Posts Tagged ‘LGBT’

Book Club Pick: May 2018

AskThePassengers

Book Details:

Title: Ask the Passengers

Author: A.S. King

Series: Stand alone novel

Country: United States of America

Publisher: Little, Brown and Company

First Published: 2012

Pages: 293

Publisher Description:

Astrid Jones desperately wants to confide in someone, but her mother’s pushiness and her father’s lack of interest tell her that they’re the last people she can trust. Instead, Astrid spends hours lying on the backyard picnic table watching the airplanes fly overhead. She doesn’t know the passengers inside, but they’re the only people who won’t judge her when she asks them her most personal questions…like what it means that she’s falling in love with a girl.
As her secret relationship becomes more intense and her friends demand answers, Astrid has nowhere left to turn. She can’t share the truth with anyone except the people at thirty thousand feet, and they don’t even realize she’s there. But little does Astrid know just how much even the tiniest connection will affect these strangers’ lives – and her own – for the better.
In this truly original portrayal of a girl struggling to break free of society’s definitions, Printz Honor author A.S. King asks readers to question everything – and offers hope to those who will never stop seeking real love.

Review:

After Astrid Jones’s grandmother passes away she is buried in the small Pennsylvania town of Unity Valley, where she grew up. Following her grandmother’s funeral Astrid’s parents purchase her grandmother’s family home.

So at 10-years-old Astrid and her nine year-old sister Ellis and their parents pack up and leave New York City for Unity Valley.

When the novel opens Astrid is a seventeen-year-old high school senior. She does not have the best relationship with her parents. Her family is rather dysfunctional. Her father is getting stoned in the garage and her mother is taking her underage sister out for mother-daughter nights that involve drinking. Astrid’s mother is also very critical and judgemental when it comes to Astrid.

The town of Unity Valley is presented as being a small-minded and conservative town that is fueled by rumour and gossip.

Astrid’s best friends are Kristina and Justin, who are the high school’s power couple; most likely to be crowned Homecoming King and Queen. Except their relationship is a cover. Kristina is secretly dating Donna and Justin is dating Chad.

Astrid is also in a secret relationship. She is dating Dee, a co-worker at her part-time catering job. Despite knowing that her two friends are gay she is not ready to share her secret. She is also not comfortable with the label of gay. Astrid likes Dee but is reluctant to define herself as gay – yes she likes a girl but she cannot rule out dating a guy.

As Astrid feels she does not have the support of her family and friends she spends much of her spare time lying on the picnic table in her backyard. She looks up into the sky sending her love and thoughts to passengers flying aboard airplanes above.

The novel cleverly juxtaposes Astrid’s first-person narrative with short scenes about love and relationships from a passenger aboard the plane. These short scenes are stand-alone and in each scene we are introduced to a new character.

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King also weaves philosophy throughout the narrative, such as the teachings of Plato, Socrates, and Zeno. Astrid even renames Socrates Frank and communicates with him (sort of an imaginary philosophical friend).

Ask the Passengers is a coming-of-age, coming-out story about love and discovering one’s self.

Links:

A.S. King Official Website

A.S. King on Twitter

A.S. King on Facebook

A.S. King on Instagram

 

Source: I borrowed this book from my public library.

Book vs. Film

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WARNING: SPOILERS BELOW

It has been 8 days since I saw Love, Simon, so today I thought I would do a book vs. film comparison.

A film adaptation can never be exactly the same. Often for timing and pacing reasons not everything can be included – it can be disappointing for book fans to learn that a favourite moment or character has been cut.

Also some elements that work on the page may not necessarily work onscreen. For example, much of Simon vs. The Homo Sapiens Agenda is written using the email correspondence between Simon and Blue. It was obviously a challenge for the scriptwriters to work out how to and how much of this to portray onscreen. Love, Simon has Bram (Keiynan Lonsdale), Cal (Miles Heizer) and Lyle (Joey Pollari) each take turns voicing Blue’s emails as Simon tries to work out Blue’s identity. This is a interesting technique to cover the mystery of who Blue is.

I believe that books and film adaptations should be viewed as separate entities. Although having said that, Love, Simon has captured the spirit and heart of the book. Albertalli herself has said she feels that the film is a ‘faithful adaptation’ of her work.

Below are some differences between the book and the film. This is by no means comprehensive (spoilers ahead…)

The title

The first noticeable change is that the film has shorter title. Personally I think the title works for the film.

