Monday, January 9, 2017

The Deadliest of the Deadly: The Female of the Species

Well break was fun while it lasted 


Welcome back my lovely readers. Winter break is over and that means the end of the semester is nearly over as well. Since this is going to be my last blog (unless I decide to make more??) I am going to (try to) make it the best one I have ever published.

First up: my reading goals
I haven't really been able to read as much as I used to due to after school complications: homework, lack of sleep hours, and overall laziness. However, I will be starting that back up again next week because I need to finish all the books in my "currently reading" inventory. To see how many books I have read, am currently reading, and would like to read, check out my Goodreads account.

Now onto the book I read.

The Female of the Species by Mindy McGinnis. 

OH MY GOD 
That right up there, those big bolded, large font words were my exact reaction. In all honesty I am not going to sugarcoat this novel because it doesn't deserve that. Mindy McGinnis put all of her love, sweat, energy, and fingers into this wonderful creation, and by sugarcoating it, I am disrespecting her and her work.
I don't want to babble on and on in a summary so long story short (prepare for horrible sentence structure), this small-town girl, Alex Craft, is a bad you-know-what that knows how to kill someone and she avenges her older sister who was raped and murdered by this creepy older guy who was never convicted of the crime and she meets this girl Peekay who works at the same animal shelter she volunteers at and they become friends and later on in the story this really cute athletic guy named Jack Fisher falls in love with Alex and then they start dating but Jack keeps holding on to this guilt that he has because he was at the crime scene where they found Alex's sisters' body and he was doing some pretty bad stuff when the cops found them almost 20 feet from the corpse so in the story you can tell that he's trying to be a better person but he still delves into his occasional desires with this cheerleader Branley who is really mean (in my opinion) and towards the end of the story something really bad almost happens to Peekay but Alex stops it and literally mutilates the perpetrators and basically saves the day but then something really really bad happens again  that I can't say because I'd be spoiling it and then the end of the book comes and you'll be so surprised and thinking the book can't be over but it is and then you'll probably cry if you're like me.
 End of story  

Now that I finished that lengthy, horribly structured summary I'm going to highlight my favorite things in the book.

     1. Alex Craft- 

              Alex is one of my favorite things in the book because she's just awesome. She  doesn't take crap from anyone in the book, she's incredibly intelligent, unique in her own way, tough inside and out, her reflexes are superb, and she's basically everything I want to be- besides the murderer part.  I'm not saying it's cool for girls to go around killing older men, but god I loved Alex. The majority of the things girls laugh off in school- boys making sex jokes, grabbing body parts, etc etc- Alex responds by breaking wrists, kicking groins, mutilating body parts, and much more gruesome stuff, but its so cool that you just bypass the harmful things she's doing and pay attention to her kickass attitude and character. I don't think I've ever been in love with a character until I read this book (Thank you Mindy McGinnis!!!!) and "met" Alex. Another thing I love about Alex is the way she speaks throughout the novel. Her tone and vocabulary make her sound very intelligent and give her an authoritative personality; t,very different from the other YA novels I've read.                           

     2.   The other characters-
                                           
         I loved a lot of these characters and the roles they played in this book but some got on my last nerve and I felt that some never learned a single thing from their actions, *cough cough* Branley. Nonetheless, I no more hate than love their roles they played, so in the end it's all good. However, one character I truly admired (besides Alex) was Jack Fisher. I think I really developed a crush on Jack Fisher. I know its not possible because he's a fictional character and al,  but he just seems so cute and nice and caring that I couldn't resist. I liked how much he loved Alex and cared about her, but in the beginning it seemed kind of sketchy. Anyway, normally when I read novels where there are couples and they say that they "love" each other I don't really believe it, but when it came to Alex and Jack I believed it 100%. His love for Alex was so pure and simple that it made my heart melt. Even when Alex confessed to Jack about the bad she had done- and afterward he ignored and avoided her, which really pissed me off- you could still tell that he loved her and would stick up for her. Their relationship was #RelationshipGoals minus the devastating confessions and murders.

