Monday, April 25, 2011

How to Study

Don't. Just, don't. I mean, who even cares anymore? If you're any good at IB anyway, you've already been accepted to the university of your choice. You already have your high school diploma. All of this is extra. So, don't do anything for the entirety of April and May. Just sit back and laugh at your friends, yelling "you suckas!"

Drink. Drink and eat. A lot. All the time. You know that environment saying thing "Eat food. Not too much. Mostly plants". Well, during IB exams it should be changed to "Eat food. Way too much. Mostly sugar". Because how else are you going to stay up late every night to study? And how else will you get up in the morning? Candy bars, chocolate, crazy energy drinks. Eat. Drink. SUGAR.

Forget it. Just repeat this to yourself multiple times a day. If anyone asks you to do something. Or if you want to to do something. Just say "forget it". Because you will have to forget everything. Everything you are, everything you want, everyone you love. Forget everything but studying. Then go kill yourself.

Go outside. While studying for these exams, it is quite possible you will have no need to leave your house for many days, unless you run out of graph paper or something equally as tragic. You will get to the point where you look up from your notes and see sun through the window and your eyes hurt, and only then do remember there is a life beyond studying. To stay sane, go outside. Go outside and dance in the streets. Run, as fast as you can, like a spazzy little kid. Run til your muscles ache. Your mind is exhausted. Let your body work out for a little while.


Find yourself. Ha, no, you don't have time to find yourself. But you do have time to find what will make you feel like yourself. When you are at the end of a long study day, identify what needs you have--do you have to go to the bathroom? Are you hungry? Are you tired? Do you need a mental break? Deal with these needs one at a time, as fast as possible. And then get back to studying.

Watch TV. You need a study break. Your break is only half and hour long, which means that you can't go anywhere and you can't really do anything. This is what TV was made for. Comedies are only half an hour long! Watch some reruns, internet TV, youtube videos, whatever. You'll let your brain rest, ready to get back to work. Plus, you won't miss any of your favourite shows during sweeps!

And then go jump off a building.

I mean, do you have a better solution?

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

So bad it's good, or so good it's bad?

Did you know that there are people who actually think Gossip Girl is a good show?

I don't mean good as in enjoyable, as in this-show-is-so-freaking-bad-its-hilarious. I mean legitimately good, on par with quality shows like West Wing or Cougar Town or Community. I find this very hard to believe. Don't you?

Personally, I go into each Gossip Girl episode knowing that is going to be terrible. I know that the plots are going to be wildly unrealistic and I know that the characters are going to be inconsistent and annoying and I know that the relationship twists will be stupid and inexplicable. I know that it is going to suck. To me, a good episode is not one that handles its characters well or is well written or anything like that. That is way to much to expect. In my books, a good episode is one that meets one of the following requirements:

1) It has a number of really good Chuck and Blair scenes
2) It shows Serena struggling some how and actually realizing the consequences of her selfish, slutty actions
3) It involves the Power of the Four, aka a grand Chuck/Blair/Nate/Serena take down
4) It is so freaking bad and ridiculous that I spend the whole hour mocking it, laughing like crazy

Sadly, last nights episode only partially met (1), completely invalidated (2), had Nate screwing Raina, so no chance at (3), yet wasn't ridiculous enough to reach (4). It was an average episode. Less predictable than I thought it'd be, if you can believe it. Well, certain parts. Lets story by story it.

1) Cousin Charlie Comes to Town, aka the one where Serena finds another little minion to corrupt

I feel bad for little sweet, naive Charlie. She started this show so pure, so nice and genuine and innocent. And you just know that when she leaves it, she's going to be as corrupted and disgusting and annoying as the rest of them. Right now she's Jenny, circa season one, 

And we all know how that turned out:

So really, Charlie has no chance. So why bother commenting on the fact that the actress didn't seem 18 at all? Or the fact that I kind of agreed with Charlie's mom about the whole money thing? Or even the fact that Charlie has some mysterious secret from her past? So what? This is Gossip Girl! Dan raised a Russian mobster's baby! Blair was sold for a hotel! Serena slept with her english teacher, who also happened to be the man her mom got wrongly convicted! Whatever Charlie's dark secret is, I know it can't be worse than the time that Serena "killed a man". Can you beat that Charlie, can you?

