Thursday, November 21, 2013

Allegiant by Veronica Roth


The faction-based society that Tris Prior once believed in is shattered—fractured by violence and power struggles and scarred by loss and betrayal. So when offered a chance to explore the world past the limits she’s known, Tris is ready. Perhaps beyond the fence, she and Tobias will find a simple new life together, free from complicated lies, tangles loyalties, and painful memories.

But Tris’s new reality is even more alarming than the one she left behind. Old discoveries are quickly rendered meaningless. Explosive new truths change the hearts of those she loves. And once again, Tris must battle to comprehend the complexities of human nature—and of herself—while facing impossible choices about courage, allegiance, sacrifice, and love.

  • Number of Pages: 526


I write to you now in mourning of this series, a series that lived a great life in the dark of my room and through my most vivid imagination. I travelled along this city and beyond its walls with a girl with a love so great and the courage to preserve that love for all, no matter the cost. I mourn because there is no more for me left to follow and these characters must now move on with their untold stories.

Consider me melodramatic if you will, but do not think me insincere. I disclose complete honesty my book reviews, so believe me when I tell you that I finished this book five minutes ago and I still can’t stop crying. This book was the wrap up that no one wanted yet was inevitable. I will not give away any information for those of you who want to start the series of Divergent.

I created a joint review of the first two books in my previous post. I wrote of how great it was, out of the norm, and completely believable in its characters. What was true then is true now. But here is where I write less with emotion and more with facts.

Fact one: This is a great series.

Fact two: This book is slower paced than the rest. (Patience is required)

Fact three: The end is inevitable, but leaves you—the reader—knowing for certain how all the beloved characters end, which is a comfort. 

I remember starting this book with immense anticipation, but was slowed down to a duller pace in the beginning. There is a lot of information given and a lot of planning where there is less action taking place. But once you start this series you need to see how it ends, and the ending is what makes it all worth reading whether it be the ending you wanted or not. I really enjoyed the dual perspective between Tris and Tobias. The first two books are completely under Tris point of view, so it is interesting to see how the author manages to change voices without disrupting what the reader is already use to. In total it was a series worth reading, and I recommend the series to you all. Stick it out in the last book. From 1-10? I give this book a 6, but the series in all is an 8.

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Divergent & Insurgent by Veronica Roth Joint Review

 Divergent Summary

In Beatrice Prior’s Dystopian Chicago, society is divided into five factions, each dedicated to the cultivation of a particular virtue—Candor (the honest), Abnegation (the selfless), Dauntless (the brave), Amity (the peaceful), and Erudite (the intelligent). ON an appointed day of every year, all sixteen-year-olds must select the faction to which they will devote the rest of their lives. For Beatrice, the Decision is between staying with her family and being who she really is—she can’t have both. So she makes a choice that surprises everyone, including herself.
During the highly competitive initiation that follows, Beatrice renames herself Tris and struggles to determine who her friends really are—and where, exactly, a romance with a sometimes fascinating, sometimes infuriating boy fits into the life she’s chosen. But Tris also has a secret, one she’s kept hidden from everyone because she’s been warned it can mean death. And as she discovers a growing conflict that threatens to unravel her seemingly perfect society, she also learns that her secret might help her save those she loves . . . or it might destroy her.

  • Number of pages: 487

Insurgent Summary

One choice can transform you—or it can destroy you. But every choice has consequences, and as unrest surges in the factions all around her, Tris Prior must continue trying to save those she loves—and herself—while grappling with haunting questions of grief and forgiveness, identity, and loyalty, politics and love.
Tris’s initiation day should have been marked by celebration and victory with her chosen faction; instead, the day ended with unspeakable horrors. War now looms as conflict between the factions and their ideologies grows. And in times of war, sides must be chosen, secrets will emerge, and choices will become even more irrevocable—and even more powerful. Transformed by her own decisions but also by haunting grief and guild, radical new discoveries, and shifting relationships, Tris must fully embrace her Divergence, even if she does not know what she may lose by doing so.

  • Number of pages: 525

Joint Review

Completely different from what you would expect from a dystopian series about to be made into a movie with enough buzz to almost catch up to the Hunger Game Movies. Completely different in a good way, that is. I read Divergent and became instantly entranced in this new societal world where the best virtues are separated into different societies within a society, and how each virtue standing alone could corrupt the very system they were trying to protect. The way this system of factions was set up was absolutely incredible with the amount of detail and surprisingly believability. The characters only served to cement that world into reality with the profoundness of the characters, their depth.

