Anna and the French Kiss – #JNGReads

Anna and the French Kiss is a novel that I wish I wasn’t conflicted about… But, I am.

I wanted desperately to give this young adult novel by Stephanie Perkins a rave review, and I honestly feel guilty about the review I’m about to write. I am definitely in the minority with my feelings about this story, and that is something that really surprised and disappointed me.

Okay, let’s start with the good… (As a general rule, I like to say at least a few good things about a novel to start a review, unless it made me royally angry and annoyed, which this one did not.)

Paris.

That’s the really good about this novel. I’ve been to Paris and, like most human beings on this planet, I fell in love with it, so it was really lovely to read a story almost entirely set in Paris. I was excited to be able to picture the monuments, as well as the more quiet streets, and since I’ve been studying French since I was in the first grade, I did find it enjoyable to read about Anna’s experiences at a school in France and her process of becoming acclimatized to the language and culture. So, yeah, Paris was a good and smart locale for this story because it added to the overall ambiance of the tale.

Other than that though…well, honestly, without Paris, I feel like Anna and the French Kiss would’ve been a novel about nothing. If it had taken place in a more familiar, western setting, there would’ve been absolutely nothing interesting, unique or exciting about it. Don’t get me wrong, the novel was very cute – it was fluffy and light and airy. Those are adjectives that I think are ideal for a book that you choose to read when you’re in grade 8, but I think that, in this case, the story was too simplistic for the audience it attempted to target. The main character, Anna, and her friends are in their last year of high school, so around 17 to 18 years of age. I, personally, cannot picture a 17 or 18 year old reading this book and enjoying it. I know several readers who reviewed the novel on Goodreads were much older and thoroughly enjoyed it, but I wonder if that is because they are viewing it with the lens of adulthood and are perhaps being a touch sentimental. Like I said, it is an adorable story in many ways, but it is also a bit young. For the first time in a long time, I felt like I was too old to be reading a young adult novel, and that saddened me. For the most part, I think young adult novels can be very mature and edgy (I’m thinking of Before I Fall by Lauren Oliver, which I read recently and which truly taught me lessons and changed my perspective on many very adult issues), but I found Anna and the French Kiss to be juvenile and soft rather than sophisticated and hard-hitting.

I think that both too much and not enough of the novel focused on Anna’s crush on Étienne St. Clair. That really does seem like a massive contradiction, but I’ll try to explain: Anna spends a lot of time crushing on St. Clair, but she also spends a lot of time denying her feelings and trying to ignore them, and he spends a lot of time in another relationship that prevents him from even admitting his feelings to Anna, and vice versa. Although Anna narrates her time in class, some of her day trips with her friends, and how hot and endearing St. Clair is, other than that, nothing much happens in the novel and nothing much happens between Anna and St. Clair. For a novel branded as a romance (right down to the title), not a lot of actual romance happens and most of the novel is spent building towards a relationship that unfortunately doesn’t come across as that desirable or exciting anyway. I found myself not even really caring if Anna and St. Clair got together in the end, which I think is a sure sign that a romance novel has not done its job well enough. By three quarters of the way into the story, I was still wondering when the romance would start!

Even the conflicts, like Anna’s fight with her best friend Bridgette and St. Clair’s girlfriend situation, are glossed over for the most part and as readers, we never get to dig down into the root of any of these problems because our narrator, Anna, never does either. I’ve read some reviews where readers say they think that Anna is stupid as a character, but I wouldn’t go that far – on the contrary, I think that she’s smart enough to realize what her feelings are, but she’s just too lazy, both to investigate them and to express these emotions to her audience. Instead, she states what is running through her mind, flitting from one idea to the next in rapid succession, which makes it very hard to keep up with and keep track of her.  She comes across as very wishy-washy and flat, and so does the story overall, mainly because there is no profound climax and because, basically, barely anything happens.

