Book Review: Caraval By Stephanie Garber

Book Review: Caraval By Stephanie Garber

Labyrinth meets Frozen with a little bit of the film version of Stardust
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Imagine Labyrinth meets Frozen with a little bit of the film version of Stardust and you probably have an idea for what Caraval feels like. Stephanie Garber's first YA novel/first novel in general is about two sisters, Tella and Scarlett, that receive an invite to the exclusive event of Caraval held and coordinated by a mysterious man named Legend. On the first night of the event, Tella is captured and soon claimed as the final clue to this year's prize, a wish for anything you could ever want. It's up to Scarlett to step out of her comfort zone and do everything she can in this magical new world she's found herself in to save her sister.

What I liked about this book most of all was the main character Scarlett, who to me just seemed like a breath of fresh air as a female protagonist in a YA novel. Usually in books these days I seem to find three stereotypes now for female protagonist: 1. The Manic Pixie Dream Girl, 2. The Badass Sarcastic girl who just wants true love, and 3. The super shy girl who swears she's not good at anything but ends up being a badass in the end. With Scarlett she stuck to who she was the whole time while still developing as a character. In the beginning she's a very follow the rules type a girl and a helicopter mom over her sister, with good reason once you read the book, but then throughout the book she begins to grow and realize she needs to start being more selfish and care more about herself while still being the same person she was before. I don't know how to explain what I'm trying to say here, but I'm basically trying to say that instant changes in personality just don't happen right away (I'm looking at you Tamlin in Court of Mist and Fury) and the author did a good job of letting these characters be themselves and just grow on their own.

Also Julian is totally now getting added to a fictional boyfriends list.

The last thing that I loved about the book is just the wording and how Garber describes the world of Caraval. My favorite thing she would do is when she would have Scarlett describe what she was feeling with colors, for example if she was happy with how something was she would use words like "my happiness had a peachy coloring to it". That's probably not the best way to describe it but once you read the book, I think you will understand what I am saying.

Overall Rating 3.75/5

Spoilers Portion-

*Am I just stupid or was Scarlett just pulling her guesses for the next clues out of nowhere? If there is anything books with mystery to them have taught me it is that I should never be a detective. Mainly because I feel like how Scarlett kept interpreting the leap of faith clue was all over the place. I was sure that her admitting her feelings to Julian would've been the real leap of faith but hey what do I know?

*Scarlett got over the fact that everything was staged way too quickly! There was a Castle episode years ago where Beckett staged a Rear Window situation to fool Castle into a surprise party and I'm still not over how angry I would've been if that were me. Scarlett's reaction to Tella still being alive after jumping out of the window and figuring out that she set it up in the first place was just way to calm for me, I needed some yelling and pillow throwing.

*I also really wanted Aiko to be Legend that just would've been a fun idea for me.

*I have no clue how the sequel is going to work out, but I am excited for it. Really wanna see how Scarlett and Julian's relationship grows.

Cover Image Credit: Hodderscape

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Dear Shondaland, You Made A Mistake Because April Kepner Deserves Better

"April Kepner... you're not average"
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I'll admit from the first time we were introduced to April in Season 6, I didn't like her so much. I mean we hated the "Mercy Westers" in the first place, so how could we see the potential in the annoying, know-it-all resident that was trying to compete with our beloved Lexie Grey.

But then, we saw her come face-to-face with a killer and thought maybe she had potential.


We then saw her surprise everyone when she proved to be the next trauma surgeon in the making and we were intrigued.

Notice how none of these stories had anything to do with Jackson Avery. Not that we didn't love her with Jackson, but for whatever reason you've chosen to end their very popular relationship. Suddenly, you think that April is not worth further exploration but you've forgotten one simple thing. We fell in love with her before "Japril" was ever in the picture.

We love her because her story was unlike the others and she had one of the best character developments on the show. She wasn't damaged like Meredith Grey or Alex Karev who have been on their journey to become all whole and healed, but she still had to fight hard to be taken seriously. Her story has so much potential for future development, but you've decided to throw it all away for "creative reasons."

I'm sorry, but there's nothing creative about doing the exact same thing you've done to all the other characters who have left the show. We've endured the loss of many beloved characters when you chose to write off George, Henry, Mark, and Lexie. We even took it when you did the unthinkable and wrote McDreamy out of the show - killing off one half of the leading couple. (WHO DOES THAT???)

But April Kepner? Are you kidding me?

She may no longer be with Jackson, but she was so much more than half of Japril. While most of us hate that Jackson and April are over, we probably could have dealt with it if April was still on the show. Now they're done and you think there aren't any more stories to tell about her character. Why? Because she'll just get in the way of Jackson and Maggie?

How could you not see that she was way more than Jackson's love interest?

