Friday, June 10, 2011

Review: Alice in Charge by Phyllis Reynolds Naylor

Alice in Charge by Phyllis Reynolds Naylor (#22)
Atheneum/2010/Young Adult/314 pages

At last, it's Alice in Charge--of her life, of her future...but, is it too much?

What I love about the Alice series is that even when it is the 22nd book, you can always count on Phyllis Reynolds Naylor to write about something new; they are never monotonous. I have been reading this wonderful, poignant series since I was in the 5th grade. In the few hours that it takes for me to read these books, I am transplanted to Silver Springs, Maryland and get to know Alice, her family and friends. Naylor has talked about suicide, first loves, Leukemia, etc. I didn't know what she would throw at us next.

This book takes place during Alice's first semester of her senior year. Can I just say that this alone almost made me cry. It's hard to believe that Alice is about to graduate and that Naylor is only writing 3 more books after this. In this book, Alice is the feature editor for her school's newspaper and I just love that it is actually a kinda big thing at her school, I love reading about it. There is a new guy at the school from Sudan, which I really enjoyed. And in this book, Phyllis Reynolds Naylor, also presented the readers with a group of students at Alice's school that were part of a Neo-Nazi group. Yes, you read that right.

Patrick and Alice. Ahh...One of my favorite couples in fiction. Patrick has certainly changed so much over the years but in a completely good way. I loved reading the scenes between them. They have a long-distance relationship, well, actually it's nothing official but gosh, they are so great together. He graduated early from High School and is studying at the University of Chicago (yay for intellectual people!) and when he went back home to visit Alice....Short, but very sweet scenes!

Overall this wasn't my favorite book in the series, I don't know exactly which one is (I plan on rereading them soon) but its always great to read about Alice's life. Actually, this is the first time, I didn't pick up the book within a month of its release (didn't have the money to buy it and wasn't able to get it from my library until now) but Incredibly Alice is out now, so hopefully I can get that soon!!

Also, I'm sure all of you have heard about Wall Street Journal's ignorant article, I would just like to say that the Alice books continue to be one of the most frequent banned YA books (I think its holds the #2 spot?) but I'll tell you something. These books have changed my life for the better. I think they are so often overlooked but they are wonderful. #yasaves

3.8 stars out of 5
Cover: B- The Alice books have seen many different cover makeovers. But I have to say that the cover really intrigued me. It's rather simple but in YA you don't really see too many people of color on covers, unfortunately, and this is a very nice change!
Favorite Character: Alice. Duh.
Put-Down-Ability: 4/10. Some moments tend to drag on a little bit but overall, I didn't put it down much at all.

*Source: public library

Thursday, June 9, 2011

This Blog, Drama, and lots and lots of Anxiety.

HOLY HEAVENS! I did not mean for this post to be this long. Sorryyyyyy.

*oh and this post is filled with grammar mistakes. oops. sorry again.
Okay. So it's taken me awhile to figure out how to go about this post. I actually started typing but it ended up being such a long post that I just decided to cut it and put it on my personal blog since since I doubted you guys wanted to hear me complain about school. But here goes…

I want to take the time to apologize to all the readers of Wicked Good Books. You guys are awesome. I'm not sure how many of you guys actually read this blog anymore (not that there have been updates) but if you are reading this, I thank you. It truly means a lot to me. 

I had so many goals at the beginning of the year. So many challenges I was going to complete. I told myself that I would update every single day, read lots and lots of books and all of that good stuff. Unfortunately, junior year took me on a roller coaster ride. I know that its been said that junior year is the hardest year of them all but I thought I had it.

But then I got some teachers who didn't put in assignments that I knew I had done and turned in and which caused me to get a B+ instead of an A. I know I sound like such a freak but my GPA needed those A's! I got stuck in college algebra and college trigonometry, classes that I went to the principals, counselors, social worker to tell them that I wanted out. There was no reason for me to take these classes. I had all of my math credits. I should've been switched out; I did everything right. They didn't let me, my health begin to suffer. I've had asthma since I was 7 but it hasn't been really bad for years now; however, I also have anxiety disorders.

And lemme tell you, in the last 9 months, I have around 5 asthma and anxiety attacks. Two of which were during school, one of them, I actually even passed out. Out of the others, I had to be taken to the hospital by ambulance and all of that good stuff. Most of these attacks were do to school related problems. But, you know, I would've definitely had suffer through all of those again for the month of May not to have happened. I should've known that with May 12 being my birthday, it was inevitable for May to be a terrible month.

I am in love with my theatre club at school. I've been in it since Freshman year, have worked on every single show (except the 2 small productions our new director wanted to do) and have wanted to be President since then. The seniors this year all wanted me to run because they felt that I would keep all of the traditions alive (which play a huge part in our club) and most importantly keep the group alive. They were telling me this stuff since September. But all of a sudden, this sophomore girl, who is probably the best actress in theatre and really popular decided to change from VP to Pres.

OKAY THE NEXT SEVERAL PARAGRAPHS ARE ABOUT THEATRE. LONG STORY SHORT: I didn't get president. I became depressed. But if you want to read about it, feel free. If not, just move on to the next bold part.