Charlie Rhodes Picture
"Yes, I'm excited to try! Maybe I can even beat you Serena"

Alas, we already know where this going, so we might as well move on

2) Nate Screws Raina, aka the one where Nate screws Raina (is there more to this storyline? If there is, I'm not aware of it)

Raina's concerned about her mother. Giant snore. Apparently, her mother is dead. I did not know this. I have never paid attention to Raina, no matter if she was screwing Chuck or his best friend Nate. 

Anyway, Raina is angsty. That's all we really got, since this storyline was totally separate from all the other ones, and was only shown in 1 or 2 minute cut aways every 15 minutes or so. Poor Raina, I would say, if I cared. But I don't, so screw Raina. Oh wait, Nate already is!

3) The Royal Portrait, aka the one where they delay the Chair reunion in any way they can

If I was a Dair fan, I would be MAD right now. I mean, we wait six freaking weeks to see the result of that kiss, and this is what we get?!? NOT AT ALL WORTH IT! If I were a Dair fan, I'd have about the same expression Dan did last night. After all, that whole kiss thing was a pretty big freaking deal, 

But yeah, no. No, no, no. The show decided to do a complete 180, steering away from Dair...right into the arms of Chair. I'll admit, as the true Chair fan I am, there were some pretty good moments. 

I thoroughly enjoyed Chuck's speech to Blair about how worthless Dan was, when Dan was standing RIGHT THERE. My mother was watching with me, and she couldn't believe it when I burst out laughing. She thought Chuck was being cruel. But I was so long ago desensitized to such things, I loved it. I mean, it was horrible and classist and just plain mean. But also classic! 

I also loved how they kept showing Chuck sad in the photo. He he he he he. Gotta love it. Unless you're a Dair fan of course. Luckily I am not. 

But unluckily for both of Chairs and Dairs, this man showed up, threatening everything, 

Of course, we all know it's not going to stick. But it's so hard not to get paranoid about it anyways.

If you care at all about Gossip Girl, you know that Blair is getting engaged by the end of the season. Theoretically, there are three possibilities: Dan, Chuck, Prince. But it can't be Prince whatever his name is, because then he'd have to become a regular, and we already have too many of those. And it can't be Dan because Dan and Blair have barely dated and Dan has to end up with Serena anyways. 

That leaves Chuck. As it should be. He's the only one that makes sense, since he has actually expressed the desire to marry her, on numerous occasions. He would have proposed at the end of the last season if stupid Dan and Jenny hadn't interrupted. 

Either it's Chuck, or its no one. Or she gets engaged to the Prince for like five seconds, only to realize she was meant to be with Chuck. CHUCK! CHUCK! CHUCK!

4) Vanessa's Internship, aka the one where Vanessa has super sonic hearing as well as super creepy spy skills

I know that I should write something about Lily and her sister and whatever, but I don't care about them, as much as Gossip Girl wants me to, so instead, I just had to have a good laugh at Vanessa. 

Remember when she overheard Ben threatening Damien from a cab 25 feet away? Well, her superhero talents are back this week, as she hides behind corners, finding out everything about Blair and Dan and Chuck and blabbing it all to Serena for no good reason other than to further story. LOVED IT! Definitely a classic it's-so-freaking-bad-it's-good moment. One for the ages. 

What did everyone else think? And does anyone else take this show seriously?

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Evolution of a Friendship

A friendship starts with some common ground, some coincidence, some type of fateful proximity. You sit next to each other in Spanish class. You volunteer together after school. You're forced to work together on a group project.

You get talking. You chat about whatever brought you together that day, and whatever common background you have and whatever common knowledge you have of each other. As you talk to them, you start to think "wow, this person is actually kind of cool", or "huh, this person is kind of nice". You feel a connection, a kinship, a desire to keep talking even after that final bell has rung or the final project has been handed in. You have a want, a desire for more of this newly discovered person. 

You friendship stays a little while in this embryonic stage, developing, incubating, maturing. You find out that you have common interests--a mutual hatred for a certain teacher, a mutual love for a certain TV show, or a mutual passion for a certain hobby. When you see this person outside your little bubble, you smile, then stop to talk to them. You start joking with them, playfully making fun of them. You've gained that first level of trust. Your friendship has grown from its toddler stage to its child stage. 

Then, inevitably, comes the day when you invite the other person to do something, outside of the place that you meet, for no other reason than you want to spend time together. Or maybe they invite you. Either way, you find yourself getting to know them in new ways--seeing what their room looks like, meeting their siblings, experiencing the other parts of their world. You respond in kind, inviting them into your world, giving over a little bit more of yourself, trusting them to hold on to it, and not break it. With this knowledge and this trust, your friendship enters the teenage stage. You have to be careful here. It's equally parts exhilarating as it is challenging. This is the stage where the other person starts to change who you are. Most people forget most of their childhood memories; no one fails to remember their teen years. It's the point of no return, when you go from being casual friends, to real friends, from just a name, a quick "hey, we had fun times" to a "you meant a lot to me, I'll never forget you". 

