eleanor & park

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OH my, my. What a beautiful, heartbreaking novel. I recently finished John Green’s The Fault in our Stars (still haven’t brought myself to write a review on that masterpiece) so this one didn’t tug at the heartstrings like I thought it would. I really enjoyed the plot, for the most part. At first I didn’t like the way Eleanor is always so moody (GOD park!) but later I realized that it had something to do with her traumatic past and how she is constantly walking on eggshells in her own house. Can we stop for a minute and discuss how AWFUL her mother should feel? Letting that piece of shit Richie run the roost? I really can’t stand that guy! I really don’t like that I feel like Richie may have sexually abused the kids. Certain details made me feel like the kids were victims of molestation. For example, Maisie sitting on his lap, the kids reverting back to childish things like wetting the bed – these are all real life signs of that kind of thing happening. (Dear Rainbow Rowell, if you did that on purpose – NICE!) So anyway, I always felt sort of uncomfortable when she was in the house. I absolutely loved Park’s house and his family. The author set it up so perfectly, that I completely relate and understand why Eleanor liked to be there. I love that it never got inappropriate – these kids are only sixteen people! But I definitely felt the love these two shared. I’m not gonna lie though, when I first read the very end, I was a little confused. Three words? What three words? Then it clicked… and I was really happy. There’s hope for Park & Eleanor! 

 

Overall, I enjoyed the novel, but I do think it’s getting a little bit more hype than necessary. As I said, I just recently finished a John Green novel, so it’s hard for anything else to compare. 

 

 

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Fictional Boyfriends

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How do I even begin this post? I’m about to confess a secret that I’ve kept for as long as I can remember. 

I am convinced that I am not alone in this, but it still feels like I’m revealing this huge thing. Okay, here we go. Okay, we can do this… I am no longer in denial. Here it is: when I read a good book and the main boy character totally makes me swoon, I sort of develop a serious crush on him. Like I said, I am absolutely convinced that I am not alone in this affection for fictional characters. So I’ve decided to compile a list of my favorites so that those who are still too afraid to admit to their love can join in on mine. 

 

Number-one-most-amazing-all-time-favorite-fictional boyfriend: Wes Baker – Sarah Dessen’s The Truth About Forever

Now, my supercrush on Wes mayyy have something to do with the fact that this is one of my all-time-favorite books… ever. I am absolutely in love with Wes Baker (sorry, fiance!) I even want to name one of my children Weston… partially so I can call him Wes. Okay, that’s not entirely true, I just love the name Weston. But honestly, what’s not to like about him?? He’s sarcastic and witty, he takes care of his younger brother (cute!) and he’s absolutely gorgeous! I seriously can’t find anything wrong with Wes. Nothing.  I like how he and Macy started off as co-workers, then became friends, and then (finally) fell in love! “sa-woon!” So if I had to pick one (just one?) fictional boyfriend to be with for all of literary eternity, then I would SO pick Wes Baker.

 

#2: Augustus Waters – John Green’s The Fault in our Stars

This may be partially due to the fact that I just finished this book (still trying to come to terms with it all!!!) and the fact that I’ve always gone for the sarcastic goofy guys. And really, the most attractive thing about Augustus Waters… is his vocabulary. I love a guy who can string together a bunch of words and make them sound nothing short of beautiful. I mean let’s be honest here – right off the bat we know Gus is someone we will fall in literary love with. There’s something so genuine and caring about Gus that I just can’t get past. I just love his friendship with Isaac and how they turn their bad situations into jokes and keep each other on their toes. Hazel and Gus – don’t even get me started… I love everything about their relationship… except the cancer of course. I know this is a fatal flaw of a writer, but I just can’t even form words to describe how I feel about these two. Gus goes out of his way for Hazel, to make her feel like “enough” and to show her how much he cares about her. He’s just really really great. “Okay? Okay.”

