Broken Hearts, Fences and Other Things to Mend Book Challenge!

For those of you who may not know, about it I was lucky enough this year to become part of the Fierce Reads Street Team. I was SO incredibly excited about this because I adore Fierce Reads and all the amazing authors that are a part of it. I was even more excited when I was asked to help promote Katie Finn (aka Morgan Matson) and her new contemporary YA novel, symptoms Broken Hearts, Fences and Other Things to Mend.

I was sent a challenge to complete for this book, so I definitely want to do it. Check out the synopsis for the book first:

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Summer, boys, and friendships gone sour. This new series has everything that perfect beach reads are made of!

Gemma just got dumped and is devastated. She finds herself back in the Hamptons for the summer—which puts her at risk of bumping into Hallie, her former best friend that she wronged five years earlier. Do people hold grudges that long? 

When a small case of mistaken identity causes everyone, including Hallie and her dreamy brother Josh, to think she’s someone else, Gemma decides to go along with it.

Gemma’s plan is working (she’s finding it hard to resist Josh), but she’s finding herself in embarrassing situations (how could a bathing suit fall apart like that!?). Is it coincidence or is someone trying to expose her true identity? And how will Josh react if he finds out who she is? 

Katie Finn hits all the right notes in this perfect beginning to a new summer series: A Broken Hearts & Revenge novel.

You can check out my spoiler free review here!

Now on to the challenge!

Gemma or Hallie? 

As much I love both of these characters, and the sort of balancing each other out they do and the antics they get into it, I have to say Gemma. I don’t know if its because we’re in Gemma’s head, but I just adore her. I love that she’s stumbling along, trying to do the right things but not always accomplishing that. I love that she knows she makes mistakes and that she tries to fix them, but sometimes, she also messes that up. She’s a very real character and I adore her.

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Favorite Character? 

Oh that’s so hard! I loved so many of the characters in this book. AGH. How dare you make me pick! This is too hard. Sigh. I think I’d have to choose…Sophie. Sophie doesn’t have a ton of “screen” time because she’s back home while Gemma is in the Hamptons with her father, but when she is, she’s fantastic. She’s the kind of best friend that we would wish to have. She’s fun, and she’s ready to step into her best friend duties at any moment. When Gemma is like “I’m you and you’re me”, she just goes with it. She questions it, like a real best friend, but she gives in and helps in every where she can, and she’s just awesome. She’s so much fun. I love Sophie!

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Gemma Fancast: 

“We still had brown hair and freckles, but Sophie tended to cover hers with make-up, and her hair was cut in a stylish, choppy bob while mine was kind of long and shapeless.”

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The first person I thought of was Sarah Hyland because, yes, she’s absolutely pretty but she’s also fun, and sort of fun looking. You look at Sarah and you think, she’s going to be so much fun to hang out with. She would be a really great fit for Gemma. The only thing she doesn’t have is the height for Gemma but she has a good look and I think she’d capture her personality so well that it wouldn’t matter :)

Favorite Quote: 

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This just makes me laugh, just thinking about it. It just hints at the absolutely fun hijinks that this book is.

I also like a quote from the beginning of the novel:

“I could never remember the details of the documentaries Teddy wanted to watch. All I knew was that they were never the ones I wanted to see, which were mostly about penguins.” 

And I swear, it has NOTHING to do with my obsession of penguins ;)

Hallie Fancast: 

“She had the same eyes, green and almond-shaped. Her hair was a slightly darker shade of the bright blond I remembered, but it was still long and curly, and it flowed over her shoulders and down her back.”

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I’m not going to lie, I literally googled young blonde actresses because I didn’t quite know who to pick and Maika Monroe popped up. She has this fun, beautiful look to her and she’s how I’d imagine that Hallie looked. I think Hallie has this beauty and confidence about her, something that both intimates and attracts Gemma to her, and you can see that in just this picture alone.

Broken Hearts, Fences and Other Things to Mend Theme Songs

Here are some songs that I enjoyed listening to during the summer, and they are the ones that immediately came to my mind when reading it. I don’t know that they have anything directly to do with Broken Hearts, but they’re very summer songs, and they are what I thought of. These are  two songs that I listened to when I was about Gemma’s age!

Boys of Summer – The Ataris  

Yellowcard – Ocean Avenue

Josh Fancast

“He had light brown hair, cut short, and eyes that looked greenish, but that might have just been because he was wearing a pale green T-shirt. He had dark eyelashes and eyebrows and though it was hard to tell because I was sitting, but it looked like he was a few inches taller than me, which meant he was pretty tall.”

