Tag Archives: YA

Film Review: Fear, Love, and Everything, Everything

Living the first eighteen years of one’s life without being able to go outside might sound torturous, and while Maddy (Amandla Stenberg) doesn’t appear too miserable amid her books, models, writing, and dreams, she craves a connection with someone besides her mom, her nurse, and her only friend, Rosa.  Her wish is granted when Olly (Nick Robinson) glides by on the street outside her window, beaming up at his new neighbor and readily fulfilling the role of the boy-next-door.  Immediately their love captivates them, but Maddy’s illness, SCID (Severe Combined Immunodeficiency), makes getting together impossible.

Excellent performances from the two leads, as well as the supporting cast, combined with perceptive direction by Stella Meghie, brilliant writing from J. Mills Goodloe (based on the book by Nicola Yoon), and unbrazably solid work from the rest of the crew, create a fresh, engaging story for both teens and adults.  Maddy’s routine home life quickly escapes its dreary orbit as Olly courts her via text messages, through-the-window smiles, and a daring visit which threatens to debilitate her minimally functional immune system.  In a few surreal encounters with her longed-for boyfriend, dreamlike manifestations of their lovesick message exchanges, the partitioned lovers converse in bright white surroundings where Maddy’s childhood toy, a spaceman figurine, comes to life and drifts amicably around the room.

At the center of the story, the relationships between Maddy and her mother, her and her nurse, and her and Olly, have a lot to say about the transition from teens to adulthood.  As a physician, Pauline nurtures and fiercely protects her daughter from a world of potential hazards to her delicate health.  They spend time playing phonetic Scrabble and reminiscing about Maddy’s father.  She encourages her daughter’s interests as long as they don’t involve anything that could lead to her suffering down the road.  Carla stays with her while her mom is at work, and shows more compassion regarding the limited existence imposed by her illness.  Olly, concerned about the threat of Maddy’s immune deficiency, falls in love and above all wants to be part of her life.

Some of the film’s most beautiful scenes illustrate the triumph of love over fear, when the characters face the possibility of hurt and loss, yet overcome for the sake of life itself, for each other, and because their hearts insist they do.  “Where would you go, if you could?” he asks her.  “The ocean.  I’ve never seen it.”  The common viruses in the atmosphere outside her tightly sealed, thoroughly filtered house don’t prevent her from following this dream of living the perfect day, although perhaps they should.  A person with SCID could easily die after exposure to an environment that hasn’t been sterilized, air that hasn’t been purified, due to having little or no T-lymphocyte and B-lymphocyte cell function.  When Maddy comes face-to-face with a chance to fulfill her destiny, the germs don’t matter.

The second feature film for Meghie, the first starring role for Stenberg, Everything, Everything shines as a compelling film for young adults, that many parents can enjoy as well.  The protagonist never discovers the ability to see the future, regenerate her body in seconds, move objects with her mind, or command the elements of nature, but she’s a hero nonetheless.  What she does find is the strength to believe in who she truly is, and to walk by faith upon a path toward the woman she’s meant to become.

 

3 Great Books

 

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The Chronicle of the Three: Bloodline is the first book in a trilogy by the Christian author, Tabitha Caplinger.  The story follows Zoe as she discovers there’s more to life than the typical routine of school, friends, and family, and that she belongs to a line of ancient warriors destined to save the world from destruction.  Intriguing dialogue, suspenseful action sequences, and strong characterization make this an exceptional story and a fun and exciting read.  I recommend The Chronicle of the Three: Bloodline for fans of young adult literature and for anyone who enjoys tales of supernatural adventure.

Available at Amazon and Barnes & Noble

Summary:  Zoe thought the loss of her parents would be the most difficult thing she’d ever have to endure.  When she began seeing things she couldn’t explain in her new home of Torchcreek, Virginia, she was sure the grief was driving her mad.  Instead Zoe discovers she is part of an ancient bloodline, one destined to prevent the powers of darkness from condemning the world.  But Zoe, the daughter of the three, isn’t just another descendant—she’s the key to humanity’s salvation.  In this first installment of the Christian fantasy trilogy, The Chronicle of the Three, Zoe Andrews learns that not all shadows are harmless interceptions of light.  Some are a more sinister darkness that wants to torment the soul.

Author Bio:  Tabitha Caplinger has been in student ministry for close to 15 years, and currently pastors at Faith Community Church in House Springs, Missouri, with her husband Brian.  They have two sassy daughters, Lila and Rory.  Student Ministry is core to who Tabitha is; she loves discipling others and helping them see themselves through Jesus’ eyes.  Her goal is for every young woman to be confident that, “she is loved more than she will ever know by someone who died to know her.”  When not working, Tabitha and her family like taking in a good movie or walking through the park.  She also admits to being a little obsessed with TV.

