Five Potential YA Franchises that Failed

Let me add Lois Lowry’s The Giver to this list.


Originally posted on What About Movies?

The Maze Runner (2014), a film adapted from James Dashner’s young adult post apocalyptic sci-fi series, made a killing at the box office last year, earning a whopping $102 million in the US ($238 million internationally) with just a $38 million production budget. Yesterday, Maze Runner: Scorch Trials, the second installment, graced big screens all over the nation, and its potential for success is great. This came to me as a surprise considering that it’s one of the young adult series with a relatively smaller following than say Divergent or The Hunger Games. Of course there are an infinite number of reasons for the success and failure of a young adult film adaptation. A solid fan base from the books help, but they are not entirely a guarantee. And as much as we have The Hunger Games, Twilight and Harry Potter, all YA series adaptations that have become massive money makers, we get those few who never really become the full-blown film franchise they were expected to be.

Read about what’s included in the list: Five Potential YA Franchises that Failed – What About Movies?

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Book Thoughts: Angelfall by Susan Ee

“The thought of superhuman beings with human temptations
and flaws sends a chill through me.”
 

angelfall

 

Angelfall, the first book in the Penryn & the End of Days series by Susan Ee, is a post-apocalyptic fantasy novel featuring angels who attacked our world. Lately, I’ve been holding back in reading dystopian novels because I think I’ve had enough last year but this one is recommended by our book club moderator this month, and I don’t regret reading it.

This is my first time to read a book about angels and I enjoyed reading about them. How they are portrayed in the book is stunning. My favorite scene is in the beginning, the first time Penryn, our narrator, saw angels. Men with wings in different colors. Supernatural beings with their muscled forms. I love that fight scene between the “snowy angel” and the other five, with Penryn and her family watching. This is the event that resulted to Penryn and “snowy angel” Raffe to be together and help each other solve each of their problems.

I like the first chapters, thrilling and interesting enough. The middle part is just okay, not that exciting for me. But the fast-paced action in the ending chapters gripped me and had me turning the pages faster. There are some gruesome scenes that I wish I didn’t read while eating. Yet those disturbing scenes are also the heartbreaking ones. Also, I’m not sold in the romance parts. I think my Romance Grinch friend infected me in some way. LOL!

The ending wants us to believe that the angels are superhuman yet they are flawed. While the frail and struggling humans are still worth to be proud of. I don’t know; I am not that affected. Maybe I’m getting tired of this genre. Even so, angel politics and some concepts about God, the Messenger, archangels and stuff are intriguing enough that I’m still willing to read the next book in the series.

(3/5 stars)

Book Thoughts: Tiger Lily by Jodi Lynn Anderson

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“Every kind of love, it seems, is the only one. It doesn’t happen twice.”

I first learned about this book from a book club friend who really liked it about a year ago; I marked it as a wishlist and received it as a gift a few months ago. I’ve been planning to read it this year for my retelling challenge but not this soon. Just because of a book club activity, I started it the other day. (But I’ll be garnering just one point for this. LOL) But I’m glad I chose this, an appropriate book if you don’t want to stop reading.

I know that this is a retelling of Peter Pan, which the protagonist would obviously be Tiger Lily. I know that it’s not a happy story about her with the lines “Forget him. Forget him.” in the blurb at the back of my book. What I didn’t know is if Peter will also fall in love with her or if it would be unrequited love all along. And what I didn’t expect is how much this will make my heart ache.

One of the main reasons why I really like this novel is because it was told in Tinker Bell’s perspective. Tinker Bell told us from the start that because faeries are mute, it makes them see things. They turn their attention to observing. They are empathic, attuned to the beating of the heart that they are almost inside others’ minds. Plus, she’s a bit different than the other faeries because she gets easily bored, always curious, nosy even. These gave us the privilege to know the characters in a closer level. And because she can fly, we can also see overviews of things. All of these makes her a very unique and creative narrator.

