Bridge to Terabithia

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Image courtesy of Goodreads.com

Goodreads Synopsis:

Jess Aarons’ greatest ambition is to be the fastest runner in his grade. He’s been practicing all summer and can’t wait to see his classmates’ faces when he beats them all. But on the first day of school, a new girl boldly crosses over to the boys’ side and outruns everyone.

That’s not a very promising beginning for a friendship, but Jess and Leslie Burke become inseparable. Together they create Terabithia, a magical kingdom in the woods where the two of them reign as king and queen, and their imaginations set the only limits.

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★

Finally taking a break from working on my final project! I read this AWHILE ago, but I kept forgetting to write and post my review of it. So here it finally is!

For starters, I first read this book when I was in elementary school, not for a book report or anything, but instead the school program, Novel Knowledge (Yes, I have always been a nerd). Anyway, I read this book in fourth grade for Novel Knowledge. I decided to read it again for Banned Books Week because it is one of the more banned books in the U.S. According to the American Library Association, it’s ranked at #8 on the list of Top 100 Most Banned Books for 1990-2000, and #28 for 2000-2009.

I hate the idea of banning books. This one had some pretty crazy reasons – offensive language (Jess’ use of the word”lord” outside of prayer); promoting witchcraft, violence, new age religions, secular humanism, and Satanism. I get the idea of banning the book because it has the death of a main character – but come on, kids see worse things in their cartoons. Granted, the topic of death in the book being a death of a child, I do see why it was a topic of censorship. It should really be up to the digression of the parents and maturity of the child, but the idea of banning/challenging books is stupid. Just because it doesn’t fit your own beliefs, doesn’t mean everyone should be censored.

Anywho! This was the first book that ever made me cry. The second being Mick Harte Was Here by Barbara Park (also next on my reading list!) The book itself is enchanting. The characters are realistic and engaging, not to mention the strong friendship between Jesse and Leslie is immeasurable.

By now it’s 2015, so its plausible that you’ve seen the movie adaption staring Josh Hutcherson (My husband who I’ve loved since I saw him in Kicking and Screaming, I was a little kid then!) and AnnaSophia Robb. For those of you that have seen it, you know what happens. Regardless, the very short book is much better than the movie (even if it does star my husband!).

After re-reading the book – roughly twelve years later – I can say I felt the same emotions that I did when I was nine years old. I also balled like a baby. Life hurts you. Books can hurt you too. This book proves that.

Up next on my reading list is Mick Harte Was Here by Barbara Park. I last read it in fourth grade, so a re-read is much needed! Especially since I found it for free at the local thrift store! Happy reading lovelies!

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Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows + HP Series Wrap Up

download (1)Harry Potter is life. But really though – Harry Potter is the one of the important things of my childhood that I hope to share with my own children someday. For my graduation trip in Summer 2017 (cause I’m finally going to graduate after five years) we’re going to the Disney Parks in Orlando as well as THE WONDERFUL WIZARDING WORLD OF HARRY POTTER – my mom said she’d even buy me a wand 🙂 All I have to say is 2017 get here quicker! This book holds a special place in my heart. It’s the last book in the series – a series I have spent the greater part of my childhood reading. Harry Potter and the Deathly Hollows Part 1 was my first date with my boyfriend of now over four years (is Harry Potter good luck? Lol) I saw Part 2 with him, as well as a second time with my dad.

Anyways, Deathly Hollows is my second favorite book – just after Goblet of Fire – because it brings everything full circle. By the end we know everything we need to know – with some questions here and there. We all experience the tragedies and triumphs of our favorite Hogwarts students – if I could have fought with them I would! I would love to beat Voldemort. One thing I hate about this book is the whole part where they’re traveling and hiding in the forest, that is so boring to me, especially since we didn’t know what some of our other favorite characters were doing at Hogwarts. I feel like I could go on forever about this book, so I decided to just complete a series wrap-up instead because there’s so much I have to say!