Simon’s email address

In the book Simon emails from hourtohour.notetonote@gmail.com. In the film Simon uses the email frommywindow1@gmail.com. Blue uses the email bluegreen118@gmail.com in both the book and film.

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Junior Year / Senior Year

The novel is set during Simon’s junior year, whereas the film is set during his senior year.

Simon’s glasses

In the book Simon wears glasses and later wears contacts for the school musical. In film Simon wears glasses only in the flashback scenes. Robinson does not wear glasses in the present day scenes to minimise technical challenges that occur with lighting when actors wear glasses.

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Simon (Nick Robinson) – flashback

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Leah (Katherine Langford) and Simon (Nick Robinson) – flashback

Farewell Alice

In the novel Simon has two sisters. A younger sister Nora and an older sister Alice, who is a freshman at Wesleyan University. She has a secret boyfriend Theo, whom she introduces to her family after Simon comes out.

In the film Simon only has one sister, Nora. In the book she is a high school freshman and is in a band with Leah, Taylor, and Anna called ‘Emoji’. Nora in the film is younger and has a passion for cooking.

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Emily (Jennifer Garner), Nora (Talitha Bateman), Jack (Josh Duhamel)

Leah

In the book Leah has a crush on Nick and this causes much of the tension between Abby and Leah. In the film Leah’s crush is transferred to Simon. Personally I did not think this change was necessary.

Nick

In the novel Simon’s best male friend Nick Eisner is a white Jewish kid who plays soccer and guitar. In the film Nick is portrayed by Jorge Lendeborg Jr., who is Dominican-born. Nick still plays soccer but the guitar is gone.

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Nick (Jorge Lendeborg Jr.)

Homecoming Game

In the book prior to the Homecoming Game the school has a Spirit Week where the students have various dress up days such as Gender Bender Day and Music Day. This is cut from the script so audiences miss out on seeing Jorge Lendeborg Jr. (Nick) and Keiynan Lonsdale (Bram) dressed as cheerleaders.

In the film we only see the Homecoming Game, but there is added moment where Martin makes a grand gesture and steals the microphone during the national anthem and declares his love for Abby.

School Musical

In the novel the school is putting on a musical production of Oliver. Martin plays Fagin and Abby plays the Artful Dodger. In the film the school is putting on Cabaret.

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Cabaret

Gay bar

In the book Nick and Abby take Simon to a gay bar where Peter a college guy buys him drinks. A scene where Nick takes Simon to a gay bar was shot with Colton Haynes playing the college guy but was cut during editing for pacing reasons. Hopefully this will be included as a deleted scene when the DVD is released.

Halloween Party

In the novel Nick’s soccer teammate Garrett throws a Halloween party. Garrett is still in the film but it is Bram who throws the party. In the novel Simon goes to the party dressed as a Dementor from the Harry Pottter series. In the film Simon and Leah goes as John Lennon and Yoko Ono. Simon still keeps his love for Harry Potter as he tells the audience about his crush on Daniel Radcliffe when he was younger.

In the film Simon sees Bram hooking up with a girl at the Halloween Party. This was done to throw the audience off the track of Bram being Blue.

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Bram (Keiynan Lonsdale) and Simon (Nick Robinson)

Blue’s reveal

In the book after Simon is outed Blue does not wish to meet him but does leave him a Elliot Smith t-shirt for him at school. Simon stops emailing Blue because he thinks Blue does not like him now that he knows who he is. It turns out Blue had left a note for Simon with his number hidden inside the t-shirt. Simon decides to email Blue and invite him to the carnival. When he goes to put on the t-shirt he finds the note. As the carnival is about to close Simon rides on Tilt-A-Whirl and Bram comes up and sits next to him and reveals that he is Blue.

In the film there is no Elliot Smith t-shirt and Simon has no way of contacting Blue as he has closed his email address. So he creates his own blog post and invites Blue to meet him at the Carnival. There is a brief bait and switch where Martin reveals himself as Blue to try and save Simon the embarrassment of being alone. Bram eventually turns up and reveals himself as Blue.

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Simon (Nick Robinson)

Added Movie Moments

There a few cool scenes added for the film, such as where Simon imagines his friends having to come out as straight and a fantasy college dance number to Whitney Houston’s ‘I Wanna Dance With Somebody.’

New characters in the film

Vice Principal Worth (Tony Hale) an awkward, cringey Vice Principal trying to be hip with his students is added for the film.

