13 Reasons Why: TV Show Review (TW: Suicide, Depression, Sexual Assault, Mental Health) Also Spoilers

I finally finished watching 13 Reasons Why on Netflix, and now I am go give my thoughts on the series.

First, let me discuss my views on the book. I felt the book was little over hyped. I did like the ideas the book portrayed such as how bullying leads to suicide, the problem I had with the book was mainly the character of Hannah, and I didn’t connect with her like I did with Clay. I also feel that we didn’t get enough depth about the character on the tapes.

The show, follows the same beats of the show, it starts after the suicide of Hannah Baker, Clay receiving the tapes and starts listening. In the book Clay listens to the tapes in one sitting, but in the show he takes his time to listen to each tape and process the information. That was one of the show main strengths, is not just listening to tapes but also seeing how the school and the other characters on the tapes react to them as well.

Each episode is one tape, that was a big plus because the story could also be more fleshed out. I remember when I first read the book a movie was optioned with Selena Gomez playing Hannah. A movie would not have done the book justice. A TV show made it so much better, and part of me kinda wishes that Hollywood should adapt YA novels into TV series instead of movies.

Another plus was how the characters were a lot more fleshed out, and you them on the tapes and also after the suicide. The characters I felt were more fleshed out were Jessica, Justin and Alex. WIth Jessica especially with what happened to her is who I felt had the most development throughout the show. Justin, while it was a douchy thing that he did , you also see a glimpse into his family life. Alex, is a character who actually really felt bad with what happened to Hannah.. Some other characters such as Marcus and Courtney who didn’t really change in the end and kept conspiring against Clay.

The performances were also very outstanding. Katherine Langford who plays Hannah does an amazing job with the role. She added a lot of depth to the Hannah role, which I always felt was lacking in the book, in which we only see Hannah through the tapes and not her as a person. Another amazing performance is Dylan Minnette who plays Clay is also outstanding in the role, and you really feel for Clay throughout the show. Kate Walsh who plays Hannah’s mother is also great in the role. She does a great job at playing a grief sicken mother dealing with her daughters suicide. Hannah’s parents don’t really play a role in the books so I was glad that it was included in the show. The rest of cast are also very good, and I think it has the best teen cast since Friday Night Lights.

The show also takes a few liberties with the book. It deals with a lawsuit brought forth by Hannah’s parents. Also how Clay listened to the tapes, instead of one night its about a few weeks. Another is how Hannah committed suicide. in the book she overdosed on pills, while in the show it she slit her wrists. Hannah’s suicide could seen as very triggering.

Now to give my thoughts on themes of the show. This show is very split on how it handles suicide and depression. One half says it raises awareness of teen suicide, another side says it trivializes suicide. Some people will say that Hannah’s suicide and the use of the tapes sees it as more of an act of vengeance rather than trying to deal with her mental health problems.

As someone that has dealt with bullying, dealing with depression and has on a few occasions contemplated suicide. I think there is no right or wrong way to write suicide, or mental health stories, and I feel that Hannah’s story shouldn’t have to match my story or anyone else’s. While for some the material the show addresses could be triggering I could fully understand if anyone doesn’t want to watch the show. I kinda wish that both the show and the book did a better job at addressing Hannah’s mental health issues.

In the end, 13 Reasons Why was a very good show that expanded on the book and fleshed out a lot of characters. If they make a second season, I think they will address the lawsuit, maybe Bryce getting arrested for rape, Alex’s suicide attempt and maybe Tyler shooting up the school. I want to see where the story goes.

Season MVP: Katherine Langford, Kate Walsh and Dylan Minnette

Best Episodes: Tape 1, Side A, Tape 6, Side A and Tape 7, Side A.

Season grade: A

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History is All You Left Me by: Adam Silvera

Summary:

When Griffin’s first love and ex-boyfriend, Theo, dies in a drowning accident, his universe implodes. Even though Theo had moved to California for college and started seeing Jackson, Griffin never doubted Theo would come back to him when the time was right. But now, the future he’s been imagining for himself has gone far off course.

To make things worse, the only person who truly understands his heartache is Jackson. But no matter how much they open up to each other, Griffin’s downward spiral continues. He’s losing himself in his obsessive compulsions and destructive choices, and the secrets he’s been keeping are tearing him apart.

