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Divergent vs The Hunger Games

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So I spent the past three days reading Divergent which is the debut novel by author Veronica Roth released in 2011.

I was quite apprehensive about reading this book because I heard a lot of people comparing it to The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins, and a lot of people were saying it was just a copy of that trilogy.

I decided to give it a go anyways seeing as the movie is coming out next year and Shailene Woodley (who I adore right now) will be playing Tris, the protagonist.

All I can say is thank goodness I did give the book a go, because not only was it a fantastic read, I can also happily concur that is in fact NOT a copy of The Hunger Games. In fact, I only saw a few similarities which I will discuss below.

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So what are the similarities between Divergent and The Hunger Games?

Both novels are set in dystopian time, and both novels are on the verge of a civil war outbreak. The main protagonist is a girl who at first appears weak and is disliked by figures of authority, but both appear strong, brave and fearless toward the end of the book, all in the name of protecting the ones they loves, their family.

So yes, I can see some similarities between these two novels, but does this mean one is a copycat version of the other? Definitely not. I think the thing people are confusing is theme vs plot.

Yes, the themes of these two books are similar, in fact they are practically the same. But the plots of both novels are extremely different.

The Hunger Games follows the story of 16 year-old Katniss Everdeen. The Hunger Games is an annual event which sees one boy and one girl aged between 12-18 year old, from each of Panem’s (post-apocalyptic North America) 12 districts fight to the death, until only one remaining victor stands. This is the Capitol’s way of punishment to remind them of the rebellion of district 13 (which no longer exists) against the Capitol. Katniss’ younger sister Prim is chosen to enter the Hunger Games, but Katniss volunteers as tribute to save her sister. The book then follows Katniss’ journey through The Hunger Games.

Divergent on the other hand, is the story of Beatrice ‘Tris’ Prior. She lives in a society that is divided into five factions; Abegnation (the selfless), Amity (the peaceful), Candor (the honest), Dauntless (the brave), and Erudite (the intelligent). Each year, every 16-year-old must take an aptitude test to see which faction they are best suited for. They then must decide whether to stay in their own faction with their family, or transfer to a different faction. Tris was born into an Abegnation family, along with her brother Caleb, however on Choosing Day, she decides to transfer factions to become a member of Dauntless where she must now learn how to be brave.

As you can see by the basic plot summaries above, yes the themes of these two novels are similar, but the plots are both very different.

Therefore, if you were like me and reluctant to read Divergent for fear it would be a less interesting, copycat version of The Hunger Games, please think again.

This book was an outstanding read. I found myself unable to put the book down (which resulted in a lot of late nights staying up reading) but it was worth it. I am going to my nearest book store tomorrow to purchase the second book in the series, Insurgent as I can’t wait to get started on it.

As for which book I preferred? I think it is a little too-soon to tell. I think they might be on par with one another, but I will finish the Divergent trilogy before I make my final call.

As for the film adaptation of Divergent, I am beyond excited to see it. As I said, I absolutely adore Shailene Woodley, and the film also stars Ansel Elgort as Caleb (who I am very excited to see in this role as he will also star opposite Shailene Woodley in the film adaptation for John Green’s The Fault in Our Stars, and we all know how I feel about that book!) and Miles Teller who I also love (who actually also co-starred in the film adaptation of Tim Tharp’s novel The Spectacular Now with Shailene Woodley) is playing Peter. The film is due to come out in the US in March 2014, and as I live in Ireland I suspect that will mean it won’t be out until May, but hey I can go see it for my birthday!

So yes I would highly recommend either of these two books to anyone who is looking for a good read, although I suspect many of you have already read both.

– Bee

The Spectacular Now by Tim Tharp | Review

I’ve been waiting so long to read this book and I can happily say I was not disappointed!

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The Spectacular Now is a 2008 young adult novel by author Tim Tharp.

It follows the story of high school senior Sutter Keely, who provided the narration for the novel, who is so care-free that he doesn’t care about the future, he just cares about the spectacular now.

Cassidy, Sutter’s girlfriend is threatening to dump him again, his best friend Ricky is too preoccupied with his new girlfriend Bethany (it’s always so strange reading a book when a character shares your name!) to spend time with him, his mom and sister are planning a future for him, and his dad, well, his dad is a question mark in Sutter’s life.

All of this would seem very overwhelming for a young 18-year-old senior, but not Sutter Keely. Sutter meets Aimee Finecky when she finds him passed out in someones yard after a night of heavy drinking. Sutter is drawn to Aimee’s introverted nature and is determined to make her his new special project with a little help from the Sutterman – yes he does refer to himself as the Sutterman.

Overall I found this a very enjoyable book to read. I actually read it pretty quickly too because I found myself not being able to put it down!

