It’s Kind of a Funny Story

 

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Title: It’s Kind of a Funny Story

Author: Ned Vizzini

Genre: Young Adult, Contemporary, Teen Fiction

Date Published: May 1, 2007

Publisher: Miramax

Synopsis: Ambitious New York City teenager Craig Gilner is determined to succeed at life – which means getting into the right high school to get into the right job. But once Craig aces his way into Manhattan’s Executive Pre-Professional High School, the pressure becomes unbearable. He stops eating and sleeping until, one night, he nearly kills himself. Craig’s suicidal episode gets him checked into a mental hospital, where his new neighbors include a transsexual sex addict, a girl who has scarred her own face with scissors, and the self-elected President Armelio. There, Craig is finally able to confront the sources of his anxiety

Rating: 4.3/5

 

My Review

This book just speaks to me on a deep level. The way how Craig felt during his darkest days speaks to me on so many levels because it’s exactly how I feel too during my own darkest days. I couldn’t describe it but Ned Vizzini did it for me, in the form of Craig Gilner.

Now, I’m not clinically diagnosed as one having depression or anxiety but what I do know is that my mind is as messed up as Craig’s. And yes, I have thought of suicide but that’s just it, a thought. A thought when things start to get shitty in my life. It never went beyond that because the idea of being exhumed in this world would be a much better place than dealing with the nightmares of reality but I admit that I’m shitless scared of doing the real thing, I’m not brave enough to jump off any high place or grip a gun and blow my brains out.

This is one of the few books that perfectly depicts what’s it like to suffer from mental illness. What made this book appeal to me is the cause of Craig’s depression. Academics. Craig’s pressure when it comes to his academic performance is the same pressure I excruciatingly experienced when I was in high school, (especially during my senior year). I kind of traded my sanity for perfect scores on exams, awards and extracurricular activities, and academic ranking. The difference between me and Craig is I didn’t check myself in a psychiatric hospital (although I really wanted to see a therapist) and our parents. I am so jealous of Craig’s parents, they were supportive of him and they understand and consider his condition. My parents didn’t acknowledge such illness and maybe it’s the reason why I kept my mental illness from them (until now, actually). They just think I’m overreacting or my illness is invalid. Sucks, right?

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A Wrinkle in Time

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Director: Ava DuVernay

Producer: Jim Whitaker, Catherine Hand

Screenplay: Jennifer Lee and Jeff Stockwell

Based On: A Wrinkle in Time by Madeleine L’Engle

Starring: Oprah Winfrey, Reese Witherspoon, Mindy Kaling, Storm Reid, Chris Pine, Gugu Mbatha-Raw, Levi Miller, Zach Galifianakis, Michael Pena, Deric McCabe

Genre: Adventure, Sci-Fi, Fantasy

Rating: PG-13

Running Time: 109 minutes

Production Company: Walt Disney Pictures, Whitetaker Entertainment

Distributed by: Walt Disney Motion Pictures

Release Date: March 9, 2018

Synopsis: Meg Murry and her little brother, Charles Wallace, have been without their scientist father, Mr. Murry, for five years, ever since he discovered a new planet and used the concept known as a tesseract to travel there. Joined by Meg’s classmate Calvin O’Keefe and guided by the three mysterious astral travelers known as Mrs. Whatsit, Mrs. Who and Mrs. Which, the children brave a dangerous journey to a planet that possesses all of the evil in the universe

Rating: 2.7/5

 

My Review

“Don’t expect too much and too high”

And I guess I did, that’s why I was left with disappointment after watching this anticipated film. As much as possible I try not to anticipate things since it might lead to disappointment afterward, but with films, well it’s so difficult not to.

A Wrinkle in Time has been one of the most anticipated films of 2018. It attracted not just fans of the novel but regular moviegoers and people who are trying to find a sense of feminism or female power in Hollywood films or just plainly enjoying the rise of it since several films nowadays include strong female leads.  What makes Meg Murry a little different is that she’s a kid, she’s a people of color and she’s portrayed as a smart, nerdy kid who is in a dire need of self-confidence because she drowns in her own insecurities.

Now, before I really dive into the review itself, I have neither watched the first movie adaptation for this novel nor read the source material for it, not even a glance or a skim, all I know is that it started with the usual “It was a dark and stormy night”. It’s a common opening or starting phrase to tell a story and it’s a great way to set the atmosphere and mood, and it usually ends up into to two results: either it’s a great story or a mediocre one that has nothing special in it. In the case of Ava DuVernay’s take on A Wrinkle in Time, it’s kind of the latter part.

