Sunday, December 13, 2009

2nd Quarter ORB

Someone Like You by Sarah Dessen. Penguin Group, 1998.
Genre: Fiction

Someone Like You is a book about two girls who have been best friends since Scarlet moved across the street from Halley when they were eleven. Scarlet was the more outgoing friend while Halley was quieter and kept to herself. The summer before the junior year of high school, Scarlet got very close to her new boyfriend, Michael Sherwood. At the end of the summer when Halley is away at camp, she gets a call from Scarlett explaining that Michael was dead. This loss fazed the whole school, but especially Scarlet when she found that she was carrying his baby. Just juniors in high school, Scarlett has to decide between abortion, adoption, and keeping her baby and Halley gets her first serious boyfriend.

“Dessen has a perfect ear for the immediate daily details of a middle-class teenager’s home, school, job, party scene…. Many teenage girls will find themselves in this story.” I agree with this quote because I did find myself, a teenage girl, in the story. It wasn’t that I have the exact same life as Halley and Scarlett or that I do everything they did, but there were a few things that stood out. Like being nervous around a crush, or always being there for my best friends no matter what.

Sarah Dessen has a very engaging writing style. I’ve read books by her before, such as Along for the Ride, and once again notice the same style of writing, which I can’t wait to dig into every time I open one of her books. Dessen writes like she is a teenage girl who wrote in her diary and is now taking her diary entries and creating a book out of them. It’s relatable to any teenage girl, whether they think so or not.

“Everyone seemed to be eyeing Scarlett’s stomach, as if since second period she’d suddenly be showing, the baby ready to pop out at any minute.” (139) I chose this quote because I feel like what the author is saying, is what everyone would be thinking, even if they didn't want to. It's the feeling of knowing a physical feature about someone and not wanting to be rude but still stopping to take a quick glance, to see what everyone is talking about. As much as everyone denies it and calls it rude, everyone has done it.

I think that reading this book will actually affect my life. Many teenagers think that reading this book is never going to help them and that reading any book is a waste of time. This is an exception to me. This book taught me about mistakes and decisions that every teenager has to deal with. It will cause me to think twice in the future before I do anything that my effect my life.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Let the Music Burn

In a world as crazy as ours is, how do we know what we value? What used to be a family dinner every night, chatting about the days events, has turned into the buzz and beeps of cell phones and the internet, with the sound of fingers tapping away on the keyboards. The time we spent with those who matter most to us used to be the most valuable, but is that true anymore? Everyone has their own opinion on value and what they value. I value my schoolwork enough to continue writing this paper but do you value my school work enough to continue reading it?

As I place the ear buds into my ear and the familiar music of my favorite artists fill my head, I escape into my own world. My iPod allows me to escape whenever I need or want to. It's a silver iPod nano. It's not new and it's not in the best shape, but it plays the music I want to hear and that's all that matters to me. To cover the scratches and scrapes from numerous drops, I made an iPod skin. It’s made of one of my favorite pictures I have, my friends Tess, Nicki, Hannah and I at our 8th grade step-up ceremony. We're dressed up out of our usual jeans and hoodies and into dresses and heels. We're all smiling, happy to finally be out of the middle school. Under the picture consists the words "Best of Friends". I see this skin and my friends and I every time I take out my iPod, which is very often.

I don't know how much my iPod cost because it was a gift. My aunt gave it to me for Christmas after she heard me begging to my parents. As I sit in the car listening to Taylor Swift, I remember opening the gift. I had an idea that it may be an iPod but I didn't want to get my hopes up and then not get it, so I tried to convince myself otherwise. Listening to my iPod makes long car rides and plane trips go by faster or relaxes me while I lie on the beach with the sun beating down upon me. To me it doesn't matter how much my iPod costs because the happiness it gives me every time I release the hold and press play is worth it.

The smell of wood burning and the crackling of the flames give me the most welcoming feeling. It's almost like the fire is pulling me towards it, begging for me pull up a chair, relax, and roast a marshmallow to perfection. Every time, I give in. It's getting cooler as I change into my sweats and a hoodie, and pull up a chair as close as I can get without possibly burning myself. This is what I wait for all year, the summer air; slightly cool when the sun sets, my family and friends, and a fire burning the night away. Without saying a word, I know what everyone is thinking. Can we get a fire bigger than the one across the lake finally?! Usually, we can't. We all have the secret hope that tonight may be the exception.

When the fire finally starts going naturally, it's time. As we all jump to the table to be first to grab a marshmallow and a stick, we each eye the chocolate and graham crackers awaiting our toasty marshmallow. I pull my chair as close as I can before I get yelled at to back up before I fall in.

Toasting the perfect marshmallow is about finding the right spot in the fire, being patient, and constantly rotating the stick. It's the second step that gets me every time, patience. I guess you could say it's not really my thing. Usually, when I can't wait any longer to eat my gooey marshmallow or delicious s'more, I give up on the patience, light my marshmallow on fire and then extinguish the flame with a breath. It may not taste the same as a golden brown perfect marshmallow, but it's the satisfaction that matters to me. I break the graham cracker in half, trying my hardest to make the pieces even. Next I grab the best looking pieces of chocolate, place it on my graham cracker, lay the marshmallow and the final cracker and it's done. For a second I see how good it looks and almost don't want to eat it. That thought quickly passes and the aroma of the flavors blending reaches my nose. Moments such as these, are one of the things i value most.