Now, as for Étienne St. Clair… I’ve read a lot of reviews where readers say they are absolutely in love with him and I am wholeheartedly confused as to why! He’s…sweet? I mean, okay, he’s not that sweet because he does have a girlfriend for most of the novel and yet he clearly still likes Anna as well and is giving her mixed signals. Having said that, he is very clearly a good guy, both when it comes to being a friend and being a son to his mother who is battling cancer. My favourite part of the entire novel was probably the emails that he and Anna exchange over their Christmas break – their back and forth was really adorable and somewhat flirtatious in this part, and I definitely got a sense that they were becoming best friends. That’s a lovely thing to behold in any relationship. But, when Anna returns home and reveals that she is heartstoppingly in love with him (she actually nearly falls down in the middle of a café just at the sight of him, which seemed a little melodramatic to me!), I was confused as to why. Sure, he’s attractive and he occasionally says things to Anna that make her feel attractive and confident, but they honestly don’t even speak all that much, and when they do, they talk about nothing. They go to the movies together, visit historical sites in Paris, and yet there’s no charged banter between them, no chemistry, no zing. Maybe I’m missing something, maybe I wasn’t reading between the lines enough, I don’t know, but I just didn’t get a fire or a spark from Anna and St. Clair, and that is what disappointed me about the novel more than anything.

I think this is probably an ideal read for students in grade 9. Sure, there are some mature themes, but they aren’t really explored in too much detail and there isn’t anything graphic or too adult about this novel. I don’t think I can see an older audience, like students in grade 11 and 12, loving it because there just wasn’t enough to it, but a younger reader might like it as a nice introduction to some of the more sophisticated and mature young adult novels that are out there.

This is a really hard rating to give and I feel awful about it, but here we are…

❥❥ (out of 5)

JNG

Girl with a Green Heart

Before I Fall – #JNGReads

Before I Fall by Lauren Oliver is probably one of the best young adult novels I have ever read.

I should qualify this statement by saying that I am very versed in the young adult genre. I’ve enjoyed reading young adult novels since high school, and even though I am really no longer a young adult by any standards, I still find novels geared at teenagers to be quick and enjoyable reads. For the most part, I’ve mainly encountered young adult novels that are light, airy and fun, but there have been those novels every now and then that blew me out of the water with how provocative they were (How To Love by Katie Cotugno, OCD Love Story by Corey Ann Haydu and Prep by Curtis Sittenfeld immediately come to mind, but there are many others of course).

Before I Fall has to be one of the hardest hitting young adult novels I’ve ever read, if not the hardest. One thing I have to say is that I was supremely lucky in that I was never bullied in high school. I wasn’t exactly popular and didn’t go to all the crazy parties, mainly because I was studious and more academically inclined, but I had a lot of acquaintances and many friends, several of whom I’ve held onto in my adulthood. I was also most certainly not a “mean girl”, and I never bullied anyone else, so I knew that Before I Fall would fascinate me because it would allow me to get into the head of the type of girl I never was in high school. And, I have to say, what I liked best about the novel was how vivid Sam’s first-person narration was. I truly felt as though I was inhabiting her mind and watching it process everything she was going through in real-time, and I think Oliver mastered Sam’s voice and made it very distinct and unique.

What was most breathtaking (and mostly in the sense of leaving the reader shocked) was how detailed Oliver’s descriptions of the actions of Sam and her friends was. Oliver picks apart every nuance of their “mean girl” personalities, and she provides the reader with just enough of a backstory for each of them to pull at the reader’s heartstrings. These characters left me very conflicted, and that was mainly because I knew so much about their troubled family and home lives, and could see firsthand how insecure and uncertain each of them were. Although it would’ve been easy, as a reader observing from an outside perspective, to hate Ally, Elody and especially Lindsay, it was hard to do so because I was so absorbed in Sam’s mind and her feelings for her three best friends seemed to stem from such a genuine place. I should explain – while I am absolutely not the type of person who could be best friends with a girl like Lindsay who would spread rumours about other students and ridicule them to the point of dangerous consequences, I somewhat began to understand why Sam was so close to her and loved her so dearly. Many of Lindsay’s actions are disgusting and reprehensible, but we are also given these wonderful descriptions of the moments when her and Sam are bonding like two average 17 year old girls, and it’s almost heartbreaking because it’s impossible to blame Sam for loving her best friend. She has grown up with her, and although she realizes throughout her journey in the novel that Lindsay is flawed beyond measure, she still can’t shake this connection to her. It’s sad in so many ways, but it’s also uplifting to watch Sam try to help Lindsay become a better person. I wish Sam had done more of that in the novel, but I also enjoyed watching Sam rediscover herself, and I don’t think I would change the moments of Sam’s internal healing for more moments of her with her friends in the end.