I loved Tiger Lily from the start. I was affected when she changed, when she made bad decisions. She is fierce and brave, but also fragile and could be selfish, making her more real for me. Tiger Lily experienced a lot of suffering, with her being different from her tribe, being engaged to someone that she doesn’t like, and with changes in their community because of the Englanders. But of all these things that happened to her, Wendy scared her more than any other. In this story, I hated Wendy Darling, the girl we always like and know that is meant to be with Peter Pan. Anderson made me want to believe that it could be otherwise. Hoping against hope that it could be Peter Pan and Tiger Lily instead. I was like Tinker Bell, caring for her, rooting for her. We know Tinker Bell doesn’t like Wendy. And although we know she likes Peter Pan too, it wasn’t because of that. But it’s because how loyal and protective she is of Tiger Lily. I love their friendship. Although Tiger Lily seems not to care or see her in the beginning, Tinker Bell realized something when she was saved by her from drowning.

“You think you know that someone sees you one way, and barely at all, and then you realize that they see you in another. That was the night I realized Tiger Lily had seen-really seen-me all along.”

Anderson wrote it beautifully. The ending is sad and happy at the same time. It is heartbreaking but still hopeful. And since I like this story very much, upon hearing a sample of an audio book of this here in Goodreads, I would like to reread it by audio book. And hear Tinker Bell tell me this beautiful story once more.

(5/5 stars)

Films Mentioned in Anna and the French Kiss

So I was watching Lost in Translation last week. Then in a conversation between Bob (Bill Murray) and Charlotte (Scarlett Johansson), Bob said: “The more you know who you are, and what you want, the less you let things upset you.” I remembered that I highlighted a similar quote so I checked the books that I recently read and there it was, in Anna and the French Kiss. In the book, Stephanie Perkins really did quote Bob Harris. Lost in Translation is one of Anna Oliphant’s favorite movies.

After that, I decided to list the movies that are mentioned in Anna and the French Kiss by Stephanie Perkins. I initially highlighted most of them anyway.

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“Paris . . . is the film appreciation . . . capital . . . of the world.”

Here are the films:

1. Madeline (1998)

madelineIN AN OLD HOUSE IN PARIS, THAT WAS COVERED WITH VINES…

A movie based on Ludwig Bemelmans’ classic book series which is set in Paris. This is one of the three movies mentioned by Anna when she listed everything she knows about France at the first chapter of the novel.

 

 

 

2.  Amélie (2001)

amelieONE PERSON CAN CHANGE YOUR LIFE FOREVER.

Another movie mentioned by Anna in the first chapter of the novel. This is a whimsical depiction of contemporary Parisian life. And I am quite ashamed that I haven’t watched this film yet even though I’ve been hearing a lot of good reviews about this.

 

 

3. Moulin Rouge (2001)

moulin_rougeCLUB MOULIN ROUGE – AN EXPERIENCE YOU WON’T FORGET!

I watched this first during my freshman year in college and I really like it. My friends and I used to watch this at a friend’s house when we don’t have classes in the afternoon. I rewatched this with my sister and cousins this year too. It was set in Paris and it’s a musical! No wonder I loved it.

 

 

4. A Little Princess (1995)

a_little_princessEVERY GIRL EVERYWHERE IS A PRINCESS.

I just learned about this movie after looking it up in IMDb and Letterboxd. So the story is the same as Princess Sarah, the Japanese anime series that was translated in Filipino and aired in Philippine television when I was a kid. I believe every 90s child knows this story. It is also adapted in Philippine cinema as Sarah… Ang Munting Prinsesa, also in 1995. These are all based on the children’s novel A Little Princess by British playwright and author Frances Hodgson Burnett. I also plan to watch this, as it is directed by Alfonso Cuarón. 🙂

5. Hitchcock (2012)

hitchcockGOOD EVENING.

A love story between the filmmaker Alfred Hitchcock and his wife during the filming of Psycho (1960). A film about filming. Interesting!

 

 

 

6. The Rocky Horror Picture Show (1975)

the_rocky_horror_picture_showA DIFFERENT SET OF JAWS.

