Movie review: Sierra Burgess Is A Loser



Title: Sierra Burgess Is A Loser 
Directer: Ian Samuels 
Writer: Lindsey Beer 
Stars: Shannon Purser, Kristine Proseth, Noah Centineo 
Publication date: September 2018 
Can be seen on: Netflix 

A case of mistaken identity results in unexpected romance when the most popular girl in high school and the biggest loser must come together to win over their crushes.

So here’s what just happened.

I watched Sierra Burgess Is A Loser on Netflix this afternoon and I loved it. So much that when a friend asked how it was, I promptly answered ‘perfect'. That was of course by no means accurate, somewhere in the back of my mind I knew at least that much, but I had just finished watching it and my heart was overflowing with happy, hopeful feelings. I had been waiting SO LONG for a movie like this to come around. So long, you have no idea…

Maybe I shouldn’t have checked out the twitter hashtag right after, but I wanted to know what people were talking about, you know, besides how we all need a boyfriend the likes of Noah Centineo/Jamey/Peter Kavinsky. Hahaha, boy, the comments were something alright. I had not seen this coming. Clearly the world hates this movie. And I mean really, passionately, hates it. The more I read, the worse it got. For a while my eyes only registered one word over and over.

WRONG 

WRONG 

WRONG 

WRONG

So I did the thing I always do. I started doubting myself. Is it? Is it truly a bad movie?

Maybe. I’ll admit it has issues. But not all the criticism is fair and a lot of it is exaggerated. I can’t help but wonder what the people trashing it had to say about, for instance, The Kissing Booth. If they found it equally problematic or if that one was cute. If they felt there was a problem of consent there too.

You know what, fuck this. I’m angry. I’m willing to bet they didn’t think that one was all that problematic even though, to these standards, it also was. But when it involves people who are conventionally beautiful, we’re always willing to forgive just that little bit more. There is an extreme dislike for Sierra out there. And no, she wasn’t by any means perfect. She does not deserve the enormous amount of hate she’s getting either. I have some things to say.

Reasons to dislike Sierra Burgess #1: she catfishes Jamey 
Obviously it sounds disastrous when you put it that way. Catfishing is always wrong. Yet I feel we should give Sierra a little credit here. She did not hunt for an attractive guy to mislead, she didn't set out to play someone. Suddenly this random guy started texting her, thinking she was someone else, and she liked him. Really liked him. And so she didn’t correct his assumptions. Yes, of course she should have told him from the start who she was. But it’s so easy to say that. Do you have any idea how difficult that is? Having to tell your crush that you are not the ‘hot’ girl he might think you are, knowing there’s a very strong possibility he’ll cut off all contact when he finds out. Because let’s face it, no matter how much we try to teach each other that looks don’t matter, they still do to most people. I get that it scared her. That her insecurities got the best of her. That she was terrified. People often ask why I don’t do online dating. Well, this is exactly why. Because what if I make a real connection with someone and then at some point I have to tell him that there’s actually way more of me than he bargained for? What if there’s disappointment on his face the first time we meet? Do you know I’ve met people who actually DROVE AWAY once they realized their date wasn’t as attractive as they thought? I don’t think I would survive if that happened to me. So I get that it was easier to pretend. I don’t think she actually thought something would come from it in the beginning. Of course it was still wrong. Of course she took things way too far. She definitely should not have had Veronica step in. I’m just saying a little understanding for her situation wouldn’t be misplaced. Besides, the movie doesn’t pretend that this is okay behavior. Sierra realizes that what she did was not okay, too late perhaps, but in the end she did.

