Film Review: Girl in Progress: A Coming of Age Story

This is my coming-of-age blog post.

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Girl In Progress

Released: August 2012

Watched: July 2015

IMDB Rating: 5.6/10

Synopsis

Grace (Eva Mendes) is a single mom who is often too busy juggling her job, bills and two love interests (Matthew Modine, Eugenio Derbez) to pay much attention to her daughter, Ansiedad (Cierra Ramirez). Inspired by the coming-of-age stories her English teacher (Patricia Arquette) introduces in class, Ansiedad decides to skip adolescence and jump-start her life without her mother. But, when the misguided plan unravels, Ansiedad and Grace must both learn that growing up means acting your age.

My Thoughts

I had the enlightening experience of watching Girl in Progress with my mother, as the film itself is very much a mother-daughter tale.

It tells the “coming-of-age” story of Ansiedad (Cierra Ramirez), a Latina girl who is in a hurry to grow up so that she can leave her oft neglectful mother, Grace (Eva Mendez). She learns about coming of age stories in her English class, in which she reads about how teenagers “grow up” and become “mature” through life experiences, hardships, and life lessons. In an entirely impressionable and naive move, Ansiedad proceeds to manufacture her own real-life coming of age story through sheer will and planning.

Meanwhile, her mother, Grace, is a waitress and a maid, who is involved with a married-with-kids white man. With all her work and her affair-ing, mother Grace simply fails to pay attention to Ansiedad and her needs as a child. As a result, Ansiedad’s behavior becomes a cry for help.

Ansiedad grows through a whole plan of becoming a good-girl-gone-bad, with her end goal of leaving via bus to New York. It was all very silly and childish. She ends up alienating her best friend and getting bad grades (on purpose!) while hanging out with the so-called “bad girls” and seeking a “bad boy” to lose her virginity to, which she planned to be her final step towards coming of age.

Ansiedad goes off the rails, losing her best friend and only stopping her deflowering at the last minute, when she realizes how much she doesn’t really want to. Meanwhile, her mother deals with being let go by her lover’s shrewd wife and said lover’s claims that he would leave his life for her. That was obviously a lie, he was never going to leave his wife for her, my mother and I both agreed.

Everything rights itself in the end as Ansiedad and Grace get to hash things out when Grace dumps her duplicious lover and stops Ansiedad from leaving at the nick of time. Ansiedad lets out her suppressed emotions of rage and abandonment at her mother, and they finally make up in a touching mother-daughter moment. Ansiedad also patches things up with her best friend movingly.

This movie was often times over the top, over dramatic, and even downright ridiculous, but I took away a very essential message from it in the importance of family, and appreciating your loved ones, the people who are really there for you no matter what.

Rating: 7/10

On that note, I’m ready to give myself up to adulthood. If you’re reading this, it’s too late for adolescent me because she’s a grown up now. This is scheduled to be published the moment I turn 18. So long, childhood. It’s been real.

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Book Review: To All The Boys I’ve Loved Before by Jenny Han

to all the boys I've loved beforeTo All The Boys I’ve Loved Before

Jenny Han

Published April 2014

Read April 2015

Find it on: Amazon Goodreads Barnes and Noble Simon and Schuster

Synopsis

To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before is the story of Lara Jean, who has never openly admitted her crushes, but instead wrote each boy a letter about how she felt, sealed it, and hid it in a box under her bed. But one day Lara Jean discovers that somehow her secret box of letters has been mailed, causing all her crushes from her past to confront her about the letters: her first kiss, the boy from summer camp, even her sister’s ex-boyfriend, Josh. As she learns to deal with her past loves face to face, Lara Jean discovers that something good may come out of these letters after all.

My Thoughts

Where, oh where do I begin with this book? I bought it as a sort of bubble gum-fluffy-cutesy-quick breeze through read, and I wasn’t disappointed on that front. But my problem with this book is, was it really about all the boys she loved before?

I picked up this book hoping to nostalgically reconnect with the sort of crushes my younger self used to have. Instead, I got a heaping of sisterhood. Sisterhood is great and all, and I’ve always enjoyed books on that topic, but I was not expecting that in this book. Han packaged this book to be about cute young crushes when it was really about the protagonist, Lara Jean’s relationship with her older sister and said sister’s unattainable perfection.

Margot, Lara Jean’s big sister, is one of those characters who are supposed to be perfect and meticulous and fastidious and do everything correctly. I only ever got to see her through Lara Jean’s eyes, and Lara Jean basically worshiped the ground she walked for most of the book, which got really boring really fast. Lara Jean obviously idolized Margot and measured herself up against her big sister’s perfection.

I didn’t particularly like Lara Jean or Margot, but I loved their little sister, Kitty. Kitty had an acerbic tongue, which I really enjoyed. She was sharp witted, a little sassy, and a breath of fresh air in a book filled with such stuffy characters.

The actual romance aspect of the book was pretty predictable. However, I did enjoy some really cute parts between Lara Jean and two of the boys she’d loved before. Those gave me what I’d been looking for: adorable, sweet, young teenage crushes. I also liked the way Han developed the relationship between Lara Jean and Peter. I noticed how she basically recycled the camaraderie between Belly and her summer boys from her Summer Trilogy but basically switched the genders to end up with Josh and his Song girls. Somehow, it worked.

