Category: Young Readers

Rainbow Rowell’s ‘Wayward Son’: A Hero, After the Fact

A year after Rainbow Rowell released her much beloved novel Carry On, the first book in the Simon Snow series, the second in the series, Wayward Son, has been published. Carry On received stellar reviews from audiences; some even claimed it to be comparable to the Harry Potter series. Last year, fans of the novel were left with a void in their hearts after finishing Carry On, but now that void, which can only be filled by more Simon and Baz interactions, can be filled… but not in the way audiences may expect. Rowell’s Wayward Son tells the story of what happens to the hero after the battle has been fought and the war has been won. What readers will learn is that there are always new battles to fight, and not everything ends in happily ever after.

 

 

*Spoilers Ahead*

 

At the end of Carry On, Simon sacrifices his magic in order to defeat the Insidious Humdrum—who turns out to be sort of a version of himself? I know kind of weird—Baz graduates from Watford at the top of his class, all thanks to Penelope who decided not to return for her last term at Watford; and Agatha runs off to California, attempting to get as far away from magic as she possibly can. Wayward Son fast forwards a year into the future. Simon and Penelope share an apartment in London. Baz and Penelope are both attending university, and Simon is doing relatively nothing. He sits on the couch day after day, needing Penelope to spell his wings and tail if he ever wants to wander the outside world. A complete one-eighty from how we left it, Baz and Simon’s relationship is beginning to suffer. Simon is always cranky, and Baz doesn’t know where they stand as a couple. It’s almost as if stripping the magic from Simon created someone completely different. This is when Penelope has her amazing idea to take a trip to America—something she and Simon had always talked about doing—and what starts out as an innocent idea to help cheer Simon up becomes an even bigger threat to their lives and the magical world.

 

Relationships and identity are major themes throughout this novel. All three main characters struggled with their identities for the duration of Wayward Son—Simon struggled with being stripped of his hero status, Baz contemplated his identity as a vampire, and Penelope attempted to find where she fits in a world outside of Watford. As these three characters struggled with their own identities, their relationships were tested, especially pertaining to Baz and Simon. Baz has felt estranged from Simon ever since they defeated the Humdrum and Simon lost his magic. They don’t do any of the things they did when their relationship first began, they don’t seem as close. Much of this had to do with Simon’s identity crisis. He was always the hero up to this point. Now it seems to him that he’s lost his purpose.

 

 

Rainbow Rowell did a fantastic job portraying hero after-the-fact in Wayward Son­. In most action-adventure novels, the story ends with the hero saving the day and living happily ever after. However, the audience seldom sees the hero after his or her job is done. In this novel, we see exactly that, and in Simon’s case, the future is fairly bleak as he struggles to find a new purpose in life and to convince himself that he is deserving of Baz. Similarly, with Penelope, although she has moved on and is attending university, she is struggling to figure out how she fits into the outside world. At Watford, she was the top of her class and able to fix anything with a snap of her fingers (literally and figuratively). However, as she discovers during their road trip across America, the real world doesn’t work like that. There are mages more powerful and experienced, and obstacles not introduced to her at Watford.

 

Although the book did very well in regard to its themes and its portrayal of a different side of the main character, I found that it moved a bit slower than its predecessor, Carry On. The story moves a lot like a road trip across America might move—long stretches of seeing relatively the same thing. The beginning of the book and the beginning of their trip is a lot of Penelope being cranky and hungry, and Baz being confused about where he and Simon stand. It wasn’t until Nebraska that the story really got going.

 

Another aspect of the novel that was lacking was a resolution between Simon and Baz. Now, I realize that not all stories have a happy ending, and certainly not all relationships do either. However, I would have liked to know which direction they were leaning toward: working it out or letting each other go. Adding this to the novel wouldn’t necessarily have made Wayward Son better or worse, but I would’ve enjoyed it. Although there was no definite consensus about Baz and Simon, Baz does bring up an insightful point that stuck—is Simon acting like the Simon he first started dating because he feels like the hero again? Or is this how it’s going to be even when he’s not being the hero?  As Simon, Baz, and Penelope encounter more obstacles and battles on their trip, Simon starts to cheer up and feel like himself again, most likely because he feels like he’s doing something important again and he has things to protect his loved ones from.

 

All in all, Wayward Son is a fantastic sequel to Carry On. It portrays feelings most all adolescents feel after graduating high school or the equivalent: lost and confused (but with more trees, sky, and magic).

 

 

K-Pop Star Jessica Jung to Release YA Book In 2020

Another musician is stepping into the literature world. Entertainment Weekly reported K-pop star Jessica Jung will be publishing her own book next year: Shine.

 

Image Via Billboard

 

Inspired by most of her own life, the book follows Korean-American Rachel Kim as she is recruited by a K-pop label and follows her training into becoming a successful artist, and her relationship with a K-pop legend.