It’s a story about a boy who is pretty much all over the place as far as life plans go. He is immature, care-free, and somewhat of an alcoholic (though he doesn’t seem to think so).

It doesn’t have any hard-gripping storylines per say, BUT, it is a really beautiful story. It is enthralling watching the development of Sutter and Aimee’s relationship; with Sutter wanting Aimee to become more confident and independent, and Aimee learning to open up and trust Sutter.

This book is definitely worth reading for all you YA enthusiasts out there.

Superb book, beautiful story.

– Bee

PS, I am SO excited to see the movie adaptation. I love Shailene Woodley (who plays Aimee), and although I had never heard of Miles Teller (who plays Sutter) before, from the trailer he looks like he was the perfect person to play Sutter.

I’m going to leave the trailer below – just incase you need extra enticement to read the book.

PPS, I know the movie is out in the US now (but it’s not here in Ireland sadface) so if you have seen it let me know if it was good. But no spoilers please…even though I have read the book but others might not have 🙂

Paper Towns by John Green | Review

I’ve had so many new books to read that it is only now I have found time to sit down and read another John Green novel. This time Paper Towns.

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“Quentin Jacobsen has spent a lifetime loving the magnificently adventurous Margo Roth Spiegelman from afar. So when she cracks open a window and climbs back 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 Q gets, the less Q sees the girl he thought he knew.”

So as the description of the book would suggest, this story portrays a boy called Quentin, or Q, who is desperate to find the mysterious Margo. The book opens with Margo entering Q’s window one night (they live across the road from one another) and Margo takes Q on an adventure with her, which basically involves her tormenting her now ex boyfriend for cheating on her with her best friend, and also all of her other friends who knew about it and didn’t tell her.

Q is very hesitant about the whole situation, but obliges to go with Margo and before he knows it, they are breaking into SeaWorld! Q happily returns home having spent an amazing night with Margo, whom he had liked for quite a long time now, and is excited to wake up the next morning to go to school to see if Margo will act any differently around him. There’s just one problem, Margo doesn’t show up at school – she had run away.

So the entire novel basically tells the story of how Q desperately searches for Margo with the help of a series of clues she has left.

Overall, I really did enjoy this book. I don’t think John Green could ever write a book I didn’t like.

My only big issue with the story really was the protagonist, Quentin. I really wanted to like Quentin as the protagonist, and I guess I did like some aspects of his character, but I couldn’t help but think as some stages throughout the novel, he was sending himself on a wild goose chase across the country (which if you live in the US, is a pretty long journey) to find a girl he has a crush on, because he followed a series of clues (which may not even be clues) as to her whereabouts. Also, I found some parts of the novel were a little repetitive around the middle of the book.

BUT, I honestly did enjoy this book, it was well written, well planned, and well executed. I may not have loved the protagonist, but it is good to come across books like this every now and again that challenge your prospective of the main protagonist.

So would I recommend this book for you to read?

Well, if you are like me and a) love John Green, b) enjoy reading YA literature, and c) are looking for a good but not completely serious book to read then yes, absolutely I would recommend this book to you.

I would give it 4 stars, basically knocking one star off because I didn’t love Quentin’s character all of the time (that’s not to say I didn’t like him for most of the book because I did).

So yes, definitely check it out if you are looking for a nice easy book to read.

– Bee

Harry Potter Fans Rejoice!

I, like most other Harry Potter nerds out there, was overwhelmingly excited by today’s news that J.K Rowling’s spin off book from the Harry Potter series entitled Fantastic Beasts and Where To Find Them would be turned into a film thanks to Warner Brothers.

The book is ‘written’ by Newt Scamander who was featured in the Harry Potter book series.

What is even more exciting about this news however, is that J.K herself is actually writing the screenplay for this film!

As someone who enjoys writing, I can understand how precious a character can be to it’s author so I totally understand why J.K wanted to write the screenplay herself and as a fan I am very excited by these prospects.

Here’s what J.K had to say about this exciting announcement…

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Get excited peeps!

– Bee

Book Blog | Books I Own But Have Not Yet Read

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On Monday, I wrote a post about some of my favourite books, so today I decided to discuss some books that I have bought but have not yet found the time to read.
I am a bit of a divil when it comes to buying loads of books at once, and thus I end up with a big stack of books to read.
Most of these books are relatively new, and I can only read one book at a time right? So this is why I have not yet gotten around to reading them.

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First up is one of my favourite authors at the moment, and that is John Green. I hate to sound like a broken record, but The Fault in Our Stars is one of my favourite books so naturally I went out and bought all of John Green’s other books (except for Will Grayson, Will Grayson which I have yet to get my hands on!).