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Extraordinary Means

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Title: Extraordinary Means

Author: Robyn Schneider

Genre: Young Adult, Contemporary, Teen Fiction

Date Published: May 26, 2015

Publisher: Katherine Tegen Books, A HarperCollins Imprint

Synopsis: When he’s sent to Latham House, a boarding school for sick teens, Lane thinks his life may as well be over. But when he meets Sadie and her friends – a group of eccentric troublemakers – he realises that maybe getting sick is just the beginning. That illness doesn’t have to define you, and that falling in love is its own cure.

Rating: 4.7/5

 

My Review

“The love child of Looking for Alaska and The Fault in our Stars”

Without a doubt, this novel has hints of John Green’s Looking For Alaska & The Fault in our Stars sprinkled all over the plot, but it has that certain Robyn Schneider signature that distinguishes it from the novels that inspired it.

Okay first of all, what is up with characters who would do anything for academics? An exquisite GPA, joining extracurriculars that would look good in a resume or college application and then there it is, getting into the perfect college. I’ve been catching up on my To-Be-Read List during this year’s summer and seriously, I’ve been reading novels with these kinds of characters three times in a row now, first Craig Gilner from It’s Kind of a Funny Story, Ana from The Improbable Theory of Ana & Zak and now, Lane. I think the world is trying to tell me something, maybe it’s: “Hey wake up! You’ve been lying low for two years. Time to bring back your A-game. You’re entering college now. So wake the fuck up and work, work, work”. Yeesh, the last time I went all out for my academics, I almost lost my sanity.

Going back to the real topic of this blogpost, Extraordinary Means is an extraordinary novel (pun intended…is that pun anyway?). It has that perfect mixture of comedy, drama and adventure. Speaking of adventure, Lane only thought of Latham as some kind of vacation from his real life but going through the novel, it wasn’t a vacation; it was one hell of an adventure.

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The Improbable Theory of Ana & Zak

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Title: The Improbable Theory of Ana & Zak

Author: Brian Katcher

Genre: Young Adult, Contemporary, Teen Fiction

Date Published: June 18, 2015

Publisher: Katherine Tegen Books, A HaperCollins Publisher Imprint

Synopsis: When Ana Watson’s brother ditches a high school trip to run wild at Washingcon, type-A Ana knows that she must find him or risk her last shot at freedom from her extra-controlling parents. In her desperation, she’s forced to enlist the last person she’d ever want to spend time with—slacker Zak Duquette—to help find her brother before morning comes. But over the course of the night, while being chased by hordes of costumed Vikings and zombies, Ana and Zak begin to open up to each other. Soon, what starts as the most insane nerdfighter manhunt transforms into so much more. . . .

Rating: 4.9/5

 

My Review

“A guy & a girl in a sci-fi convention + 24 hours of adventure = one helluva night.”

Perhaps it’s because this book happened in a course of one night (I’m a sucker for 24 hour adventures), or the fact that it happened in a Sci-Fi Fantasy Convention and it brought nostalgia of going to one (I love going to comic cons), or the inclusion of excessive pop culture references (Pop Culture is life) or the bizarre chain of events that our two protagonists had to go through (It was a wild one) or the idea that Ana & Zak are two ends of a spectrum yet found a connection after a night of escapades and chasing down Ana’s brother in a geek convention.

The first time I read the synopsis at the back of the novel, I knew I would love this book. Bought at last year’s Manila International Book Fair, it took me ten months to finally had the time to read this pop culture-infused novel, (Of course, what do you expect? It’s a book about a geek in his natural habitat, so expect a looooot of fandom references). And I loved and cherished every single one. Before diving into the review itself, I just want to share that…I can’t believe I read this book in just five hours! I couldn’t put the book down and before I knew it was already 3:21 in the morning.

With a hint of The Beginning of Everything and Nick and Norah’s Infinite Playlist (which are two of my favorite young adult novels), I knew The Improbable Theory of Ana & Zak is a promising novel full of plots and dialogues I’m a sucker for. Basically, it’s now added to the list of my favorite teen fiction novels.

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My Mission as a Writer

The last time I saw my name on the byline of a featured article on a website was a year ago, January 24, 2017 to be exact. It was my fourth article featured on candymag.com.

Due to heavy workloads my university requires and different hobbies and goals I prioritized, I decided to push writing and submitting articles aside and focus on my academics, artistic exploits and personal growth, and besides I was enduring a painful writer’s block, I couldn’t finish one article or paper unless it was for school work.  I knew I have to bring back my mojo and rekindle my love for contributing articles someday and I prayed everyday that I find it soon but no luck came. If there’s anything good that came out of hiding in the shadows as a writer, it was me shining as an artist.

