Tag Archives: constructive criticism

Check out our new poll! Which character has what it takes to survive The Hunger Games?

the-hunger-games-symbols_19218_The teens from Greenwood TAB have a new question for you.

Which of the following characters, from other books, would last the longest in the hunger games?

Personally, my money is on Stevens, but tell us what you think!  Maybe there’s someone we didn’t think of?  Let us know in the comments…I’m wondering, can I vote for Russell Wilson?  🙂

A Rant about Dance Books

PointeIn the interest of full disclosure, I meant to write about Pointe, the first novel of Brandy Colbert.

However, I quickly realized that everything I was writing became a dance book rant, so I gave up and decided to (officially) write about the challenges of finding a good dance book for someone over the age of 10.

See, generally they fall into one of the several categories below:

1) The Children’s Book.  There is nothing wrong with this form, per se, but there are two ways this book can go: the instruction manual (which is always oversimplified and often inaccurate); and the dance story in which everything is hunky-dory. The characters are always full of promise, dance all the time, and never get injured (I’m looking at you, Ballet Shoes). I understand that no one wants to scare children, or kill their dreams, but this just isn’t reality.

2) The Book Where the Author Has No Clue What They Are Writing About.  We’ve all heard the saying “write what you know.”  Unfortunately, many authors completely forget about this when it comes to writing dance novels. I recently read Withering Tights by Louise Rennison, which I started because the main character was an Irish dancer.  However, I soon realized that Rennison had not done her research: she called one of the moves “twisty ankle things.”  Not only would no self-respecting Irish dancer describe a move like that, but it is not descriptive.  There are so many moves Rennison could mean:

As you can tell, all these moves are very different and all could be described as “twisty ankle things.”

3) The Author Has Actually Done Research And Still Doesn’t Get It.  Even if the author has learned about dance, and really has done their best, it doesn’t mean they can describe dance.  I do understand this: I’ve been dancing for years, and I often cannot describe the sensation of dancing—partly because it may change on a day-to-day basis, but mostly because I can’t really explain to non-dancers how it feels.  Even so, why would one try to write about something they can’t describe?

However, there are a few beacons of hope for people looking for good dance books.  The first is On Pointe, by Lorie Ann Grover.  This is the story of a young dancer forced into early retirement when she grows too tall to dance, and is written in verse.  The second is I Was A Dancer by Jacques D’Amboise, a lovely (if not always perfectly written) memoir.  Finally, try Bunheads by Sophie Flack.  Each of these explains what if feels like to dance, and I’ve re-read these several times.  Happy dancing!

–Emma, Greenwood Teen Adviser

GWD

Why I cannot stand the Ender’s Game movie…

ender's game movieTo start off I am just going to say that I love Ender’s Game and I have read it several times.  Due to that I know a lot about the book.  I am not saying that I know everything in the book because I do not.  I also know that movies have limits but some of the things in the book just made me go a little bit crazy.  (Please note there will be spoilers)

Let me start off with my biggest problem: Bernard.  In the movie he was everywhere.  I felt that the director or whoever was in charge of who was in what scene looked at a scene and were thinking, “We need someone here, oh I know, let’s put that minor character Bernard in this scene.”  Bernard has such a small role in the actual book seeing him everywhere just drove me insane.

The next thing that drove me crazy was the person they chose to portray Bonzo.  It is not about his acting skill, I felt everyone did a good job in the movie.  My problem was his height.  He was smaller than Ender in the movie.  In the book he is both older than Ender as well a taller than Ender.  In fact in the scene that he fights Ender he makes it as even as possible but then says that it is not his fault he is taller than Ender.  Another thing is that Bonzo was actually one of the worst commanders when Ender finally became one.  Even when Ender was not commander Bonzo was still only second or third place but he commanded everything and did not allow Ender to even enter the battleroom till five minutes in and then he was not allowed to move.  In the movie he had apparently not lost one game.

Next is the battleroom.  In the book there are several of these rooms shaped in a cube.  There can or cannot be “stars” in the room and it can change its level of darkness in the room to make it harder or easier.  In the movie it was just one large glass circle and it somehow was bright in there even though in reality most of the light would just go through it and the only places with lights would be the people and the “stars”.  They also completely brushed over all the rules of the battleroom.

Continue reading