               The next character I want to talk about is Peekay (Claire). She was really annoying in the beginning but she grew on me, not going to lie. I felt really bad for her because her boyfriend dumped her and went to Branley (the girl who steals everyone boyfriend) who didn't even like him. And she almost got assaulted because she was heartbroken and that really hit me hard, but in the end she was stronger and was getting better.


     3. The animal abuse-

                                        I don't really know why I'm mentioning this depressing part of the story but I just had to. This topic, right here, that McGinnis touched on very lightly, helped give the reader (again in my opinion) a better look on how gentle Alex is and can be. However, there is one part in the book that had me crying for about 10 minutes because PEOPLE ARE SO CRUEL and I love animals and hearing about animal abuse just breaks my heart. Just the way McGinnis showed how careful and loving Alex was towards the animals kind of gave her a free pass from all the bad things she's done. But overall, this part really depressed me and I wish it hadn't been included but then again I like it, so I'm basically conflicted when it comes to this topic.


My Favorite Quotes

1. "When animals make a stupid mistake, you laugh at them. A cat misjudges a leap. A dog looks overly quizzical about a simple object. These are funny things. But when a person doesn’t understand something, if they miscalculate and hit the brakes too late, blame is assigned. They are stupid. They are wrong. Teachers and cops are there to sort it out, with a trail of paperwork to illustrate the stupidity. The faults. The evidence and incidents of these things. We have entire systems in place to help decide who is what" ( McGinnis 12). 

- This quote stood out to me because it's so accurate it hurts my head just thinking about it. It kind of shows how harsh and condescending people are in a way and that's what made me like it. This was one of those real type of quotes. 


2. "Tonight they used the words they know, words that don’t bother people anymore. They said bitch. They told another girl they would put their dicks in her month. No one protested because this is our language now. But then I used my words, strung in phrases that cut deep, and people paid attention then; people gasped. People didn’t know what to think. My language is shocking" (Alex) (McGinnis 146). 

- This quote had me in a deep thought for about and hour and a half. I looked up things relevant to this quote, and even talked to my parents about it. This quote is an OH MY GOD quote because it's so honest and true that it just hurts. If only people dealt with situations like this the way Alex did because if they did, the outcome would be phenomenal. 

3. "You see it in all animals - the female of the species is more deadly than the male" (McGinnis 14).

- Very accurate quote because it offers a very vivid example- Alex. Alex is probably the reason this quote exists. So without Alex, this quote wouldn't be relevant to the story. This quote also plays a huge role in real life because honestly, girls are vicious. We're mean, resentful, we can be nice, but then again we all have vindictive sides to us and when you cross us, the outcome is not pretty.






The Female of the Species is such a harsh/raw book that slaps you in the face, but sometimes that's what you need to get a message across. There are so many “lessons” people my age NEED (emphasis on this word) to learn in this story. I truly loved this book. Probably one of my favorites besides the Hunger Games series by Suzanne Collins, The 5th Wave series by Rick Yancey, Confessions series by James PattersonThe Selection series by Kiera Cass, The Firebird series by Claudia Gray, The Last Survivors series by Susan Beth Pfeffer, The Lunar Chronicles by Marissa Meyer, and The Red Queen series by Victoria Aveyard. I had planned on listing 2 or 3 series but I ended up listing 8 (yikes). I would 100/100 recommend this book to both guys and girls (guys I advise you to read because you need to be enlightened). This book was outstanding and absolutely I loved it, I would read this twice if I had the time. I hope my blog/review will encourage you to read this book because it offers so many great opportunities to gain knowledge and see a whole new perspective on rape culture and the overall world girls have to struggle to live in due to sexual oppression and injustices we have to face. 


My favorite review on this book

Friday, December 16, 2016

"The Color Purple, A gift from God"

Christmas Break Is Almost Upon Us!!!!


