Watch (And Cry): The Fault In Our Stars Trailer

The official The Fault In Our Stars trailer premiered last week, to the delight of John Green fangirls across the globe.

The Fault In Our Stars is one of my all time favourite books. Augustus Waters comes in second only to Draco Malfoy in my list of fictional guys I’d really, really like to marry. The book is so grand, so wonderful, that I had a lot of fears when I first heard it was being made into a film. After seeing the trailer, a lot of those fears still remain. Is Ansel Elgort right for the role of Augustus? (probably not, but is anyone?) Will the pretentious language of the novel translate into realistic teen conversation in the film? (again, probably not, because books use a different language to film. Maybe they should have adapted the conversation, but then most of the beauty would have been lost. Maybe it’s a lose-lose.) Will they ever be able to capture the bittersweet perfection of the relationship between Gus and Hazel?(This one I’m surprisingly less pessimistic about – Ansel and Shailene have amazing chemistry.)

I guess we’ll just have to wait until the 5th of June to find out for sure.

frangipani princess xoxo

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Book Review: Don’t Know What You’ve Got Till It’s Gone, Gemma Crisp

Last year, we followed Nina Morey’s rise and fall as a monthly magazine editor in “Be Careful What You Wish For”, and now she’s back in “Don’t Know What You’ve Got Till It’s Gone”, this time as the editor of weekly gossip mag “Juice”.

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After overcoming her battle with alcoholism and jumping back into the magazine sphere, Nina thinks her life is finally back on track. But all of a sudden her BFFs are all pregnant and seriously Baby Obsessed, while she’s still enjoying the single life. Throw in a reality TV show (hello, Park Street) and Nina realises life in the Editor’s chair isn’t nearly as glossy as it may seem.

Drawing on inspiration from her time as Editor of DOLLY and Cleo magazines, as well as her time working on weekly gossip titles such as OK! and NW, Gemma Crisp perfectly fictionalises the dramatic world that lies behind the covers of your favourite magazines. With a page-turning mix of relationship drama, and dealing with friends at different life stages to you, she absolutely encapsulates the life of a twenty-something Sydney girl, albeit one with a job we’d all die for.

One of my favourite things about Crisp’s writing is that she doesn’t shy away from serious issues. Her first novel dealt with Alcoholism and Mental Illness in a frank and real way, and “Don’t Know What You’ve Got Till It’s Gone” continues the trend. This time around, Nina’s glamorous stylist friend has a Self Harm problem, which is written about responsibly and realistically. Kudos to Gemma for tackling a subject that is often ignored, especially when writing about adults and not melodramatic teens.

You don’t need to have read “Be Careful What You Wish For” to enjoy this new novel, but if you’re looking for another excellent book to add to your Summer Stash, you won’t go wrong with it.

“Don’t Know What You’ve Got Till It’s Gone” is the perfect summer beach read, especially if you’re a total mag-addict like myself.

Warning: “Don’t Know What You’ve Got Till It’s Gone” contains numerous references to Self Harm which have the potential to be extremely triggering and confronting. Read with caution if this is an issue which may affect you. 

Rating: 4/5
Publisher: Allen&Unwin
Pages: 279
RRP: $24.99
Author: Gemma Crisp can be found on Twitter and Instagram at @theshowpony

frangipani princess xoxo

Book Review: Hate Is Such A Strong Word, Sarah Ayoub

Sophie is seventeen and about to start her final year of high school. On top of the regular stresses that being seventeen brings, she also has to deal with the challenges that her Lebanese heritage adds to the picture. With controlling parents who never let her do anything fun (or so it seems), a “best friend” who maybe isn’t actually that friendly, a brother suspiciously close to controversial riots, and a new boy who complicates everything, Sophie is in for a difficult year.

Shehadie Goldsmith is said new boy. He’s a controversial addition to her all-Lebanese school, as his father is an Anglo-Australian. Prejudice runs deep, as the students are warned to stay away from “the Aussie”, but when Sophie starts her new job at Big W and Shehadie is her supervisor, it seems she can’t escape him. And after getting to know the boy behind the rumours, she discovers that maybe she doesn’t want to.

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“Hate Is Such A Strong Word” is a brilliant Australian YA novel. I fell head over heels in love with Shehadie, and despite my 110% Anglo background, I found I could really connect to Sophie and her struggles. I think that’s the point Sarah Ayoub was trying to make; growing up and the difficulties of being a teenager aren’t restricted by prejudice or background, they affect us all in the same way.