Series Wrap Up: Sad it’s over, but happy to start reading other things since I need to read something happy or lovey-dovey. But read on for my full thoughts and feelings on the books (and movies)!

  • Altogether there is:
    • 1,090,739 words
    • 3,363 pages
    • 199 chapters
    • 17 hours and 14 minutes worth of 8 different movies
    • 7 books
    • 1 story
  • Harry Potter: It blows my mind that he was almost killed as a baby simply because a prophecy said he would be the one to defeat Voldemort. After all, it could have also been Neville – that would be an interesting twist of a story! He is a wonderful character, I just hated how they always said he was exactly like James, when he was to an extent, but James was more of a show-off. Harry didn’t want the spotlight, but it was always thrust upon him because he was the Boy Who Lived/Chosen One. I’m glad Harry was forced to live with the Dursleys instead of some wizarding family – granted I wished he was treated better by his aunt and uncle, but I see it as, he was off the radar and safe where no one could touch him. I’m glad he survived in the end because he is the type of person who will try to make things right in the world, and always go out of his way to help those who need it. I like Daniel Radcliffe for movie Harry – I wish they would have made his hair messier though.
  • Ron Weasley: The red haired boy my little sister has always had a crush on. I love Ron, but sometimes I hated him. He always wanted to be in the spotlight like Harry – he is from a big family after all – but he never understood what that meant a.k.a. the nightmares, the secrets, everyone knowing every detail about you (whether its the truth or not), the multiple times he almost died, Voldemort, etc. Ron is a great friend, but sometimes he needed to realize that Harry didn’t want the life he had, and Harry wouldn’t want to wish that upon anyone.
  • Hermione Granger: I always wished I was Hermione Granger – I was even her for Halloween one year in elementary school. She had the smarts to do anything she wanted with her life, was dedicated, but definitely needed to take a chill pill every once and a while. I never shipped Hermione with Harry, I wasn’t sure they would make a good match, but I wasn’t sure with who. Then around Goblet of Fire when the teenage hormones started kicking in, it was clear to me that Ron and Hermione were destined for each other, and I accepted that. Ron kept her grounded and showed her she didn’t need to stress about everything, while she kept him going and showed him he could do anything if he just applied himself. Also, Emma Watson is my spirit animal and my boyfriend’s celebrity crush, we loved her as Hermione. PLUS, Emma will be staring as my favorite Disney princess in the live-action film of Beauty and the Beast!
  • Lord Voldemort: Important because without him there is no story, but the dude is really self-centered and obsessed with a teenage boy. I understand you want to be the most powerful wizard of them all, but you don’t need to kill a baby, and he should have learned the first time – Harry will defeat you, so please stop trying to kill him. The first Voldemort (Quirrel’s head) was creepy, but Ralph Finnes character was what I had pictured from the books.
  • Draco Malfoy: An only-child-spoiled-brat who can easily be persuaded to be a follower – even though he likes to act like a leader. I feel like book Draco is way funnier than movie Draco – movie Draco has his moments, but in the books he’s just so sassy and his jokes are a lot better. But when it comes down to it, Draco is a scared little boy, who’s only doing what he’s told to do because he wants to protect his family. Deep down, he’s a good person. I am a fan of Tom Felton, even if he is really supposed to be in Gryffindor…
  • Ginny Weasley: I love book Ginny. I hate movie Ginny. She has such a care-free/joking personality (kinda like her brothers Fred and George), but in the movies she is shown as this quiet background character. She is probably the farthest thing from quiet. She speaks her mind and she’s not afraid to throw insults back at her older brothers. She’s pretty much a badass as well.