If Griffin is ever to rebuild his future, he must first confront his history, every last heartbreaking piece in the puzzle of his life.

The Review:

This was another book on my TBR. Earlier this year I read Adam Silvera other book, More Happy Than Not and I really liked it so I was glad that he wrote another book also dealing with gay themes.

History is All you Left Me, like More Happy Than Not deals a lot with grief and death, but does it in the best way possible. It begins with Griffin dealing with the death of his ex-boyfriend Theo, and Griffin feels a lot of grief towards it especially when he meets Theo’s current boyfriend Jackson at the funeral, and they start to sort of befriend one another.

The book also uses the narrative of flashbacks which gives us a glimpse into the relationship between Griffin and Theo, which includes their entire courtship from them both coming out and dating to them breaking up after Theo leaves for college. I thought the relationship was extremely well developed and you actually care about both of them even though you know whats going to happen.

Griffin, was also a well developed character. After the death of Theo he is going through a lot of emotions, and a bulk of the present day narrative he is “talking” to Theo, and is acting like all of his actions Theo is watching him. Throughout the book he is dealing with not only the break up between him and Theo but also his death and him trying to get over it. Griffin trying to befriend Jackson and their relationship was also pretty good with both of them having a shared grief towards Theo.

Another relationship Griffin had is with Wade, a friend of his and Theo’s. It was nice to him have a best friend especially when his relationship with Theo deteriorates and they even are about to enter a relationship until Griffin gets a call about Theo’s death.

What makes the book great is how Adam Silvera writs characters, especially LGBTQA+ characters as normal people and makes them relatable. Griffin was an average teenager who likes video games, comics and Harry Potter. But writing grief was also very well done and seeing Griffin’s inner turmoil is what made the book great.

In the end, History is All You Left Me was a great book that really sets up Adam Silvera has a great YA contemporary author. It gave us well developed characters and I want to see more books by him.

Grade 5/5

 

Top 5 Wednesday: Books that would make great video games

Happy Wednesday everyone, and here is another Top 5 Wednesday and the topic is,

April 12th: Books That Would Make Good Video Games
–Since I’ve been in video game hell (in a good way) for the past year, this topic is timely. Remember, not all video games are action games! The Sims has proven that 🙂

Top 5 Wednesday is a group in Goodreads and was formerly created by Lainey at gingerreadslainey and is now done by Sam from Thoughts on Tomes. It is open to everyone.

As a gamer, of course I would love the topic and it mixes my two loves books and video games.

Wizarding World of Harry Potter

Okay, I know there have been video games made of the Harry Potter movies, but those games are terrible. My idea would be an RPG set in Hogwarts in which you are a student, get sorted into a house and take classes. I also want to see it as an open-world sort of like Skyrim.

Illuminae series

As a fan of the Mass Effect trilogy, I think a good space based game could work with the Illuminae setting. I could have choices that could effect the way you play the game. It could also have a few good RPG elements.

Six of Crows duology

This will most likely be one of the Tell-Tale Games, or something along the line of Until Dawn in which it is sort of like a choose your own adventure game. You could as all six of characters and the game would tailor to each character.

Percy Jackson series

Basically I want this to be like God of War, with powers. If you played God of War you would know what I am talking about. It would also be fun to play through the Percy Jackson series.

Legend trilogy

This would be like Uncharted meets Mass Effect. Full of platforming, RPG elements. You play as both June and Day, and it would switch between the characters, which would play differently.

Those are the books that would make great video games. What books do you think would make great games? Let me know in the comments below.

Frostblood by: Elly Blake

Summary:

Seventeen-year-old Ruby is a Fireblood who has concealed her powers of heat and flame from the cruel Frostblood ruling class her entire life. But when her mother is killed trying to protect her, and rebel Frostbloods demand her help to overthrow their bloodthirsty king, she agrees to come out of hiding, desperate to have her revenge.

Despite her unpredictable abilities, Ruby trains with the rebels and the infuriating—yet irresistible—Arcus, who seems to think of her as nothing more than a weapon. But before they can take action, Ruby is captured and forced to compete in the king’s tournaments that pit Fireblood prisoners against Frostblood champions. Now she has only one chance to destroy the maniacal ruler who has taken everything from her—and from the icy young man she has come to love.