Book Details:
Paperback:  190 pages
Publisher:  Vox Dei (October 13, 2015)
Language:  English
ISBN-10:  1513703110
ISBN-13:  978-1513703114
* also available for Kindle and NOOK

 

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An outstanding work of dystopian fiction, The Future King: Logres centers around Gwenhwyfar, a high school student who seeks a right path as her world grows increasingly dangerous.  Set in mid-21st century England, Gwen and her friends must navigate a turbulent and mysterious political scene, oppressive school conditions, and the intricate landscape of their personal lives to survive and hopefully fulfill their destinies.  M.L. Mackworth-Praed creates a multi-layered and inventive story, based on the Arthurian legends, through concise and descriptive prose and a unique sensitivity to the elements of successful storytelling.  This is an amazing novel and a great literary achievement.
* some bad language, brief violence, and scenes of physical intimacy

Available at Amazon and Barnes & Noble

Summary:  Britain, 2052.  In a world of war, disease and hunger the UK stands alone as a beacon of prosperity under an all-powerful ruling party.  Life at new school Logres seems promising for fifteen-year-old Gwenhwyfar, and quickly she falls for the school’s handsome catch, Arthur.  When Arthur’s rival, Lancelot, returns after a suspension, her heart is soon divided.  Realising that behind the UK’s prosperity lies unspeakable cruelty, Gwenhwyfar sets off on a path to dismantle everything the government stands for.  Suspenseful, raw and awash in a dystopian setting, The Future King: Logres is a story of identity and discovery against this backdrop, the second coming of the Arthurian legends.

Author Bio:  I’m a prolific doodler, which over the years has translated into being an illustrator; a here-there artist who dabbles with embroidery, and a keen writer with a taste for fantasy, sci-fi and young adult fiction.  I just self-published my first novel, The Future King: Logres, an Arthurian second-coming set in dystopian 2052 Britain.  If you like YA Fantasy or are a lover of the Arthurian legends then check it out!

Book Details:
Paperback:  518 pages
Publisher:  CreateSpace; 1 edition (December 5, 2015)
Language:  English
ISBN:  1516827244
ISBN-13:  978-1516827244
* also available for Kindle and NOOK

 

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The Last Magi: A Tale of Faith, by E.A. Sharpe, chronicles the journey of Artaban, the fictional “fourth Wise Man” to follow the star in search of the new born Christ.  This novel is joyous and engaging, a fast read while also inviting us on an epic adventure with plenty of humor, suspense, and awesome surprises along the way.  I recommend this book for readers of all ages who might appreciate a fun and unique perspective on the story of Christ’s Nativity.

Available at Amazon and Barnes & Noble

Summary:  A Christmas classic your children will read to their own.  “Wise, witty, profound and often poetic.  A tale for the ages.”  – Charles McClellan.  Now available as a quality paperback.  A compelling tale of faith, folly and the wisdom of the heart, The Last Magi is the story of Artaban, the fourth Wise Man.  Leaving behind his betrothed—the fiery and beautiful Rasha—he follows his fellow Magi to Bethlehem, there to crown “the child born to be king.”  But Artaban is too late; the infant and his family have gone.  Thus begins a quest that takes the Mage through the cities and wastes of Asia and Europe, through years of hardship and peril.  Mocked and impoverished, alone but for his sardonic servant, Ismail, Artaban doggedly persists, even as his body falters and his eyes dim.  Is it all for naught?  Told in ringing prose and rich with vibrant characters, The Last Magi is a gripping narrative of one man’s magnificent obsession, of love, danger, despair and redemption.  Here is a book to cherish, to read and reread.  Here is an old-fashioned fireside tale for children of every age.

Author Bio:  Ernest A. Sharpe is a professional writer living in Austin, Texas.  He has authored novels, screenplays and various forms of nonfiction for many years.

Book Details:
Paperback:  196 pages
Publisher:  Positive Imaging, LLC (December 2, 2015)
Language:  English
ISBN-10:  1944071024
ISBN-13:  978-1944071028
* also available on Kindle and NOOK

 

The Future King: Logres (review)

An outstanding work of dystopian fiction, The Future King: Logres centers around Gwenhwyfar, a high school student who seeks a right path as her world grows increasingly dangerous.  Set in mid-21st century England, Gwen and her friends must navigate a turbulent and mysterious political scene, oppressive school conditions, and the intricate landscape of their personal lives to survive and hopefully fulfill their destinies.  M.L. Mackworth-Praed creates a multi-layered and inventive story, based on the Arthurian legends, through concise and descriptive prose and a unique sensitivity to the elements of successful storytelling.  This is an amazing novel and a great literary achievement.
* some bad language, brief violence, and scenes of physical intimacy

Available at Amazon and Barnes & Noble

Summary:  Britain, 2052.  In a world of war, disease and hunger the UK stands alone as a beacon of prosperity under an all-powerful ruling party.  Life at new school Logres seems promising for fifteen-year-old Gwenhwyfar, and quickly she falls for the school’s handsome catch, Arthur.  When Arthur’s rival, Lancelot, returns after a suspension, her heart is soon divided.  Realising that behind the UK’s prosperity lies unspeakable cruelty, Gwenhwyfar sets off on a path to dismantle everything the government stands for.  Suspenseful, raw and awash in a dystopian setting, The Future King: Logres is a story of identity and discovery against this backdrop, the second coming of the Arthurian legends.

Author Bio:  I’m a prolific doodler, which over the years has translated into being an illustrator; a here-there artist who dabbles with embroidery, and a keen writer with a taste for fantasy, sci-fi and young adult fiction.  I just self-published my first novel, The Future King: Logres, an Arthurian second-coming set in dystopian 2052 Britain.  If you like YA Fantasy or are a lover of the Arthurian legends then check it out!

Book Details:
Paperback:  518 pages
Publisher:  CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform; 1 edition (December 5, 2015)
Language:  English
ISBN:  1516827244
ISBN-13:  978-1516827244
* also available for Kindle and NOOK