    In my last blog, I forgot to include my reading goals, but luckily for you, I'll be highlighting on them in this blog. My reading goal is about 30% complete, (I've read 13 books out of the 45 I plan to read for the school year) however it will be 40% complete over break. I have been reading until about 11pm -12am every night but it's worth it.

  Now that I've mentioned my goal, we can get onto the book.


     The AP book I chose to read was The Color Purple by Alice Walker and I'm happy to say that I made a good decision.  I chose The Color Purple because the color purple "is associated with royalty" and it "symbolizes power, nobility, luxury, and ambition", along with "wisdom, dignity, independence, creativity, mystery, and magic." In my opinion the title of The Color Purple perfectly portrayed the meaning of the color purple and overall was a great title choice on Walker's part. 
       There is only one word running through my head to describe this book: compelling. The Color Purple was not at all as I was expecting it to be. This book is both tragic and heroic for the main character, Celie. The Color Purple focuses on Celie, a black women who has been hit by tides of deep distress—emotional and physical abuse, incest, abandonment—and tracks her victorious journey to self-discovery, independence, and womanhood. Initially I thought this book was about slavery and the hardships a slave women had to go through, but boy was I wrong. 
      I would start this off by saying, "In chapter.....", but there were no essential chapters in this book; they all started off as either: "Dear God," "Dear Nellie," "Dearest Celie,"or "Dearest Nellie,". So instead I'll start off as: 
In the book, Celie is seen struggling to be heard and seen as a living, breathing person by her peers, family, and significant others. Although Celie struggled to live with her abusive husband, Mr. ________ (later revealed as Albert), and father, "Pa" or "Alphonso", she found a love that helped her through her struggles and pain. 
     I loved Celie's unique voice, and how it developed and matured throughout the novel. I loved how Celie learned from Shug (her friend/lover) on how to become a strong independent (black) woman with a voice that matters. I loved how Alice Walker wrote honestly about how life was for black people in this time period. I feel that by doing this, the reader is able to understand what it was like to be an African American living in a time of racism, prejudices, injustice, segregation and distress. also enjoyed how Walker incorporated strong, mature black women who learned to help themselves and each other, Celie being one of them. I believe that Alice Walker wrote this book to pose as an example of one person's individual journey to come to terms with a racist, prejudice, male-driven, and sexist world. Towards the end of the novel, Celie finals accepts herself for who she is and finally broke away from the social dilemma of a male centered/controlled world- she left her husband, started her own company making pants, and learned how to love herself.
      Although I have given a lot of praise to this book, there is one thing I did not like. The one thing I did not particularly enjoy about the book was the spelling. However, I do understand that Walker used the diction and spelling she did to indicate what the time period was, and how people spoke then. But overall, I enjoyed this novel and would suggest it to anyone who liked The Help by Kathryn Stockett, or any other novel that focuses on black culture, society, and life back then. 



Here are some of my favorite quotes from the book:

  • “I am an expression of the divine, just like a peach is, just like a fish is. I have a right to be this way...I can't apologize for that, nor can I change it, nor do I want to... We will never have to be other than who we are in order to be successful...We realize that we are as ourselves unlimited and our experiences valid. It is for the rest of the world to recognize this, if they choose.” 

  • "The thing I believe. God is inside you and inside everybody else. You come into the world with God. But only them that search for it inside find it. And sometimes it just manifest itself even if you not looking, or don't know what you looking for" ( Walker 195).

  • “I'm pore, I'm black, I may be ugly and can't cook, a voice say to everything listening. But I'm here” (Walker 207).




Tuesday, November 8, 2016

You can't find what's lost if you're lost yourself

You're Back Again?

     This blog is going to be very different from my others and you will see why later on. I have just previously read Essential Maps for the Lost by Deb Caletti and it truly was an eye opener. This book gave me a whole new perspective on what depression is. However before I get into this "reflection" I'd like to go in depth on what depression is.