I have read TFIOS and Looking For Alaska (both of which I loved) so I am very excited about reading both An Abundance of Katherines, and Paper Towns. I bought TFIOS when it was first released back in January 2012, but I was re-reading it about a month or two ago and decided to look in to John Green’s other books. Luckily, Easons was having a huge 3-for-2 offer on a lot of their books so I bought Looking for Alaska, An Abundance of Katherines, and Paper Towns all for under €20, which is a steal in my opinion. (This offer is still on at the moment if you are looking to get these books at easons.ie and they do ship worldwide!)

So I read Looking For Alaska first and loved it but for some strange reason I still have not read An Abundance of Katherines or Paper Towns.

An Abundance of Katherines is about a guy named Colin Singleton who has been dumped nineteen times but girls named Katherine. Colin sets out to prove ‘The Theorem of Underlying Katherine Predictability’ in which he hopes to predict his future relationships and finally get the girl. I can’t say I have really come across a book like this before so I am quite excited to give it a go.

Paper Towns is about a guy names Quentin Jacobsen who has spent his whole life loving a girl names Margo. After an all-nighter with Margo, Quentin arrives at school only to discover that Margo has not. Margo has now become a mystery and Quentin discovers that there are clues which will lead him to Margo. The description of this book definitely intrigued me so I am also quite excited to read this book. No doubt there will be blog posts discussing them once I have them read.

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Next up are literary classics, both by Victor Hugo. I was in town one day wandering around the place and decided to pop in to a book shop that I never really go into (easons is my go-to bookshop!). I found a corner of literary classics and I swear to you I was tempted to stay there all day – the best part was they all cost €2.90! Seriously, €2.90 for classics such as Jane Eyre, Wuthering Heights, Oliver Twist, etc. I couldn’t get over it so naturally I picked up several books, two of which included The Hunchback of Notre-Dame, and Les Misérables, by Victor Hugo. I don’t really feel the need to divulge in the plot summaries of these novels seeing as they are widely known thanks to pop culture.

I have loved Disney’s animated classic The Hunchback of Notre-Dame since it was released in 1996, so when I saw the novel I immediately wanted to read it. Now if you’re thinking to yourself, oh I too love the Disney film, perhaps I will read the book, let me warn you, this story is nothing like Disney’s adaptation. This novel is very dark, dramatic, and almost gothic-romantic literature. It certainly does not paint the ‘everything turns out okay in the end’ story that Disney does. But regardless I do want to read this book…eventually!

Again similar to Hunchback, I absolutely love the musical Les Misérables, so naturally I was drawn to the novel it is based on. As far as I know the novel and musical have pretty much the same story line so I pretty much know what to expect but I still do want to read this book whenever I get the chance.

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Keeping on the musicals theme, I recently bought the book Wicked: The Life and Times of the Wicked Witch of the West, by Gregory Maguire. The main reason I bought this is because I had just purchased tickets to go see Wicked the west-end musical, and I was also watching youtube videos of Idina Menzel from her time playing Elphaba on Broadway, and in one of these videos she talked about this book, and I am easily swayed so I decided to read the book for myself. I have actually already started reading it but I found it a little bit difficult to get into so I am definitely going to give it another go because I want to have it read before I see the musical.

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Another book I bought, and started reading but found it difficult to get into was The Casual Vacancy by J.K. Rowling. This was J.K. Rowling’s first book following her Harry Potter series, so naturally there was a lot of hype surrounding it. I remember looking forward to its release date, and went out especially to buy it on that day, yet here we are a year later and I have still not read it. Why? I really don’t know. I began reading it just before I graduated last year, but for some reason I just never finished it! I definitely have to get reading it again, and hopefully The Cuckoo’s Calling also.

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Finally we come to The Silver Linings Playbook by Matthew Quick. I saw a movie last year by the name of ‘Silver Linings Playbook’, starring one of my favourite actors, Jennifer Lawrence, and loved the film. Then, when I was watching the Oscars, I noticed that this film was nominated for Best Screenplay Adaptation, and I thought to myself, wait a second, this was a book? I have to get on that. So I did. Now I have read probably half of the book and really really liked it, and once again I found myself forgetting about it and not coming back to it. I hate starting halfway through a book after several months so I prefer to just start from the beginning again. So technically I guess I have read a lot of this book but I am still looking forward to finishing it. There are a lot of interesting aspects to the main character in this book which unfortunately cannot be portrayed in a 120min movie.

 

So these are all the books I own that I for some strange reason have yet to read. Now probably isn’t the best time to say that I have more books ordered in the post ha!

Please let me know if you have read any of these books, and what you think of them (without spoiling them of course!), I would be really interested in hearing your opinions. Similarily, if you have read any good books lately that you think are similar to these that you think I should read please let me know because I love hearing about new books.

– Bee