 

#3 Sutter Keely – Tim Tharp’s The Spectacular Now

I don’t know if it’s his constant drunkenness, or the fact that he’s portrayed in a movie by my favorite goofy hottie, Miles Teller, but there’s something about Sutter Keely that I’m head over heels in literary love with. He is in his own little world half the time and doesn’t realize what a hot mess he is. I like that even though the story is told from his POV, the reader can still see how completely messed up Sutter is. I feel like he always has the best intentions, even when he doesn’t. He starts hanging out with sweet, innocent Aimee to pass the time. He doesn’t mean to fall in love, but he does. He’s so off kilter and strange that it makes you want to understand more about him. Sutter Keely makes really awful situations into jokes and even though that doesn’t make them better, or even okay, it makes them bearable. Neglect and abuse are masked as independence and love. Seeing it through Sutter’s eyes gives the reader the opportunity to accept things for what they are. He is the life of the party. He makes you happy and he makes you want to dance and just HAVE FUN. This story, and Sutter Keely himself are just so heartbreakingly beautiful… and absolutely real. 

#4 Jase Garrett – Huntley Fitzpatrick’s My Life, Next Door

He’s just SO SWEET. I seriously want a Jase Garrett of my own. Can I just have one? He is so great with his little brother, George and just makes you swoon. Really, it does. First of all, he’s super handsome, which is always a plus. He likes to fix things! He’s always working on a car or a lawn mower, or something that isn’t even really broken but could probably be better. He is such a family guy – the Garretts are a huge family and he takes such great care of his younger (and some older) siblings. He’s seriously “the nicest guy on the planet” and I want one of my own! I love that Sam becomes his number one. His family completely accepts her and loves her as their own simply because Jase loves her. If she’s good enough for him, she’s good enough for his family. Simple, sweet, and very very lovable. Yea, I definitely need a Jase Garrett. 

 

 

Since I am always always reading, I’m absolutely positive that this list will grow. 

 

 

 

 

Hooters

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I seriously hear some of the most hilarious things from my students. For example, today THIS happened. 

 

Boy #1: I wish I worked at Hooters!

Me: I don’t think they’d hire you – you don’t have the right… equipment. 

Boy #2: What equipment? What equipment do you need to work there?!

Girl: BOOBS, FOOL!!!!

 

 

What a great start to my Monday. Not a day goes by that I don’t find myself laughing at something they do or say. 

Book(s) Review: Fallen Crest Series

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I read the first book of the series, Fallen Crest High, a little over a year ago while I worked as a nanny. Two toddlers napping for 2 hours a day gave me plenty of time to read, so I finished this book in a few days. Now that I teach, I have less time to read for fun. Naturally, it takes me much longer to finish a novel than it did then.  I will do a quick review of the first book (or at least what I can remember) before jumping into the second.

Fallen Crest High – Tijan

Main character: Samantha Strattan. 17 years old, lives with her mother who is a little nuts. She finds out they are moving out of their house with her father – or at least who she thinks is her father – and moving in with her mother’s most recent conquest – a wealthy man in town. The two sons of her future stepfather are bad boys and known around town for their roughness. She is instantly, and naturally, intimidated by them but she doesn’t show it. She is a very strong character which is evidenced by her fierceness and the way she handles moving in with the Kade family.  When she stresses out she runs and runs and runs (literally, the girl runs for hours). Sam goes to school at Fallen Crest Academy, the ritzy private school in town, while Mason and Logan Kade go to the public school. Ahhh, the Kade brothers. *swoon* I really can’t blame the girls in the novel for fawning over these two. They’re rich hardasses with serious attitude, who develop a soft spot for Sam. They have a super protective bond with each other which soon includes Sam. They see her as  a new sister, friend, and potentially more?

Tijan does an exceptional job with this clever, witty story about young love and all the drama that comes with it. The chaos that surrounds the characters’ relationships and families is completely insane, but so very entertaining. A few grammatical errors which always drive me crazy, but the content made it all worth it. I loved how honest Sam was and I could really feel the way she changed when her mother was around. Overall, it was worth the read and I would definitely recommend it. **A few sexual scenes that may not be appropriate for younger readers.

