Caraval (#1)

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Remember, it’s only a game…

Scarlett Dragna has never left the tiny island where she and her sister, Tella, live with their powerful, and cruel, father. Now Scarlett’s father has arranged a marriage for her, and Scarlett thinks her dreams of seeing Caraval—the faraway, once-a-year performance where the audience participates in the show—are over.

But this year, Scarlett’s long-dreamt-of invitation finally arrives. With the help of a mysterious sailor, Tella whisks Scarlett away to the show. Only, as soon as they arrive, Tella is kidnapped by Caraval’s mastermind organizer, Legend. It turns out that this season’s Caraval revolves around Tella, and whoever finds her first is the winner.

Scarlett has been told that everything that happens during Caraval is only an elaborate performance. Nevertheless she becomes enmeshed in a game of love, heartbreak, and magic. And whether Caraval is real or not, Scarlett must find Tella before the five nights of the game are over or a dangerous domino effect of consequences will be set off, and her beloved sister will disappear forever.

Welcome, welcome to Caraval…beware of getting swept too far away.

Long time, no see my lovely readers! I currently have some lag in my busy work schedule, so it’s time for some blogger catch up! First up is the over-anticipated Caraval by Stephanie Garber! I received this book in my February Owlcrate and the theme was Run Away with the Circus! I haven’t really mentioned Owlcrate before, but I LOVE my Owlcrate subscription! I’ve received it for over a year now, and this is the first book I’ve read out of any Owlcrate box (Busy schedule and all).

Here was this wonderful box

Capture

On my Goodreads account, you will see I gave Caraval 5 stars!

LOVED the book.

It was magical, intriguing, whimsical, and a constant mystery.

However, I was not very fond of the main character, Scarlett. Her determination to play and win the game stemmed from her sisterly-love, because she needed to find her missing sister, Tella, but she constantly complained that she needed to get back to their island to get married, or that she was getting married and had no idea who her husband was or what he was like. HELLO, you’ve been writing to Master Legend, the creator of Caraval, your entire life, and as soon as you get an invite you can’t just play the game without focusing all your energy on some person you don’t know – did I mention the prize for winning Caraval was a wish, which can literally be anything, like wishing you could marry whoever your heart desired, but okay. While she wasn’t my favorite character, she did make great progress over the course of the whole book and becomes her own person.

Scarlett and Tella’s father is a giant, jerky, douchebag – excuse my language – but he is! He lays his hands on them for “misbehaving”, threatens to kill them if they try to escape, and basically sold Scarlett to the highest bidder (and wouldn’t introduce them until the day of the wedding). He literally gives me the heeby-jeebies.

Let’s talk about Julian.

Julian is Scarlett’s “unintentional” love interest and knight-in-shining-armor.

All I can say is SWOON. I love Julian – go figure he is definitely book boyfriend worthy. I thought the Julian and Scarlett together worked. His and Scarlett’s actions towards each other spoke louder than words. It made me want to fall in love for the first time all over again in a non-cheesy way.

As for the world of Caraval, things are not as they seem! Once you get to Caraval, you can choose to watch the game or participate, but you don’t get to change your decision! Of course, Scarlett chose to participate since she’s been writing to Legend her entire life. The game itself will literally drive the players mad as they scour the island for clues and the hidden item.

SPOILER ALERT

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Tell as invited to join Scarlett in Caraval too, but she got separated from Scarlett once they got to the island. Turns out, Tella is the item they are looking for in the game.

The book was full of twists and turns, and I definitely could not put it down (unless I had to do something of more importance). I thought it was movie worthy, and guess what?! Supposedly, Fox optioned for the rights for the book – back in June 2015. Hello this book wasn’t even released until January 31, 2017! Like, woah

Here are some of my favorite quotes

Every person has the power to change their fate if they are brave enough to fight for what they desire more than anything.

Even if we don’t lie to others, we often, lie to ourselves.

A wish isn’t something someone can burn. 

I loved following Scarlett and Julian through the world of Caraval and I can’t wait to go back! Next up on the blogger catch up is This is Our Story by Ashley Elston.  Happy reading lovelies!

 

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Thirteen Reasons Why

Thirteen Reasons WhyGoodreads Synopsis:

You can’t stop the future.
You can’t rewind the past.
The only way to learn the secret . . . is to press play.

Clay Jensen returns home from school to find a strange package with his name on it lying on his porch. Inside he discovers several cassette tapes recorded by Hannah Baker–his classmate and crush–who committed suicide two weeks earlier. Hannah’s voice tells him that there are thirteen reasons why she decided to end her life. Clay is one of them. If he listens, he’ll find out why.