A British musical comedy horror film based on the musical stage production. I know some of the songs in this film because of Glee. I also read about this in The Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky. I am looking forward to watch the movie, and maybe the musical stage production too.

 

 

7. Rushmore (1998)

rushmoreLOVE. EXPULSION. REVOLUTION.

I first heard about this film from my friend Tin. It’s one of her favorite films of all time. (Tin, am I right? Hehe!) And since I recently watched The Grand Budapest Hotel, also directed by Wes Anderson, I’m going to bump this up on my watchlist.

 

 

 

8. Star Wars specifically The Empire Strikes Back (1980) & The Phantom Menace (1999)

starwars_aatfc
THE ADVENTURE CONTINUES…
EVERY GENERATION HAS A LEGEND. EVERY JOURNEY HAS A FIRST STEP. EVERY SAGA HAS A BEGINNING.

An epic saga created by George Lucas. I might rewatch these films, especially now that Star Wars: Episode VII – The Force Awakens is coming into theaters next year.

9. A Clockwork Orange (1971)

clockwork_orangeBEING THE ADVENTURES OF A YOUNG MAN WHOSE PRINCIPAL INTERESTS ARE RAPE, ULTRA-VIOLENCE AND BEETHOVEN. MONEY ISN’T EVERYTHING!

Okay, this film is not really mentioned in Anna and the French Kiss. It was just mentioned as a username of a regular in Anna’s favorite message board while she was reading film reviews. The username is clockworkorange88. I also want to watch this movie but I think I’ll read the novel first.

 

10. It Happened One Night (1934)

it_happened_one_nightTOGETHER… FOR THE FIRST TIME

A romance comedy film directed by Frank Capra, a well-known film director of a number of films in the 1930s and 1940s. I also often see this film in lists of best films of all time.

11. Mr. Smith Goes to Washington (1939)

mr_smith_goes_to_washingtonROMANCE, DRAMA, LAUGHTER AND HEARTBREAK… CREATED OUT OF THE VERY HEART AND SOIL OF AMERICA!

Just like It Happened One Night, this is directed by Frank Capra and included in lists of best films. But this one is a drama.

12. The Texas Chain Saw Massacre (1974)

the_texas_chainsaw_massacreWHO WILL SURVIVE AND WHAT WILL BE LEFT OF THEM?

An American slasher film. I have known this for a while now and it even had a remake in 2003. But I am not a fan of horror movies so maybe I’ll skip this one. (Not a fan meaning I may have a fear of horror movies. LOL)

13. Scooby-Doo 2 (2004)

scooby_doo_2THEY CAME. THEY SAW. THEY RAN.

I’m not a fan of Scooby-Doo. I just watched some episodes of the American animated television series when I was young. But isn’t it amazing that the animated series is still ongoing?

14. Sixteen Candles (1984)

sixteen_candlesWHEN YOU’RE JUST SIXTEEN ANYTHING CAN HAPPEN!

An American coming-of-age comedy film. It is included in some lists of best high school movies.

15. A Hard Day’s Night (1964)

a_hard_day's_nightTHE BEATLES, STARRING IN THEIR FIRST FULL-LENGTH, HILARIOUS, ACTION-PACKED FILM!

I bet any Beatles fan has already watched this film. I will watch this one of these days and then listen to some famous Beatles songs like A Hard Day’s Night and Can’t Buy Me Love.

16. Lost in Translation (2003)

lost_in_translationEVERYONE WANTS TO BE FOUND.

I watched this because of Scarlett Johansson. Hehe! And I really like it. As Stephanie Perkins said thru Anna Oliphant in Anna and the French Kiss, “It’s about isolation and loneliness, but it’s also about friendship. Being exactly what the other person needs.” Sofia Coppola became the third woman (and the first American woman) to be nominated for an Academy Award for Directing, for this movie.

 

17. Iron Man (2008)

iron_manHEROES AREN’T BORN. THEY’RE BUILT.

This is one of those blockbuster Marvel movies that I liked. It was fun watching Robert Downy, Jr. as Tony Stark or Iron Man. I think I like this more than its sequels.

