We’ll Always Have Page 187, Edward

by Vee ( I know right? She’s back with a sweet goodbye to her beloved Twilight franchise.)

There’s a new break up that has the paparazzi abuzz…the much followed relationship that started in 2008 between The Twilight Movie Saga and millions of women all around the world has ended.  Spokespeople for both camps tell us that they’ve parted ways amicably and wish each other all things wonderful.  They promise to remain friends via DVD and BluRay sales and rentals.

I’m not gonna lie.  For me, it wasn’t always the perfect relationship but as I look back on it, with everything said and done, I will cherish our time together with love, scent of stale popcorn and all.

I remember sitting in the movie theater, as excited as a girl on her first date, to see the Twilight movie on November 21, 2008.  If this had been a first date for realsies I would have said the “dinner conversation” Edward provided left much to be desired, but boy was he a good kisser.  I think all sins were forgiven – cough…Bella’s ceaseless lip biting…cough…and wait, did Edward just say he read that guy’s mind and he’s thinking about HIS CAT?!…cough – the very moment they had their first kiss.  Oh.  My.

Ok, ok, ok, so I think it’s only right that we rewind just a little bit to touch on how we first met, these books and I.  Metaphorically speaking it was through a blind date set up by my homie, and yours, Tee.  True story.  I refused but finally for reasons I don’t remember – perhaps Tee just broke me down – I relented.  And it was as if a clever suitor was wooing me with his delicious, toe curling words.  Who isn’t a sucker for a dude that says stuff like:

You are my life now.”

Be safe.” (Written in free hand calligraphy, no less.)

And so the lion fell in love with the lamb.”  (Ha, ha!  Just kidding…that was kinda cheesy, but I was so lost in the romantical saga that I was too far gone to care.)

My fervor for the written story was how I forgave New Moon the movie for making vampires brittle like a piece of frail marble (ick, that was so weird), or how Eclipse never quite captured the deliciously smug Edward handling Jacob after Jacob kisses Bella.  (Jacob: “May the best man win.” Edward: “That sounds about right…pup.”)

Of course, throughout the release of all the movies, I continued to be distraught by Bella’s lip biting and weird choking noises to express distress.  Did she swallow a piece of an apple that was too big?  Maybe her allergies while in Forks were killing her?  No one could explain it to me.  Add to my concerns the pained face Edward made (and the grunting noises?!?!) when he kissed Bella.  I worried, wondering if the good was enough to outweigh the “other” stuff.  P.S.  I totally KNOW he’s “supposed to be in pain”, but still…my own pain was starting to get uncomfortable.

BUT, it is only fair that we do touch on the good, is it not?  (Indulge me.)

Um, there was that one part in New Moon where Bella jumps into a very shirtless Edward’s arms and saves him from the sun’s rays and what they might reveal.

Page 187, as I will forever call that scene, when Edward shows Bella how he, um, remodeled his bedroom in Eclipse.  And though it was never quite as good in the movie as it was in my head, it was, uh, pretty good.

Of course, then came Breaking Dawn Part One, and I saw a true glimmer of hope that the series just might end on the up and up.  I present to the ladies and gentlemen of the jury exhibit A: the headboard scene.  Need I say more?

I would be remiss if I didn’t touch on the characters beyond Bella and Edward that I enjoyed in this relationship.  They were like your boyfriend’s friends and/or family that you really, really like hanging out with maybe a little more than you will admit you like hanging out with him.  Charlie – no wait that goes more like this: Chaaaaaaaarlie, Jessica, Mike, Alice, Carlisle, Emmett.  Let’s K.I.T. you guys…love ya.

And so, with some trepidation, much like my first date back in 2008, I arrived at the movie theater to witness the last interpretation of the book series that made me sigh as I turned pages on late nights in my living room.  I know that’s a lot of pressure to put on anyone, so I once again resigned myself to focus on the parts I really loved in Breaking Dawn Part Two, hoping to blur out the parts I didn’t.

To my utter delight I can report that my last date with this movie series was divine.  Not only was the story what I’d hope it would look like on the silver screen, but as the girl turned vampire — gasp — gone were Bella’s annoying quirks!  Not one cacophonous sound coming from her throat, if there was any lip biting, I didn’t see it.  And (BONUS!), with Bella’s scrummy, yummy, human scent a thing of the past, kissy faces for Edward no longer included the look of a man smelling rotten egg; this was replaced by a really H-O-T vampire in love with his new bride, getting steamy and all bothered.

And then all-a-sudden (WARNING: DO NOT READ BEYOND THIS POINT IF YOU HAVEN’T SEEN THE MOVIE…TRUST ME JUST SKIP TO THE NEXT PARAGRAPH…OK, YOU’VE BEEN WARNED…)…as I was saying, all-a-sudden, Carlisle’s head gets chopped off!  SAY whaaaaaaat?!?!  I know.  All sort of insanity ensues, to the point where I thought this was Melissa Rosenberg having a last, cruel laugh at my expense.  (She is and will forevermore be the byotch-who-stole-my-pads for the butchering of the first movie!)

So in the midst of insanity, just when I was about to cry and run out of the theater, sweet relief, they brought things back to what they were meant to be.  I’ve spoiled things enough already for those of you that didn’t heed my warning, so I won’t reveal what I mean by that…cuz it’s pretty fly.  Once sanity IS restored, the movie keeps the end rather true to the book in a most satisfying way.

I felt peace, happiness, a little breatheless from that crazay thing there at the end – but in a good way – and an all around sense of kumbaya.  Best break up everrrrrr.  And now, with a renewed sense of love  for my Twilight movies I can move on with my life.  I think I can actually watch Bella bite that lip knowing that perhaps, just maybe KStew decided that was going to be a character trait of pre-vampire Bella.  Edward and I will always have Breaking Dawn Part Two (and page 187), and we really do wish the best for each other as we move on with our lives.

Which is good since, now older and wiser maybe a little more mature even, I’m considering accepting a first date from this new guy who’s been giving me a bit of the stink eye for some time now.  Name’s Christian Grey, and word around town is he’s kinda dark and broody, filthy rich, knows how to play a mean piano sonata, loves to do the clever banter thing.  Wait a minute…

The Blood Lie

The Blood Lie by, Shirley Reva Vernick

It’s September 22, 1928, the Sabbath, and Jack Poole’s 16th birthday.  In the synagogue that morning, he feels restless, stuck in a remote little whistle-stop town in upstate New York.  But he doesn’t’ realize exactly how stuck he is until his little sister’s Gentile friend Daisy gets lost in the woods and he’s accused of killing her.

The Story: Sixteen year old Jack and his family are one of several Jewish families in the small town of Massena.  He seems to be a talented, ambitious young man.  Not quite fulfilled by the life he leads in Massena, working in his father’s dry goods store, not even the attention he receives from a lovely young Gentile, Emaline, is enough to appease his dreams of leaving the small town in upstate New York behind for the big city.

His dream of getting outta Dodge (or rather Messena) is entwined with his dream of a career in music.  A talented cello player, Jack dreams of music being his ticket to a career in the field he loves along with it being his one way ticket out of the dry goods business.  He remarks on how unfortunate it was that instead of Brooklyn or Boston, his father took a route that brought him to where his parents ultimately set roots and started their family.  He fervently prepares for an upcoming audition in the near future for The Bentley School of music.

Alas, his dreams soon seem threatened as he becomes the prime suspect in the case of a missing little girl who is his little sister’s best friend.

My Take: I always ere on the side of revealing too much, and in this case if I share any more of this story I fear I’d spoil it rotten for the reader.  So I’ll stop here and just share my reflections on this tale.  My first read of this book (and I just want to preempt this for Ms. Reva-Vernick by saying this ends positively – I think – so bear with me) left me feeling I wanted more from the story.  The subject at hand, i.e., discrimination, making assumptions about others merely for the fact that they are different than us, approaching a different culture or religion with fear and judgment because we don’t understand it seemed to have been managed on the surface; I wanted more.   I felt I wanted to get more into the characters’ psyche, their feelings too felt managed on the surface.