The main reason I picked up Before I Fall is that I saw the trailer for the soon to be released movie adaptation. It reminded me in many ways, probably due to the premise, of the film If I Stay, based on the novel of the same name. I didn’t get a chance to read If I Stay before seeing the movie, which I enjoyed very much, and I didn’t want to miss out on reading Before I Fall. When I found the book in the 40% Off Bestsellers section at my local supermarket, I mean, I couldn’t resist. I am very happy that I picked it up because I believe it is a book that undoubtedly needs to be read by as many young adults as possible. Hopefully more people who have read it, and those who see the movie, will spread the word because the approach Oliver takes to tackling the subject of bullying is extremely valuable in our day and age. There are far too many teenagers out there who are lost and crippled by self-consciousness and anxiety, and Oliver’s novel not only offers glimpses into the lives of these individuals, but also delves deeply into the thought process of the people who ostracize them. It really made me sick in many parts to read what Sam and her friends do to their fellow students, and it quite frankly shocked me to think that these are things that happen in schools everywhere. It’s simply revolting and it needs to stop, and I think that literature has the capacity to change society if enough people pay attention to and learn from it. There is much to be learned from Before I Fall and I would maybe even go so far as to say that it should be included as mandatory reading in grade 9 English classes.

The best word to describe Before I Fall, I think, would be haunting. It really does get under your skin, and you start to feel for the characters in ways you never expected. I highly recommend it to any young adults, and to parents of young adults, for that matter – there is so much to learn from the story!

❥❥❥❥ (out of 5)

JNG

Girl with a Green Heart

my green heart

Holmesian

I’m now finished reading my first non-Charlotte Brontë related novel of recent weeks. Ironically enough, it’s called A Study in Charlotte and is by Brittany Cavallaro, an author I’ve never encountered. It has nothing at all to do with Charlotte Brontë though – the Charlotte in this case is Charlotte Holmes, a descendant of that venerable and brilliant detective Sherlock Holmes. In this modern adaptation of a combination of many of the great adventures of Sherlock Holmes, Charlotte teams up with the narrator and descendant of Dr. Watson, James Holmes. All I have to say about this novel is that it was such fun!

But honestly, I enjoyed this book thoroughly and I finished it within 3 days because it was light and easy and fast-paced. I haven’t read all of Arthur Conan Doyle’s stories about the original Holmes and Watson, so I’m no expert on the works, but like so many people today, I adore the BBC version of Sherlock with Benedict Cumberbatch and Martin Freeman and I’m always open to a modern take on a classic.

Cavallaro’s story is different in that it turns Sherlock into a girl, makes the two main protagonists teenagers, and gives their relationship a bit more romantic electricity. While I think this made the novel more juvenile and took away from the potential for maturity and sophistication a bit, I admit that it was very easy for me to become interested in Holmes and Watson’s camaraderie and budding relationship (both professional and otherwise). I’ve also always enjoyed the mystery genre (I was a huge Nancy Drew fan as a child and I spent hours inventing my own crimes and mysteries to solve, with my trusty notebook and spectacles!), and although aspects of this story were predictable, as I said, I finished it quickly and that’s testament to the fact that it was entertaining.

I also truly enjoyed Cavallaro’s use of a male narrator – James Watson is very endearing, and he comes across as intelligent, considerate, thoughtful and very caring. I enjoyed following the tale he told and created and I was eager to get back to his story because of how genuine his manner of telling it seemed. In the Epilogue, when the voice switches to Charlotte’s, I did notice a clear distinction between the tones and styles, and I did think Charlotte’s more logical, precise and scientific voice suited her character. She’s harsh and hard at times, but I did grow fond of her relationship with Jamie in the end.

The only aspect of the novel that I struggled with is its classification. I cannot decide if it’s a young adult novel and what age category it is targeted towards. Obviously, Charlotte and Jamie being teenagers suggests that it’s best suited to that age group; however, the story does deal with mature themes (such as drugs and sex and violence) in very explicit detail, so I think older teens are the correct demographic. I don’t think I’d want my 13 or 14 year old reading this story, but someone around the age of 16 or 17 would probably be able to deal with the mature subject matter. I think it’s a little too simplistic for most adult readers to be totally content with, but I enjoy a good YA novel every now and then, and A Study in Charlotte really is a good one!