  • Neville Longbottom: Neville was never given the credit he deserves. First off, he was there when the trio found Fluffy, he was a genius when it came to Herbology, and for the first five books he was using his father’s wand. Do we not remember Ollivander’s famous quote? “The wand chooses the wizard” – Neville could have been a complete badass from the beginning if he had his own wand and had been given confidence! He was awesome in the Battle of Hogwarts – he destroyed one of the final horcruxes! He was extremely close to being in Harry’s position, but Voldemort chose Harry, not Neville for whatever reason.  Also, I feel extremely bad for Matthew Lewis during the first three films – he had to wear a fat suit. Excuse me what kind of cuteness were you trying to hide from us? He is extremely nice to look at, especially in the final film.
  • Luna Lovegood: Quirky and a extremely weird,  but still a lovable character that sticks by Harry in his times of need. She seemed to always lighten the mood when we needed it.
  • Severus Snape: Extremely sassy. I believe even if Lily had known how Snape felt about her, she still wouldn’t have chosen him. There are some people who were just meant to be friends and I could never picture them together. I wish he could have worked out his issues with James, because I feel he could have been a very important person in Harry’s life like Sirius and Lupin rather than someone who Harry despised. He is one of the only people we know about who was ever close with Lily.
  • James and Lily Potter: I want to know more about them! How did they end up together, what did they do once they left Hogwarts? How did they get into the Order and how did they get mixed into the Voldemort mess? What happened to James’s family? What about Lily’s parents? Why do they Potter men have a thing for red heads?
  • Sirius Black: Why must the good die? We loved you, and you were taken away from us. You were supposed to become a family with Harry once it was all over. At least you left him all you had – home (a gross one), Buckbeak (I mean Witherwings), and Kreacher (ughhhh).
  • Remus Lupin: I love Lupin. He and Sirius took a great interest and protectiveness over Harry – granted it wasn’t until Harry was thirteen, but I imagine it is very difficult to come face to face with your dead friend’s son. Plus, he married Tonks! And they had a son together – Edward Remus “Teddy” Lupin who was also a Metamorphmagus like Tonks. They had named Harry Teddy’s godfather – which he happily accepts. Teddy is the one son we never hear about in the movie, but all us Potterheads know better. I am happy Harry was able to be there for Teddy after Lupin and Tonks’ deaths in the Battle of Hogwarts, even if Teddy was raised by Tonks’s mother {according to an interview given by J.K. Rowling} .
  • Mr. and Mrs. Weasley: Parents that cared about Harry as if he were their own and always tried to show it. I love how Harry always had a home with the Weasleys even if he had to go to the Dursleys every summer. At least they are his in-laws!
  • The Weasley Boys: Didn’t really care for Percy, but then again who would? He was the type of person to throw anyone in front of the bus in order to go farther in life, but his final moments of heroism in the Deathly Hollows really turned my attitude towards his character around. I absolutely loved the twins – hated the death of Fred – and the parts with Bill and Charlie, they seemed just like the rest of the Weasleys – carefree, willing to give you the shirt off your back if you needed it, and could make/take a joke.
  • Professor Dumbledore: I have a love-hate relationship with him. What were your intentions with Harry and the horcruxes? I felt like you wanted him to just die, but protect everyone from Voldemort since he was the only one who was able to stop him. Also, you planned your death with Snape? Of all people you could choose, you chose Snape? Also book Dumbledore is way calmer, and way more sassy than movie Dumbledore. Movie Dumbledore is wayyyy too serious.
  • Rubeus Hagrid: Our favorite gentle half-giant. I am happy Hagrid did not die, Harry did not need someone else, who cared about him so much to die at the hands of Voldemort as well. Hagrid has always been there for Harry and he always will.
  • Professor McGonagall: My favorite teacher. She is smart, witty, sarcastic, and does not put up with anyone’s poop! She has her students’ best interest at heart and she would never intentionally harm or put someone in danger. McGonagall is the real Hogwarts MVP! She was unbelievable in the Deathly Hollows. Also, for the movies, she was cast perfectly, I could not imagine anyone else playing McGonagall – well maybe Emma Watson in a remake in like fifty years…