She's so much more than you imagined her to be. April is the headstrong, talented trauma surgeon no one saw coming. The farmer's daughter started off an ugly duckling who became a soldier because she needed to be one and turned into one big beautiful swan who constantly has to fight for her coworkers and family to see her as such.

She's proven to be a soldier and swan on many occasions. Just take giving birth to her daughter in a storm on a kitchen table during an emergency c-section without any numbing or pain medication as an example. If she wasn't a soldier or a swan before, how could she not be after that?

Yet, you - the ones who created her - still see her as the ugly duckling of a character because she always had to take the backseat to everyone else's story and was never allowed to really be seen.

But we see her.

She's the youngest of her sisters who still think of her as the embarrassing little Ducky no matter how much she's grown.

This swan of a resident got fired for one mistake but came back fighting to prove she belongs. Not only did April Kepner belong there, but it was her talent, her kindness, her strength that made her Chief Resident. This simply wasn't enough for Dr. Bailey or her other residents so she fought harder.

She endured the pressure but always ended up being a joke to the others. When she was fired yet again, your girl came back a little shaken. She doubted herself, but how could she not when everyone was against her.

Despite everyone telling her she couldn't, she did rise and no one saw her coming because she remained in the background. She went off to Jordan broken and came back a pretty risky trauma surgeon.

We've watched for years as she was handed promising stories that we never got to see fully develop because she was in the background. We never got to see her rise. We get the beginning and the end, but hardly ever the middle.

I thought we were finally going to have an amazing story arc in season 11 when she loses Samuel, but what did we really get? Two or three episodes of her coming to terms with the loss of her baby and then April's disappearance from the show while she's grieving off screen so that Dr. Amelia Shepherd can shine her first season on the show. Where is April's life-changing surgeries? What does April get? She's background music.

Now what?

It's season 14 and we finally get the story we've been waiting 9 years for! We get Dark April and her crisis of faith. A story arc all Christians can appreciate. Here's the chance for real character development in the foreground, but wait...

Before her story is even wrapped up, you announce that this season will be her last. So we're forced to realize that the only reason we're getting this story now is that you're writing her off.

No matter how you end it, it's not going to do her story justice. If you kill her off to end her crisis of faith story, you're not reaching the many Christians who watch the show. If you have her leaving Seattle and taking Harriet with her, you didn't know April. If you have her leaving Seattle and abandoning Harriet, you really didn't know April. So anyway you choose to end her story, you lost out on one great character.

You messed up.

Both April Kepner and Sarah Drew deserved better.

Cover Image Credit: YouTube

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7 Of The Best "Bad B****es" To Rule The TV World

These girls ruled their shows with an iron fist and a snarky attitude.
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Everyone has a favorite character on a TV show. Sometimes it's just the “attractive one” because you like looking at their face (or other things). Other times it is the person that has had the most character development.

My favorite character is what is known as the “bad b***h.” These people, usually girls but not limited to girls, kick ass and take names, and also look good while doing it.

1. Alison Dilaurentis (Pretty Little Liars)

She took no bull and gave looks that could melt ice. She would put her friends against each other, and she was not afraid to get her hands dirty. Let's not forget how she played dead for several seasons.

She seriously was vindictive and manipulative, but as you learn later in the series, she has a kinder heart than you originally believe.


2. Katherine Pierce (The Vampire Diaries)

She only cared about herself, and she was able to throw everyone under the bus to get what she wanted. She used her vampire powers for evil, always.

She tried to pin Elena and her friends against each other, and she actually ended up killing a decent amount of people, as well as starting a lot more drama than the Salvatores needed. In the end, however, she eventually learned that her life shouldn’t be worth more than others' lives.


3. Fiona Gallagher (Shameless)

This girl gets s**t done. She takes charge and takes care of her whole family while managing to keep them afloat by working several jobs. She also doesn’t hesitate to kick someone's ass when they deserve it.


4. Cat Grant (Supergirl)

She is very critical and very negative around Kara at the beginning of the series. She knows how the news industry works, and she was very comfortable with telling someone off for the right reason.


5. Chanel Oberlin (Scream Queens)

Very self-centered. Very moody. Very rich. Not afraid to let you know it.


6. Clarke Griffin (The 100)

Clarke did everything to save her people, but she also didn’t give a f**k about how she had to do it as long as her people survived. She would go to the ends of the Earth to save her friends or her family and kicked ass while doing it.


7. Sarah Paulson (American Horror Story)

Even though AHS’s most recent season featured Paulsen in a “weaker role”, other seasons like Asylum and Hotel she featured her as a strong woman who fought for herself and who was easily able to steal the show.



Who is your favorite "bad b***h" in television today?

Cover Image Credit: Flickr

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