Then my young son, not yet in middle school but near to it, asked if he could read the book.  I’d read it and thought there was merit to it, particularly as he enters an age when his peers may begin to judge him more by mere surface factors, and as he enters a time when his world will expand and he will encounter people very different than himself.

Upon completing it I asked him what most stayed with him and his response left me a little impressed by him (and surprised at myself).  He said it was the moment Jack was asked to forgive those who hurt him.  It left enough of an impression in me that my young son arrived at this message to go back and read through the book once more.  And he was right.  Though it should have been apparent from the beginning, the concept of forgiveness is an important component of this book, brief but instrumental.  It reads simply enough that I left it as an aside as I concentrated on the terrible wrongs that were done to Jack, his family, and the members of his synagogue.  As I read the treacheries committed I myself may have mentally skipped this part having  a hard time myself offering empathy to the irrational, ill-willed characters who fostered the fear in other members of the community leading to mass hysteria and ultimately adding fuel to the fire of hate and misunderstanding.  And it was the voice of innocence that brought me back to the place of understanding that the The Blood Lie didn’t need more terrible details of what was done to that community. It is a story of a young Jewish man living in a time before “politically correct” was even a glimmer in the vernacular of society.  In history books it seems people easily dehumanized those who were different from themselves and this is the crux of the matter explored here.

Crush Intensity: 3.75/ 5 — Though I still hold to the fact that for my taste I would have appreciated more development and insight into the characters, the message most likely intended by the author was delivered.   I do think that, as revealed by the young sage evidently residing in my home, this book may speak more to a younger crowd, but when has that ever stopped me?  I think this is a worthy book that would do anyone good to read.

Mondays Bite: Chapters 16-20

by Vee

OMG, party people, so we are more than half way through this read through and, um, ya’ll, this is just killin’ me.  Bella just broke Charlie’s heart, and I knew it was coming, I DID, and yet I cringed and my chest got a little tight and, ack!  Sniffle, I love me some Charlie, I don’t like it when he gets all hurt in the ticker.  Though that is my least fav part of this book, it’s also nice to go back through it.  And, speaking of getting a little broken-hearted, next week will be the last of these re-reads, and then what do I do?  Sigh.  Ah well, for now, we’ll continue enjoying the fun.  Thanks, as ever to Ginger at GReads.  And check out this week’s host, The Reading Housewives of Indiana!

Now for some seriously good questions (well done Yani of The Secret Life of an Avid Reader)!

1. {SERIOUS question} If you where in Carlisle position, do you think you would have been able to fight off your vampiric urges? Would you ever bring someone into that life, as he did with Edward and Esme?

Ahhhhhh!  Too. Hard. To. Answer.  Yeesh, you made me, like, stop and use my brain wrinkles on this one.

Hmmm…I think had I been Carlisle’s age when this happened to him I may have given in into temptation, but if I was who I am now, I would definitely be able to.  And, as I am one who savors and needs others around her, I also think I would do the same when it came to Edward and Esme, and in the same way.  It would have to be someone who was already a goner, otherwise it wouldn’t be much better than eating someone for lunch, would it?

2. {FUN question} We are introduced to Edward’s playful side in these chapters, before he gets all manic about the new vampires, I think we have a better picture of who he is. If you had to describe him in 5 words, what would they be? Good and Bad qualities, whatever you like!

Intense.  Intelligent.  Artistic.  Observant.  Delicious.  Er, I mean, Dashing.

3. {LONG question} While re-reading I have been taking notes: observations that I have come across re-reading and comparisons to the movie. One of my notes deals with page 383, in which Edward screams at Alice there is no other option. The first time around I didn’t get that he meant the future that Alice saw for Bella as a vampire (because we obviously hadn’t gotten to that part), but now that I know the whole story I see that is what he meant… Has this happened to you? Do you have any examples of things that are clearer now or things that you have realized while re-reading?

I think your own observation on Alice and Edward’s exchange stands out for me too.  That’s probably the major thing in this section of the book.

4. {PERSONAL question} We haven’t talked about this yet, but I think the idea of your human gifts amplifying in your vampire life is interesting (Jasper’s control of emotions, Edward’s mind reading), what do you think your gifts would be?

Oooooh, good question!  Ok, let’s see…I think I’ve got this crazy “good/bad intentions” radar and I sense a lot of times when people are coming from a good place.  Much of the time I’m right.  Sooooo…I don’t know what you’d call that super power but that would be mine.  I’d like to be called an “Intents-Radar-Ninja”, please.

Oh, here’s a P.S. on this answer…I was talking to a girlfriend of mine about this and she said I am a swesome ninja mom and I’d be like an Esme (except, I’m hoping, a bit more multi-faceted).  Dude, I totally forgot that, I AM a ninja mom, not that I go around beating up people to protect my kids or that I am just THAT amazing as a mom, but I passionately, happily, fervently love being a mom, not just to my kids but to anyone who will allow me to mother them.  It’s my calling in life, and perhaps part of my Intents-Radar-Ninja self is actually just a part of being a Ninja Mom…so let’s scratch the above and please call me Super Ninja Mom in the future, thank you.

5. {SURVEY question} We are coming to the end of the book, what has been your opinion on this re-read? First, when was the last time you read it? Second, do you feel you like it more, the same, or less this time around?

It had been over 2 years since my last re-read.  When I do re-read this series, I like to do it when the weather turns cool.  It’s definitely the kind of book I like to go through when I need some cozy time with just myself so I can delight in something that’s 100% fun, 0% about making me grow as a human.  I know that sounds like an insult, but honest to goodness it’s not.  What I mean is that this is a form of escape for me and I love it.  I always say that I could never love this book more than I did the second time I read it.  The first time it was a major “wham bam thank you m’am”, and I’d like to apologize to the virgin book I took advantage of.  I just NEEDED to get to the bottom of this story, ahhhhhhh!  It was like Vee-catnip.  The second time around it wasn’t about finding out the facts, it was about savoring the information and noticing all the things I skimmed through in my quest for more, more, more.  So I suppose what I am saying is, the first time I read it like a man (this whole book as my virgin bride comparison is getting kinda gross, sorry), the second time I read it like me.  This time around I am enjoying it because I hadn’t done it in a while and it was a little like coming home.  🙂

And before we bid each other adieu til’ next week’s re-read, I do wish to leave you with my favorite quote of these chapters, as this is such a delicious quote it cannot go unshared:

“He leaned over to kiss the top of my head, and then groaned.  I looked at him, puzzled.

‘You smell so good in the rain,’ he explained.

‘In a good way, or in a bad way?’ I asked cautiously.

He sighed.  ‘Both, always both.’”

WHA?!??!  This is a little sick (on account of the “bad way” being that he wants to eat her as an after school snack and all) but this line KIIIIIIIILLS me every time.  Le. Sigh.

Mondays That Bite: Twilight Read Along Chapters 6-10

by Vee

Iiiiiiiiiiiiiiit’s Monday, and that can only mean one thing: I get to indulge once again in some Twilight talk.  OMG.  For those of you who missed the gushing, I am still tote’s sending my love to Ginger at GReads for starting the fun.

The questions below came to us from Lisa at Lisa is Busy Nerding.  I had tons of fun answering them (thanks Lisa!), and hope YA Crushers have their own ideas to add as well.  And now, without further ado, week two of the funnest thing ever: the Twilight Read Along.  (Yay!)

1.  Because we have to talk about it sometime – are you Team Edward or Team Jacob?  Does that impact how you re-read the book?

Um, Team Edward.  Moo.  A totally emotional decision, and I won’t even bother stating my case.  I just be lovin’ me some Edward.  (And Jacob is a smelly dog.  Sorry,  I just had to get one dig in…)

Re-reading the books I had a totally different experience than when I read the books the first time .  This was true with all characters, including Jacob.  The first time I read them I wanted to go as fast as I could through the story because I felt so much in suspense, wanting to get to the bottom of all these mysteries.  The second time around I was able to digest the characters and much to my chagrin, I was able to see Jacob with less disdain when re-reading the first book because I felt he did do a lot that, I must admit, redeemed himself for me when we arrived at the series’ conclusion.  (She says in a begrudging tone.)

2. Bella spends a lot of her time by herself in her room when she’s not at school.  What do you think this says about her as a character?  Can you relate to her introverted nature?