This is the point when you start calling this person you're friend without any hesitation. It's no long a question, but a fact. It is from this point that all other points blossom. You experience all the teenage rights of passage. You meet their parents, maybe even their extended family. You run after them when they go crying to the bathroom. You make them laugh so hard they cry. 

Slowly but surely, you get to know this person, in all the big and small ways. You get to know their favourite colour and the route to their house and their family drama and every other little detail that makes them who they are. More importantly, you start to care about these details. The real marking of this stage is that moment when you start to care about this person not just in relation to you and your friendship, but just as themselves. You store every detail they tell you, drawing a map of their life in your head, sure to never get lost. When you load pictures from your camera, you save the ones with you, the ones with the both of you, and the ones of them alone. You decide that this person is going to be important to you, a part of you. It's a big decision, and you don't always realize it while your making it. But once you do, you'll never forget it. 

Eventually, your friendship begins to experience some growing pains. It can take two months or ten. But eventually, it will happen. You grow past the adolescent stage, and things become so much harder. When you make mistakes, people are less forgiving. More is expected of you. Before, you were that person that ran after them into the bathroom. Now you're the person who skips the rest of the next class to hand them tissues, and then meets up with them after school and makes them tell you the rest of the story. Their pain becomes your pain. It becomes so familiar to you that you recognize it on their face before they've even acknowledged it. Sometimes, you're the cause of that pain. Sometimes, you don't know how to fix that. 

You've now reached the final level of your friendship. This one can last five months, five years, or five decades. You now know everything there is to know about this person. You can anticipate what they're going to say, how they're going to react, and how you are going to deal with each and every one of these things. In many ways, you know them better than they know themselves. At the beginning of a friendship the other person shows you their strengths. By this final point, you not only know their weaknesses, but you've accepted them, come to love them. 

Supposedly, you friendship could stay forever at this final level. But none of mine ever have. Many of mine have never even reached that level. Some get stuck in the embryonic stage or the toddler stage. Many only make it to the child stage. A select few survive until the teen years. Only one or two have ever reach adulthood. But even those have suffered early deaths. Friendships blossom because of proximity. And so they die when it's taken away. Even if you think you could never lose this person, can never imagine living without his person, you can still lose them. You may not think it now and you may never want to believe it, but it's possible. 

I know. I have lost every friend I have ever had. And I'm about to lose a bunch more, when I graduate in two months. The people who make up my life right now, the people I see every day, will journey with me into the next stage of friendship. Before it was all about moving forward, going up levels. Now, as everyone moves forward to their separate futures, it's about moving onward, but not upward. Moving backwards instead of forwards. It's a natural progression that seems completely unnatural. You won't like it, but you won't be able to stop it. 

You can't unknow the things you know. You will always remember that person who you were friends with, as they were for that moment in time when you were friends. But there will be new things that you won't be privy to. It can be quick, monumental, like when someone moves away to college or something. Or it can be slow, almost unnoticeable. One day you don't each lunch together. The next, you realize you haven't talked to each other in a whole day. Then a whole week. Then suddenly, you see them, and you talk to them, but they aren't them. You feel a little out of place, you can tell that something's off. This isn't your friend, but some weird impostor. You go searching, digging for the real thing, but it's nowhere to be found. 

That person was a part of you, and now they're gone. And so you have to relearn who you are, redefine yourself. It takes a very long time. It's like when they demolish a building. The reconstruction takes a long time to cover up what was once there. Except instead of creating a better building, you can only construct a newer one, that isn't so tall or strong, since its foundation was already so scared. 

For a while, it'll seem like you can't go a day, can't take a breath, without that person, can't walk a block without stumbling upon the building. You'll find yourself walking toward it, even when you don't want to. Every little detail will remind you. Every thing you laughed at, cried about. Every foolish prank, every sill joke. But slowly, you'll learn to forget. You'll be a new person, and you'll have new memories. Then, one day, you'll be walking down the street in your new life, existing in your new neighbourhood, finding your way in a new city, when you'll pass the building once again. You'll blink twice, making sure it's actually real. You'll find it hard to believe that this person that has existed for so long in your head is actually more than a thought or an image, but a real life thing, taking up space, in front you. You may embrace them, just to make sure they're actually there.