Reasons to dislike Sierra Burgess #2: Sierra is a bitch and does not deserve Veronica’s forgiveness 
I wonder if people even realize how hypocrite this sounds. What Sierra did to Veronica, hacking her instagram account to post that picture, crossed a big line. It was dead wrong of her to do that. But somehow many seem to conveniently forget all the horrible things Veronica did/said to Sierra. Why is that not a problem? Why are so many people convinced Veronica is by far the better person here? Veronica basically called her trash on a daily basis. She didn’t want to hang out with Jamey because he had ‘loser friends’ and ‘hanging out with losers makes you a loser’. She gave Jamey Sierra’s phone number because she thought it was fun to bully Sierra some more. Why is that so easily forgotten? Some actually have the nerve to say ‘Sierra only uses Veronica for her own gain, it's disgusting’ (meaning that she only wants to tutor her to get help with Jamey). I say, why the hell not? Sierra had no obligation to do ANYTHING nice for Veronica at that point. She saw a win-win opportunity and grabbed it. And she actually did help Veronica. She helped her study, taught her a lot. They became friends and Veronica went through some great character development and I started liking the girl. All of that is true. This Veronica was not the same person anymore. And no, she did not deserve to have Sierra do that to her. But neither did Sierra deserve to be bullied and called names by her at the start just because she was different. That Sierra was confident enough to not let those comments destroy her, does not make them any less horrible. Bullying is always wrong and to me, posting that picture was not worse than what Veronica did to her. Sierra forgave Veronica for what she did, so I think it reasonable Veronica should forgive her for that incident too. They both should have been better than that but people do things they regret.

Reasons to dislike Sierra Burgess #3: Sierra pretends to be deaf. This is disgusting and hurtful. 
I think what we need here is some perspective. This scene was awkward to watch and a case of unfortunate misjudgment from the makers, but I’m sure it wasn’t meant to make fun of people with hearing disabilities. Sierra pretended to be deaf because it seemed a valid excuse for not talking to Jamey. Not something I would do, but I’m sure there was no intention at all to in any way ridicule or harm deaf people.


Reasons to dislike Sierra Burgess #4: She does not deserve Jamey. SHE KISSES HIM WITHOUT CONSENT. That ending is completely unrealistic. 
She kisses him without consent. Sorry but that actually makes me roll my eyes. How many times have we seen teen movies/romances where this sort of thing happened and thought it cute? No, he did not literally give his consent. But she was the girl he had been communicating with all this time, she was the girl he was in love with. We shouldn’t exaggerate it and turn it into something it was not, make it bigger than it was. I feel like that would be an insult to people who have actually been the victim of abuse.

As for that she does not deserve Jamey.. It makes me sad. Because I can’t help but wonder how many people say that because they don’t like seeing him with someone who looks like her. One of the first comments I read said something in the line of “I know it’s not the point of the movie but I want Jamey and Veronica to get together”. It’s not the point of the movie. Sigh. No, this is the kind of movie where just this once the ‘odd’ girl gets the guy, right? Your annual Ugly Betty. I wish for the day when a plus-size girl can get together with a genuinely kind guy on screen and for it to be normal and accepted. For it to be about their chemistry. Is it really that much more natural to root for two 'attractive' characters to get together? Is that kind of romance so much more beautiful? Shouldn't it be about so much more than appearances? Besides, I thought Sierra/Shannon looked really pretty. This movie made me believe. It gave me hope. When Jamey said she was exactly his kind of type, I melted. I love that there’s now another movie out there where someone who doesn’t look like a girl from a magazine can be the love main love interest because of who she is. Can be desirable without changing her appearance. Can be more than just the comic relief role they usually push these women in. When they talked on the phone it was adorable. She was just a girl and he was just a guy and they fell in love.

The makers should have explored that better. Should have had her come forward a lot sooner and focused on the positive instead of trying to add all this unnecessary drama for shock effect. It kind of ruined it. I rolled my eyes when Jamey kissed Veronica. Like we haven’t seen this exact thing a million times before. I knew exactly what would happen after. Sierra would see, she’d be angry and lash out in an unforgivable way. It’s so overdone. They should have focused on her being brave enough to come clean and actually talk and apologize to him. That would have been so much more interesting, so much more intense. But we didn’t get that. Very unfortunate. Yes, the ending was unrealistic. Not because Jamey forgave her, but because he forgave too easily. That song was beautiful and raw, but should not have been used as an apology. They rushed the ending, that’s why. Had it gotten more time, it would have felt more natural.

So is it good or is it bad? Maybe it's beautifully bad.
What is the conclusion? My opinion, I still like this movie. Because it felt personal to me. I loved that this time the guy everyone has been swooning over since the release of To All The Boys I’ve Loved Before now got together with a girl who was in many ways a lot like me. That is so important to me. I’m tired of sunflowers having to change into roses before someone can like them. I liked Sierra, despite her many wrongs. I thought she was beautiful, I loved her smile. I loved her easy nature. I loved her confidence. I loved how realistically her insecurities were portrayed. I loved that she and Veronica actually became friends. I loved that she stood up for herself. This movie is enjoyable. It's cute. The acting is good and there is a positive message. But yes, it could have been better. Had they not gone for the obvious teen drama, and had Sierra come out to Jamey a lot sooner, they could have had so much more meaningful moments. But we can't have it all, can we?