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Lucas Till. I think he’s absolutely adorable, you can believe him as the brother of Maika and he would make a really great Josh. He looks like a boy who belongs on the beaches of the Hamptons. Plus I just have a massive crush on him, and its my fancast, so a girl can dream! Haha!

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I hope you enjoyed learning more about Broken Hearts and that you’ll make sure to check it out and grab yourself a copy! Katie Finn is constantly on the road, promoting her books, as either Katie or Morgan, so definitely look out for her, and this awesome book.

And watch out tomorrow for my Top Ten Reasons to Read Broken Hearts!

Let’s Talk About…Casting

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I was recently chatting up some fangirls online when someone mentioned that they were upset about complaints that some Divergents fans had about Theo James. They were saying he wasn’t attractive enough to play Four (more on that later), cure that he was too old, find etc. etc.

And I really could understand where she was coming from, cheap and it really got me thinking about the world of YA adaptations (or just adaptations in general) and the process of casting our favorite characters.

Now, before I really dive into this, I do have to say this: was that person blind? Seriously? I can’t understand why this person thought Theo James wasn’t attractive enough to play Four. I mean, I know beauty is in the eye of the beholder and all that stuff, but really? I think most people would agree that Theo James is QUITE attractive.

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Seriously? I’m still insanely baffled. Also, if you’ve read the book, you’ll know that Four isn’t exactly attractive, not conventionally so. Neither Tris nor Four is supposed to be good-looking, its their personalities that really jump off the page. But again…Theo James…not attractive. I’m baffled.

Moving on.

This is not the first time I’ve heard outrage like this for a casting of a character.

Think Shailene Woodley as Tris Prior and Hazel Grace Lancaster.

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All fans had of Shailene Woodley was her stint on The Secret Life of an American Teenager and her performance in The Descendants before suddenly she was cast as Amy in The Spectacular Now, Mary Jane Watson in Spiderman, Tris Prior in Divergent and Hazel Grace Lancaster in The Fault in Our Stars. Fans of alll of those were not happy.

Think Danila Kozlovsky as Dimitri Belikov.

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Most fans of Vampire Academy said that Danila was not attractive enough (seriously? are people blind?) and that he was too FAT to play Dimitri. Yeah. Too fat.

Think Jamie Campbell Bower as Jace Wayland.

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Fans were in an uproar because they didn’t find Jamie attractive enough to play Jace, and they also said that he was entirely too skinny to play a character that was a warrior, fighting demons all the time.

Think Sam Claflin as Finnick Odair.

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Again, fans said Sam was not attractive to play Finnick, who was described in the book as incredibly attractive. They also said that he wasn’t built like Finnick, who was also a fighter and needed to be well equipped to using a trident.

Think Josh Hutcherson as Peeta Mellark.

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Again: attractiveness, not built big enough, too scrawny, too short, etc.

(I’m starting to see a trend with the boys here…)

And it continues even now. People were in outrage over Charlie Hunnam’s casting as Christian Grey in the Fifty Shades of Grey movie (though they were a lot quieter when Jamie Dornan was cast as his replacement). The same can be said of Ben Affleck’s casting as Batman, Gal Gadot as Wonder Woman, and even the four actors chosen to play the Fantastic Four in the reboot.

Look, I could go on and on about unhappy fans and casting choices. I really could. Because it seems every time someone is cast as a known character, whether from a book or a comic book or a previous adaptation, people just tend to be very unhappy.

What I’ve noticed with it too, is that its mostly looks. People get absolutely obsessed with the look of a character.

And I can understand that. All the people that I named, and pictured, above are from book series that mean something to me and are important to me. If you asked me if Shailene, Jamie, Danila, Josh, Sam, or even Theo, was what I pictured as those characters, the answer would be a resounding “no”. Definitely not.

But here’s the thing: I don’t think ANYONE is what I pictured for Tris or Hazel Grace or Jace or Four or Dimitri or Peeta or Finnick. Because that’s the beauty of reading: escaping into these pages, into a made up world. Sure, the author has exactly what they have in mind when they’re writing but there’s a beautiful translation to each reader, who pictures the setting, the story, and the characters in their own unique way.

So no, I wouldn’t have picked any of those actors to play those characters. Tris and Four, Peeta, Finnick, Dimitri, and especially Jace are characters that I am especially close to and have a firm idea in my head of what they would look like. But perhaps what I have in my mind is completely different from you. That’s the beauty of reading and imagination. Its both the same and completely different experience for each reader. What we see these characters as is going to be different person to person. That’s kind of the fun of fancasting; everyone has a different person in mind. But even when I fancast, its still not what I picture. I have my own imagination of what these characters look like and no one is going to fit them.