  • Dobby the House Elf: How dare you kill Dobby??? He was loyal and stole all of our hearts. But you ripped our hearts out when you killed him off! I will always be heartbroken.
  • Narcissa and Lucius Malfoy: Raised a spoiled brat for a son. Lucius belongs in Azkaban, even if he was only doing it to protect his family. I am grateful for Narcissa, she protected Harry by saying he was dead during the Battle of Hogwarts. There’s something about a mother’s love, that continuously protected Harry throughout his childhood, and I believe that is something we can learn from.
  • Fleur Delacour: I never took French in school – Spanish and Italian for me! – so this name was almost impossible for me to say until the movie came out. And she of all people married into the Weasley family! Who would have ever called that after we were first introduced to her? Also, I don’t know how I felt about the casting of her in the movie, she was a pretty girl, but she was part Veela, so I expected her to have a sort of radiance, that just wasn’t shown in the movies.
  • The Dursleys: Vernon is just awful! But I feel Petunia doesn’t give much affection towards Harry because of he reminds her of her sister, but also because of Vernon. I wish we could have seen the days of Harry’s early childhood. But in the end, we all see how Dudley really felt about Harry, when he tells him he never thought Harry was a waste of space – all the feels! I really wish they would have put that part in the movie because it shows that maybe Petunia and Dudley were the way they were because of Vernon. Vernon never seemed to care about Petunia’s side of the family and could care less about what happened to Harry. It just always seemed like a front to me.
  • Cho Chang: a.k.a. the girl not worth Harry Potter’s time. Did not like book or movie version of her :/
  • Cedric Diggory and Viktor Krum: I like the choice of Robert Pattison for Cedric but Stanislav Ianevski was not blocky/chiselsed enough in the face for me. Cedric did not deserve to die that way either.
  • Peeves: If you don’t know who I’m taking about, you obviously have never read the books and have been deprived of knowing such an annoying/funny character. I wish they would have included him in the movies, but there were more important things to put in the movies.
  • Dolores Umbridge: a.k.a. Satan’s mistress. Rowling was doing her job when she wrote her character – she is an awful human being. Thankfully, Umbridge did not stay at Hogwarts longer than a year (Thank you Voldemort!), cause I’d hate to have to deal with her longer than one year. Not to mention, she was the one who sent the dementors to attack Harry in Order of the Phoenix, so she can literally go spend eternity in Azkaban. Also, any movie Imelda Staunton is in, I hate her character, simply because I can only picture her as Umbridge.
  • The Movies: Well I’ve already mentioned about certain castings, but the movies were perfect – other than leaving out things here or there. If they had put every little detail in, the movies would be like eight hours long – not that I would mind, but the whole ABCFamily Harry Potter Weekends would be more like week longs…Also for Christmas in 2012, my boyfriend bought me all eight movies on DVD, he understands my Harry Potter lifestyle.
  • Hogwarts Letters: For those of you who never received your letter and were born between 1985 and 1998, Voldemort wiped out all records of muggleborns a.k.a. reasons why I never received my Hogwarts letter! But my little sister was so thoughtful and got me my own Hogwarts letter for Christmas (please ignore the awful way I look in the picture/poor quality of picture) :
  • Books in order of favorites based on my re-reading them:
    1. Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire
    2. Harry Potter and the Deathly Hollows
    3. Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban/Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince (A Tie)
    4. Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone
    5. Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix
    6. Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets
  • I took the Pottermore quiz and I was sorted into (drum roll please)………………….Slytherin! I was surprised at first, but oh well, the sorting hat knows best.
  • Will I always love Harry Potter?
    • ALWAYS
  • If you’re interested in checking out my entire Pinterest board dedicated to Harry Potter, click the link below!