Clay spends the night crisscrossing his town with Hannah as his guide. He becomes a firsthand witness to Hannah’s pain, and as he follows Hannah’s recorded words throughout his town, what he discovers changes his life forever.

Spoiler: Unpopular Opinion Alert.

Lots of rants. Lots of spoilers.

I first read this book in 2007 when it was just released. I was in 7th grade and inexperienced. Now with it’s 10th Anniversary, I decided a re-read was in order (Plus, it fits my 2017 reading challenge for a story within a story). Let me say, experience and maturity changes your view on this book.

Before you ask, no, I have never thought about or tried to commit suicide.

I know people that have.

I know people that have tried to.

I know people that wanted to and got help.

Suicide is a sensitive topic and this novel is whiny and unrealistic.

Let’s talk about Hannah.

Hannah is the center of the story. She decides to take her own life and leave behind cassette tapes for each person explaining how they are a “reason” for her death. Clay is our eyes for the story. He received the tapes, but he’s not sure but he’s not sure why. Honestly, I think it was mean to put Clay through the agony of listening to the tapes, when he never “wronged” Hannah in any way. It’s pretty heartless. He had a completely harmless crush, but Hannah felt the need to include him in the mix, so he knew why she killed herself, but that she also liked him. WHAT? Who does that? No one.

Various Spoilers Ahead & Lots of Ranting

As for her reasons, they were petty. A couple made “sense” (I say this lightly, because having mean things said to you or about you is definitely not a good enough reason to end your life). While most were just placing blame on other people. I was really upset when she said Mr. Porter was a reason. Yeah, she “went” for help, but it’s really hard to get help wen you’re not opening up and being cryptic with your responses. Hannah’s reasons weren’t powerful enough to make this a decent piece of literature on a sensitive topic.

I enjoyed the format of the book, but the plot fell flat. There was no clear line as to what Hannah’s motivation was. People were “mean” to her and instead of finding new friends and distancing herself from the so-called friends that were hurting her, she continued to be around people she hated.

Here are Hannah’s “reasons”:

  1. Justin Foley: Hannah’s first kiss who started rumors that it was more than a kiss.
  2. Alex Standall: Put out a list saying Hannah had the “Best Ass of the Freshman Class”.
  3. Jessica Davis: Was friends with Hannah and was upset she was voted “Worst Ass of the Freshman Class”. She hit Hannah (which left a scar) during an argument over the list.
  4. Tyler Down: Picture-taking, peeping Tom outside Hannah’s window.
  5. Courtney Crimson: fake friend who helped “catch” Tyler and started a rumor that Hannah had sex toys in her room and had put out for Justin Foley.
  6. Marcus Cooley: Hannah’s Valentine’s Day survey date match. “Tried” putting the moves on her while on their date. She pushed him out of the booth.
  7. Zach Dempsey: Hannah ignored him so he stole her Notes of Encouragement from her bag in their Peer Communications Class.
  8. Ryan Shaver: friend from a poetry class, until he stole her very personal poem and published in the school paper (anonymously) where English teachers used it dring poetry lessons for analysis.
  9. Clay: He’s not a reason, she just wanted him to know what happened. He then blames himself because he “had no idea what was going on”.
  10. Justin Foley (again): Allowed Bryce Walker to have sex with Jessica Davis and Hannah was hidden in the closet…
  11. Jenny Kurtz: Drove Hannah home, hit a STOP sign, didn’t report it, and a fatal accident happened later that night because there was no sign.
  12. Bryce Walker:Touched Hannah in the hot tub, and then she let him have sex with her.
  13. Mr. Porter: teacher/guidance counselor who Hannah saw because she was “suicidal” and then instead of talking, she was cryptic and uncooperative.

The whole book focuses on blaming people who were two-faced and said/did mean things. Hannah resented these people, and instead of standing up for herself, putting effort into seeking help – not just leaving anonymous notes for the teacher – she blamed them as a reason to die. Just re-reading the reasons above, I’m like, these aren’t even valid points – but then again, there is never a valid reason to kill yourself.

Justin Foley is an asshole and stereotypical jerk-jock from every movie/TV show/book ever.

Alex Standall is a stupid boy and was an immature Freshman and put out a Best and Worst list. It is not his fault that the boys of their class felt the need to fall to the stereotypical rape-culture and grab Hannah’s ass as she walks by.