Overall, I would absolutely recommend this novel to anyone looking for a quick summer/beach read. It’s not difficult or dense, and it provides the right amount of entertainment and intrigue to fill a summer vacation! Although I won’t be ranting and raving about it for weeks to come, I enjoyed the time I spent reading it!

❥❥❥ (out of 5)

JNG

Girl with a Green Heart

my green heart

The Power – #JNGWatches

Ahh, being off work during the holiday season has to be the most marvelous, glorious thing in the whole wide world! Having more than a week off is allowing me to do so many things I’ve been dying to do for months, like writing more blog posts (see how this is my second one in 2 days?!), catching up on reading the excellent Victorian novel, Wives and Daughters by Elizabeth Gaskell, that I’m currently obsessed with (review forthcoming), AND watching a whole bunch of movies that I’ve been eager to see!

One of these movies is the one that I just finished watching, Insurgent. (Sidenote: I’m writing this post at 9:30pm on Monday night, but I’ll be making it live sometime tomorrow/Tuesday.) It is the second movie in The Divergent Series, and I must’ve seen the first movie ages ago, but I have been super excited to see this sequel ever since. I have to preface this review by stating that I have not read any of the Divergent novels by Veronica Roth – and, unfortunately, I don’t intend to. This isn’t because I don’t find the story or the characters interesting – on the contrary, as I’m about to describe, I actually find the plot so so engrossing (it calls back to one of the first “real/adult” novels I ever read, 1984 by George Orwell), and Tris is such an inspiring and unique character. I just find it EXTREMELY difficult to read a novel once I’ve already seen the film adaptation of that same story. The only time I ever tried doing this was with Truman Capote’s novella Breakfast at Tiffany’s and, let me tell you, it was a mistake! I could not get the image of the iconic Audrey Hepburn out of my mind the entire time I was reading the novella, even though Capote’s description of Holly Golightly is hardly like Hepburn at all. It was just far too difficult to get into the novella and properly accept and interpret everything its author had intended, and so I vowed to never “ruin” a novel again by reading it after seeing a film version of it. I’ve stayed true to my word ever since.

I also feel that there’s absolutely nothing wrong with enjoying a story in film form for what it is, without feeling the urge to go back to the original story. There’s no reason why I can’t thoroughly enjoy the Divergent films without having read the novels, and sometimes I feel like this focus on viewing a film as a film, rather than as an adaptation of a written work, allows me to appreciate the film more without having high and unrealistic expectations. So, I’m happy to leave my experience of The Divergent Series to a cinematographic one.

Having said that, I really enjoyed Insurgent. Like I said, I saw Divergent a long time ago, so I can’t properly review it now, but I remember really enjoying it as well, which is why I was so excited to see Insurgent (and why I’m so eager to go watch the Allegiant trailer, which I just now found out exists!). Insurgent delivered on the high level of action and intensity I was expecting, and I found myself getting easily sucked into the story. I loved all the different fighting sequences, and I found the various simulations that Tris goes through super interesting and true to the character traits they were meant to convey. I found the entire story very engrossing and I had a fun time watching the movie.

What stuck out to me most, however, was just how strong and powerful Tris is. I haven’t seen any of The Hunger Games movies or read the books, so I don’t have any experience with that franchise – so when I say that Tris is the strongest female character I have come across in a young adult story in a very long time, I mean it. She is absolutely fierce, and I love it! In high school, I was a big fan of the Twilight series of books and movies (Kristen Stewart = definite girl crush = hugely unpopular opinion that I am NOT ashamed of in the least) – but that didn’t mean that I wasn’t often seriously annoyed by Bella Swan’s lack of confidence and strength. There were so many moments when I wanted Bella to stand up and fight for herself, and it made me really angry when I thought that she was being too weak and falling apart over a guy or a ridiculous situation that she easily could have stood up against. Not to criticize another young adult franchise, but I have to say that Tris is miles ahead of Bella in so many ways, and it is very refreshing to see a young woman who is powerful and who is not afraid of her powers. Tris embraces her strength and she never backs down – she is the one who “saves” the men in her life, and she gets the job done herself, without fear or hesitation. She is an incredibly brave character, and that’s something that I seriously appreciate. I think that society has come a long way, and I’m proud that young women are able to get to know female characters who accurately reflect the strong, capable women that already exist in the real world. And, of course, as a lover of the Victorian novel, I’m happy that these heroines of the young adult genre are starting to emulate some of my feistier friends like Jane Eyre, Margaret Hale and Elizabeth Bennet, those women who defied their 19th century society by speaking up and forcefully voicing their opinions. I highly recommend Insurgent as a movie that viewers of all ages can enjoy – but, if I was a mother, I would definitely be showing it to all of my kids, male and female, to encourage them to be as confident in their own abilities as Tris is!