Before I get carried away with the admiration of the characters and their stories, I was to distinguish the assets of this series as a whole because this is a joint review after all. I am writing a joint review because I loved the first book so much that I barely left enough time to drive to Barnes & Noble to get book 2, Insurgent, and start reading. By the time I finished I slowed down enough to realize that the best parts of both books became mashed together in my mind and I ended up seeing it as one really big book. Probably not my best idea for blogging purposes, but it had its perks. In conclusion, this series captured me enough to feel it was absolutely necessary to read it continuously. That’s got to be saying something, right?

Tris is a rock star. I am not even exaggerating that. She was everything a protagonist should be: BELIEVABLE. I think that’s why I liked this book so much. Although completely improbable and we all know that this will never happen in real life, there was reality interwoven between all aspects of it. A huge part of that were Tris and the other characters. They were not too strong, nor were they too weak but miraculously reached their goals or whatever. That kind of stuff happens too often in Young Adult fiction, unfortunately. Tri, for instance, was strong willed but not untouchable. And she was not the weepy-damsel-in-distress-heroine, yet real enough to show emotions, tears, fears, and etc. Very admirable, yet very relatable.

Personally, if I had to say which book was my favorite so far, I would have to say Insurgent (book 2). Which I think is great, my reason being that many times in series like this one sequel sometimes do not live up to the original installment and can leave fans unsatisfied. Insurgent totally satisfies and does much more. Both books alone were great and had great aspects, but Insurgent just seemed to have more depth.  Book one, to me, was very much a set up of everything to come. This world is so complex that I think it needed a whole book to break out the characters and situation, which is clearly does with the amount of information on the initiation and different ways of the factions. Book two really seemed to break the shell set up in the first book and bring the true conflict. There was more variety in scenes and situation, and I was always left on the edge of my seat. Yeah, it was one of those. Amazing.

As I looked up the summary for Divergent for my post, I came across the information for the Divergent movie premiering March of next year. I can definitely say I got chills from the trailers. If those are any indication then I believe that this will fortunately be one of those book adaption movies that stay true to the book’s plot. I CAN’T WAIT. This series was honestly great, and comes highly recommended from me. From 1-10 as a whole? Divergent series (Divergent and Insurgent) gets a 9. 

Wrap Up of New York Trip

Monday, July 8, 2013

New York City Experience: Day 3

I got my ID! I am an official NYU student according to my new purple shiny card. The process to get that took a while. I took the subway to the NYU district, but I had a little complication on the subway. My parents were testing me to see if I would know what I had to do if I were to go on the subway by myself. I did pretty good until we started nearing the destination. I had been aware of each stop we made and was ready to go, but my dad started to talk to me and I got distracted. We almost missed getting off at the right stop. Lesson of the day: New York City isn't a place where you should get distracted.

I also learned a little something about the New York attitude, too. The guy was really rude and grouchy. At first it made me really defensive, but I started thinking . . . this is the kind of mentality I have to adapt to. This city is no joke. I went to Milos Greek restaurant that night with my parents, aunts, and grandmother. The majority of the conversation was about city safety and how I have to be aware of everything surrounding me. I would be lying if I said I'm a little nervous of living here, but I am sure I'll adapt.

That's all for now,

Camila (Nap. Snack. Read.)

Sunday, July 7, 2013

New York City Experience: Day 2

I am titling this post as “Day 2” because this technically was my second day in the city even though I have been in New York for three days. The reason being is that I spent the whole morning yesterday in a car driving up to somewhere in the wonderful state of New York. I visited family up there and had a good time, but I think I can count that day and today’s day as one. An exciting part of yesterday that I can proudly inform you all is that I shot my uncle’s really big shot gun. He used this catapult to launch small flying discs into the air as targets. It is way harder than it looks, but you will be surprised to hear that I successfully hit TWO targets! I lost compared to my family, but whatever even hitting one was an accomplishment.