Jessica Davis was one of her only friends and one little argument ended their friendship forever. If I ended every friendship I had every time we had a disagreement, I would have zero friends.

Tyler Down is an asshole with no conscious.

Courtney Crimson was a fake friend who never looked out for others – and Hannah knew that. She knew not to trust her, but she did it any way.

Marcus Cooley is a jerk who ran with the other jerks mentioned above. Hello – find new friends if you’re having such an issue with the people in this group.

Zach Dempsey acted like a jerk because Hannah turned him down. As someone who went through the public high school system, I highly doubt a guy would be such a jerk to resort to stealing because 1 girl, in a school with hundreds of people, turned him down.

Ryan Shaver, like Zach, is just a jerk. I understand Hannah was upset about the poetry thing, but no one had found out it was hers until the tapes. Her peers didn’t like the poem and found it whiny and blame-y too, but they never suggested that Hannah wrote it. Sorry, you can’t constructive criticism from peers who don’t even know you wrote it.

Clay has no reason to be on this list. It was a bitchy move to include him. Yeah, he wanted to know what happened given the fact he was working up courage to ask you on a date, but he was never inappropriate, he never did anything mean. He was the boy Hannah worked with and the boy who fell in love with her for who she was as a person and never told her.

Justin Foley allowing Bryce Walker to rape Jessica Davis is in no way a reason to kill yourself. Yes Hannah, you were hidden in the closet and were so stricken with fear that you couldn’t bring yourself to put a stop to it, but it is no way your fault. You did not rape her. You do not need to kill yourself over other people’s horrendous mistakes.

Jenny Kurtz is the reason that fatal accident occurred hours after you left the party. She was the one drunk driving and took out a stop sign. It was her fault. Just because she gave you a ride, doesn’t mean you are responsible. Jenny knew what she did. It is not your fault she was irresponsible.

Bryce Walker was an asshole the entire story. Hannah was so made up with her mind that she just let him  have sex with her. She didn’t say no. She didn’t try to stop him. She just let him. She was SOBER and knew that she was going to let him do it.

Mr. Porter was just a cheap shot for Hannah. Throwing faculty under the bus because they didn’t help you is wrong when they asked you questions when you came in and you were cryptic and uncooperative. They wanted to help, but she didn’t want any real help, so she was uncooperative, because she had already made up her mind. This was Hannah’s very weak attempt at a Hail Mary.

The whiny approach in this book was not powerful enough to evoke the emotion needed to make this an amazing story about a sensitive topic. In all honesty, I preferred the alternate ending where Hannah lived. She needed the second chance and the help, and Tony (minor character who was in charge of ensuring that the tapes were passed along) was able to give her that. Clay was able to tell the girl he loved that he was in love with her.

As those in the book community know, Netflix has created a 1 season TV show based on the book. I watched it and definitely prefer it over the book. Yes, the same people are the same reasons in the TV show, but Hollywood knows how to create a show that will make us feel the powerful emotions. They show the parents side of the story (including a never mentioned law suit) and instead of Clay listening to the tapes all in one night, he listens to them over the course of a week or so – maybe a couple of weeks. His story and those who are reasons all intertwine in a way that’s dramatic and evokes the powerful emotions. Leave it to Hollywood to save the story.

That’s it for today’s rant of over-hyped literature that falls flat. Until next time bookworms.

 

 

Me Before You: Book vs. Movie

Me Before YouGoodreads Synopsis

Louisa Clark is an ordinary girl living an exceedingly ordinary life—steady boyfriend, close family—who has never been farther afield than their tiny village. She takes a badly needed job working for ex-Master of the Universe Will Traynor, who is wheelchair-bound after an accident. Will has always lived a huge life—big deals, extreme sports, worldwide travel—and now he’s pretty sure he cannot live the way he is.

Will is acerbic, moody, bossy—but Lou refuses to treat him with kid gloves, and soon his happiness means more to her than she expected. When she learns that Will has shocking plans of his own, she sets out to show him that life is still worth living.

AHHH I LOVED THIS BOOK.

It made me laugh.

It made me cry.

It made me believe in true love.

I want Louisa to be my best friend. She is such a beautiful person inside and out, and absolutely hilarious. Her family is a little dysfunctional at times, but they are all really loving and caring. She is a little blindsided when it comes to her boyfriend, Patrick. He’s a complete asshole. I don’t know why she didn’t break up with him in the first place.

