkest of times, Maddie never lets her friends down. She’s tough, independent, and never afraid to go after what she wants. She would be a continuously inspiring friend.

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5. Simon 
from The City of Bones
As Clary’s best friend, Simon is a rockstar. He is the perfect mix — smart, determined and dependable.

6. Zada from The Disreputable History of Frankie Landau-Banks
Zada is Frankie’s older sister and she is amazing. She pushes Frankie to believe in herself and she fully embraces being a strong independent woman.

Who would you want to be your best friend if they weren’t a fictional character? Let me know in the comments below.

Happy reading,

Treasure Tuesday

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1. I just finished “Not That Kind of Girl” by Lena Dunham. It was magnificent.

2. Harry Potter and the Cursed Child came out last week. What are your thoughts? Let me know in the comments below.

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4. It’s almost back to school time! I’m going into my senior year of college (I know, I can’t believe it either). What are you most excited for in the new school year? Let me know in the comments below.

5. Check out these five books you should be reading in August from Buzzfeed.

Happy reading,

Eleanor & Park: A Review

Title: Eleanor & Park
Author: Rainbow Rowell
Genre: Young Adult Fiction
Quotation: “But it’s up to us …’ he said softly. ‘It’s up to us not to lose this.”
Would recommend to: anyone who likes John Green novels and out-of-the-box characters.

Eleanor and Park

Eleanor & Park
features your atypical love story — an overweight, redheaded girl and a skinny Asian boy. Due to its uncharacteristic characters, author Rainbow Rowell has received a lot of questions about Eleanor’s weight and Park’s ethnicity. She is acclaimed for stepping out-of-the-box and presenting an interesting, different love story for young adults.

Apart from their unconventional physical appearances, Eleanor and Park stand out for other reasons such as Eleanor’s abusive household and Park’s struggle with masculinity.

Each struggle Rowell incorporates into the book adds a different element and makes it stand out on the shelf from every other young adult novel.

While the diverse aspects help the book make a name for itself, its love story sends it right to the John Green-esque side of young adult romance — with pompous love lines and over-dramatic expressions of emotion.

“Holding Eleanor’s hand was like holding a butterfly. Or a heartbeat. Like holding something complete, and completely alive.”

“I don’t like you, Park,” she said, sounding for a second like she actually meant it. “I…” – her voice nearly disappeared – “think I live for you.”

Both characters are exaggerated about their first loves in a very typical sense of most young adult novels. Though this is a rather unappealing aspect of the novel, it holds some truth to how teenagers actually feel when they are in love. Rowell attempts to accurately portray how most young adults view their first love —all consuming, the most important thing in the world, and the only one they will ever have.

When Rowell isn’t discussing the young love, she tackles difficult topics such as divorce, gender expectations, and abuse and how those issues affect different types of people.

There are very few young adult novels that tackle the topic of divorce, much less an ugly one that results in a home such as Eleanor’s with a step-dad who is either too drunk to do anything or just drunk enough to slap mom around, one bedroom for six siblings, and a bathroom without a door. Rowell handles it well with her slights about what happens behind closed doors and her description of Eleanor’s creative bathing habits. Readers feel like they can understand, or at least visualize, what Eleanor is dealing with.

Likewise, Park’s home life, while not as disturbed as Eleanor’s, is not typical. His family is one of the only families in the area that is half Korean and half American. Park is also concerned about his masculinity throughout the entirety of the novel and even experiments with eye makeup at one point.

Seeing the two teens act as saviors for each other during their difficult times and seeing them find themselves in a tough yet real world is something very valuable to young adult readers these days. It’s important to show the great experiences, like young love, but also the tough, real life problems teens face.

Rowell’s novel, while not free of imperfections, deserves to stand out on the shelves for her powerful characters and authentic, original plot.

Rowell has popular hit novels in both adult and young adult categories. Her other acclaimed young adult novels include Fangirl and Carry On.

Happy reading,

Top 5 Wednesday: Teen Classics

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This Top 5 Wednesday brings you the books I loved as a teen, but realize today are not the best writing. These are the books every, or almost every, teen girl carries in her backpack or reads with the flashlight on. But all good things must come to an end, and these ones definitely did. Let’s get started!

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1. The Clique Series 
by Lisi Harrison
I was obsessed with these books when they came out. I thought all the characters were so popular and cool and I wanted to be just like them with Massie’s all purple room and delicate charm bracelet. This series seemed to go on forever.