I think the picture of Bella that Stephenie Meyers is trying to paint is of someone who isn’t necessarily the stereotypical teen girl.  It would take someone beyond the standard stereotype to catch the eye of someone who has seen them all.  Evidently Edward agrees.  The fact that Bella is an introvert who decides what is right for herself, despite what others might consider cool, foreshadows what’s to come and the decisions she makes in future books, which aren’t based on what most of us might choose but what she feels is right for her.  The convictions are strong in that young Padwan.  (Sorry, I’ve been having Star Wars marathons with my kids this summer…)

Do I relate?  Yeee-eh-uh.  As someone who was 100% non-sporty (let’s just say the klutz factor got in the way of my Olympic gold medal plans), not to mention kinda shy, being in my room reading was a favorite pastime.  Books saved me (remember my answer to question #1 last week?).  I could escape in books.  Books were my best conversation starters (and still are, actually).  Books rock the house.  As does hanging out alone, having quiet time with just you and your book in your room.  Yay books!

3. Probably my favorite chapter of the entire book, chapter eight brings us dress shopping, nearly getting assaulted, and then wraps up nicely with a quaint dinner and confession time.  In this we see the blend of typical teenage existence starting to get tainted by the paranormal world.  If given the choice right then, would you push to know more about the paranormal, or bury your head in the sand and live the teenage dream?

Push to know more.  Push to know more!!!!!  Ahhhhhhh!  Sevehn.


4. Already, it’s pretty clear that Bella is falling for Edward.  Is this happening too quickly to be plausible, or is it totally reasonable to you? What about Edward do you find to be swoonworthy at this point?

Unlike the person who plays him in real life, Edward is well spoken and thoughtful in what he says.  And – ok, let’s review – words are the way to Vee’s heart.  Also, if there’s mushroom ravioli involved: I. Am. Yours.  But I digress.  Chemistry, as it relates to love, can be a pretty tricky thing.  So it’s not entirely that implausible that she’s already giving him some stink eye.  Lez see…he’s evidently super hot, he can talk real good, and he does swoony gentlemanly things that guys his age, sadly, don’t always know to do.  (Offers her his delicious-smelling-jacket?  Hulloh?  Oh, and also, he pays for dinner.  And it was mushroom ravioli…did I mention that?)

5. Jessica has to forcibly remove all of the details on what’s going on from Bella, but through that we learn more about how she’s feeling and how she’s falling for Edward already.  If you were in Jessica’s shoes, what would you say to Bella?

“Bella, that is some hot piece of…”, oh wait…that’s not a proper answer.  If I were me, but in Jessica’s shoes, knowing only the little that Jessica knows about Edward, I’d say: “Bella, this dude is a little too dark and broody (though admittedly really fuh-huh-hine) so just tread lightly and look alive!  No dark, hidden corners with him for a while, ‘kay?”  Because in the real world, where he’s actually walking down the halls of school, I would think it was a little scary.  Dark, broody, never talking to anyone???  Hmmm…  But still, he’s Edward so I wouldn’t completely discourage it, either. I’d just ask that she be a ninja about it and watch out, because I don’t know who he really is, right?!!?!

For a list of next week’s questions, be sure to visit  Jasmine and Jacinda at The Reading Housewives of Indiana and check back with us on Monday when we discuss chapters 11-15 (it’s meadow time, party people)!

Even the photo stills of the scene in the Port Angeles restaurant make me sad (I really don't think the screenwriter - or the director - did it justice in the movie - yes more whining), so the only thing I could bear to include this week, was a photo of mushroom ravioli. Sigh.

Mondays That Bite: Twilight Read-Along, Chapters 1-5

by Vee

For all that is good and Twilight.  Did someone just, like, ask the universe, “Universe. what could we do to make Vee’s life, like, awesome sauce?”  And the universe said, “Oh, I know, I know!  [Evidently the Universe is a smarty pants, know-it-all…] Re-read Twilight as a group and discuss amongst yourselves.”  For real?  Happy birthday to me!  (P.S. It’s not my birthday.)  And so, we begin with the first set of questions for the Monday’s That Bite read-a-long.  I’d love to send my personal thanks and devotion to fabu Ginger at GReads who came up with this idea!

Feel free to add your own thoughts in response to the questions posed…because Lord knows that Twilight issues are a heated topic. (I have my rotten-tomato-proof cyber vest on, so go ahead, it’s ok.)

1. Have you ever had to start over in a new place, like Bella did in Forks? This new place could be a school, job, or town… just something with a new setting. How easy or difficult was this for you? 

My “start over” moment was easier than it was for Bella, what without a bloodthirsty being trying not to kill me whilst he also professed his love and all.  I went from my neighborhood elementary school to a middle school that no one else I knew went.  It was a completely different setting going from a “regular” public school, to a private school for girls who were much more affluent than I.  (It was on a scholarship.)  It was definitely a learning experience and it took some adjustments but at the end of the day I can honestly say it was one of the best things that could have happened to me.  Once I stumbled upon the campus’ “Jane Eyre Fan Club”, I was aaaaaaalright.  OK, I didn’t really, but it was something like that.  Even back then, books saved me.

2. Do you picture the actors from the movie as the characters in the book while you are reading? 

Unfortunately for me, my brain was already biased.  I was convinced by my good pal Tee (yes this was all her fault, or so my beloved says) to read the books as the first promo photos for the movie were coming out.  So I will never know what “my” Edward looked like, though I will say, I am A-ok with the looks of the one that was cast.  And yes, that’s who I picture as I read.  And, physically speaking, that’s the Bella I picture (minus the lip biting, of course).  But Rosalie?  She’s supposed to be one of the most stunning women in the world. What happened?  Catherine Hardwicke, that crazy fool, thaz what.

3. What are your first thoughts on meeting Edward in Bella’s Biology class? At first he was annoyed by her presence, but then after a week away he returns & finds himself very interested in her. Do you think this helped or hindered the storyline? 

My first thought?  My first thought was:  “WTH?!?!?  What the flippity flap jack?”  I just couldn’t figure it out.  There wasn’t a clue in my head as to why he was so angry pants.  And it absolutely sucked me in from there.  There was certainly no turning back until I got to the bottom of that.  My opinion is tinted by the fact that I was one of the crazy people that went on to read “Midnight Sun” (the chapters released by Stephenie Meyer which was Twilight from Edward’s point of view) and so I think it is important to the storyline.  It’s confusing as crow though, I will admit.

4. Out of the secondary characters Bella meets at school, who is your favorite and why? (I am referring to the humans, not the vampires in this question.) 

If I am confined to picking a human: Angela, hands down!  Actually, Angela probably makes it to my top 5 even accounting for the vamps.

 5. There is a lot of dialogue between Edward and Bella in these first few chapters that I feel played a major role in developing their relationship. What are some of your favorite quotes? or moments? 

This is the singular reason why these books will always stay near and dear to my heart, despite any other nonsense (by which I mean all the hype, the Twi-crazies, the Twi-haters, so on and so forth).  I strongly believe this is why this book crossed so many generations in the crazay, it was the talking.  That’s how women fall in love…the talking, the banter, the feeling that this guy “gets you” where it counts: in your head.  Fav moments:

“Edward is staring at you again,” Jessica said, finally breaking through my abstraction with his name.  “I wonder why he’s sitting alone today.”  My head snapped up.  I followed her gaze to see Edward, smiling crookedly, staring at me from an empty table across the cafeteria from where he usually sat. 

Are everyone’s toes curled?  Just checking.

“Will you do something for me this weekend?”  He turned to look at me straight in the face, utilizing the full power of his burning gold eyes. 

I nodded helplessly.

“Don’t be offended , but you seem to be one of those people who just attract accidents like a magnet.  So…try not to fall into the ocean or get run over or anything, all right?”  He smiled crookedly. 

And one more for the road…

He glanced down at me from the corner of his eye, smiling wryly.  “I really don’t think I was invited.”

I sighed.  “I just invited you.”

“Let’s you and I not push poor Mike any further this week.  We don’t want him to snap.”