18. Roman Holiday (1953)

roman_holidayROMANCE IN ROMANTIC ROME!

A princess escapes her guardians and falls in love with an American journalist in Rome. That princess is played by Audrey Hepburn, one of the world’s most famous actresses of all time. But I haven’t watch any of her films. Maybe I could start with this one.

19. The Gold Rush (1925)

the_gold_rushTHE WORLD’S GREATEST LAUGHING PICTURE!

This movie stars The Tramp, Charles Chaplin. Chaplin is considered as one of the most important stars of the early days of Hollywood. This is one of his silent films where he is most recognized.

 

 

 

20. The Decision, The Entrance & The Lighthouse

Three movies adapted from the novels written by James Ashley with the same titles. Okay, okay, I’m kidding. These are fictional movies. James Ashley is the pen name of Anna Oliphant’s father, who is an author of stories about love, cancer and dying.

By the way, I also made a Letterboxd list of these films.

My Eleanor & Park Playlist

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It was also December last year when I read Eleanor & Park. It is a young adult novel written by Rainbow Rowell about first love amidst life’s difficulties. One of the reasons why I like this book is because of the songs and artists mentioned here. Music has been a great part in Eleanor & Park’s relationship. So far, this contains the most songs and artists references from all the books that I have read. Since the time setting of this book is 1986, I wasn’t familiar with most of the songs so when I encountered new songs and artists, I listed them and looked for them in YouTube. Then after reading the book, I made my own playlist. Here are the twenty songs that I listened for days (or weeks) after I read the book.

1. There Is A Light That Never Goes Out by The Smiths

Rainbow Rowell said that if this book will be adapted into a movie, this would be the song in the trailer.

…Park made a tape with all his favorite Smith songs…

2. Love on a Farmboy’s Wages by XTC

XTC was no good for drowning out the morons at the back of the bus.

3. How Soon Is Now by The Smiths

He pointed at her book, where she’d written How Soon Is Now? in tall green letters. 
She ran her fingers over the embarrassing song titles – “This Charming Man” and “How Soon Is Now?” – on her math book.

She picked up the cassette. He’d written HOW SOON IS NOW AND MORE on the thin white sticker.

She could still hear that voice in her head – not his – the singer’s. From the Smiths. You could hear his accent, even when he was singing. He sounded like he was crying out.
                I am the sun …
                And the air …

4. Love Will Tear Us Apart by Joy Division

“No. It was awesome. I didn’t want to stop listening. That one song – is it ‘Love Will Tear Us Apart’?”
“Yeah, Joy Division.”
“Oh my God, that’s the best beginning to a song ever.”
He imitated the guitar and the drums.
“Yeah, yeah, yeah,” she said. “I just wanted to listen to those three seconds over and over.”
“Plus,” she said, “I love the rest of it just as much, like the high part, the melody, the dahhh, dah-de-dah-dah, de-dahh, de dahh.”
He nodded.
“And his voice at the end,” she said, “when he goes just a little bit too high … And then the very end, where it sounds like the drums are fighting it, like they don’t want the song to be over…”
Park made drum noises with his mouth: “Ch-ch-ch, ch-ch-ch.”
“I just want to break that song into pieces,” she said, “and love them all to death.”

5. Out of Control by U2

Park was wearing a U2 shirt today with a picture of a little boy on the chest.

6. 867-5309 by Tommy Tutone

He started singing his number to the tune of “867-5309,” which cracked her right up.
 
“You remember my phone number right?”
867-5309.”
“Seriously, Eleanor.”
“Seriously, Park. I’m never going to forget your phone number.”

7. Two of Us by The Beatles

“God, I know…. Hey, I can’t think of any 2 songs.”
“’Two of Us,’” she said.
“Two of us?”
“It’s a Beatles song.”
“Oh … that’s why I don’t know it.” He wrote it down.