       The Google'd definition of depression is "A brain disorder characterized by persistently depressed mood or loss of interest in activities, causing significant impairment in daily life," and that is where conflict starts. People see depression as a "mental disorder"or "health condition", whereas I see it as an psychological issue that cripples a person's ability to function, cognitively or emotionally. Most think that depression is a one time thing, or that the person suffering from depression is either: (a) seeking attention, (b) faking it, (c) just moody, or (d) stressed out. However only one of these is the case. Most symptoms includeanxiety, apathy, general discontent, guilt, hopelessness, loss of interest, excess sleepiness, insomnia, loss of appetite, agitation, excessive crying, irritability, etc. By increasing people's awareness of depression, stereotypes will be quashed, people will feel accepted, and human kinds' knowledge on psychological illnesses will be changed.  


                                            Now onto the book:


                                                Essential Maps for the Lost

What do you think when you read the title (without looking at the link)?

    When I see the title I think of a map that helps lost people find their way. But there is no such thing as an "essential map for the lost" because if there was, I'd use it everyday.

      In Essential Maps for the Lost, Caletti introduces Madison "Mads" Murray and Billy Youngwolf Floyd, two interesting teens who are very different, contrasting characters, but who have one factor that connects them- a dead body. One morning Mads is swimming in a lake when the corpse of a jumper- Anna Youngwolf Floyd- bumps her. Mads tows the body to shore and soon becomes obsessed with her and the son she left behind. As she and the dog-saving, rescue shelter–working gamer Billy come to know each other, Mads cannot tell Billy what has actually brought her into his life. The relationship between Mads and Billy, who were flung together by a gruesome fate and destined to be together throughout the novel by love, gives a parallel to their characters—a particular  book loved by the both of them: From the Mixed-Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler  by E.L. Konigsburg’s. The reference to this book throughout the novel shows that Mads is a big, heartfelt reader and that Billy, who has only read this one and only book, cherished it because it was special to his depressed mother, who left Billy disoriented and living with his Gran after she jumped off a Seattle bridge. 

    Later on, as we get deeper into the story, we see that Mads struggles with depression herself (like Billy's mom did) even while she was living with her supportive aunt and uncle to take an accelerated course to get her realtor’s license. Due to this, Mads feels trapped and locked into the future her vindictive mother has dictated for her to pursue. In Chapter 16, Billy goes into a convenience store and ends up finding Mads looking at sleeping pills, and afterwards the book says, "He knows depression can be a monster only felled by the most epic weapons.. It's a bully that winches your arm behind your back when no one is looking, that wears you out, and shouts stuff that sounds romantic but is never, ever romantic" (Caletti 202). This quote truly portrayed how depression affects people suffering from the illness and the people who love the person that is suffering. 

     The use of From the Mixed-Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler gives some background information to the reader, that helped them understand Mads' and Billy's character. In From the Mixed-Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler, two sibilings, Claudia and Jamie Kincaid, decide to run away from home and hole up in the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City, and discover the wonders and mysteries the museum has to offer. This novel foreshadows the future events in Mads' and Billy's lives because of their road-tripping to New York to go to the exact same museum that Jaime and Claudia went to, while using the same map that was in the novel. I loved how Caletti incorporated this novel into the story because it gives a sense of the beauty maps in books have. A map can make you want things, and a book can open the door to that pleasure, therefore a map plus a book, or a map within a book, is a special prize –like a hiding place within a hiding place, or a door within a door.

     In my opinion, Caletti succeeded at focusing on the perspectives of both teens- one who deals with depression, and the other that has witnessed it for years. Caletti's main focus was on the grief of loss from all angles–from Billy, the son of the suicidal woman, to Mads' own coming to terms with reality and fighting to defeat her depression. This book also gave an amazing story of overcoming the "ogres" of depression and loss with the perseverance of maintaining relationships and self-discovery. The overall message of the novel, in my opinion, was that books offer the special power of escape and also the power of understanding, as do maps. So together, you have two ways to explore new lands that might help you understand the mystifying one you’re actually in, and two ways to escape from it for a while. With a book and a map, you can discover a clearer path, or a different road altogether (metaphorically speaking), like Mads and Billy did.