Let’s you and I…”  OMG, how much does a girl love to hear that phrase coming from her crush?  Just sayin.

For a list of next week’s questions, be sure to visit Lisa at Lisa is Busy Nerding and check back with us on Monday when we discuss chapters 6-10!

See? In my head...no lip biting, no awkward vampire, just banter and talkie, talkie. Oh, and some swooniness, but that comes later. Can't wait for chapters 6-10!!! ACK!

It’s Time for Summer…

                       The Summer I Turned Pretty, It’s Not Summer Without You, We’ll Always Have Summer by Jenny Han

Belly measures her life in summers. Everything good, everything magical happens between the months of June and August. Winters are simply a time to count the weeks until the next summer, a place away from the beach house, away from Susannah, and most importantly, away from Jeremiah and Conrad. They are the boys that Belly has known since her very first summer — they have been her brother figures, her crushes, and everything in between. But one summer, one wonderful and terrible summer, the more everything changes, the more it all ends up just the way it should have been all along.

Summer may very well be the official time time of the year for readers to bask in the glory of loosing themselves in a good book…unofficially speaking.  It’s a time to set down anchor, i.e. dig your toes in the sand, and escape to another world entirely.  As a top pick for YA Crush Top Ten Book Settings, Cousins Beach is not a bad place to escape to.  Just ask Belly.

 The Summer I Turned Pretty, It’s Not Summer Without You and We’ll Always Have Summer is the trilogy of books that takes us through important years in the life of a young girl, Belly. (Amy Han, how much do I love this nickname for Isabel?  Let me count the ways.)  Belly is a young girl who has always been “shadow” to the group of boys, her brother Steven, and their family friends Conrad and Jeremiah (a.k.a. the Fisher boys) during the summers they spend together at the Fisher summer home on Cousins Beach.  Susannah (Jeremiah and Conrad’s mother, a.k.a. Beck) is Laurel’s (Belly’s mom) life long best friend and each summer they take their children and spend the entire summer in a beach house which may be halfway somewhere between their two respective homes, i.e. their “real lives”.  I’m not clear on locations as anything but their “summer lives” is only spoken about in passing, as if life is a pattern of time spent at Cousins Beach and the rest of the year time spent waiting for Cousins Beach.  I would very likely feel this way too, if I had this rather idylic setting to go to…not to mention if Conrad and Jeremiah were waiting for me.  But I am getting ahead of myself.

From the time Belly can remember, these boys (Steven, Conrad and Jeremiah) have gone out of their way to treat her like a baby and to exclude her from their summer activities as much as possible (hence the whole “shadow” thing).  As you see the picture she paints of her interactions with them throughout the years – which we get glimpses of through flashbacks as well as in the present (present time being a 15-about-to-turn-16 year old Belly) – we are able to see what she can’t.  That through all their “girls have cooties” mentality, these boys are struggling the fact that they like Belly as a person, as a pal, and as they get older, maybe something more.  A phenomenal strength in these books is how Han has a way of allowing her character to be oblivious to things the reader can see without it being too far fetched: like a life-long brother type figure showing signs that he might just kinda, sorta like you.  Maybe.  But only if you like him first.

Another one for the “so-long-as-she-can-remember” list, Belly has had a monster-size crush to end all crushes for strong, silent, handsome, and somber Conrad.  Dreamy, mysterious and…very much not interested in her.  That’s Conrad in a nutshell.  This is the picture Belly paints of Conrad who seems to think of Belly as “just a kid”, a little sister type.  And, wouldn’t it make sense?  After all, they’ve spent their summers together since forever!

And so, our story begins to unfold this summer when Belly is about to turn 16 and, hello, she’s looking gooooooood by the pool in da summer house.  That bikini didn’t fit like that last summer!  What!!?!?!?  The boys are a little confused.  And alarmed.  And Conrad, allasudden is acting kinda like a cooooompleeeete jerkface (I seriously did NOT get Conrad for a while there, but just give him a chance friends…trust me, he’s gonna grow on you).  What’s his problem anyhow?  Could it be that, um, maybe that whole “little sister” thing was just a load of hooey?

And then there’s fun, sweet, total-opposite-of-Conrad, Jeremiah, Conrad’s younger brother.  Jeremiah is the light to Conrad’s dark.  For all Conrad’s moodiness, Jeremiah brings comic relief.  He can make everyone smile, and he has a certain sweetness that’s especially sweet towards Belly though he knows — because he’s not blind — that Belly’s heart is Conrad’s.  For now.  (What?!?!!?  I know.)  So instead, he is the best buddy-type a girl could ask for.  But is he really as perfectly lovely as he seems?  Hmmm.  Ya’ll know where this is going so can I get an “Amen”?  But before we can even think of that hot mess, we have one more boy in the life of this young Belly to meet…

As any girl with a major crush on a major hottie (read: Conrad) would do, Belly starts dating some other dude (no, not Jeremiah).  A perfectly nice, good looking, smart dude.  His name?  Cam…I think.  His name’s not Conrad, and that’s all I can think about at this point.  Alas, as nice as Cam is, and he is, all along she’s looking from the corner of her eye to see what up with Conrad…(inner Belly monologue: “Is he watching?”)  Han writes moments such as these so well.  Moments when a young girl’s own immaturity doesn’t allow her to see that as much as she says she “doesn’t care” about what her (alledgedly) former crush thinks, we know exactly what is happening.  We live through Belly’s first relationship, and it’s end, with a sense of ,”Ah, I was there once”, even if you didn’t start dating a guy you met at a 4th of July BBQ at which Conrad was a huge poo head when he realized some other guy was looking at you (even if he did at some point later that  night drukenly caress your hair and made you all jelly-kneed).

Navigating through to the books that follow Han takes us on a journey most authors might get tangled in but which she swims in fluidly.  There are struggles any teen girl (and former teen girls) can relate to, such as boy crushes, feeling awkward in your own skin, and a deliciously torturous love triangle.  Interwoven into these are harder life moments that not all of us have had to live through but which are so strongly written, the reader can’t help but feel the pain, such as divorce and father-son struggles.

One of the more beautiful branches in this story is Belly’s relationship with Conrad and Jeremiah’s mom, Susannah.  Dear friends since before they had children or husbands for that matter, Laurel and Susannah echo who many of us, ahem, more mature readers may be.  We’ve lived through these “Belly moments” of insecurity and feelings of awkwardness and we are arriving at a place where life is something else, perhaps something more complicated.  A place where we are either the mom who is able to open up and be vulnerable (Susannah) or the one who creates a shell of strength (Laurel).  And though at first glance one might think Susannah’s mothering style is the way to go, Han leaves some room for discussion.  Susannah is everything Belly wishes her mom was…fun and understanding, flexible and a little kooky.  In contrast Laurel is quieter, more reserved, but – though Belly can’t see it – loves her fiercely.   These women are an integral part of this story and the genuine way in which they are both written makes them a true shaping force for Belly as she starts making her way into adulthood.

As we move from book to book in the “Summer…” series, we see a Belly who is quite the riddle.  She personifies the contradiction we all were as adolescents: wishing things would stay the same and rebelling against them to stir up change.   During this time the families go through difficult trials that test their bonds to each other, and which ultimately bring them together even closer that they first were.  The journey, which includes a love triangle (I’m not going to say it out loud, but come on now, you’re way smart, I know you’ll figure out who it includes), is not an easy one but the results are certainly satisfying upon the last book’s conclusion.  I’ll just say this: the Jeremiah/Conrad debate is one right up there with Peeta vs. Gale and Edward vs. Jacob.  And I must add this for those friends out there who love them some love triangles: the Jeremiah vs. Conrad choice for me was not as clear cut as with these other book series (go Peeta!).

So, what could be better than a fabulous book for the summer?  These books may just answer that question: THREE summer books.  Especially if they are Han’s Summer books.

Crush level : 5/5 – Wonderful, wonderful and wonderful.  Thoughtfully written, with toe curling moments, tear jerking moments and moments that make you laugh.  These books touch on different types of love, they touch on friendship, family and life journeys.  These are books that you’ll treasure.  I loved them and I am looking forward to my friends’ daughters turning “just the right age” for me to gift these books to them (I’m hoping to channel a little Susannah for them).  Yes, I loved them that much.