Will. What can I say about Will? I love him. He’s hilarious, charismatic, and had me wrapped around his finger. Granted, I did have to warm up to him a little bit, because he was very snarky and uncooperative in the beginning of the book, but it’s understandable. He was a good sport for Lou and her crazy little side trips. He went along with it because he loved Lou, and wanted to make sure she got everything she wanted for him.

In the end, it was devastating, but it was his choice. I understand there has been some controversy regarding ablism, but in the end, it’s a book about a guy who wasn’t happy with the hand he was dealt. His view on his own quality of life is what mattered the most, and in reality, there is no room for us to judge his decision, because we’ve never been dealt the hand he was. It’s sad, but deep down, he wasn’t happy, even after falling in love with Louisa.

Movie time!

I am a firm believer in the book is always better than the movie, but in this case, I loved them both! The casting was perfect.I fell more in love with the story and surprisingly, the movie was pretty true to the book, which I appreciate. I have watched this movie several times and still fall in love with the story over and over again. Side note: I hated that they casted Matthew Lewis as Louisa’s douchey boyfriend. Excuse me, that is Neville Longbottom, he is not a douchey person!

Me-Before-You-Movie-Review

See, perfect casting!

Lousia’s red dress is to die for! I want one!

If you haven’t checked out eithter the book or movie, do so! It’s a tear-jerker, but also a warm blanket of love.  I haven’t read the sequel yet, but it is in my ever-growing TBR pile.

Next up is Thirteen Reasons Why by Jay Asher. Happy reading!

Dumplin’

DumplinGoodreads Synopsis:

Self-proclaimed fat girl Willowdean Dickson (dubbed “Dumplin’” by her former beauty queen mom) has always been at home in her own skin. Her thoughts on having the ultimate bikini body? Put a bikini on your body. With her all-American beauty best friend, Ellen, by her side, things have always worked…until Will takes a job at Harpy’s, the local fast-food joint. There she meets Private School Bo, a hot former jock. Will isn’t surprised to find herself attracted to Bo. But she is surprised when he seems to like her back.

Instead of finding new heights of self-assurance in her relationship with Bo, Will starts to doubt herself. So she sets out to take back her confidence by doing the most horrifying thing she can imagine: entering the Miss Clover City beauty pageant—along with several other unlikely candidates—to show the world that she deserves to be up there as much as any twiggy girl does. Along the way, she’ll shock the hell out of Clover City—and maybe herself most of all.

Hello bookish friends! Long time, no see. I finally have some time to catch up on my ever-needed blogging, so first up is Dumplin’ by Julie Murphy. If you’ve seen my Goodreads account, you know that I gave this beauty 4 stars.

I loved this book because it is me. I know some of you have been following me for a while now, and you know from my review of 45 Pounds (More or Less) by K.A. Barson (see here), that I have struggled with my weight and body issues for a while now. Reading Dumplin’ made me feel those same things.

I know you’re thinking it. No, I have never competed in a Beauty Pageant because: a.) Stage fright, b.) I don’t have any talents I can perform – reading silently onstage isn’t really a talent, c.) The idea of walking around on stage showing of outfits and answering interview questions, just doesn’t sound fun to me – then again.

Willowdean is me. I know what it’s like to look in the mirror and dislike how I looked, my weight, the way my hair didn’t curl normally, etc. Even now on my current weightloss journey, it is still difficult for me to accept things sometimes. It wasn’t until I was diagnosed with Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS) and a hormone imbalance in February 2016, that I came to accept that losing weight was always going to be difficult for me. Any time I lose weight, I gain it back quickly. This year I’ve given up soda and fast food (very difficult for me, but going strong!), I’ve lost around 7 pounds and have been able to keep it off.

Willowdean’s story reminds me of how I wish stories like this were around when I was in middle school and high school. I think if I had an inspiring story like this, I would have had better self esteem in those years, and probably would have stood up for myself in certain situations that are still in the back of my mind.

Dumplin’ is a story for anyone who has ever felt fat, insecure, anxious, and all around not good enough. We are good enough. We are all beautiful. Other people’s opinion’s don’t determine your worth, so don’t even waste your time thinking about them.

This book is positive, funny, enlightening, and deals with realistic everyday issues besides body image, such as complex/dysfunctional families and friends in unlikely places. In the words of Willowdean, “I think maybe it’s the things we don’t want to talk about that are the things people most want to hear.”

Apparently, this is just book 1 in a series of some sort. I haven’t heard anything on a sequel, but I will definitely be checking it out when it comes out!

Next on the #BloggingCatchUp is What Light by Jay Asher.