Now, this isn’t the first time I’ve talked about a movie adaptation here on the blog, but when I did so most recently (in my blog post about the James Bond franchise), I mentioned that I was struggling with a way to tag any quotes I decided to post on my Twitter page from movies. Obviously, I couldn’t use the #JNGReads tag for these quotes, but I also didn’t think it made sense to use the #JNGListens tag either, which is more aligned with lyrics from music pieces. So, I’ve finally decided that, to get around this problem, I am going to introduce a new tag to the mix: #JNGWatches. I watch enough movies and TV shows that I think I will have a good number of quotes I want to share, and what better time than the (almost) New Year to make another subtle change to the blog?!

Thanks again Everyone for taking the time to visit me here!

🙂

JNG

Girl with a Green Heart

my green heart

What I Loved – #JNGReads

Hello again Dear Readers, and Happy Sunday to you all!

I’ve finally finished Katie Cotugno’s “young adult” novel How To Love, and it’s time for a little rave fest! I put the term “young adult” in quotations because I actually think Cotugno’s novel is written like a more adult piece of fiction, and I immediately passed it off to my mother after finishing it because I know she will absolutely love it! It is a mature novel, its themes and ideas are sophisticatedly articulated, and I think that for a young adult novel, it tackles a lot of serious issues with depth and remarkable insight. I’m a huge fan of the young adult fiction genre, even now into my twenties, but I will admit that you can often tell when a book is written for a younger audience because of its style and the way the prose is constructed. I definitely could NOT tell that How To Love was intended for a teenaged audience, though, because it is written in a more poignant manner than most of the works of adult fiction I’ve read recently…but more on this in a second.

I have to start by saying that the premise of the novel is not altogether extraordinary – it’s about a teenage girl who becomes pregnant and must raise her child alone. This sort of storyline is relatively common (we’ve all seen it played out in movies and TV shows numerous times), so Reena’s story and her troubled relationship with her baby’s father, Sawyer LeGrande, is not something ridiculously unique. The true power of How To Love comes instead from how it is written, from how Reena’s narrative voice functions and how creative her manner of speech and thought is.

I adore words! That much is probably obvious from the fact that I’ve created a blog about books. But what I love most about words is when they are used in an unexpected manner…when they are combined in ways that the reader wouldn’t have thought of or wouldn’t have encountered before. That’s what I enjoyed most about How To Love – so many of the descriptions Cotugno provides, through Reena’s narrative voice, are unlike any descriptions I’ve ever encountered. If you take a look back on my Twitter page, you’ll find some of these very descriptions. Furthermore, when Cotugno discusses a sentiment or an idea that is more common, she does so with such eloquence, and her prose is so beautifully shaped and paced. For example, here are some quotes from my #JNGReads posts for this week which illustrate how graceful Cotugno’s writing style is:

“like something I’d lived near all my life but never tried.”

“‘I like him so stupidly much.’”

“I loved how I was still, every day, learning him.” – How To Love, Katie Cotugno

Yes, some of these passages describe feelings that aren’t necessarily out of this world or surprising, but I find that the way Cotugno allows her character Reena to express her feelings so explicitly and with such heart truly inspiring. I’d like to be the kind of author who is constantly finding new ways to portray age-old ideas – and I think Cotugno does just that.

I would definitely recommend this novel to just about anyone. It left an impression on me, and I was eager to read it and return to the lovely prose as often as possible!

Sidenote: The countdown to my Disney World adventure is on – 6 more days until my family and I leave! Check out my Twitter page all this week for tons of Disney quotes! I’m getting sooo excited!