The film also introduces Ethan (Clark Moore), the only openly gay student at Simon’s school. This allowed for a great scene where these two boys are sitting next to each other. They are both gay but couldn’t be more different.

Another new character created for the film is Waffle House waiter Lyle (Joey Pollari), who is one of the potential suspects for Blue.

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Ethan (Clark Moore)

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Lyle (Joey Pollari)

Love, Simon is out in cinemas now. Go see it!

If you have seen the film let me know in the comments what you thought. I would also be interested of any other differences between the book and film that you may have noticed.

Book Club Pick: March 2018

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Book Details:

Title: Simon Vs. The Homo Sapiens Agenda

Author: Becky Albertalli

Series: Sequel – Leah on the Offbeat (2018)

Country: United States of America

Publisher: Balzer + Bray, HarperCollins

First Published: 2015

Pages: 303

Publisher’s Description:

Simon Spier is sixteen and trying to work out who he is – and what what he is looking for.

But when one of his emails to the very distracting Blue falls into the wrong hands, things get all kinds of complicated.

Because, for Simon, falling for Blue is a big deal…

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Review:

Sixteen-year-old Simon Spier is growing up in a town just out of Atlanta, Georgia. He has a secret – he is gay, but no one knows it, except Blue who he found through a post on Tumblr. Simon (using the pseudonym Jacques) has been exchanging emails with Blue. Simon does not even know who Blue is except that he goes to his school.

The novel opens with Simon being blackmailed by Martin Addison. Simon had left his Gmail account signed in and Martin has read one of his emails – his secret is out. Martin wants Simon’s help to get a date with his friend Abby.

A large part of the novel is the mystery of who Blue is. There are clues throughout that if the reader pays careful attention to will reveal Blue’s identity. I have to admit I had it down to two characters, but couldn’t decide.

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Albertalli’s debut novel is told through Simon’s first person narrative and the emails between Simon and Blue.

A sequel, Leah on the Offbeat is due for release 24 April 2018.

A feature film adaptation Love, Simon directed by Greg Berlanti and starring Nick Robinson, Katherine Langford, Jennifer Garner and Josh Duhamel is due out later this month.

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Links:

Becky Albertalli Official Website

Becky Albertalli on Facebook

Becky Albertalli on Twitter

Becky Albertalli on Instagram

 

Source: I borrowed this book from my public library.

Book Club Pick: July 2017

the-sidekicks

Book Details:

Title: The Sidekicks

Author: Will Kostakis

Series: Stand alone novel

Country: Australia

Publisher: Penguin Random House Australia

First Published: 2016

Pages: 256

Publisher’s Description:

The Swimmer. The Rebel. The Nerd.

All Ryan, Harley and Miles had in common was Isaac. They lived different lives, had different interests and kept different secrets. But they shared the same best friend. They were his sidekicks. And now that Isaac’s gone, what does that make them?

Review:

Sixteen-year-old Isaac Roberts has died unexpectedly. His three Sydney Catholic boys school friends Ryan, Harley and Miles are left behind to process their grief and figure out who they are, and where they fit without Isaac. Together the three boys are not friends, they only shared a best friend.

The novel is written in three sections with Ryan (the Swimmer), Harley (The Rebel), and Miles (The Nerd) each giving their perspective on life with and without Isaac. Kostakis gives each boy a label and then breaks down that label showing that there is much more to them than a label.

Each sections reads like a separate novella but together the three pieces make up a novel about grief and Australian male teenage identity.

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Seventeen-year-old Ryan Patrick Thomas, the swimmer, is up first. He is an Olympic hopeful and his mother is a teacher at the school. He has a secret boyfriend Todd, who he meet at Model UN. Ryan is conflicted with his sexuality and is struggling to come out.

The next part of the novel is narrated by Scott Harley, a boarder at the school. Harley does not have the best relationship with his parents and is struggling with feelings of abandonment after his mother returns to the States. This may explain his connection to Isaac’s mother, who he helps come to terms with losing her son.

The final part of the novel is told from the perspective of Miles Cooper, who from Ryan’s narrative we learnt shared a dark secret with Isaac. As Miles has written, directed and produced a short film starring Isaac, his narrative is written in film script format.

I saw Will Kostakis, in May at All Day YA at the Sydney Writers’ Festival. Click here to read my recap on the event.

Links:

Will Kostakis Official Website

Will Kostakis on Facebook

Will Kostakis on Twitter

Will Kostakis on Instagram

 

Source: I borrowed this book from my public library.