2011 MTV Movie Awards: The Cliff Notes (Longest Cliff Notes Evah)

by Vee

Ok, soooo I am about 18 years too old to care about the MTV Movie Awards or find them in any way amusing.  That’s like the life of an entire person!  Who can vote!  Oh my.

Alas, books that turned into movies were nominated.  The actors who PLAYED the characters in said movies were there.  Someone had to watch this shiz and bring the news back to my people (that’s you — yes I am blaming this on you/using you as my scape goat as to why I am to watch teeny bopper award shows with Justin Bieber in them).  It was a sacrifice, but watching scenes from the newest Harry Potter and Breaking Dawn movies was just something I had to endure for you.  I hope you appreciate me!  Because I had to rewind, rewind, and rewind again, just so that I could get this all just right.  But more on the new movie clips to come soon.

I will go through the awards in order of how the events occured for the most part, but to be honest this article really has no plan.  Just my observations.  At times I’ll talk about what actors or the host said, and it may look like a quote, but I am just paraphrasing, because it’ll be a cold day in my oven on Thanksgiving if I am going to go look up exact quotes for this!  And in certain instances, I don’t know the name of some of the actors, because I am just too old to care.  So, if this is the case, I suggest you Google it.  I promise it’ll come up.

Jason Sudeikis

The Host: Jason Sudeikis

The Good – He doesn’t try too hard to “act young”.  He acts like himself, and he’s actually quite funny, but he also clearly knows “what up” in the MTV world.  So, as far as I could see, it was a good balance.  Also nice, he has good rappor with many of the A-list people on the scene, which allows for some funny, easy moments.  Example: Clearly he is a good bud of Justin Timberlake (repeat after me: looooove him), so after a few digs in his opening monologue (“You may know me from SNL, or as my family refers to it, ‘The Justin Timberlake Show’“), it was cute and hilarious when Justin (the first presenters of the night along with Mila Kunis) referred to Jason with one simple word: “A**hole.”  Hee. That might be offensive to some, to whom I say, this is Justin Timberlake!  He can do no wrong.

One of the best moments of the night?  When Jason made a joke about Emma Stone’s movie, “Easy A”, during his opening monologue and they pan to her in the audience.  Unlike other starlets who just laughed politely – if uncomfortably – Emma went stone faced, but clearly doing so to add to the humor of the moment.  That’s when I knew I’d been right about that Emma Stone girl.  She is awesome sauce and we should tot’s be friends (call me Emma).  Or, I could be like her mom figure and she can call me up for advice (just call me, we’ll figure it out).

The Bad: Jason, could you please cap your Schwarzenegger jokes about illegitimate children at 10?  That 12th one…bit of overkill.  Yawn.  And if I could just ask a favor: leave Maria Schriver out of the punch lines…she’s gone through enough with that LAB she had for a husband.  (Aggro much?  I know.)

The Ugly: His attempt at a musical moment (a la Hangover when that dude plays made up songs at the piano but which, though terrible, are hilarious) was a failure!  The only silver linings were a brief appearance by Foo Fighter lead singer David Grohl hitting the gong for him and Emma Stone, singing briefly with Jason.  Other than that it was just lame.

Now that's a bad morning...

Other good host moments: The opening clip had Taylor Lautner doing something he does really well (and I say this despite the fact that he’s a smelly dog that I hate!), which is to play the charismatic straight man to a comedian’s bits.  He proved this beautifully on his SNL appearance, and he is always a good sport.  And since I’m already on the subject of the opening clip, I might as well complete my thoughts on it and just say that Eva Mendes made me pee mah pants.  She wakes up (again, a la Hangover – which I LOVE saying for some reason) with a Team Jacob tattoo all across her cheek.  She flips out on Sudeikis and says, “WTH man, I am Team Edward, I’ve ALWAYS been Team Edward!!!!”  It was hella funny.  But maybe thaz just because I love me some Twilight (this statement however comes to be challenged as the evening progresses).

So on to the awards themselves…

Mila's got all the luck...gorg hair, and gorg co-presenter.

Mila Kunis (who had the best hair of the night) and JT (that’s what I call my man, Justin Timberlake) who were funny and genuine, presented the award for Best Male Performance.  For the record, they take my “Funniest Presenters of the Night” award.

Best Male Performance Winner: Robert Pattinson (Edward, moo) for The Twilight Saga: Eclipse.

Now you’d think I’d be all happy pants about this but alas, I was not.  I’ll be up all night if I make a list of everyone listed, so I’ll just tell you who SHOULD HAVE won: Daniel Radcliffe (Mr. Harry Potter, of course).  Did anyone who texted in their votes watch HP?  Serious?  I can’t even talk about it.  And then of course Mr. Pattinson gives one of those quirky speeches of his and you go…for reals?  You’re Edward?  Holy crow, indeed.  If only he wasn’t so pretty I would have broken up with him straight after this acceptance speech, but alas I did not — what can I say, he looked pretty good, he even looked like he’d washed his hair.  His acceptance speech moments progressively got worse, so my decision was not a wise one.

(Silver Lining: At least Taylor Lautner didn’t win.)

Then Steven Spielberg and his peeps from his upcoming movie Super 8 came out and showed us all a clip…and I think me smells a hit!  I’m crossing my fingers that this will be my kids’ generation’s Goonies…every generation needs a movie like that!

Now we come to Best Villain, presented by Steve Carell, Emma Stone and Ryan Gosling — who everyone thinks is all yummy pants but I get this sense from him that he knows he’s yummy pants so for me that always cancels any deliciouness associated with any pants, his or anyone else’s.  I don’t like it when you think your pants are yummy.  If you know, just shut up, pretend you don’t.  I’ll let you know if you’re right.  So back to best villain, who is tot’s a good one!

Best Villain Winner: Tom Felton (Drako Malfoy) of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part I (yay!)

Funny thing, though I wanted HP to get at least one win, which (spoiler alert) this was the only one (I know!), but I was just wondering why Aro of Eclipse was not nominated?  That would be a nod for Twilight that would have me saying, “OK, yea, that’s about right and it wasn’t just crazy Twi-fans voting 27,000 times.”   Sorry, Michael Sheen!  Oh, and also, sorry to Voldemort…a note to Ralph Fiennes you rock da house with your creepy snake face. For reals.

And then, guess what?  FOOOOOOOOOOO FIGHTEEEEEEEEEEEERRRRRRRRRRRRRSSSSSSSSS, thaz what!  Foo Fighters played their newest song, Walk, and were uuuuuuuuh, SO good, of course!  Reminded me that I need to add more pennies to my jar because I am tot’s going to be at their next concert!  Oh, but before that Jim Carrey came out and did an initially funny bit where he poked fun at presenters who did over the top stuff to get attention when really they are there to spotlight/introduce someone else.  He did so while wearing a fancy-high tech green screen suit (yes, you read that right) that switched up different scenes on itself.  That alone would have been funny had he chosen some outlandish scenes, maybe snapshots of himself to continue the whole self centered motif?  Instead he chose to keep inserting (no pun intended, believe me) a scene of two dogs doing, well, you know, the deed.  And as he went back to that scene, it would stay on that for longer and longer periods of time.  Now, I promise you, I’m not some huge, uptight prude.  I chuckled a bit at the first brief clip of the dogs.  Then the clip time kept getting longer and longer and I couldn’t help think of how young many of the kids in the audience were — and those watching.  It crossed over to the crass spectrum, for me (this is where people write me hate mail for being and old fogey who can’t take a joke anymore, and that’s ok).

And so we move to the next award presented by some comedians who’s names I just don’t know.  Sorry.

Really?

Best Jaw Dropping Moment:  The winner will make your own jaw drop, but luckily (and my Silver Lining on this one), Justin Beiber did not win this one for Justin Bieber: Never Say Never, Performance Spectacular.  Not when you had the likes of James Franco of 127 Hours cuttting off his arm or Steve-O of Jackass 3D bungee jumping INSIDE of a loaded porta-potty.  (And the clip of that was – well – jaw dropping, once you finished gagging).  But wait, what?  Oh, huh, Justin Beiber DID win.  Lest I get killed by the Justin Army, I think I am just going to quit while I am ahead on this one.