I value my iPod and my summer nights at the fire equally. It's not that I can't decide which I like better, it’s more that I like them for different reasons that it's too difficult to compare. My iPod may cost more than a relaxing night, but it can't take the place of the memories I have, enjoying the fire and its benefits. Neither value to me can give what the other gives.

My iPod and toasty warm fires both allow me to relax. When I’m listening to my iPod and when I’m sitting by the fire, I automatically forget about the things that happend that day, and just enjoy what I'm doing.. There’s something about the way they make me feel, like I’m the only one around and nothing else matters except that moment.

With everyone in the world questioning value and judging other people because of their own perspective of value, it’s what matters to personally to each other that means the most. So, what someone values most is based on their personal opinion of value. I know what I value, whether it’s listening to Taylor Swift, or it's a “Friday night beneath the stars”.

Monday, October 12, 2009

Sarah Dessen - Along for the Ride- Book Review

The book, Along for the Ride, is about a teenage girl named Auden and her summer before heading off to college. Auden is a night owl and never sleeps until the morning. Her parents are divorced and her father is remarried. Auden lives with her mom but decides to go and stay the summer with her father, his wife Heidi, and their daughter Thisbe. They live in a small town on the beach and there Auden goes on a quest to get a second chance at a childhood she never had. For the first time Auden has friends and a love interest. Auden has to decide what is really important in her life and what she needs to do to keep herself, her mother, her father, and her new friends happy.

One review quote that I specifically agree with is, “I love Sarah Dessen’s style and how easily it is for me to slip into the character’s world”. I agree with this quote because while I was reading this book, I did slip into the small beach town and I felt as though I knew each and every character personally.

I really enjoyed the author’s writing style because it was easy to read in the terms of a teenager. Everything that each characters said was believable and wasn’t irrelevant to something that character would say. Sarah Dessen’s writing reminds me of another one of my favorite authors, Lisi Harrison. The two authors’ writings remind me of each other because they both write teen book that are believable and I can relate to what is going on with the characters, how they act and what they say.

One quote from the book is, “He kept talking, but I’d heard this song before, knew all the words, so I just sipped my coffee.” I chose this line to reflect the authors writing style because I think that every teenager can relate to this line in some way. For example, everyone knows that line that their parents say over and over and that’s exactly what Auden means when she said that she heard this song before and knew all the words.

From this book, I learned to not take my childhood for granted. Some people grow up too fast so I learned that I should take advantage of the time I have being a kid and teenager and not rush into my adulthood.

Friday, September 11, 2009

A New Chance At Life

How I Live Now -Daisy and Piper
A Child Called It - David
Setting - The cousins house in England.

Daisy stood in the airport waiting for her cousin. They had never met before and Daisy had no clue who it was that she was looking for. All she was told was that he was a boy named David, who is a few years younger than her. Daisy was a teen with a big heart and was willing to except anything and anyone no matter who they are, what they look like, or where they have been. David on the other hand, wasn’t. He kept to himself because of his past. He was beaten by his mother throughout almost his whole life. It wasn’t that he was unfriendly; it was more so that he was afraid. Afraid to be himself, worried about what would happen to him. David was coming to live with Daisy and her other cousins because he needed a new start. “Excuse me, are you Daisy?” said an unfamiliar voice. Daisy turned. There stood a boy with a sadden face and what looked to be a body full of bruises and scars, and indication of his past.

“Yes I am, you must be David,” said Daisy. He nodded and looked down. “Well let’s get going back to the house. Piper is waiting to meet you!” As they got in the car, David never looked up and on the way to the house, he barely said two words.

As they arrived back to the house, Piper was there waiting, smiling her sweet smile with a large basket of muffins, a gift for the new guest. David got out of the car a looked around. He felt as if he was in the middle of nowhere. There were the tallest trees he had ever seen and bushes filled with flowers everywhere. In the midst of all the plant life, there was a house. It was a good size, not too big and not too small, and it looked welcoming. David suddenly perked up, realizing that he wasn’t with his mother anymore. No more beatings and eating out of the garbage. This was a new start. It was a chance for David to overcome everything that has happened to him in his past. “David! David! I’m Piper. I’m so happy to meet you!” screeched Piper. She embraced him in the biggest hug he had ever had. It felt great to David, it wasn’t someone feeling sorry for him, it was someone who actually was happy to see him.

“It’s nice to meet you too, Piper, right?” said David.

“Yes I’m Piper. I would love you to meet my brothers, but there not home. Took a trip. We’re not sure when they’ll be back, but they told us not to worry. And you don’t worry either David, you’re in wonderful hands with Daisy and myself.”

Piper and Daisy took David around the house and the property. David was in awe. There was so much space! They even had a shed hidden in the trees behind their house. “This place is really great. I’m really happy you guys allowed me to come here,” said David. “It’s exactly the new life I need.”

“Well there is a roof over our heads, we have food, and for the most part were healthy and safe,” responded Piper.

“And that’s all we could ask for,” said Daisy.

“If you don’t mind,” said David, “I would like to go in my room and rest for a while. I’ve had a long day.”

Of course!” said Daisy. “Let us know if there’s anything you need. We’ll be glad to help.”

“And most of all,” replied Piper, “welcome home.”

As David got to his room and lied down, that last sentence Piper had said stuck in his head. “Welcome home,” he said to himself. There was something nice about hearing that. It made him happy and he felt part of this family, a family he had never had before. He knew that this was his chance to get over his past, and he knew he would. There was nothing to stop him now. “Welcome home David,” he said to himself. “Welcome home.”