Tuesday, October 11, 2016

Sky's The Limit


You're back? Am I really that good that you couldn't get enough of me?


         Well since you're here I might as well be honest. I AM ALMOST FINISHED WITH MY READING  GOAL!!!! No I'm kidding, I'm nowhere near finished, however, I'd say I'm about a 1/4 done. It takes me about a few days to finish a book, depending on if I don't have a lot of homework or if I'm not dead tired.

      On Thursday, I started reading Tasting the Sky by Ibtisam Barakat, and I finished it today (Monday). It took me 3 days to read this book, but it should've taken me less time because it was such a small book. I'm not going to do explain this book the same way I did in Joyride because I feel this book deserves much more than an essay. Tasting the Sky was one of the very few non-fiction books I enjoyed, and I'd say this was my favorite non-fiction read (thank you Mrs. Mayo!!!). 
     In Tasting the Sky, the author tells the story of her childhood in Palestine during the "Six-Day War". This book was somewhat similar to Persepolis by Marjane Satrapi, which takes place during the Islamic Revolution in Iran, because they were both about childhoods during wars in the Middle East, and they're also memoirs. 

       In the first chapter, "Shoelaces",  Israeli soldiers take Ibtisam, a teenager during the time, off a bus in the West Bank in 1981 and detain her without explanation. Ibtisam secretly risks these trips out of her village in order to visit a post office box, where she sends and receives letters from her international pen pals—her only connection to a much saner, safer world. While detained, she gives flash backs of the Six-Day War. Ibtisam was no more than three years old when her family fled Ramallah in 1967 to a refugee camp in Jordan, and her memory of it, in this chapter comes with tension, fear, and emotion. She plaintively relates her Palestinian experience to that of the street dogs she encountered while she was in refuge, saying "I knew that they were dying and that they had come to our door only because, like us, they were seeking refuge. But instead of understanding, we shot at them, the way the warplanes shot at us"(39). Quotes like this really showed the tension and fear she felt during this time period, and it also affected me. I was always oblivious to what was going on in other third world countries, and this book opened my eyes. Even though it happened 40 years ago, wars like this still impact countries like Israel, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, Syria, and other Middle Eastern countries. 
     
        Tasting the Sky wasn't anything like I'd pictured it. This book brought up the fears and horrors of being an orphan, refugee, and overall human being living during a war in the Middle East. While reading this book, I cried several times because of the reality the book gave in Middle Eastern countries. Reading this book was nothing like watching CNN news because with books you are able to visualize the situation for yourself, and actually experience the feeling the author is trying to portray.  As I was reading, I wanted to know a bit more about the history of the war and what was going on politically and economically, but then I realized that Ibtisam was intentionally leaving this information out because she was telling us the story from a child's point of view. This story wouldn't have worked if she would have added more historical context aside from the brief note in the beginning. All we see is how a child tries to grip with what's going on around her, and she sticks to this point of view throughout the entire story. It also helped me give an identity to war and to the innocent people and children who live in war-torn countries.  

      If I were given the opportunity to reread or suggest this book to another peer, I 100% would. Tasting the Sky wasn't written for the readers interest, it was written to show how people lived in the Middle East and how they were treated. It also made me realize that, regardless of where you're from or what happens in your life, we all have the same emotions. 

Sunday, September 18, 2016

Memores Acti Prudentes Futuri


Welcome back reader!!!! Ready to dive deeper into my reading life?