Then Josh Duhamel (yum), Patrick Dempsey (McYum,Yum), Shia LeBouef and the lucky, lucky girl who is in the new Transformers with them step onto the foggy stage (the fog machine worked overtime that night) and presented the award for…

Best Fight: Robert Pattinson, Bryce Dallas Howard and Xavier Samuels for Eclipse, for the scene when Edward rips Victoria’s head off.

I will admit, this was a strong choice.  And that’s all I have to say about that.  Ok, that’s a lie.  The acceptance speech would have been only too painful, had it been just RP up there, but luckily Bryce and Xavier saved the day with some actual gracious comments to the fans and some of the people involved in making the movie.  Thank you, Richie Cunningham, for teaching your daughter how to speak in public.  Thank you.  And Bryce, BTW, is preggers and couldn’t have looked cuter in her Grecian-style dress.  Interesting choice of color, I’d say, but at the end of the day, it worked for me.

After Jason sings on that gadnabbed piano (we’ve already gone over that, thank goodness), came one of the best moments of the night.  Ryan Reynolds came out.

Sigh.

Dear me, what a lucky sweater.

Wait, where was I?  Right…Ryan Reynolds (sigh) came out with Blake Lively and presented Best Kiss.  And, if you watched the MTV Movie Awards in 2009 and 2010, I don’t think you’ll be too surprised with the result.

Best Kiss: Oh yes friends…RP and Kristen Stewart (Edward and Bella) for Eclipse.  And ya know…the thing is, if you look at the other nominees, they weren’t all that fantastic.  I was kinda surprised by how few “good kisses” occured this year.  Nonetheless, I don’t mean to diminish th yummy-delicious-ness of the meadow kiss.  They are good at the kissing, those two, so congrats.

It was also nice how Kristen and Robert came up and made the best acceptance speech of the night. OK, no one believes me at this point, so why bother with the sarcasm?  OMG, Kristen Stewart.  I suggest, I beg, I implore, that you come over one day when my BFF Emma Stone is over for tea (that’s what we’re going to do, Emma and I) and we can talk about what not to do.  We’ll work on body language, work on some Pavlovian trick to help you not bite you lip all the time.  Trust me, it’ll be great!  It’ll be very The King’s Speech, you’ll love it!  Also, I think someone needs to ‘splain that a safety pin dress is not only not flattering, but since you wear shiz like that all the time, it has already numbed us to the look…sorry but you don’t look like a rebel.

Silver lining: Taylor Lautner and Kristen Stewart didn’t win for their Eclipse kiss (blech, blech, spit, blech, insert mouthwash, blech!).  Team Edward wins, ha!  But Robert did run into the audience to go plant one on Taylor and it was HIIIIIGH-larious.

Let us just take a moment and compare...hmmm...

And them Hermione came out (ok, fine, Emma Watson) and I was all…awww, you look so cute with that short hair.  Her white dress (she looks great in white) was a little “old” for her, for my taste, buy she made it work.  And anyhow, who cares, she came out and showed a clip of the very last, sniff, sniff, Harry, weep, weep, Potter, buahhhhh!, Movie.  Sniffle.  The clip for Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Part II was totally satisfying and I can see that this movie is going to be worth every single penny I spend seeing it in the movie theater 5 times.  Or 12.

The boy who lived, come to die.  AVADA KADAVRA!!!”  [Kablaaaam!] Hearing Voldemort pronounce this line just like it appears on the pages of the book followed by the flash of his wand (hence the “kablaaaaam”) was enough to get me a little chokey-choked up.  The clip gave me confidence that this final movie is the brilliant culmination of the equally brilliant Harry Potter movies that have come before it.  Ahhhhhhhhhhhh!    Can’t wait!!!

And thus we arrived to the point of the night when the Generation Award was presented to Ms. Reese Witherspoon. (Love her!  Reese, you should call me too…maybe you can help me and Emma with this whole Kristen connundrum.)  Patrick Dempsey (McYummmmm), Robert Pattinson and Chelsea Lately said some words before having her come up to accept her award.  The video clip in her honor was excellent and hit its mark…I knew pretty much all the movies, but seeing all her hits one after another after another made me stop and think, “Wow, look at this Reese…sistah, you are accomplished!”  I did, I said it out loud and my beloved looked at me like I was cray-ZAAAAAAAY!

Patrick Dempsey shared his admiration of Reese in his classy, suave way (nice suede jacket, BTW).  And then came Rob.  Rob, Rob, Rob.  Rob.  For starters he pulled out his crumpled notes from his back pocket, which throws you off because Patrick had just finished speaking without any notes.  So Rob made reference to his sorry-ass looking piece of paper and Patrick and Chelsea were like, “Dude, use the teleprompter??”  Except, and this was funny…under his section for the teleprompter it just said “ad lib”, which he quickly pointed out to the two of them.  So I don’t know if something beyond his control happened, in which case I’d like to know so I can send him an apology note for judging him.  OR maybe he didn’t get his notes to the intern in charge of typing them into the teleprompter in a timely manner.  You decide the most likely of the two theories.

And so he reads off his speech, which included inside jokes with Reese (kind of like a middle schooler making a speech for his best bud who wants to show just how close they are, them and their inside jokes and all) that no one got.  At a certain point it was clear that even Reese was trying to figure out what he was referring to.  This was followed by his fumbling a joke’s punchline (during her acceptance speech Reese fixed it for him, and then everyone laughed).  Robert was so off that it made Chelsea Lately clearly uncomfortable.  Now that’s talent.  Patrick looked like he wanted the ground to open up and swallow him.  I kind of wished the same thing for Rob, just to spare him further embarassment.

FINALLY Reese came up and gave and outstanding acceptance speech.  She started by saying that she knew the mystique of “the bad girl” is intriguing but that it’s possible to make it in Hollywood and remain a good girl.  That you do not need a reality show to make it in Hollywood.  She wanted young girls of America today to know that “in her day”, if you made a sex tape you were so mortified you’d hide it under your bed [not put it on You Tube], and if you took naked pictures of yourself, you’d try to hide your face [not Tweet it]. WOW.  I loved her before, and now I am a fan for life.  Good for you Reese!

After some other comedy bits which, evidently, were quite forgettable, Jason Segal and Cameron Diaz, looking chic and effortless in a black short/blouse set with a thin black belt, presented…

Best Line From A Movie: Alexys Nycole Sanchez for the line: “I want to get chocolate wasted,” in the movie Grown Ups

She was darling and, obviously her parents prepared her well for her acceptance speech. Perhaps someone should forward them Robert’s parents’ digits, see what they can do to help.  And for the record, I want to get chocolate wasted too, Alexys!  Good job!

Honorable Mention For Vee: One other nominee who was a worthy opponent, from my BFF’s movie, Easy A:

Amanda Bynes:  “There’s a higher power who will judge you for your indecencies.”

Emma Stone: “Tom Cruise?”

Hee.

Ashton Kutcher, looking very David Grohl-wannabe despite his bow tie, and Nicki Minaj presented Kristen Stewart (are you surprised?) with Best Female Performer.  And in this one instance, I have to share who she was up against:

Emma Stone, Easy A
Emma Watson, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 1
Jennifer Aniston, Just Go With It
Natalie Portman, Black Swan

Now, I get, really, that this isn’t the Oscar, but for reals????   Ahhhh!  My most heartfelt apologies to Hermione.  And well, you know how I feel about Emma Stone.  You had two Emma’s to choose from!  All you had to do was pick one of them!  Instead, you chose the lip biter.  Well done America.  I don’t even want to talk about the lip biter’s speech.  I don’t.

You cooould go with this...

Leyton Meester, Selena Gomez and Katie Cassidy came out and introduced the rapper Lupe Fiasco who offered a solid performance.  I bobbed my head a bit as I watched it.  But what I really want to talk about is Leyton Meester’s dress!  Ack!  Was Loehmann’s having a sale on Granny mini-dresses?  Worst dressed of the night for me.  And that’s taking Kristen Stewart’s safety pin dress into consideration.  In contrast you have sweet Katie Cassidy’s fresh crochet-looking white dress which was not my fav but which beffitted her age and the tone of the awards, and one of the two people who I thought were best dressed that night, Selena Gomez.  That girl has the best stylist in Hollywood.  For the past year I’ve noticed just how incredibly fabu she is dressing.  (If you’re curious, my other best dressed is Emma Stone, but I am almost embarassed to say it because I am starting to sound like a stalker.)