Prejudice, understanding, culture, family constraints, expectations, and growing up are all brilliantly explored throughout the novel. Sophie’s development and questioning give us – especially those readers like myself who have never experienced racial or cultural prejudice first hand – a real insight into what growing up in a cultural sub-section of Australia is like.

While I’m glad to be way past writing about Belonging (that word still makes me shudder) in the HSC, “Hate Is Such A Strong Word” would make an absolutely brilliant related text.

I read the book in one sitting, and was super disappointed when I got to the last page. It may be Sarah’s first novel, but she’s definitely nailed it.

If you liked “Does My Head Look Big InThis”, “Looking For Alibrandi”, “10 Things I Hate About Me”, or “Saving Francesca”, you’ll definitely adore “Hate Is Such A Strong Word”.

RRP: $17.99
Publisher: HarperCollins Australia
Rating: 4.5/5 

frangipani princess xoxo

Watch: Emma Approved

My favourite Jane Austen book has always been Emma (I know, controversial opinion), and my obsession with the movie Clueless just furthers my love. There’s something about meddling Emma and her match-making obsession with love that has always drawn me in. So when I heard that the creators of The Lizzie Bennet Diaries were making a new web-series based on Emma, I was beyond excited.

Fast forward to today, and we have the first instalment of “Emma Approved”. So far, it looks interesting. Not sure if it will be as good as TLBD, but I love the story so much I’m willing to stick it out.

Give it a watch, and let me know what you think!

frangipani princess xoxo

Book Review: Fangirl, Rainbow Rowell

Cath is eighteen and about to start her first year of college. But she’s scared. Scared that her dad won’t cope without her. Scared that her twin sister Wren will abandon her. Scared that she won’t make any friends. Scared that nobody will understand her obsession with the Simon Snow series (The Simon Snow series is basically Harry Potter if Harry and Draco were roommates and Draco was a vampire). You see, Cath is a fangirl. She doesn’t just love Simon Snow, her life revolves around it. She’s gone to college as an English major, but the only thing she’s really interested in writing is ‘Carry On Simon Snow’, her wildly popular Simon Snow fic (a slash fic based on the relationship between Simon and Baz, Baz being the vampire roomie Draco equivalent).

FANGIRL_CoverDec2012-300x444Cath is content to spend her first year in her dorm, hidden away in fandom. But then her life gets totally complicated when a cute guy is actually interested in her, and she has to race the clock to finish her epic fic before the final Simon Snow book is released. Throw in a sister with developing alcoholism and a father having a bit of a breakdown, and suddenly Cath is way over her head.

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J.K. Rowling Has A New Book (Stay Calm Everyone)

While I’m a huge Harry Potter fan (and have the tattoo to prove it), I’m not as much of a J.K. Rowling groupie as some others in the fandom. I bought a copy of The Casual Vacancy when it was released, but it’s still sitting on my shelf, waiting for the eventual day when I find myself in the mood to read it.

However, this morning I read the news that Ms. Rowling had released a new novel under a sneaky pseudonym and my interest was engaged.

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Book Review: If You Find Me, Emily Murdoch

Most of us are accustomed to seemingly basic necessities, like a bed to sleep in and running water at our disposal. But for fourteen year old Carey and six year old Jenessa, young sisters from Tennessee, a working toilet is a luxury beyond their wildest dreams. Growing used to their lives isolated in the woods and looking after themselves while their drug-addicted mother spent weeks, and often months, away, their lives are turned upside down when two strangers arrive at their caravan.

if you find me

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Book Review: This Is What Happy Looks Like, Jennifer E. Smith

Ellie’s small town life is boring. She works in an ice-cream shop with her best friend, and helps her mum out in her souvenir shop. And then one day an email appears in her inbox and even though it’s not meant for her, it has to be fate, right? And soon she’s emailing the mysterious G every day, and everything just seems so right.

And then a movie set moves into town with teen heart-throb Graham Larkin in tow and really, Ellie just wants to keep her quiet life, but maybe Graham’s arrival isn’t really a coincidence.

Graham just wants to be seen as a regular guy, but with the pressures of the movie, his manager, and the world who want to see him with his co-star, can he convince Ellie that Graham Larkin and G are the same person? And will Ellie be able to escape the secrets of her past in order to find true happiness? And really, what is a whoopie pie?

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In this heartwarming tale of teen love, overcoming obstacles, and discovering yourself, Jennifer E. Smith navigates the teenage soul in a beautiful way. Through a mix of emails and traditional narration, This Is What Happy Looks Like will keep you hooked until the last page.

Much like her previous novel, The Statistical Probability Of Love At First Sight, you may find certain parts of this one cliched or predictable, but it’s contemporary YA fiction in all it’s “I wish this were real life” glory, and who doesn’t love a little love-story escape every now and again?