8. Bad by U2

“Is that U2?” he asked. He could hear “Bad” in the background.
“Yeah, I think it’s my favorite song right now. I keep rewinding it, and playing it over and over again…”
“What’s your favorite part?”
“Of the song?”
“Yeah.”
“All of it,” she said, “especially the chorus –  I mean, I guess it’s the chorus.”
“I’m wide awake,” he half sang.
“Yeah…” she said softly.
He kept singing then. Because he wasn’t sure what to say next.

9. Drowning Man by U2

What did Eleanor think about the U2 album? She loved it.

10. Alison by Elvis Costello

Park pushed Play.
“What’s this song called?” she asked.
“’Alison.’”

11. The Morning of Our Lives by Jonathan Richman

Park played Elvis Costello for her –  and Joe Jackson, and Jonathan Richman and the Modern Lovers.

12. Boys Don’t Cry by The Cure

She couldn’t repay him. She couldn’t even appropriately thank him. How can you thank someone for the Cure? Or the X-Men?

13. I Want to Know What Love Is by Foreigner

“Because it’s prom,” he said.
“And it’s lame,” she said.
“How do you know?”
“Because the theme is ‘I Want to Know What Love Is.’”
“That’s not such a bad song,” he said.
“Are you drunk? It’s Foreigner.”

14. The Same Deep Water As You by The Cure

“But if you let “Same Deep Water as You” into your head, it will lull you into an achy haze. Which is exactly right for Eleanor and Park, in his dad’s truck, both scared to say everything they want to.”
-Rainbow Rowell

15. Kiss of Life by Friendly Fires

“When I was writing this book , I wanted to capture how it feels to love someone. You love them with your head. And then you love them with everything else. When they’re with you, you vibrate. When they’re gone, you ache.
This song does both.”
– Rainbow Rowell

16. Swithin’s Day by Billy Bragg

“Anyway, in their last few scenes together, Eleanor begs Park for understanding — but she doesn’t get it. She doesn’t give enough to get it.
The album version of “St. Swithin’s Day” is more wistful, less angry, and I kept listening to it because it’s about the aftermath of a terrible good-bye.”
– Rainbow Rowell

17. Once I Was by Tim Buckley

“This song is Park’s song, on the way back to Omaha. He wants to be everything for Eleanor. But everything he’s tried to be has already been.”
– Rainbow Rowell

18. Wichita Lineman by Glen Campbell

“And now we arrive at the best love song ever written.
Park, waiting in Omaha for a letter. For a phone call. For something.”
– Rainbow Rowell

19. I’m a Better Man by David McAlmont

“And if you’ve read the book, you know that the ending isn’t clean and neat and wholly happy. But Eleanor and Park are both transformed by their love for each other. They are saved. They are new.
What does Park get out of loving Eleanor?
EVERYTHING.”
– Rainbow Rowell

20. Blackbird by The Beatles

Sometimes it felt like she’d always be in his debt
And then she realized that Park didn’t know about the Beatles.
 
She reached into his jacket and slipped the Beatles tape into his T-shirt pocket. He caught her hand and held it to his heart.
“What’s this?” He pulled the tape out with his other hand.
“The greatest songs ever written. You’re welcome.”

I copied some of the songs here from Rainbow Rowell’s playlists to make it exactly 20. Hehe. You can visit her blog for her complete Eleanor & Park Playlist.


Love books and music? What About Movies?


Bonus Track:

21. Helter Skelter by The Beatles

I missed this song before but found it later when I was checking the pages of the book for Beatles songs.

They talked about the White Album on the way to school, but just as an excuse to stare at each other’s mouths. You’d think they were lip-reading.
Maybe that’s why Park kept laughing, even when they were talking about ‘Helter Skelter’— which wasn’t the Beatles’ funniest song, even before Charles Manson got a hold of it.

Book Thoughts: Flipped by Wendelin Van Draanen

flipped.jpeg

“I see the day that my view of things around me started changing.”

I love Flipped. I found myself grinning from ear to ear while reading this. Haha! I like the “he-said, she-said” style. It’s funny how a specific moment that happened to two individuals could be seen in different perspectives, especially on that day when Juli and Bryce first met.

flipped_julianna_bryce.jpeg

I admire Juli’s description of events and things. As Bryce said, “Who in junior high do you know would put together a sentence like that?” Also, it felt wonderful how she appreciates the sycamore tree, the breeze, the earth… I love how she, as my friend and I said, is “in love with life”.