I don’t want to give away too much, but I’ll just tell you that if you’re looking for a fluffy bunny romance alone, you’ll be looking for a diamond in the rough.

Rating: 3/5

Book Review: The Fault In Our Stars by John Green

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Title: The Fault In Our Stars

Author: John Green

Genre: Young Adult Literature, Romance, Tragedy

Published: January 10th, 2012

IMDB

Amazon

Barnes and Noble

Goodreads

Synopsis:

Despite the tumor-shrinking medical miracle that has bought her a few years, Hazel has never been anything but terminal, her final chapter inscribed upon diagnosis. But when a gorgeous plot twist named Augustus Waters suddenly appears at Cancer Kid Support Group, Hazel’s story is about to be completely rewritten.

My Thoughts:

My friends basically pushed me to read this book, because of ‘the feels’. So, I decided to read it before the movie comes out in June.

Hazel, I think, is the most admirable character I have ever read in YA book. She doesn’t have paranormal abilities, she’s not a badass kickass fantasy heroine, and she’s been dying of cancer all her life. Yet, she is the most real girl I have ever read. I loved her witty comments and statements riddled throughout the book from the beginning. I love how she doesn’t try to hide from the truth, how she accepted the truth. I love honest she is about her cancer and her condition and her impending death. She is also so empathetic with other people and their plights. She thinks of the people in her life. I really liked how she was so obsessed with An Imperial Affliction and its ending. She is such a fangirl, lol.

Augustus Waters was such a hero. I just want him to know that, no matter what he thought, he is the most heroic character I’ve ever read. He made sacrifices for the people he loved. Not big sacrifices. Just the little things, the ones that matter, the ones that count. Him and his metaphorical resonances! Gosh, I loved those. He was so awesome. And those big words he always used! He always sounded so intelligent. He and Hazel were such an intellectual couple. They were both so smart, and clever. I really admire that about them.

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There were actually a lot of metaphorical resonances and symbolism in this book. It’s so erudite.

I don’t want to get into any of the other characters, or stuff I specifically adored from TFIOS, because I don’t want to give any spoilers. One thing remains, though: Hazel’s mom is the best fictional mom in the whole wide world. And Peter Van Houten was the best plot twist ever.

I just want to say that this book was not at all what I expected. It was 10000000x better. I’ve never read a book that are me think so much in my life. It’s incredibly quotable and ponderable and awe-inspiring. And another thing: this book literally made me cry buckets. Remember, if you haven’t read it and you finally do, to keep a box of tissues ready.

Favorite Quotes:

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“My thoughts are stars I cannot fathom into constellations.”

“Some infinities are bigger than other infinities.”

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“There are infinite numbers between 0 and 1. There’s .1 and .12 and .112 and an infinite collection of others. Of course, there is a bigger infinite set of numbers between 0 and 2, or between 0 and a million. Some infinities are bigger than other infinities. A writer we used to like taught us that. There are days, many of them, when I resent the size of my unbounded set. I want more numbers than I’m likely to get, and God, I want more numbers for Augustus Waters than he got. But, Gus, my love, I cannot tell you how thankful I am for our little infinity. I wouldn’t trade it for the world. You gave me a forever within the numbered days, and I’m grateful.”

“The marks humans leave are too often scars.”

9.5/10

5-stars

kele

Book Review: Anna and the French Kiss by Stephanie Perkins

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Anna and the French Kiss

Stephanie Perkins

Barnes and Noble

Goodreads

Synopsis

Anna is looking forward to her senior year in Atlanta, where she has a great job, a loyal best friend, and a crush on the verge of becoming more. Which is why she is less than thrilled about being shipped off to boarding school in Paris–until she meets Étienne St. Clair. Smart, charming, beautiful, Étienne has it all…including a serious girlfriend.

But in the City of Light, wishes have a way of coming true. Will a year of romantic near-misses end with their long-awaited French kiss?

My Thoughts

This is literally the most DELICIOUS book I have ever read.

This book is for anyone who has ever had a crush.

This book paints the most realistic love story I have ever read.

I fell completely, head over heels in love with the love brewing between Anna and Etienne St. Clair. I am so glad that they started out as friends. How they got to know eachother on so many levels. I learned that that is the best basis for love ever. I love how they secretly loved eachother from the beginning. I love the glimpses we got when Etienne let slip that he loves Anna. I love how Anna had to secretly pine over him because he had a girlfriend. I love how easily they could talk to eachother. I love how in sync they were. I love how I learned what love wasn’t – and that’s Anna’s projected ‘love’ of Toph. I adored the Parisien setting.

This book is hands-down the best romance novel I have ever read in my entire life.

Favorite Quotes

“The more you know who you are, and what you want, the less you let things upset you.”

“Is it possible for home to be a person and not a place?”

“For the two of us, home isn’t a place. It is a person. And we are finally home.”

“I wish friends held hands more often, like the children I see on the streets sometimes. I’m not sure why we have to grow up and get embarrassed about it.”

“Madame Guillotine gets mad at me. Not because I told them to shove it, but because I didn’t say it in French. What is wrong with this school?”- (Literally made me laugh out loud so hard!)

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