Fallen Crest Family

Oh, let the drama begin. Or should I say continue… This girl is a magnet for boy drama, mama drama, and bitchy girl drama. I kind of feel for her. In the second book of this series, Sam is faced with many obstacles, from her seriously crazy mother, to her ex-almost-step-father, even to her future stepbrothers and boyfriend. Sam and Mason (yes, the future stepbrother) are officially together and they can’t seem to get enough of each other. They live in the same house, and not everyone approves of their relationship – including their parents. Mason and Sam and even Logan basically give everyone an “eff off” but that’s not working so well. Unfortunately, ultimatums are given and dirty threats are made and some futures are in jeopardy, but that doesn’t stop Mason and Sam from continuing their relationship. Even when Sam is haunted by a traumatizing event from the past, she still pushes forward and realizes that she is the only one who can potentially fix the problems with their families.

What I loved: the bond between the brothers and Sam. Also, I absolutely loved the new character they brought in, Heather. She is just the type of friend Sam needs. I don’t really know about Helen, the boys’ mother, but I think she stands up for her sons when they need her to. The whole Manny’s crew just makes my heart melt. They’re there for each other and they take Sam in when she needs them to most. The idea of a future between Sam and Mason and a future school year with only Sam and Logan. Where will their friendship go? How will Mason moving away to college affect their relationship? So many questions… Bring on Book 3.

What I didn’t love: The scenario between Sam and her mother when she was 11 is very strange and random to me. There was no mention of anything like this in the previous book, so it was sort of out of left field. Also, I didn’t like how steamy it got. I swear Sam and Mason are constantly going at it like rabbits. The way that Nate and the other guys seem to do everything Mason and Logan tell them to… I have a feeling it will all blow up one day. The social hierarchy of the kids in the schools kind of throws me off as well.

Overall, I enjoyed this book. Tijan has a way of making the reader feel connected to the characters in a personal way. Even though it wasn’t my favorite, I would recommend this book to anyone wanting an easy, entertaining read. **Again, some sexual content that isn’t appropriate for young readers.

The third book of the series, Fallen Crest Public is rumored to come out in December 2013, so we will see how the rest of story unfolds…

TAFE

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As I have mentioned, this is my first year as a high school English teacher. I graduated from Texas A&M with a Bachelor’s degree in English, but I didn’t get certified to teach right away. Instead, I worked as a waitress, nanny, tax office clerk, substitute teacher and day care teacher for 2 year olds. Keep in mind that I’m only 24 years old. I often had multiple jobs at a time and considered going many different directions in life, but teaching was always at the end of the road for me. So about a year after I graduated from college, I decided to enroll in an alternative certification program to finally get certified to teach. I thought I would definitely want to teach 4th grade, I always had wanted to and that’s what I was going to do. Then I went to sign up and the program was only accepting Secondary applicants. Secondary… meaning High School. I did a little soul searching and a whole lot of praying and finally decided to give it a try. At first I was scared to death (Teenagers? High school kids? They’re only a few years younger than I am… they’ll eat me alive!) But I finally decided to go ahead and enroll in the program. After all, they said I only had to teach high school for one year, then I could just take the EC-6 exam and find a job as an elementary teacher once I was officially certified. That was the new plan. 

It finally came time to start looking for jobs and putting in applications. I live in a small town where teachers either die or retire from the high school, so I knew finding a job there would be difficult. I started applying at all the neighboring small towns and communities, realizing I would have to drive quite a way to work every day. There was a school about 30 miles down the highway and they were looking for an English teacher. I was asked to come for an interview within a few days of applying, but then after my interview I hadn’t heard anything for a few weeks. I started to get really bummed out because I didn’t think I would get the job. Finally I decided to call the Principal just to let him know that I was still interested and to check on things. As soon as I told him who I was, he offered me the job! I was so excited! My first “big kid” job! A real paycheck! (or so I thought…) Things were finally feeling real. But of course, I was planning on only teaching high school for a year… 

When I got to RHS I knew I would never teach anything other than high school. I absolutely love it. I can talk to the kids and be honest and real with them about things and they don’t whine and cry like younger kids do. They understand my sarcastic tone and my witty humor. I can’t ever see myself teaching any kids younger than this. 

Within a few minutes of meeting my new coworkers in the English department, I knew I would love it here. Since I am only on a probationary certificate because of the alternative certification program, I had to be assigned a mentor. Mine rocks! After attending a workshop with my fellow “interns” as they call us at the service center, I have heard many horror stories about mentors not helping or doing their required paperwork and I am so grateful for mine! 