Have a great Sunday Everyone!

JNG

Girl with a Green Heart

my green heart

All The Green Eyed Men – #JNGReads

Hello Again!

Another Sunday has arrived, and it’s been such a lovely and enjoyable weekend! I’ve had an amazing time in the city, catching up with some dear friends, and I’m starting to get so excited about this Fall weather that’s finally making an appearance in Toronto! I feel like my daily outfits have gotten exponentially more stylish ever since I’ve been able to add scarves to them!

And, another fulfilling aspect of the weekend was the fact that I snuck in a trip to Indigo, where I discovered a whole set of new books I’m interested in reading (check out my Goodreads profile for details!), as well as a couple hours of leisurely reading. I’m still deep in the heart of Katie Cotugno’s How To Love and I am absolutely loving it! The prose is just so beautiful and uniquely articulated…but more about this next week when I can write a proper review after finishing the entire story.

For today, I’ll keep this post short and just mention a quote that stuck out to me, for obvious reasons:

“his eyes glittering a hundred thousand adjectives beyond green.” – How To Love, Katie Cotugno

What is it about green eyes that make a literary hero a million times more attractive?

If you’ve visited the other pages of this blog, you’ll know that I have a particular fondness for male characters with emerald eyes, and I was so excited when I read the passage above and realized that Sawyer LeGrande sports some green eyes of his own. I have mixed feelings about Sawyer as a character to be honest, and for good reason, but he’s your typical bad boy with a soft and endearing core, and so he’s basically my type in every way. The green eyes really just sealed the deal for me, and I’ve found it so easy to picture him with eyes that are both captivating and intoxicating, that can at once reveal so much emotion and feeling but that can also be so distracting and deceiving. I really do think eyes are a gateway to a person’s true personality, passions and ambitions (as cliché as that sounds), and the fact that Sawyer has green eyes makes me feel that much more connected to him, that much more eager to find out what’s going on in his complicated mind and what’s really at the centre of his fearful, reluctant heart.

So, I’m going to continue this adventure today and for the rest of the week…and then I’m going to share what I find with all of you. I have loads to say about this unexpectedly brilliant novel, so you’ll have to check back to read all about my final impressions.

Until then, enjoy this bright and shining day, and the green grass and foliage that will soon leave us all behind!

JNG

Girl with a Green Heart

my green heart

Goodbye Old Friend – #JNGListens & #GoodbyeElena

Today’s post is going to be a bit of everything: my usual weekly quote entry, a fashion-inspired post, a review of one of my favourite TV shows…and a tribute to an old friend.

I’ve mentioned this before, but I’ve been watching The Vampire Diaries since it started 6 years ago. I was probably a little older than the target market at the time I started watching (I think I was in my first year of university), but I distinctly remember coming home on a Thursday night, all throughout my university days, and being so excited to delve into this “teen drama”, especially after a long and grueling day of studying. I immediately became obsessed with the plot, all the mysteries and conflicts…but I equally became obsessed with actress Nina Dobrev, a fellow Canadian and someone who I thought was beautiful, seemed really sweet and hilarious in real-life, and appeared to be a figure from Hollywood that I could actually look up to! Sure, I liked Stefan a lot, and his badass brother Damon, but the real reason I continued to watch the show throughout the years was to see Nina Dobrev play Elena…and Katherine…and a whole host of other characters. She is a brilliant actress, and the emotions on her face, just a simple look of sadness, fear or joy, could make me feel a million different things. I really began to admire her – and I also began to try to adopt her style and fashion sense, keeping my dark hair as long as possible and refusing to cut it or even get a trim, and modeling my own clothing choices after hers on the show. (Sidenote: Remember my post on How to Dress Like a Vampire? It was truly inspired by Nina Dobrev on TVD!)

Anyway, when I heard recently that Nina Dobrev had decided to leave The Vampire Diaries and make season 6 her last on the show, I was (needless to say), devastated. I love books and fictional stories that exist on a page, but I am just as passionate about the TV shows I watch (as you’re all probably starting to learn) and I become attached to the characters I see on screen just as easily as the ones I read about in books. Elena Gilbert had become a part of my life. I had spent every Thursday night with her for years, I had internalized and stressed about her problems…and I would easily have called her one of my best fictional friends. One of my real-life best friends, Camille, was also devastated by the loss of our favourite human/doppelganger/vampire and we instantly began speculating about why Nina would leave the show as if she were a member of our own intimate circle.