...OR this. Tough choice, I know.

Jason Bateman, some other comedian dude I don’t know, and Jason Sudeikis presented…

Best Comedic Award: And the winner is…on your feet, ladies and gents…Emmmmmmmaaaa Stoooooooone, for Easy A.  Nuff said.

Fabulous!

(Except that her dress and demeanor were perfect.)

Then came the piece de resistance, and the thing many a 13 year old girl across the country asked if they could stay up late to watch, even though they shouldn’t have been allowed to…RPatz, KS and Taylor Lautner came out and introduced, in their own suave way (do we have to go over this anymore?), the Breaking Dawn, Part 1 trailer.  Ahhhhhhhhhhh!  (What can I say, I am still a suckah for this story.)

In consideration of how inhumanly long I’ve made this article, I’ve written another article with details about this clip (and you knoooow I have details on this!).  You can click on this link if you want to read all about it.  For those of you who don’t want to go that route, I’ll just say the most important thing about this clip: There. Was. Headboard. Breakage.  Thaz right.

Think I just about barfed of joy. And relief.

And truly, as skiddish as I am after three movies that really don’t do justice to the books (Universal, why didn’t YOU buy the rights to Twilight?  Forks could right now be in Florida, right next to Hogwarts, and my life would be complete), this did in fact looked pretty good.  The wedding scene was just right.  Yes, for the first time ever, I am actually saying that a scene from one of those movies looks like the picture I had in my head.  And now I feel like I’ve jinxed my chances for a satisfying movie, so I’ll just move on.

Annnnnd finally, best movie.  But before I state the obvious, I’d like to give a shot out to the presenter, Gary Busey, who came out in a plastic hamster ball to present the award, which I can only commend him on.  I mean, if I had to present this award to the winner, when movies like Harry Potter and Social Network were nominated, I’d have some sort of protection against any rotten tomatoes thrown my way.

I can’t even make it suspenseful, because, guess who won?  Yea, I know you know already, but couldn’t you just pretend to be surprised, for my sake?

As much as this hurts...thank you Taylor. Ow.

Best Movie: The Twilight Saga, Eclipse

Once again I’d like to say…what?!?!?!  Did they not see that HP was nominated for this one either?  Weep.  I have no delusions, I know that this isn’t the Oscars, it’s not an awards show where Black Swan is going to win, even when nominated against Eclipse, but really?  If the voice of teen America is being represented, and teen America is self-centered enough to pick Eclipse over Harry Potter, I’m kinda worried.  Just sayin.

No, I was not kidding.

Silver Lining: No, not the hamster ball.  Taylor Lautner gave a very nice acceptance speech, that smelly mutt.

And thus concludes the longest article ever written for YA Crush.  Thanks to those of you who stuck through it.

Breaking Dawn Part 1 (Review of the Trailer…really)

by Vee

Yes, this is in fact a write up on the 45 second (or whatever) preview of the first Breaking Dawn movie that they played at the 2011 MTV Movie Awards.  This article is a companion to my article on the awards, so read that one first, if you would.

I loved the BD clip so that I just had to write a separate little section for it.  So sit back and enjoy.  Cuz if you’re here you’re clearly playing for my team.  The insane team.

We start with some Volturi hottie walking down the corridors of the Italian vampires’ compound with an envelope for Aro.  He is the first in the chain of people that follow who we see open the most anticipated wedding invitation since Will and Kate’s: the Cullen/Swan wedding invitation.

Last person we see check it out is Jacob who’s reaction to the news is to run out to the forest and take off his shirt in mid-run.  Naturally.  I’d take off my shirt too, it’s a perfectly natural reaction to the news.

Side note on one of the peeps opening their invitation: I do declare they re-cast Bella’s mom!

Then we get the much awaited glimpse of the wedding ceremony.  And if you don’t blink, and rewind it 2 or 3 times, you’ll notice Steph on the left.  If you need me to tell you who “Steph” is, get off my page, right now.

All the guests are dressed in hues of blues, lavenders and greys, which I love!

There are flowers hanging atop, just as it reads in the book.  Well hallelujah, they got one right!

Edward looks scrummy but you may be distracted by the complete stranger standing in front of Carlisle with the super low cut taupish/lavenderish/greyish dress.  Hulloh?  Who did that extra have to pay off to get such a prime seat?  I lost a bit of sleep over that one, I must confess.

Bella stares lovingly into Edward’s eyes (congrats for having one dramatic scene in which you don’t bite your lip Kristen!), and looks lovely, lovely.  Well done, make up and hair team!  And look-it, there’s the famed hair comb with the sapphires! 

And then it’s off to the honeymoon and a glimpse of next year’s MTV Movie Award best kiss nominees.  But HOLD THE PHONE.  They actually gift us with some headboard breakage!  What?!?!?!  Theorectically (and factually) speaking, the moment is but 1.5 seconds long (I counted and it was like, “One Mississippi, Two Mississ…over), so rewinding it 7 (sevehn) times is recommended.

But alas, if you’re going to break the headboard (spoiler alert), you must be prepared to carry the blood thirsty spawn of your vampire baby daddy. 

This sneek peek was siriusly Twi-rific!

An Ode to Dessen’s Dudes

By Vee (with a tidbit from Tee, since Vee stole Tee’s two fav Dessen guys)

For the love of all that is good and holy, I heart Dessen Week.  I’d like to thank the Universe for one Ms. Sarah Dessen.  Because without Sarah – we’re on a first basis she and I – I wouldn’t be able to write an article  about Dessen’s boys, and really, what would I do then?  Write about The Hunger Games casting?  Well yea, but, then what would I do the rest of the month?  Come on now.

My favorite Dessen boys are artistic (so they’re sensitive and shizz), laid back, sure of who they are.  A perfect contrast to the more high-strung heroine who is generally struggling with issues like self-confidence, self-worth and self-doubt.  It’s good times to be a Dessen boy.  And to date one too.  They are fo sho deep thinkers, and pretty dang funny, in a clever way only a smart guy can be.

Our Fav Dessen Boys…

Wes from The Truth About Forever– Oh, hummuna, hummuna.  Wes, darling Wes.  Wes is like, the Dessen pinnacle of perfection, by which all other Dessen boys will forever be measured, and, as much as I love me some Dexter, Wes is IT.  He is serenity, he is cool, calm, and collected.  In the midst of the chaos of the catering world he and Macy work in, he seems to walk into a room and everything goes still.  Like in slo’ mo’.  Because he’s suffered enough and lived through enough that he pretty much can see that little problems like wine getting spilled on a fancy pants white carpets ain’t no thing but a chickan wing.  And um, he is also pectorally gifted (in my head).  He puts the SAH- in SAH-woooon!!!!

Dexter from This Lullaby– Dextaaaaaahhhhh!  If I saw him walking down the street in Crazytown, that’s exactly how I would say hi to him.  I love me some Dexter.  He appears to be just fun, and carefree, and you gotta love him despite his apparent inability to tie his shoelaces.  For all the smoldery-ness of Wes, Dexter is the comic relief.  He could talk his way out of Hades, if he needed to.  Though he is softer in the chestal area, and doesn’t seem to have a stink eye in him, he is still totally charming and utterly fun to kick it with at the 7-11 while you sip on a Slurpee.  And then, just when you think you have Dex all figured out, he goes and slaps out some major insight into why  you’re so messed up and afraid of love, and you’re all, whoa.  True story.  OK, maybe not true story, but definitely an awesome YA story!