Happy reading bookworms.

Harry Potter and the Cursed Child: Parts 1 & 2

29056083Goodreads Synopsis

Based on an original new story by J.K. Rowling, Jack Thorne and John Tiffany, a new play by Jack Thorne, Harry Potter and the Cursed Child is the eighth story in the Harry Potter series and the first official Harry Potter story to be presented on stage. The play will receive its world premiere in London’s West End on July 30, 2016.

It was always difficult being Harry Potter and it isn’t much easier now that he is an overworked employee of the Ministry of Magic, a husband and father of three school-age children.

While Harry grapples with a past that refuses to stay where it belongs, his youngest son Albus must struggle with the weight of a family legacy he never wanted. As past and present fuse ominously, both father and son learn the uncomfortable truth: sometimes, darkness comes from unexpected places.

I was really excited to get this book – like really excited. I mean what Harry Potter fan wouldn’t be excited to read a new Harry Potter story for the first time in NINE YEARS. You may be thinking, “But Shelby didn’t you just read The Hogwarts Library?” Why yes I did. But here’s the thing. Those three short books didn’t have anything to do with Harry Potter, those were just the text he read while attending Hogwarts. Cursed Child was my chance to read a Harry Potter book for the first time in nine years.

I wanted to love the book so bad. I truly did, but there were parts (I am praying Queen Rowling did not write) that I simply could not wrap my head around. At the end of the review I will post my spoiling rants about these parts, and you can rant along with me. Until then, let’s focus on the good things.

Believe it or not, I actually enjoyed reading the screenplay format. I love stories with a lot of dialogue and characters who like to talk a lot. This was a quick easy read. I think it was easier to read than other plays simply because as a Potterhead, I have already been transported into the Wizarding World, and I had no problem imagining the settings and storyline. Granted, I would love to see the play in person, but that is definitely not in the books for me any time soon #BrokeCollegeStudent

The “good” parts, I cried at. We see all these tumblr posts about what if this and what if that, that it was truly magical to see that some of our deepest wishes had come true in this play. Our memories of the Golden Trio were livened by these good parts, and I loved seeing how they turned out as parents. I also loved seeing the connections between the children and how friendships did or didn’t form.

And while I didn’t like specific events in the books, I loved the “new” characters. I want a whole series dedicated to the next generation of Potters, Weasleys, and Malfoys. But we all know I want a Marauders series as well. A girl can dream.

PLEASE STOP READING IF YOU DON’T WANT RANTING SPOILERS

Enjoy some funny gifs before continuing to the rant

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Now onto my rant.

  1. Trolley Witch: Um, you cannot turn the beloved trolley witch into a psycho, mystical being with weapons as hands and her sole purpose is to ensure students remain on the train at all times… Deep in my heart I know that Queen Rowling did not write this tidbit.
  2. Adult Harry: We had SEVEN BOOKS show us that he respected Professor McGonagall 110%, but this book throws that out the window when he acts like a frickin’ jerk to her. Shame on you adult Harry – McGonagall is queen. Also, I found it ridiculous that Harry literally told his own child that he wished he wasn’t his dad. Excuse my French, but WHAT THE ACTUAL F*@K. He spent how much of the original series wishing to know his parents and he’s just going to flat out say he wishes he wasn’t Albus’s dad. Screw you Harry. You’re parents would be ashamed of this behavior.
  3. Voldemort & Bellatrix’s Secret Love Affair Resulting in Secret Love Child: This came completely out of left field and is another WTF moment. What is this fanfiction??? How can you even okay that sort of storyline, Queen Rowling? Why??? Also, I did not need that image to EVER be made. No thank you. Never again.
  4. Luna/Neville: Excuse me, but wee spend an entire series growing attached to these characters. Where are they and why aren’t they merely mentioned? It’s okay to mention, but not be present, but to entirely ignore that the heart of Dumbledore’s Army isn’t mentioned is purely wrong.
  5. Hermione and Ron Never Getting Together, and Hermione Becoming an Evil Shrew/DADA teacher: Hermione’s worth is not determined by a boy, thank you very much. I have a really hard time believing that Hermione would become evil after not ending up with Ron. Even if they didn’t end up together, I imagined they would always be friends seeing as they went through some pretty tough stuff together. I also find it highly unlikely that Hermione would never become Minister of Magic simply because she didn’t end up with Ron. There is no way feminist Queen Rowling wrote this part.
  6. After the book came out, everyone shipping Albus and Scorpious: Why can’t people just be friends? Why does everyone have to automatically assume that they secretly had the hots for each other and should be boyfriend and boyfriend? I’m not saying that there is anything against this, but why do we have to make every book about someone’s sexual orientation?