I had to leave bright and early from the farm because orientation was today. NYU did require it mandatory to all precollege students so it was a must. I was really nervous that I wasn’t going to make it, but lucky that wasn’t the case. We drove past all the beautiful greens of New York. Definitely beautiful, but I don’t think I could live anywhere like that. I was excited when we started to see signs of the city. We passed through New Jersey and stopped to have a snack at this small local plaza that was Korean. We went in to what I took to be a Korean based grocery story and bakery. I’m starting to think anything we do the Koreans do better . . . the fruit was absolutely gorgeous. At the entrance there was a little stand where a worker had cut up samples of the fruit and put little toothpicks so that people could try. It was all the regular fruit I loved but Korean style. The kiwi was yellow the melons were white and all of it was fresh. I was tempted to buy the fruit and take it with me for the next half an hour ride back into the city. However, I decided against that when I discovered the authentic Korean pastries. My parents and I shared the most delicious cream filled pastries. It was a nice way to fill up our stomachs before heading back to the Big Apple.

Today was a big day because I had scheduled an orientation mandated to all the incoming precollege students. I had to say I was a little nervous at first because I knew that I would not know anyone there, but I’ve never been too shy to talk to new people. So it was with mostly excitement that I went with my parents in the afternoon to the Kimmel building. I was dropped off there and began to follow the signs and people to the fourth floor waiting area. It was literally not six minutes into arriving that a fellow student began to talk to me. A friendly girl from Jersey with enough energy and excitement to kill a horse began to excitedly speak to me about stairs, classes, and herself. It eased my nerves a little bit after speaking to her. Clearly there were other people like me that wanted to get to know others.

The first half hour was a power point presentation on the program and everything we could possibly need to know. The people in charge of the program including the program director spoke to us and gave us a warm welcome. I spoke to no one at this point was starting to feel a little awkward again until we started to go off into assigned floor groups. My group appointed to me was great, and I got the chance to speak with almost every single one of its members. One girl in particular seemed nice, a Latina like me except she said she came all the way from Puerto Rico! Hopefully I get to see more of them as the program continues on. First day of class starts in two day!!


Camila (Nap. Snack. Read.)

Friday, July 5, 2013

New York City Experience: Day 1

I have been given the blessed opportunity to explore one of the world’s most amazing cities . . . The Big Apple. I am currently sitting in my new home for the rest of the summer and writing not only for my readers, but also more as a documentation of my experience in New York City. I have decided that a chance like this to explore the city life on my own and become independent in the ways of the world should be remembered. With that in mind, I have decided to record my experiences and such here, on my blog, every day if possible.

The decision to come to New York this summer was planned earlier on in the year. During the school year I began too look for programs of any kind that I could participate in that would allow me to do something that I love, cultivate that, and also have an amazing cultural experience in the mean time. New York University quickly drew my eye, as well as its incredible precollege program. I have visited the city on numerous occasions, as my grandma and other family members have lived here many years, but the idea of spending more than just a few days studying in such a prestigious university would be absolutely incredible. I spent some time researching which studies it offered and have applied and been accepted into the Expository Writing Class and the Creative Writing Workshop. This past year has been really focused on my academic studies, as well as a business and marketing program competition called DECA that really wrung most of my energy this school year. I thought to really center all my energy this summer on my love of words and language before all the chaos of college applications arrive in the fall.

Today was the beginning of my journey, one that will hopefully take me to some unexpected places and exciting experiences. I traveled by plane with my parents. I am so grateful to them for the opportunity they have given me. They have come with me for the first leg of my journey to make sure I am settled in and help me learn the in’s and out’s of such a complex and modernly exotic landscape. They themselves have walked these streets and are familiar with everything—from the subway to the people to the hotdog stands. I feel comfortable with them here, but I know that my time with them is running low, and I have to learn as much as I can and adapt to whatever they can’t teach me. They leave in 10 days time, but will be returning every couple of weeks to check up on me. (Secretly, I know it’s because they’ll miss me too much.)