     I haven't been reading frequently at night anymore due to my horrible time management, but next week, I should be able to start back up again. I have not finished To Kill A Mockingbird by Harper Lee, but my goal is to finish that in the next week or so.  The book I really enjoyed was Joyride by Anna Banks because it was basically a modern day Romeo and Juliet minus the suicide, and it was really good. Carly and Arden are the two main characters in Joyride, Carly is Hispanic, and Arden is white and the son of a racist sheriff. Throughout the story, Arden and Carly's interaction turn from a hate to a love plot, and that's what made the story interesting. 

    In Chapter 1, Banks talks about how being rich and poor in today's society changes your perspective on life and how people act when talking about it. When Carly is talking to Arden's grandfather she says, “But pessimism and reality are usually mistaken for each other. And the realist are usually the ones who recognize that” (9). By this, Banks means that people who never get to experience success are usually the people who have a negative connotation on life, making them pessimists, but the people who know that life isn't easy, and that you have to struggle before you succeed, know the difference between pessimism and reality, and that makes them realists.  

       I know that life is full of ups and downs, but this quote really made me think long and hard about how your perspective on it can be. Joyride really hits the topic of life being a rollercoaster, because Carly is a poor Hispanic girl who works graveyard shifts, who's parents were deported, and struggles with keeping her life together. Was humans have a tendency to assume the worst when things do not go our way or as planned because we are familiar with the feeling of defeat and not success. Therefore we choose not to acknowledge what has been done, but instead we focus on what we never got to do. Carly gives a real world example of assuming the worst in a situation because during her time of chaos, she was depressed, angry, embarrassed, and scared and was never truly happy. But what if we all took a step back and looked on how short life is? How we should take a risk, not worry about the consequences, and live life to its fullest potential? What would happen if we all just put the negativity behind us and strode into the futures' positive arms? How would society be? I know that the world would be a better place, and that people would probably be happier. Your life might be changed entirely if you focused on the positive instead of the negative. 

      People today need to know that there is a silver lining waiting beyond the negativity. The world is not against you, so you should never let obstacles prevent you from getting what needs to be achieved. Carly started off roughly, but in the end she rewarded with a positive outcome because she had hope and chose not the let the negativity get her. In the end, pessimism and realism all depend on what you make them and how you view them. However you should not let the pessimistic overrule the realistic/optimistic side in life. 

Be mindful of what has been done, and be aware of what will be. 











Wednesday, September 7, 2016

WELCOME FELLOW READERS!! 


    You have miraculously stumbled upon Cameron's LITerary blog, good for you. Here on my blog you'll get to know all about my LITerary life. For example, my reading goals and reading lists will be published on here, so you'll be able to see what I have read and what review I gave the book
Now onto my proper introduction..

         Hello, my name is Cameron Copeland and I am a sophomore at Hebron High School and I love reading. As an avid reader since birth (actually 1st grade), I've never had any trouble with books because I love reading; whether it's nonfiction or fiction, I'll read any book and still enjoy it in some way. In school, if there had ever been an assigned reading, I have always finished it. 
        I have read over 150 books (counting 7th grade to 10th grade) and plan to get up to 200 by the end of the year. However, this year I strive to go above and beyond in reading, and actual start keeping up with my planned reading goals. The total number of pages I plan to read for the year would be an estimated 12,000 pages, so I would have to read 2-3 hours a day (which isn't a problem) in order to meet my goal. 
      I have already read To Kill A Mockingbird by Harper Lee, All American Boys by Jason Reynolds and Brendan Kiely, Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen, and The Goldfinch by Donna Tartt, but I plan to read The River by Michael Neale, I'll Give You the Sun by Jandy Nelson, The Rest of Us Just Live Here by Patrick Ness, Lord of the Flies by William Golding, Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell, and All the Bright Places by Jennifer Niven. I am going out of my comfort zone reading unfamiliar books like Lord of the Flies, and The River because I normally don't read books like those, but in order to have an exceptional vocabulary and learn how to analyze text effectively, I have to dive head first into unknown territory.