If anything, love or hate this movie, it can not be denied that Shannon Purser did an excellent job!


Review: Red Rising by Pierce Brown

red rising pierce brown
red rising pierce brown

Title: Red Rising  
Author: Pierce Brown  
Series: Red Rising #1  
Genre: Science Fiction, Dystopia, YA  
Publication date: January 28, 2014 
Rating: ★★★★ 

Darrow is a Red, a member of the lowest caste in the color-coded society of the future. Like his fellow Reds, he works all day, believing that he and his people are making the surface of Mars livable for future generations. Yet he spends his life willingly, knowing that his blood and sweat will one day result in a better world for his children. But Darrow and his kind have been betrayed. Soon he discovers that humanity already reached the surface generations ago. Vast cities and sprawling parks spread across the planet. Darrow—and Reds like him—are nothing more than slaves to a decadent ruling class. Inspired by a longing for justice, and driven by the memory of lost love, Darrow sacrifices everything to infiltrate the legendary Institute, a proving ground for the dominant Gold caste, where the next generation of humanity's overlords struggle for power. He will be forced to compete for his life and the very future of civilization against the best and most brutal of Society's ruling class. There, he will stop at nothing to bring down his enemies... even if it means he has to become one of them to do so.


Steel is power. Money is power. 
But of all the things in all the worlds, words are power.



I’m awfully late to this party… and maybe for once that’s a good thing. In the years it took me to finally pick this up, I’ve seen both rave and disappointing reviews. I think it was good not to read this in the direct aftermath of the whole dystopian hype. To give it some time to become its own story and not ‘the next…’. It did not disappoint!

The story at the heart of this series is one that will never ever fail to move and amaze me. In short, a lowborn nobody is selected to infiltrate the upper class of society to live and fight among them. To gain their trust only to tear the system apart from the inside out. And man, HELL YES. The moment I realised the particular way the story was going, I went all in. I love a good underdog story. I love it when people who come from nothing climb up and then tear the whole gorydamn world apart to find justice. I have no clue how all of this is going to play out by the time we reach book four, but CONSIDER ME INTRIGUED AND VERY EXCITED!

Darrow is a miner in a world where people are divided into groups of colour. He was born into an unremarkable Red family, the lowest of the lowest in the class system the Society has established to keep order in their intergalactic empire. For a long time, he believed the lie the Golds of the upper class fed him, that he was a pioneer of Mars. That his labour and that of his fellow Reds was crucial for the survival of humanity on Mars. But not everyone is as docile and optimistic. Darrow’s wife Eo tries to convince him there has to be more to life than blindly following orders. Than slavery. Darrow doesn’t want to see it. Until Eo does the unimaginable. Until the girl of his dreams sacrifices herself to show that they were made for something more. Until she dies to become a martyr.

Everything changes then. His anger and pain give him the strength to break free of his bonds. With the help of the Sons of Ares, an organisation hell bent on changing the system, he becomes a gold in everything but blood. He forsakes everything he’s ever known and everything he’s ever been so he can help shape his wife’s dream.


Man cannot be freed by the same injustice that enslaved it.


The characters are wonderfully complex and clever. All of them different and multi-layered, all of them intriguing. Besides Darrow, Mustang is my absolute favourite. She’s a really strong character with a sharp head who doesn’t take shit from anyone. But there’s honestly not a single character I didn’t like. Even the absolute bad guys I enjoyed, and especially the good ones with evil twists. They worked so well together. Well, they didn’t, but that’s exactly what made it perfect. I loved how evil Golds got human faces. How I started caring for them. How I really hope some of them will turn over eventually because I really need them to join the cause. I like the Golds more than the Reds at this point, which I suspect is exactly what Pierce Brown set out to do, and it makes me scared for the future.

The writing is beautiful, even if it took some getting used to. It’s honest and vivid. New vocabulary is seamlessly slipped it and that was both challenging and entertaining. But I loved the flow of the words and sentences. Although the pacing is rather slow. Lucky thing I’m not easily bothered by that. In fact, I might even like it.