Next thing I know, she's begin to campaign. No one has ever campaigned for elections but she did, she bought sweets and passed out flyers; she was in 10th grade english honors right before I had my English class and wrote her name huge on the board pleading with students to vote for her; her boyfriend made them and their friends shirts writing a cool little slogan on it. I'm sorry, but I was too busy studying for the ACT and AP exams. Well, you probably guess what happened. It just so happened that all of her friends joined theatre this year and did the shows and they got to vote in the elections. I should've known I had no chance.

So, it shouldn't have been too much of a shock at the Renaissance themed banquet when they announce that the new President was not me. My closest of friends, knew how important this was to me. They heard me talk and complain, sick with worry that I wouldn't get it (I obsessed like no other, you wouldn't even believe) and once Her name was announced, they all looked at me. One even asked if she wanted me to take her home right then. I said no, since I was going to stick it out. But you have to understand something, the new officer list looked something like:

Pres - Her (will be junior)
VP - One of my best friends, who came to the school from a fancy private school this year, whose ONLY been in the club this year and has done only 3 shows with the club. But after Her went to run for Pres, she was the only one who was running. (will be senior)
Secretary - One of my friends. She said in her speech that she only was running because no one else was (will be senior)
Treasurer - Boy who will be junior next year. I feel bad that no one likes him and I know if he ran against anyone he probably wouldn't have got it.
Historian- Mostly only artists run for this but I don't get why, you're just making a scrapbook. Anyway, the girl who did win (BFF of President) did the very last show of the year, a very small, 3 week production. When the other people who ran, did ALL of the shows this year. Politics, I tell ya. 

I know I sound bitter about this whole ordeal but I'm not. I just wished elections were fair. This is the first year that seniors have been allowed to vote (which by the way, they all changed their vote to Her) and there was no trickle-down-system (talk about traditions!)

Anyway, back to the story. So I opted to stay at the banquet, but then, the other girl that ran for president, a girl that has become one of my closest friends this year, texted me from across the room asking if I wanted to go get a drink or something. I said yes, since I knew she would understand. The second that they were done taking pictures (I can't tell you how hard it was for me to watch that and the officers being sworn in) I ran to my friend's moms room (she's a teacher at the school) and I can't ever remember crying that much, in front of a teacher and friend. Good God, I sobbed my heart out.

My friend drove me around and we talked (well she did and I cried) about it. She was dealing really well since the previous week she didn't get the position of drum major and she'd wanted that since 5th grade. My mom called and ordered me home. And it was just hella bad. I was depressed, no joke. The banquet was Tuesday. I didn't go to school for a week. The next day, Wednesday, my friend came over and brought me ice cream and stuff. She told how everyone in AP Gov't was worried. :(  I missed going to graduation and seeing all of my friends graduate because I was in no shape to go out. My other awesome friend came over graduation night and his mom and him took me to a little restaurant. They definitely tried to get me to realize that it wasn't the end, I would have bigger and better things, "Bianca, please remember that all good things will come to you, if not today then tomorrow."

I actually wasn't planning to go back to school. I had a week left and at this point, the thought of going back just stressed me out. I had an anxiety overload. But then the damn social worker called. Yes, it was that bad. I'm lucky that I got to keep all of my credits. Due to all of my asthma/anxiety attacks, I missed a lot of days school 2nd semester. By a lot, I mean the attendance office had 10. Although, I swear, I feel like I missed at least 15....

I'm doing better. I'm still going to be apart of this theatre club, no matter what. I'm still going to try to do everything, I said I would do in the election. I'm going to do all the shows and also, I was willed down the Lead Critic for Cappies (this awesome cool international theatre program). Though, I'm doing better, I still find myself tearing up at the thought of not having apart in major decisions, etc. It hurts. I think the ONLY thing that would make up for this if I had the chance to go the International Thespian Festival in Nebraska (ONLY 3 HOURS AWAY FROM ME!!) and run/get elected Chairman or region II rep for International Thespian Officer. The only thing that's stopping me is $700 and it's probably too late to sign up.

I often feel that people don't understand how much I obsess about these type of things. I don't get like this very often. But I would've been so damn dedicated and would give up hours upon hours of sleep to make everything run smoothly. I have so many plans. But hey, that's life, I've learned.

OKAY I'M SORRY FOR THIS LONG RANT. I honestly, think she'll be a good president. I hope I didn't make her out to be a bitch, she isn't. She just did what she felt she needed to do. I'm going to live. This too shall pass.

OTHER NEWS: I took the SAT last Saturday and I pray that I got at least a 2000. I can't tell you how much I'm stressing out about not getting into my top school. I've wanted to go to Boston University since 5th grade. I had a really bad year and I wish I had a way of telling them, that my GPA does not equal how much potential I actually have.

I'm doing competitive swimming and it's going well. I just really need to start running. This is my last chance of going to State for cross country....Oh, and I have a job opportunity. I just came back from part 1 of training to be a lifeguard. I hope I get the job! This would be a wonderful experience ad my family and I could really use this money.

ABOUT WICKED GOOD BOOKS
So, not you pretty much know where I've been. What I've been up to. But I promise, Wicked Good Books isn't going anywhere, anytime soon. You're stuck with me. I will start posting reviews and stuff again this week! :-)

Biancaa

*Jeez. I can't believe that this was the condensed version. I posted the other version on my personal blog. I write too much. Always.