As I was still feeling the euphoria of getting my artworks in two different exhibits, one was FILED’s Fun On Fleek Planner Launch Art Exhibit on November 2017 and University of Santo Tomas Central Student Council’s Limitless: An Anti- Stigma Campaign Art exhibit on March 2018, I stumbled upon Caring Cup’s #ArtForEmpowerment Contest and luckily, my artwork made it to the top 10. After that, I  monitored the online community’s page for opportunities to join their contests and hopefully win some e-coupons for myself and the chance to share my work to millions of people. As I was scrolling through their feed, I was enticed by an article so I clicked the link and read the piece but I didn’t notice the description attached to the link the first time I laid my eyes on it, so  I read it the post description attached and viola! Turns out every month they look for contributors who want to share their story through written article or an artwork in accordance to their Giving Journal monthly theme.  I knew this was my chance and I knew that this time, I have to step up as a writer again. So I grabbed my sword and wrote with my heart.

 

 

June 2018 Giving Journal Theme:

“It’s not what you have. It’s what you do with what you have”



People can possess a lot of things—things that range from material ones to talents, skills, and abilities. But what intrigues me the most is what people do with what they possess. A number of wealthy people use their wealth to help make the world a better place by donating their money to charities, others fall in the state of blindness for the treasure they have and eventually goes into corruption and greediness. A number of people use their talents and skills not for the betterment of their lives but for creating something that destroys themselves or the well-being of others; take Dr. Poison from the well acclaimed movie Wonder Woman, she has the skills and intellect of an inventor & scientist but instead of devoting her abilities & time to serve the good, she uses her talents for the wrong reasons. Point being is that how people use with that they have is none of our business, it is their possession & life after all and from what I have observed, it usually falls on either side of the good and bad.

I, however, am gifted with a lot of things. I am gifted with the burning passion and determination of an aspiring filmmaker, writer, and artist. I am gifted with empathy & compassion. But most of all, I am gifted with an immense infatuation for the arts; I am given the talent of painting & creating images and scribing words and bringing them to life.

Focusing on the thing I love doing most, my passion for writing started at a young age, I attempted to write several novels at age 10 by buying notebooks and filling them with words after being inspired by J.K. Rowling’s Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone. At age 12, during my sixth grade in Elementary School, I won an essay writing contest as a first timer. Beginner’s luck? No. It’s my passion for writing.

When I knew I was gifted with such passion for writing, I realized what I have and what I must do in order to give God’s gift justice. I use my talent to inspire people through the words I write, but before I got to experience the euphoria of using the talent that I have to inspire and enlighten people, including myself, I had to endure the painful taste of failure. I lost an out of school writing contest for the short story category and it profoundly affected my motivation in being a writer. Writing is the only thing I have that keeps me sane when reality begins to get rough, it’s my medium to let all my emotions out, it’s the talent that I can proudly parade and hearing that I lost made me question my future in that field.  Every representative in our school won, except me. I fell into a short state of depression and anxiety.

After a month of doubting myself as a writer and brooding inside my room, I regained my confidence after one of my pieces got published in candymag.com on February 2016, my second article was featured on the same website on June 2016, my third one on December 2016 and my fourth article was featured last January 2017. What’s more fulfilling than seeing my name on the byline was inspiring hundreds of people through my words. I read all the heart-warming comments they left, I got a lot of messages from different people telling me that they loved my article because they can relate to it and that it inspired them. I may not own billions of dollars or mountains of diamonds but using my talent in writing to inspire other people made me feel like I’m on cloud nine.

Knowing that I have the power to inspire people through the words that I bring to life made me realize that I should use this talent for a great cause. As a collector and hoarder, I possess a lot of material items but what I give importance is the gift of eloquence through the words that I write. What I have is the talent of creating stories and the passion of bringing them to life. It may not be much but this is something that cannot be taken away from me. I am gifted with words, and I use that gift wisely because I know that words have the power to either inspire people or destroy them.

To interpret this month’s 2018 Giving Journal theme, it doesn’t matter if you carry  great amount of treasures in your pocket or none at all; what you have does not only rely on blessings that can be handheld, touched or seen with the naked eye, it can also be something that you possess internally or subjectively and it doesn’t matter if you are a gifted person or not, what you do with what you have–your talents, skills, and abilities, (and hopefully for the good reason) is what counts.