It will amaze you how quickly you'll be able to enter the building once again. You thought you had lost this map, made yourself forget these directions. But they're still a distant part of you, ingrained in you. All those facts that you were eager to learn and then so desperate to forget come back into you conscience. You roam the halls together, feeling like you're at home after a particularly long vacation that you didn't much enjoy.

The words will come so easy. You no longer have things in common, but you have a common past. There's a part of you that is still that person, that person that they knew better than anyone. And there's a matching part of them that you never forgot. You talk endlessly over each other, trying to learn the new person who replaced the old person you loved so much. Time passes so quickly. But just as quickly, it stops. You run out of things to say. You step out of the bubble, step out of the building and go on walking; you remember that this person you're talking to isn't your friend. They're a new person. They're a stranger.

That is how a friendship begins, and that is how a friendship ends.

Sunday, April 10, 2011

IB Blogger Says Goodbye

They say you have to be careful about what you put online. That people will do evil, nasty things if you reveal certain personal details. That employers will troll the internet looking for any excuse not hire you. That the cops will check Facebook, so if you're a criminal, don't post about your crimes. They say you have to be careful, and on this blog I really try to be. 

My readers know that my name is Katherine, from the address and header, but they don't know my last name. They know that I live in Toronto, but they don't know anything more specific than that. They know I'm in high school, but they don't know what grade or what type or what school. They know the generals, and not the specifics, and that's the way I like to keep it. 

With this whole online paranoia, I kind of just go with my gut. Some things seems okay to share and some things feel like they should stay secret. Sometimes I share secrets about myself but not basic facts. Today I've decided to give away one more piece of the puzzle, reveal one big part of my life that I have alluded to but never named. 

I am in the International Baccalaureate Program. The IB program for short. You may have heard of it. You may be an IB student yourself. But probably not. In case you're wondering, here's the website that will explain it in detail. And here's the fancy little diagram that they love to show us:

Note: I hate this diagram. I'm pretty sure all IB students hate this diagram

I'm trying to think of a simple way to explain it. It's a two year diploma program (taken in senior years of high school), focusing on six main subjects (my subjects are in brackets: a language A1 (English), a second language (French), individualities and societies (history), experimental sciences (biology), math (uh, well, math), and the arts (theatre arts). 

Each subject has a combination of internal assessments (marked by the teacher, then externally moderated), and external assessments (externally marked), and then the exams. Here's the break down for my subjects:

English: 15% World Literature Paper #1 and World Literature Paper #2, 15% Individual Oral Presentation and Individual Oral Commentary, 70% exams

French: 10% IOC, 90% exams (unsure about this. There must be something I'm missing)

Math: 20% Internal Assessments, 80% exams

History: 20% Internal Assessment, 80% Exams

Biology: 3% Manipulative Skills, 3% Group 4 Project, 18% Labs, 76% Exams

Theatre Arts: 25% Independent Project Portfolio, 25% Practical Performance Proposal, 25% Research Investigation, 25% Theatre Performance and Production Presentation. 

So, you know how I finish every post by saying that I have to go do homework? This is why! 

And, in addition to all these things, there's the extended essay (4000 words), CAS (150 hours), and Theory of Knowledge. Your life revolves around acronyms. Your end up speaking in sentence sthat would make sense to no one outside of IB. Some examples:

-Tomorrow, I have a CAS meeting during TOK, and at lunch I have to find my EE supervisor. 

-My english teacher is also my EE supervisor and I want to avoid her since I haven't done my WL, IOC, or IOP, or even started my EE.

-This week I have to finish my TPPP, IP, IPP, and I have to revise my PPP. And I have to find my history IA. I'll never get it all done. 

It's insane. A lot of days I forget why I do it. A lot of days I just want to give up. Especially now, as I prepare for these huge exams. There are parts I love about it and parts I hate about it. Everyone likes to debate IB. Here's my take.

The Good:

  • It made me take theatre arts, which I will forever be grateful for. I thought I'd hate theatre, but I really came to love it. It changed my entire future, and my entire self. For that, I will always appreciate IB.
  • It gave me a good work ethic. It made me learn how to balance my time. It made a a better student.
  • Through CAS, it got me involved in a lot of extracurricular activities I wouldn't have otherwise tried: track team, library, and even a summer exchange.
  • It challenged me every step of the way, making the most of what intelligence I have
  • It allowed me to mature in an environment of students like me, who have the same goals, and the same attitude towards school. It gave me a class of students who understand me, on the most basic level. 