Here’s one of the best lines from Juli… She constructs sentences well, and she said this in their second grade! 🙂

“My heart stopped. It just stopped beating. And for the first time in my life, I had that feeling. You know, like the world is moving all around you, all beneath you, all inside you, and you’re floating. Floating in midair. And the only thing keeping you from drifting away is the other person’s eyes. They’re connected to yours by some invisible physical force, and they hold you fast while the rest of the world swirls and twirls and falls completely away.”

As for Bryce, it’s kind of difficult to forgive him about the eggs. Good thing he flipped, from being a jerk then a coward, to someone who finally redeems himself.

I love these lines from Bryce after he flipped…

“I’d scale that monster sycamore if I could. Right to the top. And I’d yell her name across the rooftops for the whole world to hear.”

The other characters in the book were also created well. I praise Bryce’s grandfather in helping Bryce, his words of wisdom… And I applaud Juli’s family for being the lovable family that they were. I associate Juli’s father with my father. I was reminded how lucky I am that my father cares and loves my uncle just like Juli’s father cared and loved his brother.

This is a cute and wonderful book, simple and easy to read, but really helped me to appreciate life and people more. And I enjoyed the movie too!

(5/5 stars)

Book Thoughts: Forgive Me, Leonard Peacock by Matthew Quick

Anyone who ever thought of committing suicide, read this novel first. Forgive Me, Leonard Peacock is about a teenager who planned to kill his former bestfriend and then kill himself. As if this is not awful enough, he plan to do this on his 18th birthday.

leonard_peacockIMAGE FROM GOODREADS

“Just hold on as best as you can – and believe in the future.
Trust me. This is only a small part of your life. A blink.” 

This is my first Matthew Quick novel, a young adult recommendation from our book club. While I was reading this book, I felt weird. It’s as if my emotional gloomy self has resurfaced. I found myself agreeing to Leonard’s arguments on why he wanted to commit suicide. Not that I thought of committing suicide before, I didn’t. But I confess, there were times in my past that I felt alone and  that nobody really cares. (Haha! Emo.) Leonard wanted people to greet him “happy birthday”, without prompting them that it’s his birthday. And then that hollow feeling after, when he wasn’t greeted by the people whom he was expecting to greet him. I think I have felt that way before too. Then there were times when I wanted others to be there for me and show me that they care but sometimes I just wanted to be left alone. More thoughts like these had crossed my mind before. Insane? Sort of. But of course, I am not “certifiably insane”.

This book is somewhat a downer.  But after contemplating about the downside of life, after agreeing to Leonard’s reasons to kill himself, it makes you think again. And it gives you hope. Leonard Peacock is strange. He is depressed, sometimes too self-absorbed. But here are some reminders from him, a message for adults – that adults should be happy too. He told us to stop doing things that we don’t want to, that we can do anything we want and be anyone we want. This book tells us to believe in the future because it is going to be better, that there’s a lot to live for.

Before committing suicide, Leonard wanted to say goodbye to four people. I like how these people were presented in the novel. But it was Herr Silverman whom I really admired. I recommended this book to a teenage friend. When I asked him about the book after reading it, he said that he can relate to Leonard. Why? He told me this: “Loneliness. The feeling that you are alone. That you are looking for a person that will save you, but you will not let him know that you needed to be saved.” This is why we need more people like Herr Silverman, a man who cares and understands and is willing to save you. I associate him with the lighthouse from Leonard’s letters to himself from the future. Even when no one ever comes, the  lighthouse beams its light, just in case. He always shows kindness, just in case. We never know, at some time, somebody might really need it. There should be more people like Herr Silverman. And in our own ways, we can be like him and save lives too. We can man the lighthouse. And man the great light. Even when no one is looking.

(4/5 stars)

P.S. I also thought of writing letters to myself from the future. Maybe you should too, after reading the book. 🙂