I always laugh when I see people nitpick too, like when Jamie’s eyes weren’t golden like Jace’s are in the book and stuff like that. Is that really important? Is that really going to change the dynamic of the story? It always takes me to the Harry Potter movies, which is SUCH a huge franchise, its the top grossing of all time. And think about it: Daniel Radcliffe had blue eyes not green. Emma Watson had blonde hair not brown. And so on. And I’m going to sit here and say, yeah, I don’t think that ruined the movies in the slightest.

Because beyond that, isn’t there something way more important than capturing the look of a character? To me, its all about capturing the essence of the character: their personality, their soul, the way they walk, talk, and act, their morals and beliefs. I want the character that I’ve gotten to know so well to breathe out of the actor/actress that is portraying them. I want to know that the person portraying this character did their homework and understands them as well as we do, and is going to get in front of that camera and show us. I want them to say those lines I know from the book and have it feel like its really Tris or Jace or Peeta saying them.

That’s more important to me. I want to see this person represent what I love about the character and what I love about the character is who they are as a person. I love that Tris is incredibly selfless and brave but is constantly doubting herself. I love that Peeta is such a good person, its almost unbelievable, and that he tries so hard and it just never seems to work for him, until the end. I love that Jace has an incredible level of sarcasm and cockiness but is so amazingly vulnerable and emotional as well. I love that Four is so dark, and mysterious and closed off but when you see him, you see such a thoughtful, intelligent and incredible person.

And what I’ve seen of these movies, and these portrayals, there are very very very few disappointments. I usually find that the actors chosen to play my favorite characters do a damn good job of portraying them.

I thought Sam Claflin ROCKED it as Finnick Odair. I keep watching my Catching Fire blu-ray and marveling at how much he captures both the charming, flirty side of Finnick but also the painful, secretive side of him as well. Josh Hutcherson is so good as Peeta that I just can’t imagine anyone else playing him. He totally understands the character of Peeta and he brings that to life on screen. I think Shailene does a fantastic job portraying Tris, and the sort of uncertainties she faces when switching from Abnegation to Dauntless.

And to go back to what we started this conversation with: Theo James as Tobias “Four” Eaton. (Four. He’s Four. Don’t call him Tobias. That’s weird. Just…don’t do it). I saw Divergent about a week ago and I absolutely loved the movie, and a big part of that was Theo James. Four is one of my favorite characters and I think Theo really gets him. He plays the sort of hard, mysterious, intimidating Four that we know in the books. But as Tris begins to unlock him, we see more of him, which only makes us love him as a character more and I think Theo really understood that. He played the character immensely well and I didn’t care at all that he didn’t look like what I personally pictured in my mind.

Besides, seriously? Are you blind? Theo. James. Pure. Sex. Seriously. What is wrong with you?

Seriously? I’m so confused.

Okay, moving on from being obsessed with Theo James gifs…

The point is, I think people are focusing on the wrong thing when it comes to casting our favorite characters. Its not about the looks of an actor. I mean, sure, some physical similarities would be nice, but I don’t really much care about how the character looks, unless its pivotal to the development of the character. Like Tris for instance. She’s small, not classically beautiful and willowy. She’s someone you wouldn’t really expect to be a fighter, and she proves everyone wrong. So Shailene really fits that sort of character.

But that’s not what its about, you know? I want an actor to come in, read the book and embody the qualities that make this a worthy and memorable character. That is what makes me the happiest. I’ve been proven so wrong when it come to actors and I am now trying to be as open as possible when they cast my favorite characters. I really believe that the right actors are chosen to play the part, and I feel grateful that I even get the chance to see my favorite characters on the screen, and see worlds I love come to life.

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NaNoWriMo-Character Fan Casting

Hello all! I hope your writing is going well, story or your reading, more about if you’re not a NaNoWriMo participant!

Today’s post is a little fun. See, here’s the thing: when you’re writing, and you’re putting your character together, of course you have an idea of what your character looks like in your head.

But for me, its sort of blurry. I know generally what they look like, but its hard to truly picture them. I feel their characteristics and their personalities stronger, and that’s how I see them.

So sometimes, I do use famous people as guiding tools for my characters.

Plus its just fun! I think every writer secretly wants their book to become a movie and secretly hopes to see famous people playing their characters one day. So here is my guilty pleasure fan casting for my novel, The Reawakened:

Zoey Deutch as Katy Valentine

Katy Valentine

Katy has long brown hair, large brown eyes, and is about average height. She is strong, trained in various self defenses and fighting techniques, due to her dad’s worries about her safety. She’s definitely beautiful, but she’s strong, fierce and she has quick wit and even quicker sense of sarcasm and temper.