The Bad:

  • It took so much freaking work! All the time! 24 hours a day! I have to schedule my life around school. It shouldn't work that way. I should schedule my homework around my life. 
  • It robbed me of free time or any type of real social life. 
  • It made me work harder, for little real result, other than a stronger character and more useless knowledge
  • It put me in a class with only 20 people for all of high school, which was very hard if I had problem with a friend, since there were only a few to choose from.
  • It made me take math and french for three full extra years, even though I suck at them, making me work even harder, get even more frustrated, and giving me skills that I never want to need. 
Most days, I think the good outweighs the bad. But it's hard to say. I hope I look back on it without regrets. We'll see. 

The reason I'm revealing all this now is because, as of May 3rd, I will be writing IB exams. In the time between now and May 3rd I will be preparing for IB exams. Everything else falls by the wayside. No reading, not even the new Sarah Dessen that comes out next month. No movies, not even Something Borrowed, which looks so good. And no tv, not matter how many finales I miss. Nothing but school. Say goodbye to my sanity. Most of all, say goodbye to my blogging. 

I'll be back May 23rd, I promise, with a whole flood of posts with my thoughts on Bumped and What Happened to Goodbye and Something Borrowed and the inevitable Chuck/Blair drama from the Gossip Girl season finale, and all the other season ending drama. 

I maybe might right something before than, if I need a break or something. But this is it for now, all I can promise. I'll back on the 23rd. I'm counting down the days. I'm sure you will be too. 

See you later rather than sooner. 


Sunday, April 3, 2011

My Super Wacky Top TV Moments

This week on TV we experienced a whirlwind of wackiness, from teen arrests to singing doctors and World of Warcraft to Outdoor Exhibitions. Here are my top 5 wacky moments of the week:

1) CAPPIE on Parenthood!!!!

Let me repeat that: CAPPIE on Parenthood!! Cappie back in the world!! And yes, I know, it's not really Cappie. But it is Scott Michael Foster, and his face alone makes me so happy. I would describe his Parenthood character, but I don't really know anything about him since I couldn't stop squealing every time he came on screen. Any true Greek fan would understand. The world needs more Cappie, stat, even in little random roles like this one.

The rest of the episode surrounding Cappie was pretty good. Though it frustrated me that Sarah Braverman, aka Lauren Graham, aka Lorelai Gilmore, wouldn't know more about the size of university envelopes after the whole drama with Paris and Rory and everything. I don't think I'll every fully accept that Lauren Graham isn't actually Lorelai. I know I'll never accept Scott Michael Foster as anything but CAPPIE, the greatest human ever.

2) Grey's Anatomy! The Musical! 

It wasn't "good", so to speak, but it sure was hilarious. With all the random and awkward singing I was laughing for almost the entire episode! LOVED IT! In terms of the larger picture of Grey's Anatomy, it wasn't a great episode, since barely any plot was developed. Seriously, without the songs the entire plot would have been max. 10 minutes of the episode. But hey, it sure was different! And Sara Ramirez sure can sing! Though my favourite singer was Chandra Wilson. I really liked the emotion in her voice. On the opposite end, I think I could go awhile without hearing Kevin McKidd's voice again. He's pretty good, and he sure gave it a lot of effort, but he wasn't good enough to make up for the monotony of having only one male singer. Overall verdict: SO RIDICULOUS=SO FUN!!

3) The Return of Make It or Break It

The New NormalIt wasn't as good as I expected. But I was expecting gold. What I got was, let's say, bronze. Or fourth place. Or maybe even fifth. Still a fair showing, but not life changing. I got to see my girls again. Emily! Payson! I've missed you so much! Kaylie! You're still as annoying and whiny as ever! And Lauren, I still hate you! And no Damon. No Damon at all!!!! And without Damon, it can never be a great episode.

Other things annoyed me as well. I'm scared to find out to what they're doing with Sasha. The episode listed him as a "special guest star". What does that mean??? Is he not coming back to The Rock? What is The Rock without Sasha? What is MIOBI without Sasha? I sincerely hope we don't find out. I'm equally scared and eager to see the next episode.