Jung is a former member of the South Korean girl group, Girls’ Generation, before branching into other businesses like fashion and acting and eventually going into a solo music career. Her discography includes nine studio albums with Girls’ Generation and three EP’s as a solo artist. She was included in Forbes’ 30 under 30 Asia list in 2017’s most influential people.

 

 

This will be the first of a two-book deal that Jung has with publisher Simon & Schuster imprint, Simon Pulse. In addition to the book deal, Shine has already been commissioned for a live-action adaptation by the same team behind To All The Boys I Loved Before.

Jung expressed how excited she was to publish her own book in her EW interview:


“With Shine, I wanted to tell a big, fun, escapist story that also examines in-depth, behind- the-scenes aspects of the K-pop world. My goal was to tell a transparent, candid story — in a way that sometimes fiction does best.”

 

 

You can pre-order Shine today.

 

 

Featured Image Via Hype MY

Professor Minerva McGonagall in Harry Potter movies

7 Facts About Minerva McGonagall

Today, October 4th marks the day of two very important birthdays: mine (not to brag) and my personal favorite Hogwarts professor, one who has proven to be the wisest and most badass character in all of Harry Potter, Minerva McGonagall!

 

Professor Minerva McGonagall in Harry Potter movies

Image via Vulture

 

While this surface-level description paints her in a blindingly positive light, the reality is that deep down (if you do your research), she has been through far more than anyone, muggle or wizard, had ever gone through or could even bear to live with and is actually one of the most tragic characters within the world that Rowling has crafted around the “Boy Who Lived,” all of which just adds an extra layer to her already complex character that came to be an all-round crowd favorite amongst the Potterheads (including me).

So, here are seven facts about Minerva McGonagall that you may not have known about from just reading the books or watching the movies. (Also, Maggie Smith’s strong acting chops adds another layer to the reader’s imagination of McGonagall’s badassery.)

 

1. Her sorting into Gryffindor took over five minutes

 

Sorting Hat on Hermione in 'Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone' movie

Image via Thought Catalog

 

If you actually counted every time a young witch or wizard gets sorted into a house in any of the movies, then you would get no more than a minute, or two tops.

Very much like Hermione (my personal favorite character of the series and whom the Hat was initially stumped on placing in either Ravenclaw or Gryffindor), Minerva has the special kind of qualities that can really stump – or stall – the Sorting Hat for at least five minutes straight upon placing a new-coming student into a House that it’s quite literally a “Hat-Stall,” until she was finally placed in Gryffindor, just like Hermione, and has really lived up to her House name in more ways than just being the House Head!

 

2. She was named after the Roman name for a Greek goddess

 

Painting of Athena with spear and shield

Image via commons.wikimedia.org

 

Speaking of living up to Gryffindor’s name, if you ever studied Greek/Roman mythology, then you should probably recognize McGonagall’s first name Minerva, which was the Roman name given to the Greek goddess Athena (a.k.a. goddess of wisdom, courage, and justice, especially when it comes to warfare).

As for her surname McGonagall, while it for sure shows off her Scottish lineage and was actually named after the Scottish poet William Topaz McGonagall (a.k.a. the worst poet known throughout the U.K.), it’s actually a name that’s not at all within the Wizarding World, which brings us to this fact…

 

3. She is a half-blood witch

 

Professor McGonagall duelling in Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire movie

Image via Bustle

While her mother Isobel Ross was a full-blooded witch, Minerva’s father Robert McGonagall, however, was a muggle, and Isobel, sworn by the International Statute of Secrecy not to reveal herself or anything about the Wizarding World to muggles, did not tell Robert until long after the birth of their first child Minerva, who started to exhibit her magical abilities to her parents.

Robert decided to stay and keep Isobel’s identity a secret, showing how loving and loyal her husband really was, and when her parents even later had two boys, Minerva helped her mother out in cleaning up the messes caused by her brothers’ magic.

(Keep her magically-mixed parents in mind: they will pop up again later…)

 

 

 

4. She won awards for Transfiguration and later, the Order of Merlin: First Class

 

Professor McGonagall teaching Transfiguration in 'Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone' movie

Image via YouTube

 

Not only is she awesome at her job teaching Transfiguration and at being a freakin’ Animagus (a.k.a. a product of Transfiguration that already made her more than qualified in teaching Transfiguration), she won awards for doing what she does best, including her badges for Prefect and Head Girl, top grades for her O.W.L and N.E.W.T exams, and upon leaving school, the Transfiguration Today: Most Promising Newcomer award.

Also, after the Battle of Hogwarts, because of her strong display of bravery (by far, her truest moment of living up to her Head of Gryffindor name) in protecting the Hogwarts grounds against Voldemort and his Death Eaters, she so rightfully earned the Order of Merlin: First Class, an award specifically given for acts of bravery or entertainment within the Wizarding World.