My best friend Camille and I got so obsessed with TVD that we recreated a photoshoot Candice Accola (Caroline) and Nina Dobrev (Elena) did!

My best friend Camille and I got so obsessed with TVD that we recreated a photoshoot Candice Accola (Caroline) and Nina Dobrev (Elena) did!

Obviously, despite our (probably unnatural) obsession, we could do nothing to prevent Nina from leaving the show. So, we had to just enjoy her last few episodes while they lasted…all while counting down the days to the season 6 finale with dread. In the last few days before this momentous episode, I decided to listen to songs from TVD that epitomized the sadness of Elena’s departure to me…but more about that in a second. I also decided to try to dress like Elena one last time. I chose to wear this jean dress that I actually purchased from Joe Fresh specifically because it called to mind a similar dress Elena wore in one of my favourite scenes with her sort-of boyfriend at the time, Damon.

My jean dress from Joe Fresh.

My jean dress from Joe Fresh.

Elena wearing a similar jean dress in one of my favourite scenes from TVD.

Elena wearing a similar jean dress in one of my favourite scenes from TVD.

Although you can’t really see Elena’s dress perfectly in this picture I took, I would encourage you all to go watch this scene on Youtube! It’s so steamy and sexy and perfectly portrays Nina’s incredible acting on the show. A link can be found to it on my Twitter page, so go check it out…and then continue reading! 😉

Anyway, as I was saying before, as the day of the finale approached, I listened to my “Elena Gilbert Playlist” and tweeted some of my favourite quotes from songs featured on The Vampire Diaries as part of my #JNGListens initiative. Here are the quotes that spoke to me and kept replaying in my head this week:

“Please don’t tell me you have moved on…” – Be Alright, Lucy Rose

“I could disappear completely…” – When You Sleep, Mary Lambert

These two songs are absolutely incredible! So moving and emotional, but also with deep and powerful messages about love and the anguish and uncertainty that is often associated with romance. These songs were used in some of my favourite scenes between Elena and Damon, particularly a scene at the end of season 5 when I believe Nina Dobrev acted better than she ever has on the show.

And that brings me to my final few comments for today’s post. Without giving away too many spoilers, I didn’t love the way Nina’s departure was done on the show. Sure, there were moments that made me cry (like when they recreated the “feather scene” with Elena and Bonnie from season 1), but for the most part, I felt that everything was a little anti-climactic, that there were too many loopholes and unexplained aspects of the story (for example, why didn’t Jeremy and Bonnie have an emotional reunion, especially if Jeremy was so upset when Bonnie was presumed dead? And how was it so easy for Damon to defeat Kai when he had always been one step ahead of everyone all season?). I also felt like the show didn’t leave the audience with a sense of finality, with a feeling that Elena was at peace. But, I know I’m just being picky because I really would rather that Nina not leave at all! So, to be fair, I think her acting was incredible as always, and I think that I would’ve been unhappy and upset regardless of how the episode was done.

Where am I going with all this? Basically, I just want to say that it’s okay to be obsessed with TV shows, with fiction of any kind. Yeah, there are people out there who will say, “That’s not real-life! How can you be so upset? It’s really immature of you!”. But I don’t see how anyone can condemn emotions or empathy or feeling attached to people and scenarios and ideas. That’s the beauty of being human…being allowed to feel everything, no matter how silly or strange! That’s something that a vampire who’s turned off their humanity can’t do, after all…and that’s probably why Elena wanted to become a human again in the end…a decision that took her away from us, but that means we’ll understand her and her choices that much more.

So, goodbye old friend, friend of 6 years and 6 seasons…sleep well!

JNG

Girl with a Green Heart

my green heart

PS – Follow me on Instagram to see some of my favourite pictures of Elena from TVD throughout the years!

How to Dress Like a Vampire

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How to Dress Like a Queen (of Scots)

This gallery contains 7 photos.

Happy Sunday Loyal Readers! Today I have a fun, picture-filled and fashion-inspired post to share with you all! I started watching the CW show Reign last year, when it first started, and I instantly got hooked by the beautiful ladies who … Continue reading