4) The Teen Mom 2 Finale 

Oh dear lord. Things did not end very well for this season's crop of teenage mothers. Leah got it best, with big wedding, which, I will admit, was pretty sweet. I really hated the dresses the twins were wearing, but other than, I was very happy for Corey and Leah. They're not Caitlin and Tyler, but I liked them enough. My second favourite of the season was probably Chelsea, since she seemed like she was actually an okay mom. Adam is awful, and the finale only reinforced that. Kailyn had a fine episode, a fine ending as well. She got the custody agreement, which was great, but she also had to put up with more crap from Joe. I wish she would stop engaging him.

That just leaves Jenelle. I don't know if there's any hope left for her. I feel really bad for Barb and Jace. They don't deserve all that drama. I was so mad at Jenelle when she forgave Kieffer. He's awful, and she needs to move on!

Evaluating the season as a whole, I think I liked last season better. I loved Cailyn and Tyler so much. No one can beat them. I wonder who we'll get next year. And is we'll ever revisit the season 1 and season 2 moms. I hope so!

5) Mr. Shue is a Douche, even when the show isn't on

It was a slow week on tv, and this image was way better than anything that aired, so I just had to share:

And so Mr. Shue was renamed King Douche.

That's my week. How about yours?

Pieces of My Heart

The things we loved when we were younger always hold a special place in our heart. I already shared my undying love for Mary-Kate and Ashley. And, today, I'll share one more piece of my heart.

Today I'll share my love of the Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants series. I read those books from grade six to grade eight, and I absolutely loved them. I came to love characters like they were my best friends, my sisters. I still reread parts of the books every couple months, to slip back into the world of Bridget and Tibby and Lena and Carmen and Brian and Eric. It feels so comfortable, so familiar, like an old sweater or the hug of someone you really love. 

Of the girls, I probably related most to Lena and Carmen. Lena, for her quiet awkwardness. Carmen for her anger and for her many other faults. But I loved all four of them. I adored Tibby for her dorkiness and dark humour. I loved Bridget for her wild hair and her crazy whims and her spunk. I loved them all, and I knew them, and I missed them all those years since the books ended. I would invite any opportunity to spend time with them again, which is why I enjoyed the first Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants movie and endured the second one. 

I long ago accepted that this series was over, in the way that I accept that some friends are not forever, but just for a short time, when you need them most. It was supposed to be four books. Four summers. Four years of high school. Four best friends. The last book was a conclusion, Forever in Blue. It was the end. 

But then, the other day, I saw this: 

It was like seeing an old friend on the street. Kind of exciting, because you get to see what they've been up to all these years. How they've changed. If they're still the same person you loved all those years ago. But also really scary and awkward, because, before if seemed like you could never run out of things to talk about, and, now, you struggle to fill the silence. A mix of emotions, to say the least. 

The original plot summary I read seemed okay. It seemed like, maybe, we still had some things in common after all, like we could spend an afternoon together talking endlessly over each, trying to learn about the new person who had replaced our old person. 

"Despite having jobs and men that they love, each knows that something is missing: the closeness that once sustained them. Carmen is a successful actress in New York, engaged to be married, but misses her friends. Lena finds solace in her art, teaching in Rhode Island, but still thinks of Kostos and the road she didn’t take. Bridget lives with her longtime boyfriend, Eric, in San Francisco, and though a part of her wants to settle down, a bigger part can’t seem to shed her old restlessness.

hen Tibby reaches out to bridge the distance, sending the others plane tickets for a reunion that they all breathlessly await. And indeed, it will change their lives forever—but in ways that none of them could ever have expected.

As moving and life-changing as an encounter with long-lost best friends, Sisterhood Everlasting is a powerful story about growing up, losing your way, and finding the courage to create a new one."

It disappointed me a little, because it wasn't what I imagined for my friends. At the end of Forever in Blue, I had chosen to believe that Lena and Kostos had gotten together sooner rather than later. I had chosen to believe that "someday" was now. And I'm kind of sick of dealing with all the Lena/Kostos drama. I dealt with some much that the first time around. 

Bridget still seems to have the same commitment issues, the same flight instead of fight instincts, which frustrated me in their familiarity. Eric is so nice! So kind! So loyal! How can she not want to live with him, marry him, build a life with him? As always, I questioned Bee's choices. 

Again, I felt bad for Carmen. She always gets shafted. In the first book, she was depressed about being fat and Puerto Rican and having a Dad that had forgotten about her. In the second book, she was depressed about having a mother who getting married and starting a new family without her. In the third book she only got a smidge of romance, in the background of the looking after Lena's grandmother storyline. And in the last book she was once again depressed, lonely, with a sucky friend. Carmen never gets romance or happiness, and it still doesn't seem like she has it here. Poor Carmen, my girl, you deserve so much better. 