 

You can also view this article on Caring Cup’s website, by clicking the link here.

The Beginning of Everything

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Title: The Beginning of Everything

Author: Robyn Schneider

Genre: Young Adult, Contemporary, Teen Fiction

Date Published: August 27, 2013

Publisher: Katherine Tegen Books , A Harper Collins Publisher Imprint

Synopsis: Varsity tennis captain Ezra Faulkner was supposed to be homecoming king, but that was before—before his girlfriend cheated on him, before a car accident shattered his leg, and before he fell in love with unpredictable new girl Cassidy Thorpe.

Rating: 5/5

 

My Review

This is probably one of the best Young Adult novels I have ever read. Kudos to Robyn Schneider for creating this novel infused with Harry Potter references, I knew she was a fan of the series when I saw her wearing a Time Turner necklace on her photo at the back of the novel.

HOOKED. That’s the perfect way to describe myself while reading this novel. I finished this book in two and a half days but trust me, if it wasn’t for my Saturday class, a few school work on my plate and a college interview on a Sunday (Ugh, I know right? Sunday) then I would have probably finished this book in a day.

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Caring Cup #ArtThatEmpowers: I Will Not Be Silent

 

It has been four months since I saw a post by Caring Cup, an online community of the brand The Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf, announcing that they will be having a contest with the theme #ArtForEmpowerment in celebration of Women’s Month and chosen artworks will be made into greeting cards in partnership with Paper Project PH.

For someone who has experienced the euphoria of submitting artworks and getting them included in two different art exhibits, I didn’t want to let this opportunity pass, I was feeling optimistic and hopeful so I hastily opened my calendar from my iPad and set its deadline; at the very last day of Women’s month.

Before I submitted my lovely art piece I had to endure weeks of artist’s block. The days passed by until suddenly, the deadline was a just a week away, plus drowning in school work and preliminary examinations didn’t help at all. Luckily, Easter break came right after the last day of exams and I finally had the time to focus on my artwork. However, it doesn’t mean that I finally had the time means I can get work done easily. Having no motivations and inspiration hindered me from finishing my work, I created various artworks but I knew in my heart that it just wasn’t right; the piece lacks grandeur, it’s not picturesque enough or does not have a connection to me, therefore might not have the same connection to the beholders.

I was ready to drop the contest when inspiration hit me (I know cliche, right?).  Thus, my artwork entitled: “I Will Not Be Silent” was born.

I Will Not Be Silent

 

Here’s the story behind the artwork:

I Will Not Be Silent is inspired by Madeleine Albright. I chose this quote because women empowerment is becoming a very prominent act all over the world, and recently several movement has inspired women to come out of the shadows and share their story to the world, whether if it’s a good and inspiring story or a tragic one. For a long time women didn’t have a voice. They didn’t have a say on certain fields; they have always been looked down because the world has been accustomed to a patriarchal system. But now, women are starting to have a VOICE. Women everywhere are starting to get heard and once a woman finds her voice, she will never back down and never be silenced again.

Paper Towns

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Title: Paper Towns

Author: John Green

Genre: Young Adult, Contemporary, Teen Fiction

Date Published: September 22, 2009

Publisher: Dutton Juvenile

Synopsis: Quentin Jacobsen has spent a lifetime loving the magnificently adventurous Margo Roth Spiegelman from afar. So when she cracks open a window and climbs into his life—dressed like a ninja and summoning him for an ingenious campaign of revenge—he follows. After their all-nighter ends, and a new day breaks, Q arrives at school to discover that Margo, always an enigma, has now become a mystery. But Q soon learns that there are clues—and they’re for him. Urged down a disconnected path, the closer he gets, the less Q sees the girl he thought he knew…

Rating: 3.7/5

 

My Review

I started reading the novel on January 2018 because I knew it was the perfect way to bring back the nostalgia of being on a Paper Towns hangover because a year ago (January 2017), I watched and fell in love with the film adaptation of this novel by John Green. The spontaneous adventures, tight friendships and soundtrack made an impression on me. I thought the movie was loyal to the book since most of the lines in the novel during the first few chapters made it to the movie adaptation but boy, was I wrong, it was absolutely, entirely different.
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Love, Simon

 

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Director: Greg Berlanti

Producer: Marty Bowen, Wyck Godfrey, , Isaac Klausner, Pouya Shahbazian

Screenplay: Isaac Aptaker, Elizabeth Berger

Based On: Simon vs. The Homo Sapiens Agenda by Becky Albertalli

Starring: Nick Robinson, Josh Duhamel, Jennifer Garner, Katherine Langford, Alexandra Shipp,

Genre: Romantic Comedy, Drama

Rating: PG-13

Running Time: 1 hr & 50 min.