Owen from Just Listen Oh Owen, you look like you’d be this mass of tough guy but really you’re just a kind-hearted  softie just waiting for the right girl.  You lay your cards on the table, let the chips fall where they may and go with what your gut tells you.  Plus, dude, you’re a DJ music man, always walking around with your iPod (ready and willing to share your awesome music insight with the world around you).  I’m gonna be honest.  Dessen had me at iPod.  I love guys who love music (real music, not obnoxious rappy stuff). Also, being tall, studly, dark-haired and pretty hot never hurts.  (Tee)

Honorable Mention:

Bert from The Truth About ForeverWhoa, hold on. I know he’s a gigantor dorkhead. I know he’s crazy obsessed with Armageddon and aliens and goodness knows what else.  I know he can barely put together an acceptable outfit without Kristy’s help.  I know he calls his car the Bertmobile, but for the love of everything holy, can we get Bert some action?  These are all reasons to love him! (Tee)

Ack, good one!  Donneven tell me there is anyone out there who doesn’t love Bert.  I am sure there’s a girl out there in fictional-book-world at an Area 54 Convention who thinks Bert is awesome sauce.  That is one perfect honorable mention.  Shazaam.  (Love, Vee)

This Lullaby will keep you awake!

This Lullaby by Sarah Dessen (moo)

So then what is it about Dexter that makes it so hard for Remy to follow her own rules? He’s everything she hates: messy, disorgan­ized, impulsive, and worst of all, a musician like her father. The father Remy never knew, the one who wrote a famous song for her but dis­appeared from her life. Remy has never had trouble getting out while the getting is good. But there’s just something about Dexter. . . . Could it be that Remy is finally finding out what all those love songs are about?

Sarah Dessen, acclaimed author of Someone Like You and Dreamland, gives readers her most captivating novel yet, as she introduces us to a girl who believes her heart is made of stone and the boy who proves her wrong.

Remy is a self-professed hard-ass.  There’s a place for everything and everything is in its place in her world, including her men.  She dates guys until she thinks, essentially, things are getting too comfy.   Then she lowers the “we need to talk” boom.

At her young age (just graduated high school), Remy has created the idea that all relationships are doomed to fail.  This is in part due to her mother’s numerous marriages (5 to be exact).  Not to mention (watch me get down with my pre-psych self up in da hiz houz) her feelings of abandonment that stem from her famous musician father, a man she never met.  He died of a heart attack when she was just a tiny thing,  but not before writing a song he would be known for in pop culture, the ballad “This Lullaby”.  In the lyrics he expressly wrote for her, he essentially tells her, “I am a good-for-nothing, will always disappoint you, but at least I wrote you this song”.  A song which has become an old favorite in pop culture, which means, she gets to hear it on the overheads of elevators, and in commercials as background, on a fairly regular basis, much to her chagrin.

Slap on top of all that a sad and difficult experience in the boy department during her sophomore year, and call it the last nail on the coffin.  This all is what created a girl who never wants anyone to get too close, because they will ultimately end up hurting her.  So instead she hurts them first and protects her already fragile heart.  Part of her system includes various hard and fast rules about who she’ll consider date-worthy material, and who she won’t.  Example?  No musicians!  (I know you saw that coming.)

Enter Dexter (Dextahhhhhh!).  A funny, carefree musician (say what??? I know…) who doesn’t seem to take anything too seriously.  Remy meets Dexter at a car dealership where she awaits to finalize the last of the wedding details with her newest stepdad-to-be (a car salesman who sells Corollas by the boat load).  Her mother, a writer of romance novels, is too busy writing her newest saga and, as ever, depends on Remy to take care of those pesky little details she just can’t seem to be bothered with.  It is in the midst of this frustrating moment that Dexter, quite literally, bumps into Remy (ouch) and royally ticks her off.

Not discouraged by Remy practically threatening to end his life (the bump really hurt), Dexter decides this crazy beast is the girl for him, and so his pursuit for this feisty girl begins.  Despite Remy’s failed attempts to discourage Dexter, he finally wins her over and a large part of the book is spent with her talking about her game plan to a) not fall in love with the Dex-man (good luck with that sistah…) and b) how/when to break up with him before her departure to Stanford University (yea, she’s a smart one).

In the meanwhile, we get to kick it with Dexter and his band mates who live in this utterly groaty house (they’re all dudes, so it makes sense that they only have one spoon between the 3 of them).  There we see a new Remy, with a slightly smaller stick up her…you know.  A girl amused as she bears witness to contests such as the  “Bet You Can’t Eat 7 Bananas” bet, and listening to the musical musings of his band Truth Squad.  This, BTW, includes “The Potato Opus”, a collection of songs (not one, a collection, party people), that somehow or another come back to the potato, in its many incarnations, including the sweet potato.  Really.  (Loooooooove it!)

You know the emotional shizz is gonna hit the fan when, contrary to the way it went down in past relationships, she keeps putting off the “distancing” portion of her plan deciding that there is still plenty of time to lower the boom.  Hmmmm…

Right from the get go, I was concerned this Remy girl and I were not going to be friends.  She was so negative, so crusty in her shell of man-hate.  But this is where the genius of Sarah Dessen comes into play.  She takes a girl I found to be hardened, sarcastic, jaded, and made her into a character that I could empathize with.  A girl whose vulnerability is plain to see despite her best efforts.  Someone you want to hope the best for.  I’d go as far as to say, I’d even be her friend.

All the characters in this book are thoughtfully written, each of them playing an integral role in who Remy was/is/will be.  Among them, Remy’s brother Chris is a voice of reason where you least expect one.  Her three best friends, Chloe, Lissa, and Jess, all highlight a different facet of Remy’s personality, offering her (and us) different perspectives in various situations.  Her mom who you may first dislike, and then (a classic Dessen move), becomes someone who will surprise.  And, in case I haven’t gushed enough, gotta send some love to my Dexter.  Seemingly incapable of basics such as tying shoe laces and holding down a decent job, he turns out to be a wise soul who sees straight through Remy.  The fact that, despite all her walls, Dexter can peer inside Remy’s heart and see love is incredibly alarming to Remy.  To the reader its a glimmer of hope where one is sorely needed.  She will have to decide if she is willing to risk what she has been protecting for so long for the sake of this wonderful guy.  Sigh.  Good stuff, friends.

Crush Level:

4.75/5– All in all, on many levels, this was a wonderful book.  Yay Sarah!  I’ll say this much: after Mother’s day breakfast, flowers, cards, and a bike ride, my beloved asked, “So now what do you want to do on your day?”  Silliest question I ever heard.  So we put out some snacks, he tossed the baseball with mah babies in our yard, and I sat and read this book in one sitting only pausing for dinner and bedtime rituals.  Best mother’s day everrrrrrr.  I loved this book and I just couldn’t put it down.  The reason I nicked .25 from my crush?  I get that there is a purpose behind Remy’s self-deprecating ways, that there is a level of self-hate there that she has to work through, but she called herself a byotch just one too many times for me.  Maybe I just needed her to call herself something else, and that would have made the diff.  Like you know, switch it up to “I’m a crazy-boy-hating-ninja”.  Just sayin.  All in all though, this book does what most Dessen books do for me.  It put me in the middle of feelings I’ve felt before, I could practically be in the book, having a Zip drink (real life translation: Slurpee) with friends at the local Quik Zip (translation: the 7 Eleven) feeling like this was my last summer before college.

How I see it:

Kristen Kreuk...not a very accurate Remy, but this is what the brain eyes saw.

Remy: Ok, I will confess, I was utterly distracted picturing Dexter, to really think of what anyone else look like.  And truth be told, I have some sort of bizarre bias that makes me default to brunettes for most of my literary characters.  No offense.  Some of my dearest friends are blondes. I wanted a Remy that was soft and vulnerable looking, and gorgeous – which we are told she is – but that could kick some arse when needed.  Except it would come out of left field because she’s petite and pretty.  Also, she has to have good hair.  She works in a hair salon, you know.

Charlie McDermott is tote's my Dexter

Dexter: The man without the plan, but always seeing the bright side.  Love him.  He sounds messy in every way, and yet you still are ok if he wants to hug you.  Cuz he’s just so cute.  (And funny, never underestimate the power of funny).  Charlie McDermott has got those messy black curls that need a hair cut, but you wouldn’t dare chop off, and as he has proven in his performance in “The Middle”, he can be a funny slob.  I couldn’t resist but to typecast!