And then there was Tibby. The description kind of forgot about her, and about Brian, but I was sure they'd fix that soon. Well, I was wrong, since I found another plot summary which revealed SO MUCH MORE. If you don't want spoilers, skip this part. 

"Forever in Blue: The Fourth Summer of the Sisterhood (2007) ended almost a decade ago as Lena, Carmen, Bridget and Tibby completed their freshman year of college. Now approaching 30, the four friends have hit troubled waters, individually and as a group. In fact, they are barely in touch with each other. In San Francisco, Bridget avoids committing to sensitive immigration lawyer Eric (whose patience is the book's great mystery). Lena lives alone in self-proclaimed poverty and isolation in Providence, where she also teaches at RISD, but her heart still belongs to her lost Greek love Kostos. With a weekly gig on a TV police drama, Carmen's acting career has taken off and she is engaged to an ABC executive nobody else likes. The three have not heard much from Tibby since she moved to Australia with her boyfriend Brian several years ago. Then out of the blue, Tibby sends tickets for a reunion on the Greek island of Santorini, where they have already shared so much. Lena, Carmen and Bridget are thrilled as they gather. But tragedy strikes: Tibby drowns before she sees them, and the women suspect suicide. Devastated, they return to their separate lives and stop communicating. But Tibby has left each a mysterious package with a letter asking for another gathering on April 2. Her force of will influence her friends to make the right decisions to find happiness. Carmen must find a way to be true to herself. Bridget must find purpose in her life and get over her fear of commitment. Lena must find a way not to fear love. The ending leaves just enough romantic wiggle room for one more installment. "

TIBBY DIES. I know! This is my girl. I love Tibby. And so does Brian and Bridget and Carmen and Lena. It's not the Sisterhood without Tibby. 

It's like running into your old friend on the street, and them telling you that your other friend died. Suddenly, you're not talking about old boyfriends or old memories. Suddenly, you're in mourning. Suddenly, the whole book becomes about losing Tibby, missing Tibby, trying to find a future without Tibby. 

I knew that this book would be both a blessing and a curse. It would great to spend a few more hours with my girls, but it probably wouldn't live up to my outrageously high expectations. When you grow apart from someone, it's easy to build them up in your mind. That's part of why it's so hard to run into them. They existed for so long in your imagination that it's hard to believe they have a real mortal presence. It's hard to accept that they've changed, that they're not the person you imagined, the person you want them to be. 

But I didn't know this book would be so heartbreaking. I've lost a lot of friends in my life, but I'll never forget them. If anything bad ever happened to them, I would mourn the loss. Not the loss of the stranger that they had become, but the loss of the person who was so important to me, the person who I knew so well. And now, I have to prepare to mourn the loss of one of my very favourite literary heroines. We may not have seen each other in a long time, but she still held a place in my heart. They all did. 

So, with a heavy heart, I say that the fifth book in the Ann Brashares' Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants series is titled Sisterhood Everlasting, and it is coming out June 14 2011. 

My Dirty Little Secrets

Recently, people have been commenting a lot on my post Things I Feel Insecure About, saying that they feel the same way. That's nice to know. Since you were all so supportive, and since so many people seemed to like that post, I'd like to follow it up with an even juicier one, where I make an even bigger fool of myself by revealing secrets that I've never even told my best friends. Because sometimes its nice to see that other people have dirty little secrets as well. If you're daring, maybe leave me some of yours.

Here are mine:

1) I have always found my math teacher quite attractive. And I am not that type of girl, who has crushes on teachers all the time, so I have found this very hard to handle. I used to blush whenever he explained a question to me or picked me for an answer in class, but thankfully, that has worn off.

2) Never been kissed. I've admitted that one before, but it's so embarrassing, I think it bears repeating here.

3) I don't believe incest should be against the law, if it's between two consenting adults. But you can't really say that to people, because they think you're into your dad or something. Which I'm not. To be clear. Good lord.

4) I think abortion should only be allowed if both the mother and the father consents. I feel like a traitor to my gender, but it's true. Sorry.

5) I pick my nose. Gross, gross, gross. But otherwise, I have a really hard time breathing. Maybe I have some type or disorder or something.

6) The idea of masturbation terrifies me. I don't think I could ever do it, and I don't understand people who can.

7) My biggest question about sex has never been about the act itself, but preparing for it. Do all women really get bikini waxes, all the time? Isn't that inconvenient? Does it cost a lot of money? And doesn't it HURT?!? And what about all the times people have spontaneous sex in movies? What do women do then?