I have loved re-reading this series from the beginning! I also have some light wizarding reading to attend to at some point, but I think I’m going to step out of the wizarding world for a bit. I would just like to thank J.K. Rowling for giving me the best part of my childhood. I hope you have enjoyed my Harry Potter journey over the last two months! I know I have! Stay tuned for my next post about Also Known As by Robin Benway! Happy reading bookworms!

Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince

downloadFor those of you that don’t know, I’m exhausted! The amount of times I have fallen asleep reading Harry Potter makes me sad. I am happy to finally be finished with Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince though – even if it did take forever!

One thing I totally forgot about was the entire first chapter! It’s titled “The Other Minister”, and it focuses on the Minister of Magic and the Prime Minister of Britain. Re-reading has me me totally mind-blown that the two governments actually inter-relate with each other.

I finally understand horcruxes – well better that is. Re-reading the series has showed me the little bits and pieces of foreshadowing to Harry’s learning of horcruxes – especially in Order of the Phoenix – and it just makes so much sense! I just wish the movie could have shown it better since it confuses the heck out of my parents every time they watch the movie and they end of asking me a billion and one questions.

I like this book because it not only shows Voldemort’s past, but it also shows our favorite trio and their friends growing up. They’re on their house quidditch team (and captain), they’re prefects, they’re learning to Apparate, they’re taking N.E.W.T. level courses for their future careers, and they’re falling in love. The entire Ron-Hermione-love-hate-jealousy relationship throughout the entire book irritates me. There were several times where I would yell at them for being so stupid. Harry was right to worry about their friendship if they ever did get together and break up, but do you really think J.K. Rowling would do that to our hearts? I think not. Harry falling in love with Ginny was kind of abrupt, but book Harry and Ginny make a perfect couple unlike movie Harry and Ginny. I pretty much hate movie version of Ginny, but more on that in my final Harry Potter post.

I know we’re going to learn more about Dumbledore’s death in the next book, but the whole ending scene at the tower was so quick. And they didn’t even put Dumbledore’s funeral in the movie! I feel like after being such a major part of the story line, they could at least give him a proper remembrance.  And in all honesty, when the book first came out, I always suspected Voldemort to be the Half-Blood Prince – “Prince” before becoming “Lord”, the Potions textbook had been published around the time when he was still at Hogwarts, and he had a knack for all school subjects, it seems only fitting he would make notes in his books as well as creating hexes and jinxes of his own. But no it was Snape. When the Malfoy/Harry duel scene with Sectumsempra, I thought Snape was concerned because Harry could have found something from Voldemort, not Snape’s old textbook…Oh well.

I’m glad to almost be finished! My next post will be about Harry Potter and the Deathly Hollows of course. PLUS, I’m doing an all series wrap up as well! Looking forward to being done with this so I can start reading my March Reading List! Happy reading!

Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire

Harry_Potter_and_the_Goblet_of_Fire_(US_cover)Sorry for the uber-late post! I just started a new job (a student worker for the Head Start, Early Head Start, and Early Childhood Education program on and off campus!) So this week has been super busy! I go from work to class to work – depending on the day I also volunteer in a special education classroom for one of my classes. I have so much to do in so little time that I actually have to schedule time to go to the gym, drive, eat, shower, and do homework. And somehow I still manage to find time to read 🙂

Any who…Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire is my number one favorite in the series (Deathly Hollows is 2nd, but you’ll learn why later!). This book is one of the first longer ones – 734 pages, yikes! – but it includes so much detail that if it wasn’t there, the story would absolutely suck. It shows us an ancient wizard tradition, the Triwizard Tournament, where Europe’s three schools of wizardry compete for honor and glory. The age to participate is seventeen, lucky for Harry since he’s only fourteen…right? Just kidding! J.K. Rowling wouldn’t have a story line if Harry wasn’t somehow involved in the book’s major events.

Goblet of Fire is just so fun. Harry gets to attend the Quidditch World Cup; go up against dragons, mermaids, and the maze of horror (very dangerous I know); the students get to attend a ball; PLUS Harry sees Voldemort (I’m not afraid to say that cuckoo’s name) rise from the…cauldron? Of course no one believes Harry. Voldemort back? Oh heavens no! But yes he is, and sadly one person suffered the consequence, poor Cedric. This is also the book where the shipping of Ron and Hermione begins!!! I just love how jealous Ron gets in this book!