The Review:

This book was one of my anticipated reads of 2017, and I heard a lot of good things about the book.

The book reminded me a lot of of Red Queen in terms of the class system with blood type. with Frostblood being the more ruling class and Firebloods being a lower class, and Ruby is a powerful Fireblood who starts to realize the full potential of her power and “Let’s it go”. While there was aspects of her that was a bit whiny she did get better as the book went along.

I felt the beginning started off a bit slow with her training, and while it was nice to have some good aspects of character development, It did feel that the book was biting time for the action to start.

She joins a group of rebel Frostbloods who task her to overthrow the King and trains with Arcus. Arcus is sort of like Chaol from Throne of Glass. But I did feel that the relationship between Arcus and Ruby was a bit cliched in which they suppose to hate each other but then get together in the end, but the romance was very downplayed and it felt more like a friendship than a romance which made the book a little better.

Ruby becomes captured and forced to enter a tournament in which she fights Frostblood champions. This is where I felt the book started to really pick up, mainly because it reminded me a lot of Spartacus and Gladiator in terms of how the tournament scenes plays out. This is where you also see Ruby’s use the fullness of her power and it was so great to read about it. Her first fight reminded me a lot of Maximus’s first fight in Gladiator in which no one expects her to do well and when she does it wins the crowd.

The book also has a few good twists, in which I won’t spoil but it did a good at setting up where the series is going to go. I felt that it was a very good first book of a series that did a good job at setting up characters and villains of the story, and I do plan on reading the rest of the series to see where it goes.

Grade: 3.9/5

Simon vs. The Homo-Sapiens Agenda By: Becky Albertalli

Summary:

Sixteen-year-old and not-so-openly gay Simon Spier prefers to save his drama for the school musical. But when an email falls into the wrong hands, his secret is at risk of being thrust into the spotlight. Now Simon is actually being blackmailed: if he doesn’t play wingman for class clown Martin, his sexual identity will become everyone’s business. Worse, the privacy of Blue, the pen name of the boy he’s been emailing, will be compromised.

With some messy dynamics emerging in his once tight-knit group of friends, and his email correspondence with Blue growing more flirtatious every day, Simon’s junior year has suddenly gotten all kinds of complicated. Now, change-averse Simon has to find a way to step out of his comfort zone before he’s pushed out—without alienating his friends, compromising himself, or fumbling a shot at happiness with the most confusing, adorable guy he’s never met.

The Review:

For the past two years, I kept seeing this in bookstores and I always pick it up, then put it down and never actually buy the book. Last week I decided to finally buy the book. I confess, the reason why I grabbed the book this time is because of the movie that is about to come out soon and I wanted to finally see what the hype was all about, and it didn’t disappoint.

The story is basically a coming of age coming out story, in which Simon is secretly talking to someone online named “Blue” in which he talks about his problems to and they develop a good relationship. He also deals with being blackmailed by one of his classmates, to basically be a “wingman” to him. Simon is a sort of the normal YA contemporary male protagonist, he deals with most problems that high school boy faces but it did a good job at also weaving in a good coming out story. I also liked how much of a Harry Potter fanboy he was.

I felt it was a bit cliched to have a coming out story mixed in with a blackmail plot. That was always a pet peeve of mine in LGBTQA+ story lines in which it always has to deal with blackmail, in terms of coming out and the book already had a good story without blackmail plot.

I also like the use of the internet and how he meets “Blue”, being though Tumblr. It shows how an online can be helpful especially for those who want to escape their actual reality. I also liked Simon’s relationship with his family, especially his sister who pretty much knew he was gay.

The “Blue” reveal was also pretty good. While the relationship seemed a bit rushed once they meet each other in real life, it did seem real and genuine.

In the end, Simon vs. the homo sapiens agenda was a very good book that lived up to the hype. It had a great main character in which you care about and a pretty good story about coming out and self-acceptance.

Grade: 4/5

Top 5 Wednesday: Favorite SFF on your TBR

Happy Wednesday everyone, and here is another Top 5 Wednesday and the topic is,
April 5th: Top SFF Books on Your TBR *Booktube SFF Awards Babble Crossover Topic!*
–Talk about the science fiction and fantasy books you want to read ASAP!