I had never even heard of Zoey Deutch until she was cast as Rose Hathaway in Vampire Academy, but I’m already head over heels for her. She’s beautiful and she’s showing that she can play a fighter. Katy would probably get along with Rose, so Zoey is a great fit. She also fits the description of Katy in my mind :)

Robbie Amell as Ash Matthews

Ash Matthews

Ash is tall, built, with dark brown hair and blue eyes. He’s the captain of both the varsity football and baseball teams at St. Joseph’s Prep. He’s stocky, built, with strong muscles and a flat stomach, and is incredibly athletic. He has a fun personality, preferring to put humor in every situation. When he’s serious though, he is a very determined and ambitious person.

I have to admit, Robbie Amell made an impression on me before I even created Ash Matthews. I’ve really only been writing The Reawakened for a little over a month now. When I was trying to come up with my main male counterpart to Katy, I was watching The Tomorrow People, and I was just smitten by Robbie, and his good looks, his incredible body and his charm. After watching a couple YouTube videos, where he answers fan questions, I just was sold. He is Ash Matthews, and Ash Matthews is him.

Jamie Chung as Madison Wu

Madison Wu

Madison Wu is Katy’s best friend, a tiny little Asian girl who makes up for her small stature in her large personality. She’s beautiful, with long black hair, and perfect skin. She’s on the Honor Society, does as much charity work as possible and is the head of the dance committee.

It was hard to pick Madison. I immediately thought of Brenda Song but she just didn’t fit right to me. The more I looked, the more Jamie popped out to me. She has shown, in her different roles, that she can play a variety of roles, and I think she would be a brilliant Madison. I think she’s a bit too tall to be Madison, but she’s very fitting in my head.

Jon Bernthal as Frank Valentine

Frank Valentine

Frank Valentine is Katy’s father, who is a New York City cop. He’s Italian in background, and has dark brown hair, and dark brown eyes. He’s young, only 38, having only been twenty when Katy was born. He’s fit, and healthy, always ready to work hard at his job.

Jon is the first person that came to mind when it came to Frank. I like someone young, but who can also portray that protective side too. I’m think early Shane in The Walking Dead, not later, crazy, obsessive Shane. I’ve seen Jon in other roles as well, and he’s always portrayed strong characters, protective characters and he’s just a perfect fit for Frank.

Kellie Pickler as Jennifer Flynn

Jennifer Flynn

Jennifer Flynn is Katy’s mother, who is young and strong in her Irish looks. She has blonde hair, blue eyes, and freckles all over her face. She is only 36 years old, having only been 18 when she married Frank and had Katy. She’s an elementary school teacher, who has incredible fashion sense.

I honestly had NO idea who I could even picture for Jennifer. I literally couldn’t picture anyone. I was googling for blonde actresses to find someone to fit the person I had in my head. Now I know Kellie Pickler is not an actress, but a singer, but she jumped out at me. I was watching Ellen, and she was the guest on the show, and I thought she was amazing. She’s ten years younger than Jennifer is supposed to be but I think she would be great, and she could carry that maturity well. And she looks like I picture Jennifer, exactly.

Bill Cobbs as Bert Washington

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I can’t say much about Bert. Bert will be in The Reawakened toward the end, and he is very pivotal to Katy and her future. He’s an older, African-American man, who is quiet, but incredibly intelligent and incredibly brave. Bill Cobbs was actually the first person I thought of, and if anyone else ever played in Bert in the never-going-to-happen-movie of my book, it would take adjustments.

Alex Pettyfer as Liam

Liam

Liam is a character that surprised me. He is making a small appearance in The Reawakened, and I realized that as I wrote him, he was becoming more and more important. Again, I can’t say more than that but he is important. He’s kind of the All-American boy, blonde hair, green eyes, from the deep South. He’s going to be an interesting character as the story moves along, and he’s going to create some tension. I know a lot of people don’t like Alex Pettyfer, but he’s so hot and I will forever have a crush on this boy, and he’s Liam. You’ll see when you read about Liam. He embodies the confidence and easiness of Liam.

Sarayu Rao as Razi 

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I can’t say literally anything about Razi. I just can’t. It would ruin the entire book and that’s awful. But this is exactly how I picture her, except older, probably more like 50s or 60s. I think Sarayu is her thirties. She has such a perfect look and I hope you’ll see that when the book eventually releases, one day, because I am optimistic with this book!

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Happy Writing Everyone!