From the moment we left LaGuardia Airport, I have been soaking up details and places faster than I can process. Apparently, this entire place is one long strip of land. I’m trying to familiarize myself with the way the avenues and the streets work (i.e. the long streets and the smaller ones that cut across.) I arrived early on and had time to settle my things down at the apartment before going out to explore. Can I just say that I am one lucky girl? The apartment is beautiful. My very gracious cousin has lent me her home for the next 2 months, and I am so grateful to her. It is absolutely incredible, and I can’t believe it’s all mine for the next 6 weeks! I spent the first few hours exploring the surroundings. Everything I need is basically just a few blocks away. Coming from the suburbs, I am not use to such close distances for everything. It’s nice to think that for whatever food craving, whatever need I have, I can just walk down the street or catch a subway to the nearest accommodating store. The cutest bakeries and shops are within walking distance. I had a late brunch with my parents at the most delicious organic French cafĂ© called Le Pain Quotidien. Absolutely amazing quality food can be found there. I had the most delicious mixed berry tart that I practically had to battle for with my mother. We are both suckers for fruit tarts. I guarantee that will not be my last visit there, that’s for sure. We freshened up at the apartment and continued on with mapping out my route to get to NYU.

The university consists of multiple buildings in a huge area that takes a big chunk out of downtown. I geeked out a little when we passed the NYU Bookstore. Like the typical student who goes crazy over NYU branded merchandise, I became super excited over all the purple products. That place is a sucking vortex for any overly anxious new student of any kind. I might have gone a little overboard, but there was no way I was going to leave without an NYU cap, NYU t-shirt, and NYU hoodie. No. Way. In. Hell. My parents indulged me in this and my dad even got his own cap, so it wasn’t just me!

We spent the remainder of the day to check out where all the buildings I would have to go to are located and such. It was too late in the day to go get my id, but Monday I will have mine and become an official NYU student! Everything nearby there is so urban-like. Typical college environment with brewed coffee shops on every street and brick buildings. Walked down 3rd avenue for a long while, and based on what I have observed today I have come to the conclusion that I could spend a decade in the City and I will never be able to eat at all the amazing places that are here. I can’t even put to words the absolutely mouthwatering and amazing dinner I had. Momofuku is a noodle bar in downtown that serves the most amazing—you guessed it—noodles I have ever had so far. Personally, my favorite plate was this delicious pork bun that I had to order twice because there was just no way I could leave without second helpings. If you are ever by the city, look it up. Absolutely incredible. My tummy was satisfied, my feet are currently sore, and I count this as a successful first day.

I have written a lot, and this is only just the beginning. Most likely there will be days were I do not have much to say, and other where I wont be able to stop. I look forward to many days, all different in their experiences, and I hope you will keep up with them, too.

New York City enthusiast,

Camila (Nap. Snack. Read.)

Saturday, June 8, 2013

The Fault In Our Stars by John Green


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.

  • Number of Pages: 313


Augustus Waters. If there were anyone I would aspire to be like it would be Augustus Waters.

As I was reading this book, I tweeted my feedback and a few quotes on my personal Twitter account when a girl out of the blue asked me if she should read it. So many though jumped into my mind, but the 140 characters restrained me. In the end all I could do was warn her. I wrote “Prepare to fall in love with heartbreak.”

I began with the misconception that this book, though raved about to be unique and ultimately unlike anything else, would be cheesy and absolutely tragic like all books that pertain to this selection of genre. I read it and discovered how beautifully awful life could be. The true nature of Cancer.

I spent the majority of my hours over the past couple of months in an AP English Language and Composition class, in which my teacher drilled and drowned us in enough literature to be able to later dissect even the deepest meaning from a newspaper cartoon or an obituary. Though Hell at times, I now like to believe that as I read this book I understood it for its true meaning. This isn’t a light read. It isn’t even all that interesting in the beginning. It is life. It is the way that these two human beings of infinitesimal proportions loved, lived, and died that makes this book raw and real. Everything in this book is both a metaphor and not a metaphor. It is straightforward and yet hidden with deeper meanings.

I could write an essay on each moment of Hazel’s days with Augustus, the boy who represents all the good in the world and all the bad that happens to the good in the world. It all amounts to nothing in the end because the life that they and all of us live is filled with day to day moments that shouldn’t be analyzed . . . they should just be LIVED. I don’t even think any of this makes any sense, but that should be the reason that you read this. You should read this just so that the logic and the way you look at life transforms to a way where you see the joke in the tragedy and the hope in the hopelessness. Read it for the laughs you'll gain and the tears you'll lose. Read it for Gus. From 1-10? I give it a 7.