Top 5 Wednesday is a group in Goodreads and was formerly created by Lainey at gingerreadslainey and is now done by Sam from Thoughts on Tomes. It is open to everyone.

As I always say, science fiction and fantasy are always my go to for reading and they always have great stories and characters

The Fate of Flames by Sarah Raughley

From the premise it sounds like cool new version of Sailor Moon meets Buffy with a prophecy element. I keep seeing it at bookstores, I always pick it up then out it down. I may actually will try to read the book.

A Gathering of Shadows/A Conjuring of Light by VE Schwab

I read A Darker Shade of Magic earlier this year and loved it and I want to see how the story continues. I have heard nothing but good things about the series and the author so I hope it won’t disappoint.

Wintersong by S. Jae-Jones

From what I was told it is a retelling of the movie Labyrinth, and I have heard some good things about it from the bookish community.

The Long Way to a Small Angry Planet by Becky Chambers

I was told since I was a fan of Firefly, this would be a book for me. I always like the ragtag group of people going around and kicking ass in space.

A Daughter of Smoke and Bone by Laini Taylor

This is a book that has been on my TBR for a long time and I know she has another book out but I feel that I need to read it. I heard a lot of good things about the book and I will be sure to read it when I have the time.

Those are the SFF books on my TBR. What SFF books are on your TBR? Let me know in the comments below.

 

 

The Hate U Give by: Angie Thomas

Summary:

Sixteen-year-old Starr Carter moves between two worlds: the poor neighborhood where she lives and the fancy suburban prep school she attends. The uneasy balance between these worlds is shattered when Starr witnesses the fatal shooting of her childhood best friend Khalil at the hands of a police officer. Khalil was unarmed.

Soon afterward, his death is a national headline. Some are calling him a thug, maybe even a drug dealer and a gangbanger. Protesters are taking to the streets in Khalil’s name. Some cops and the local drug lord try to intimidate Starr and her family. What everyone wants to know is: what really went down that night? And the only person alive who can answer that is Starr.

But what Starr does or does not say could upend her community. It could also endanger her life.

The Review:

This was another book from my Top 5 Debuts I am Excited For, and this was on top of the list, and it seriously did not disappoint, and maybe in the running of my favorite read of 2017, and it also one of the most important books to read.

This book was inspired by the Black Lives Matter movement and it really captures how a police shooting affects, a city in which the shooting took place. It examines how the police was involved within the investigation and how the media interprets what happens..

The shooting takes place right around the beginning of the book where, Khalil and Starr were pulled over by a cop and after some things escalate the officer shoots Khalil, with Starr witnessing everything.

Starr, is an amazing protagonist. I like that she is a character of two worlds, from the prep school during the weekday and the poor neighborhood, where she lives with her family.  When she is at school, she feels as if she has to act a certain way, especially around her white classmates, being one of the few black students in the school. Even after the shooting Starr feels as if she does has a responsibility to let everyone know the real story. But her being a 16 year old girl it feels like a big burden.

The whole story is within a few month period which starts with the shooting and ends after the Grand Jury verdict. Even though Starr was a witness to the events of the shooting , the media starts to twist everything calling Khalil a thug and a gangabnger, which happens a lot within officer involved shootings. Also the reaction of her classmates, in which her classmates use the term “gangbanger” as a way to justify the shooting.

Starr’s character arc goes from witness to activist in the best way possible, and you see how it is guided through her parents, who I think were some of the best parents in YA contemporary. You could tell that they always wanted what was best for their daughter, and care deeply about her. Her father reminded me a lot of one my professors in college that always tends to drop some knowledge on the class.

Starr’s relationship with her boyfriend, Chris was also well done. While Chris was white, he still was trying to understand what she was going through. I also like that the relationship while still well developed didn’t take too much time away from the plot of the book.

DeVante is another good character. He is someone who is in the gangbanger lifestyle and is always struggling to get out. His arc mainly deals with his dealings with the neighborhood gangster, and looks to Starr and her family for support. The book really does a good job at dealing with the issue of family, especially living in a poor neighborhood.

In the end, The Hate U Give was one of the most important books I have ever read, and I usually don’t pick up contemporary books, but I am glad that I read it. It has a great story, a great main character and provides a commentary about a real life issue that is going on today.

Grade 5/5