Not only does my mentor exude awesomeness (shoutout to Mrs. T!) but she also sponsors a group on campus called TAFE (pronounced “taffy”) which stands for Texas Association of Future Educators. I spend a lot of time in her room after school and during our conference period so I have constantly been around this group of kids. They do really great things in the community and they all actually want to be there. I teach students who absolutely hate school and everything to do with it. It gets very disheartening at times, so witnessing these kids who actually WANT to stay late after school and do service projects is very uplifting for me. Yesterday after school, I asked my mentor if she ever needed help with TAFE and after talking for a while, we decided that I would be her co-sponsor! YOU’RE LOOKIN’ AT THE NEW TAFE CO-SPONSOR right here! I am probably way too excited about this, but I can’t wait to be a part of this group! If we had a group like this when I was in high school, I definitely would have joined, so why not just help run the show now? This weekend we are having a “fun run” 5k fundraiser to support breast cancer awareness and donating 100% of the funds. It’s so great to see teenagers who actually want to positively impact their community.

 

Have a TAFE Tuesday, y’all… even though it’s Wednesday. 

Gray Hairs?!?!

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Wow… I’m 100% speechless. Well, obviously not, because I’m about to write a blog post, but you get the picture. 

After lunch, as I made my daily trip to the ladies’ room, I was washing my hands when I noticed something glimmering in the mirror. I looked up, ABSOLUTELY HORRIFIED, to find not one but two GRAY HAIRS staring right at me. My long, dark brown hair that everyone is envious of, is being invaded by nasty silver ones!!! I am only 24 years old, have only been teaching for two months, and already have these awful things creeping into my life?!?! *faints* TELL ME THIS IS NOT REAL LIFE. 

 

The worst part is that I can pinpoint exactly where those ugly gray hairs are coming from: 5th period. The class sandwiched between my lunch break and my conference period (THANK YOU BABY JESUS – because I need serious mental health time to prepare for them, and again to recover). This is a class of only four students, but trust me, these are the four most annoying, frustrating, needy, make-you-pull-out-your-(gray)-hair, kids. “They’re just kids,” some of my coworkers say… Well you’ll think otherwise when they get to your class. They really drive me absolutely insane.  

 

So now I have gray hairs. I’m appalled. Thankfully I’m already engaged, so I don’t have to worry about finding myself a man SINCE I’M OBVIOUSLY AN OLD SENILE WOMAN. Guess it’s off to Walmart for hair dye this evening… and it’s only October… 

***New Addition to Teaching Teens!***

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It should come as no surprise that as an English/Reading teacher, I absolutely love to read. Unfortunately, I rarely find time to indulge in a great book, but when I do, the Young Adult genre is my guilty pleasure. You’d think since I have a degree in English Literature that would be my favorite. But really, are you kidding me, I spent four (actually five – victory lap!) years studying that crap, why would I want to read it now for fun? There’s something so simple and easy about the YA genre that really captures my attention. I could seriously sit around reading YA books all day every day if I didn’t have to support myself with a job. I’m serious – ADED – all day, err’day. Bring on the teen angst and boy drama – I love it! Whenever I get time, I try read new books by random YA authors. I have a few favorites (cough, Sarah Dessen, cough) but I’m really up for anything. My sweet fiancé bought me a Kindle Fire for my birthday last year and I have definitely put that bad boy to good use. Since I’m living on a teacher’s salary, I often browse the “Daily Deals” section or the “Under $3.99” section of the store. I have found some really great books for under a dollar OR EVEN FOR FREE! So I’m by no means a book snob. Anyway, onto the actual point of this post (I’m obviously a little ADD)… I’m going to start including Book Reviews (!!!) to my blog. (DISCLAIMER: THESE REVIEWS WILL PROBABLY ALMOST ALWAYS MAYBE INCLUDE SPOILERS!!) I’ve never really written book reviews before, but it seems like simply talking to someone about a book and/or why you liked/disliked it. So, just as a head’s up, get ready for some reviews.