Definitely READ THE BOOKS! They’re the best, and anyone who tells you differently, obviously never got their Hogwarts letter (I did – Christmas present from my little sister, still counts right?). Look out for my next post about Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix sometime next week! Happy reading!

Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban

Harry_Potter_and_the_Prisoner_of_Azkaban_(US_cover)Yay! This book is my last book for the month of January! Honestly, I love the Harry Potter series through and through, but this is one of the first books in the series where it gives us a glimpse into the life of Harry’s father and friends when they attended Hogwarts. The one thing that has always interested me in the series is the history of Harry’s loved ones. I want to know more about Voldemort, why he chose the Potters, how the Marauder’s became friends, etc, etc.

This book is simply the stepping stone  for the rest of the series – granted it’s not the first book, but it leaves us asking the important questions about where the series as a whole will be going – of course it does go deeper into the story than the movie did. I cannot wait to start reading Goblet of Fire in hopes of discovering things I’ve forgotten and connecting the dots further.

Sorry for the short post, but in this day and age if you’ve seen the movies you loosely know what the book is about – sparing some of the more important details! But if you haven’t seen the movies, I recommend you read the books because you are clearly missing out on a wonderful, once-in-a-lifetime experience that no movie can ever give you.

Look for my review of the next book in the series: Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire by J.K. Rowling. Happy reading!

Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets

Harry_Potter_and_the_Chamber_of_Secrets_(US_cover) Like I said in my post about Sorcerer’s Stone, I originally read the first two books after their movies came out. I also recently had a two day Harry Potter movie marathon with my mom and little sister, and after thinking through the movie as I read the book, I can see where they took things out or changed them.

Since the first time I read this book, it was always my least favorite of the series. I love everything about these books, but for some reason this book, just didn’t interest me – which is probably why this is the first time I’ve re-read it since I was eight years old. To tell you the truth, re-reading the series has given me a greater appreciation for them – and I’m only on book two! Not to mention, I think the only reason I don’t like the book as much as the others is because nothing super exciting happens throughout the book – just creepy instances of petrified students. Plus, I really hate snakes and spiders… But I was also into learning all I can about the wizarding world and the Harry-Voldemort connection. I like connecting the dots and while I’ve been reading, I can see the foreshadowing of the horcruxes and how all these things connect to one another.

If you are a fan of just the movies, read the books – it’ll answer all your questions, and you’ll learn so much more than just watching the movies.  Now if you’ll excuse me I’m off to read my next book – Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban! Happy reading!

Looking for Alaska

Book Award covers.The second to last John Green novel of my John Green hype – also one of the first novels he wrote. I’m not sure what to say about this book. It was beautifully written, the characters were friends I wish I had, and they caused crazy antics I wished I had participated in. But Green has this amazing capability to suck you in and break your heart. I didn’t know what to expect when I started reading either – this was one novel I didn’t read the back of to see what it was about. I simply picked it up and started reading.

The countdown for each section made me wonder what was going to happen. After the first quarter of the book I figured Alaska was a ticking time bomb of sorts – terminal disease no one knows about, suicidal, etc, etc. She never mentioned her home life, never wanted to go home, and all around didn’t care for authority. I think Alaska had a much deeper secret that we’ll never know about, something [SPOILER ALERT] that she took to her grave. I wish I could have seen into the mind of Alaska Young, because she is what a lot teens are now a days – ticking time bombs. We bottle everything up and never spit any of it out. I know sometimes I just need to talk, but don’t want to because I would be sent to the loony bin or be medicated (which happened my freshman year of college – antidepressants for anxiety).

I’m not sure what else to say about this book because I have more questions than answers. I look forward to it hitting the big screen sometime in 2016, but until then I’ll just read books and probably re-read this one before I see it in theaters. If you guys have some input, drop it in the comments, because I’d love to know what you thought of the book. Check out my next review of Five College Dialogues by Ian Thomas Malone. Happy reading!

P.S. Don’t forget I’m on Goodreads, Instagram (@brunettewithabook), and Twitter (@brunette_book)!