 

5. She was engaged to a muggle (for less than a day)

 

Professor McGonagall in 'Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince' movie

Image via Radio Times

 

Now, here is just a taste of what makes Minerva a tragic character of the series…

The summer after graduating from Hogwarts, Minerva returned home to Scotland and met Dougal McGregor, who was the son of a muggle farmer and with whom Minerva fell deeply in love. In fact, later that very summer, she accepted his proposal to marry him!

However, and this is the part where I get back to her parents, not willing to make the same mistake her mother made but still not willing to risk the secrecy of the Wizarding World, Minerva broke off the proposal the very next morning after their engagement, but she very much later regretted her decision to do so: during Voldemort’s rise, McGregor was murdered in the crossfire of an anti-muggle attack by the Death Eaters.

Try looking at her the same way you did before…

 

 

 

6. She married her former boss (for three years)

 

Professor McGonagall in 'Harry Potter' movie

Image via Hollywood.com

 

 

If you thought the previous point about Minerva’s tragic life was dark (but then again, this is the world of Harry Potter we’re talking about), here’s an extra dark layer…

While Elphinstone Urquart (Minerva’s boss from her first job working at the Ministry of Magic, a fact that I didn’t much room to make for on this list) over the years had asked Minerva to marry him, even while she was briefly engaged to McGregor, at one point, she finally accepted his proposal and of course, married and lived with him in a cottage at Hogsmeade. However, their marriage only lasted three years, as Urquart died from a Venomous Tentacula bite, and Minerva moved back to her Hogwarts chambers, leaving behind the home she shared with her last love.

I swear Minerva can never catch a break with her personal life!

 

7. She got to be permanent headmistress after Voldemort’s defeat

 

Professor McGonagall at the Battle of Hogwarts in 'Harry Potter and the DEathly Hallows: Part 2' movie

Image via The Book Addict’s Guide to MBTI

 

Well. At least she’s got one of many things going for her: after the Battle of Hogwarts, she was appointed Headmistress of Hogwarts. Permanently! And that is where we see her today…

I don’t think it’s too much of a coincidence that she and I both share a birthday: we’re both smart Libras with so much to offer the world. Happy Birthday, Minerva, my Hogwarts kindred spirit.

Also, to anyone out there in the U.K. if you ever find a normal-looking tabby cat looking down at a map, then you know where Minerva McGonagall is…

 

Featured Image via Wizards And Whatnot

Thrilling Hulu & Netflix Shows Arriving This October

Along with the changing of the leaves come the dark, chilly nights of Autumn- the perfect setting for everyone’s favorite holiday, Halloween. Face your fears with this month’s terrifying Hulu and Netflix adaptations!

We’ve put every new release into categories and included the Netflix and Hulu release dates to boot! Click on the titles or where it says “book” or “novel” to either the watch film/show trailer or to purchase the original book!

 

 

Sci-Fi & Fantasy

 

Related image

From ‘the Time Traveler’s Wife’ | Image via Giphy

 

 

 

Drama

 

Image result for after gif

From ‘After’ | Image via Tenor

 

 

 

Crime

 

Image result for trainspotting gif

From ‘Trainspotting’ | Image via Giphy 

 

  • Trainspotting (1996 Film) – based on the book by Irvine Welsh (October 1st, Netflix)
  • True Grit (1969 Film) – based on the book by Charles Portis (October 1st, Hulu)
  • Winter’s Bone (2010 Film) – based on the book by Daniel Woodrell (October 1st, Hulu)

 

 

Horror

 

Image result for hellraiser gif

From Hellraiser | Image via Giphy

 

 

 

Thriller

 

Image result for along came a spider gif

From ‘Along Came A Spider’ | Image via Tumbral

 

 

 

Comics

 

Image result for blade gif

From Blade | Image via Giphy

 

 

 

Animation

 

Image result for sailor moon gif

From Sailor Moon | Image via Giphy

 

 

 

There are so many choices for the month of October, both for those who would rather not be spooked by their entertainment, and those seeking a thrill.

 

Featured Image via 

Black Panther’s Sister, Shuri, is getting her own Novel

Black Panther is amazing, but his younger sister Shuri is even better. She’s the brains of the operations, the STEM Queen, and now she’s getting her own book.

 

Image result for Shuri marvel scholasticImage via Hollywood Reporter

 

Shuri’s story will follow her on a mission to save Wakanda. A heart-shaped herb, that’s essential to the Black Panther’s power and the survival of Wakanda is no longer growing and the supply is running short so Shuri must leave her home to figure out why the herbs won’t grow. If you’ve seen Black Panther you know Shuri will get the job done.

 

Image result for shuri a black panther novel

Image via Entertainment Weekly

 

Nic Stone, author of Dear Martin, will pen the book entitled Shuri: A Black Panther Novel. It will be the first book to start off the multi-year deal with Scholastic and Marvel. With this deal, new original stories will be created featuring various superhero’s throughout the marvel universe. The books are aimed at young readers, but of course, all Marvel fans of any age can get their hands on a copy next year.

 

 

Featured image via Entertainment Weekly