Production Company: Fox 2000 Pictures, Temple Hill Productions

Distributed by: 20th Century Fox

Release Date: March 16, 2018 (USA)

Synopsis: Everyone deserves a great love story, but for 17-year-old Simon Spier, it’s a little more complicated. He hasn’t told his family or friends that he’s gay, and he doesn’t know the identity of the anonymous classmate that he’s fallen for online. Resolving both issues proves hilarious, terrifying and life-changing.

Rating: 4.4/5

 

My Review

It’s difficult to act like you don’t know the events that will happen in a movie adaptation when you already read the book. It’s hard to feel surprised and feel the thrill of not knowing who Blue really is and/or if Leah has hidden feelings for Simon or Nick; the only way it could be done is if the movie adaptation completely strayed away from its source material and altered some details but for Simon vs. The Homo Sapiens Agenda’s movie adaptation, Love, Simon, well…they definitely changed important details that made my jaw drop I almost choked on the food I was eating but for the most part, it was kind of loyal to the novel.

Love, Simon has been creating buzz on the internet since the day of its release. It is popular among LGBTQ+ groups and pages on the internet and was also praised by critics, celebrities and famous personalities for being a teen romantic comedy we needed in this world where the support and acceptance for the LGBTQ is becoming prominent.

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Avengers: Infinity War

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Director: Anthony and Joe Russo

Producer: Kevin Feige

Screenplay: Christopher Markus
Stephen McFeely

Based On: The Avengers by Stan Lee and Jack Kirby

Starring: Robert Downey Jr., Chris Hemsworth, Mark Ruffalo, Chris Evans, Scarlett Johansson, Benedict Cumberbatch, Don Cheadle, Tom Holland, Chadwick Boseman, Paul Bettany, Elizabeth Olsen, Anthony Mackie, Sebastian Stan, Danai Gurira, Letitia Wright, Dave Bautista, Pom Klementieff, Zoe Saldana, Josh Brolin, Chris Pratt

Genre: Action, Adventure, Fantasy

Rating: PG-13

Running Time: 149 minutes (2hrs & 29 minutes)

Production Company: Marvel Studios

Distributed by: Walt Disney Motion Pictures

Release Date: April 23, 2018 (Dolby Theater)
April 25, 2018 (Philippines)
April 27, 2018 (United States)

Synopsis: Iron Man, Thor, the Hulk and the rest of the Avengers unite to battle their most powerful enemy yet — the evil Thanos. On a mission to collect all six Infinity Stones, Thanos plans to use the artifacts to inflict his twisted will on reality. The fate of the planet and existence itself has never been more uncertain as everything the Avengers have fought for has led up to this moment.

Rating: 4.7/5

 

My Review

“The movie of the century”

(Warning: Contains spoilers, profanities and very informal way of writing a movie review)

It’s been a month since the movie team up of the century arrived in theaters nationwide and the hype is still real. The internet is still loaded with Infinity War memes, theories, photos, posts and articles. To be honest I don’t know what to write in this movie review because it’s much easier telling my thoughts about this movie through Fangirl Language and facial expressions. Alas, I’m an introverted fangirl who wants to start a reaction vlog about the movies and series I watch but don’t have the courage to do, so I’ll just stick to writing. I’ll try my best to be cohesive and coherent because my reaction and thoughts for this epic movie is exploding and it’s everywhere.

First of all, I was going to watch the movie alone during opening day, but my family wanted to tag along and we decided to watch the movie Friday night, and since it was a Friday night it means it’s the perfect time to go watch the biggest movie event of the century. So my family and I decided to go to the theaters for an 8PM showing, but the theaters were already packed with moviegoers. It was the first time I saw our newly opened local theater packed with a big population of people who are ecstatic to watch a film. The line was just shocking, it almost circled around the place and it got me thinking if this is the situation here then how much chaotic it is in other theaters in the city. I bet that almost all of the theaters within our city (or even the whole Metro) are packed with moviegoers who are there for one thing only, Infinity War.

We opted for a 9:30 PM showing instead of a later schedule of 10 PM because I still have class the following day (Yup, Uni life means Saturday classes are normal). I was still glad I got to experience watching the movie on a big screen while it was still fresh in theaters (and also while beating all the spoilers on the internet) despite not having the best seat in the house (as what my dad would put it), we were seated on the second row meaning we would be having serious neck pains afterwards.

Okay, so here it goes.

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