2. Pretty Little Liars Series by Sara Shepard
I read this books before the TV show and I was just as obsessed. It was one of the darker books I read as a tween, and again, I thought the characters were so cool and wanted to be just like Aria. (Now, I’m more of a Spencer.)

3. House of Night Series by Kristin and PC Cast
I think I read these books when I was much too young to understand all the sex that was going on. I really like this series because I read it a little bit after I read Twilight and they continued the vampire obsession that was so key during those days.

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4. So Little Time Series 
by various authors
That’s right. Not only did I watch every Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen movie and TV show available, I also read the books. These two were every pre-teens favorite pair — we either wanted to be them of have them as older sisters.

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5. Artemis Fowl 
by Eoin Colfer
I devoured these books when I was in elementary school. Extremely different from the previously mentioned books but still stories I loved and couldn’t read fast enough.

What were your favorite books as a pre-teen, tween or teen? Let me know in the comments below.

Happy reading,
Kimberly Honiball

Top 10 Tuesday: Books I Want NOW

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Top 10 Tuesday was created by The Broke and the Bookish in 2010. It combines what I love most in this world into one—lists, books, and blogging. It couldn’t be any better suited for me! Today I’m going to be talking about the books I would buy this instant if someone handed me a fully loaded gift card. Let’s get started!

1. All the Barnes and Noble Classics
Yes, this really does count as one book (in this imaginary world where someone hands me a gift card for no apparent reason). I’ve always wanted to read all the classics like Great Expectations and Guliver’s Travels but I’ve never wanted to spend too much money at once since it’s a pretty big investment.

2. Lord of the Rings by J. R. R. Tolkien
I tried to read this book at the dinner table when I was about 10 and my brother thought I couldn’t. I read one page and deemed it boring. I have since changed my mind and have decided to give it another chance. (Thank God.)

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3. You’re Never Weird on the Internet 
by Felicia Day
I loved her in Supernatural, and I know I’ll love her book. It chronicles her life and her rise to stardom. It claims to be incredibly funny and inspirational, just like her.

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4. Ready Player One 
by Ernest Cline
This science-fiction book tells the story of a player in OASIS, a virtual universe with thousands of worlds, who is trying to find and egg that has been hiden by the creator of OASIS. If one finds the egg, they win the creator’s fortune and control of OASIS. This is extremely different from many of the books I usually read and seems like just the thing to spice up my bookshelf.

5.The Martian by Andy Weir
One of my great friends said he flew through this in like three days. Nothing makes me want to read a good book like an amazing recommendation. The book features an astronaut that’s been stranded on Mars and has to survive on his own creating shelter, growing food and providing water for himself.

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6. Year of Yes 
by Shonda Rhimes
If the writer of Grey’s Anatomy writes a book, I will read that book. She spent a year saying yes to every opportunity, and this is the catalogue of that year.

7. A Clockwork Orange by Anthony Burgess
My friend wrote a research paper on the difference between novels and movies when we were in high school and A Clockwork Orange was on her list. Ever since I heard her talk about the dystopian novel featuring a violent teen and state authorities, I knew I wanted to read it.

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8. I am Having so Much Fun Here Without You 
by Courtney Maum
This funny love story is all about appreciating what you have and realizing that you have the power to make the grass greener on your side. I think it’s fun to read books like this and can’t wait to get my hands on it.

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9. Another Day 
by David Leviathan
I read the original Everyday which features a person who doesn’t inhabit his own body, but the bodies of others every day — and it’s never the same body. It’s all about the day he finds someone to fall in love with. I was really hesitant to pick up Another Day until one of my friends said it was amazing, which was all I needed to convince me to put it on my TBR list.

10. Scrappy Little Nobody by Anna Kendrick
Ever since I found out Anna Kendrick was writing a book (about a week ago) I knew I wanted to read it. I think she’s an amazing actress and person, and I can’t wait to see what she had to share with the world.

What books would you like to get your hands on right now? Let me know in the comments below?

Happy reading,

Treasure Tuesday

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1. I am currently reading “Not That Kind of Girl”.

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3. Check out how much of a grammar snob you are with this Buzzfeed quiz. I got “proud grammar snob,” which I have to agree with.

4. “Harry Potter and the Cursed Child” came out recently. Let me know your thoughts in the comments below!

5. I experienced more of the outdoors this weekend! I went to a nearby state park and walked paths and ventured into rivers. It was a great time. I’m so happy with all the adventures I’ve experienced this summer with amazing friends. What are your favorite summer  memories?

Happy reading,