8) Further on the Sex Ed point, my eight grade health teacher had a box where you could ask anything you wanted, anonymously, without being embarrassed. I always wanted to ask how she lost her virginity, but I was too embarrassed.

Okay, enough about sex. What other secrets do people have???

9) I operate under the assumption that everyone hates me, and is secretly relieved when I am not around bothering them. I secretly wonder if this is actually true. There's no real way to know. No one would answer that question honestly.

10) I spent my friday night working on math. I spent my saturday night working on math. I don't go out. I barely have anything of a social life. The only time anyone ever emails me or sends me a Facebook message is if they want a favour, like scanning a note or something.

What's your secret? I told you mine. It's only fair...

My Most Embarrassing Moment

At school, I am at the top of my class. I'm at top of the honour roll, top ten in the school, where they post both your name and your average for everyone to see. I'm considered smart, by, you know, some people. So, when they catch with a book that looks like this, they usually do a double take:

They think that smart women couldn't possibly read such "girly" books. You should have heard it the week I brought in Perfect Chemistry:

I literally had people ripping it out of my hands to hold it up in front of the class for everyone to laugh at. They read the description aloud, pausing to mock it at key parts. 

People like to poke fun at young adult romance, thinking it's fluff, saying that it is stupid and shallow and girly. You know how, when people read a "smart book" they always try to make sure everyone can see that they're reading it? Well, sometimes, I try to hide my books from people, so they don't laugh. 

So it makes me mad when authors and publishers make it even harder on us, by producing books like this:

I loved Lonely Hearts Club, and I love Elizabeth Eulberg. Otherwise, I would have never picked up this book. It looks so freaking stupid. And I felt so stupid carrying it around. It's just so pink. Moreover, it makes me look like I'm too dumb to read the classic so I have to read some stupid rip off about prom! It gives a bad name to all other young adult romance novels, and that's even before you crack the spine! 

Reading the book inside, I continued to feel embarrassed. Embarrassed for Elizabeth Eulberg and her ridiculous rip off/remake of a book. Embarrassed for Jane Austen and the poor way her work was being treated. Embarrassed for all the girls who actually care about prom. Embarrassed for women, everywhere. 

I actually stopped reading after about 80 pages because it got so bad. But then, last weekend, I was out of books, and I picked it up from my reject shelf. I really don't know how I finished it.

It felt like the main character belonged in a different book. I could connect with Lizzie--she was nice and funny. She felt real, like someone I would actually know, today. But she was so out of place with the world around her. It felt so odd, connecting with the main character, but feeling so alienated by the world she belonged to. Lizzie was a modern character. Yet she was stuck in such an outdated, backwards book. It didn't make any sense. 

People just don't act like that today. Beyond Lizzie, every other character felt like a caricature, a cliche, a waste of ink. They were so flat, so evil, without any empathy. No one is all evil and no empathy, unless they live in a children's cartoon. Real people, even really bad people, have strengths and weaknesses about them, but this book was too shallow to show any of them. 

The entire book felt like that type of anachronism, with people acting so mean and so classist in a way that was so blatant and brash. I don't mean to suggest that classism doesn't exist today. It just doesn't exist in that way, in my opinion. I couldn't relate to it all, and, as result, I had a hard time understanding any of the characters. I had a hard time not burning this book all together, just to watch it's pretty pink cover go up in flames. 

And I understand that that's the way Jane Austen wrote it. And I haven't read Pride & Prejudice, I must admit. But I have read Emma, so I do understand some of the Austen admiration. Jane Austen has a certain charm about her writing. Elizabeth Eulberg loses all that charm in her 21st century translation. 

If you haven't read either, read the classic. Don't settle for this silly substitute. It's a ridiculous remake, a waste of a book, as frivolous and stupid as the never ending line of hollywood movie remakes. As always, stick with the original. 

People don't take young adult romance seriously, and books like this are the reason. Books like this are the reason that bookstores never bother to put YA books out on the shelves on time, because they think it doesn't matter. Books like this are the reason that movie adaptations of YA romances are always so bad, blatantly ignoring plot, when they stick so diligently to every twist and turn of every Harry Potter plot or every detail of The Hunger Games. Books like are the reason that people think I'm stupid, when I'm actually smart. 

So thank you, Elizabeth Eulberg, for wasting my time with this terrible book, for ruining a classic for me,  and for making me embarrassed for my favourite genre and my entire gender. Thank you indeed. 

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