This Is What Happy Looks Like is out now in Australia

Rating: 4/5
Publisher: Hachette Australia
Pages: 404
RRP: $19.99

frangipani princess xoxo

Book Review: Creepy and Maud by Dianne Touchell

By Monica Welsh

People don’t have reasons. We think we do, but we don’t. How many times have I sat in class watching a teacher ask someone why they’ve done something? As if cracking that one mystery will change something, or everything. The problem lies in the assumption of a reason in the first place. Even if they come up with a reason, it’s a lie. But that’s okay, because the lie is accepted and everyone can get on with things under the auspices of mutual delusion.

Creepy dedicates his life to watching the girl who lives next door, their bedroom windows the only connection to one another.  He calls her Maud and is gradually exposed to the darker side of her life, her secrets, her desires, her obsessions. Both are lost, isolated, too advanced for their peers but too ‘different’ from the rest of the world. Their differences allow them to relate and share a highly unusual kind of friendship.

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Touchell is a genius, creating a character that is so highly perceptive and insightful that then allows for an entire novel to be written about a girl that is only seen through the wooden frames of the bedroom window. Bit by bit we are able to explore the details of both Maud and Creepy, and I found myself developing an acute sense of fondness for Creepy’s protective and loving nature despite his often invasive actions. Both characters are complex and fascinating and you cannot help but find yourself desperate to know more about them.

Never is this novel boring or predictable, with miscommunications and unforseen events breaking the underlying routines of the characters and aiding in the development and flow of the plot. There are times where the story is told through Maud’s perspective and though such is necessary, it can be somewhat confusing when the exchange between the two perspectives occurs and the reader is left unsure as to who is narrating.

Creepy and Maud is unlike anything I have ever read, and is the perfect balance of dark themes, relationships, love and humour. Purchase this if only just to witness Creepy’s thoughts on the world: “Conformity is invisibility. Doesn’t Maud realise that? If she conforms, she will become invisible. Too small to see. She is shrinking already.”

Monica @ frangipani princess xoxo

Hello, Fellow Readers!

By Monica Welsh

When I’m not trying to decipher complex trigonometry equations or draw the structural formula of 2,3dimethylbutan-1,4-diol* (you’ve got to love the ever increasing workload of year 11!) my favourite thing to do is read. As this is my first contribution to FP and you really have no idea who I am, I thought it would be a nice way to introduce myself – after all, you can tell a lot about a person from their books.

Books and reading has been in my blood since I was born. The joy that I get from reading can only be truly described to those who have already discovered it. For those of you who appreciate a good book or two, here are the books that I turn to over and over again.

Stargirl by Jerry Spinelli
I want to be Stargirl in every way. She is the most beautiful, individual, lovable kind of character that you will ever come across and though on the surface it is apparent that she is one of a kind, deep down I think everyone can identify with her.

Looking for Alaska by John Green
Unlike Stargirl which is a very old favourite, Alaska and her friends have only recently walked their way onto my bookshelf. A story of the greatest kind of friendship, I could not put this down.

My Name is Mina by David Almond
If you are in need of a story about the beauty of innocence, childhood, learning, the complexities of the world and love, then you must read My name is Mina. Mina is like the perfect mash of the characters Stargirl and Alaska put together.

My Sister Lives on the Mantelpiece by Annabel Pitcher
This is another book that features the most lovable child, in this case put in the most adult-like situations following the death of one of his twin sisters. Read with a box of tissues by your bed at all times!

Creepy and Maud by Dianne Touchell
I love how different this book is from anything I’ve ever read. Touchell uses the central characters Creepy and Maud and their highly insightful natures to tell the story of one another solely through observations made through their bedroom windows.

To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee
I think I love this book for two reasons – the first because it is such a lovable book, the second because it is my Dad’s favourite and one that he promised I could read ‘one day’ from the age of about 6. That ‘one day’ came and what a good day it was!

Jasper Jones by Craig Silvey
Though there is a part of me that yells “You ripped off To Kill a Mockingbird,” the other part of me knows that deep down, this too is a standout book in my life. It explores death, love, relationships, injustice and the general difficulties of growing up.

The Book Thief by Markus Zusak
This book is so beautifully written and follows the most heart wrenching story of a young girl in Nazi Germany. I guarantee you will bawl your eyes out, but it is so worth it.

Feel free to share your favourite books with me…happy reading!

*Not nearly as difficult as it sounds but still not the most enjoyable activity

Monica @ frangipani princess xoxo