Rant Over

Ahhh, that was relaxing to finally vent to people who know what I’m talking about. This post comes just in time for the soon-to-be-released screenplay of Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them. I look forward to seeing the movie at 10:05 p.m. on Friday November 18th (already purchased my tickets and the only time that would work with my busy schedule!) I look forward to sharing that wonderful review with you in the very near future.

The next review coming your way is Four: A Divergent Story Collection by Veronica Roth. Until next time bookworms.

 

Never Always Sometimes

24338298Goodreads synopsis:

Never date your best friend.

Always be original.

Sometimes rules are meant to be broken.

Best friends Dave and Julia were determined to never be cliché high school kids—the ones who sit at the same lunch table every day, dissecting the drama from homeroom and plotting their campaigns for prom king and queen. They even wrote their own Never List of everything they vowed they’d never, ever do in high school.

Some of the rules have been easy to follow, like #5, never dye your hair a color of the rainbow, or #7, never hook up with a teacher. But Dave has a secret: he’s broken rule #8, never pine silently after someone for the entirety of high school. It’s either that or break rule #10, never date your best friend. Dave has loved Julia for as long as he can remember.

Julia is beautiful, wild and impetuous. So when she suggests they do every Never on the list, Dave is happy to play along. He even dyes his hair an unfortunate shade of green. It starts as a joke, but then a funny thing happens: Dave and Julia discover that by skipping the clichés, they’ve actually been missing out on high school. And maybe even on love.

I had really high hopes for this book. Adi Alsaid’s Let’s Get Lost was one of my first reviews for my blog. The writing was at the same level, but the plot and story were not. I actually put the book down several times because I had a hard time getting into the book.

The characters, Dave and Julia, spend the entire book doing every cliché high school thing their last semester of high school because they spent their entire high school career flying under the radar. I didn’t create any connections with the characters – this could be because I a “cliché” in high school. But even reading the book as someone who participated in the clichés in high school, the point of view from Dave and Julia is bland. The characters lack realism and depth. They were boring and uninteresting people.

Like the characters, the romance in the plot was below sub-par. The promposal was the only extravagant and romantic thing in the entire book and even I was still confused about the step by step description. I honestly felt like Alsaid had never experienced any sort of romance in his life, because the teen, puppy love romance he wrote was boring and not romantic in any way. As someone who has experienced the romantic, teen puppy love, this was boring and unrealistic.

I felt like this whole book was for nothing. There was no big ending, there was no cliffhanger, Alsaid did not create a story that made me yearn for more.

As for my next review l will be posting about Cress by Marissa Meyer. Happy reading lovelies!

What Is A Friend?

I’ve noticed as I get older it is harder to keep friends. Yes, we’re all on Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat, Pinterest, and Twitter, but how many of your high school friends do you still talk to?

For me, I talk to the ones my boyfriend is still friends with. I also talk to the ones I work with, but I never hang out with them. High school friends just disappeared after high school and exist solely through social media. College is the same way. We’re on social media, but once you leave, you don’t hang out.

I’ve run into this recently since I decided to finish my senior year online (and saving $13,000 already thanks to living at home and getting a tuition break because I’m a “distance-education” student). I’m considered “Study Abroad” through my sorority, but now that I’m home, my schedule consists of teaching preschool/gymnastics programs in the morning and nannying all afternoon and evening, all while taking 18 credits online. The only time I see my boyfriend is when I’m at his house working on homework every night. My friends here in my hometown are those that are friends with my boyfriend or his sisters.

How does one make friends at the age of 21 when they work with high schoolers or people who are in their late thrities and older? Or they spend a majority of their time locked in a house with a baby every afternoon to late evening.

I can go to the gym, but I really don’t want to bring any more attention to myself than necessary, so no making buddies in Pilates or yoga class. I have my friends from bookworm community, but none of them live near me, so the point is moot. How do I make friends when I’m not in the same classes, let alone same school as anyone my age here in town?

I need friends that I can hang out with regularly, but understand my busy schedule. I don’t want flakey friends that never want to take the initiative to hang out with me, when I am taking the time to move around my busy schedule to accommodate their schedule, only for them to be busy with other things.

I just want friends; true friends that will always stand by your side, not ones who disappear as soon as thee going gets rough. Is that too much to ask for?