You do not follow me because I am the strongest. Pax is. You do not follow me because I am the brightest. Mustang is. You follow me because you do not know where you are going. I do.


And then there was the Institute and the Passing and everything else that followed on Darrow’s road to glory. If I hadn’t been sold before, I definitely was now. I don’t know what it is that makes these things so damn irresistible. Initiations. Training. Challenges. Bonding. Alliances forming. Alliances breaking. Friends becoming enemies. Enemies becoming friends. And the game. UGH, THE GAME. To complete their training to become a Peerless Scarred, the young initiates have to do this game that is basically every tactical board game ever combined but in real life and all I could ever think was MAN, I WANT TO PLAY THIS THING. I would have lasted a full two minutes, I’m sure, but I absolutely love this kind of strategic challenge. Especially when there is inhouse rivalry and plotting. And hey murder and backstabbing and the whole party. Such fun ahahhaaha.

But however great some parts were, I did say I understood where the criticism is coming from as well. Darrow, for all that I love him, is just a little too perfect. It’s like nothing can go wrong for this kid. He’s a prodigy, I get that, but everything came so easy. It’s a good thing that I liked him. If not, it would have bothered me a lot more than it did now. I hope this is somethings that will change, there’s nothing like the anguish of seeing your heroes fail to make you root for them even harder.

Also, the world building is decent but not excellent (yet). There are holes in this system that are conveniently covered up. Things that feel… too mhm, easy. Like the way Darrow’s transition to a Gold is handled. It took not enough effort. The way his intelligence was augmented, his body was modified… I also didn’t think Eo’s sacrifice made a whole lot of sense. Too cheap a move for a girl who dreamt of changing the world, not what a fighter at heart would do. At least not as a first act of rebellion. But of course it served the story very well. You can shape a world however you like of course, but some things just felt a little off. Three more books to prove me wrong, Brown. Three more books.

But, as I said, I’m camp rave on this one! I’m very excited to find out what else is about to happen and I’m reading Golden Son as we speak. I hope those damned Golds get wat they deserve. There is a true rebellion here and it’s dark and vicious and I can’t wait for it to break loose.


Break the chains, my love.




Review: If There's No Tomorrow by Jennifer L. Armentrout

if there's no tomorrow jennifer l armentrout
if there's no tomorrow jennifer l armentrout

Title: If There's No Tomorrow 
Author: Jennifer L. Armentrout 
Series: Stand-alone 
Genre: Contemporary, YA 
Publication date: September 5, 2017 
Rating: ★★★½ 

Lena Wise is always looking forward to tomorrow, especially at the start of her senior year. She’s ready to pack in as much friend time as possible, to finish college applications, and to maybe let her childhood best friend Sebastian know how she really feels about him. For Lena, the upcoming year is going to be epic—one of opportunities and chances. Until one choice, one moment, destroys everything. Now Lena isn’t looking forward to tomorrow. Not when friend time may never be the same. Not when college applications feel all but impossible. Not when Sebastian might never forgive her for what happened. For what she let happen. With the guilt growing each day, Lena knows that her only hope is to move on. But how can she move on when she and her friends’ entire existences have been redefined? How can she move on when tomorrow isn’t even guaranteed?

Review: Illuminae by Amie Kaufman & Jay Kristoff

illuminae amie kaufman jay kristoff

Title: Illuminae  
Author: Amie Kaufman & Jay Kristoff  
Series: The Illuminae Files #1  
Genre: Science Fiction, YA  
Publication date: October 20, 2015 
Rating: ★★★★★ 

This morning, Kady thought breaking up with Ezra was the hardest thing she’d have to do. This afternoon, her planet was invaded. The year is 2575, and two rival megacorporations are at war over a planet that’s little more than an ice-covered speck at the edge of the universe. Too bad nobody thought to warn the people living on it. With enemy fire raining down on them, Kady and Ezra—who are barely even talking to each other—are forced to fight their way onto an evacuating fleet, with an enemy warship in hot pursuit. But their problems are just getting started. A deadly plague has broken out and is mutating, with terrifying results; the fleet's AI, which should be protecting them, may actually be their enemy; and nobody in charge will say what’s really going on. As Kady hacks into a tangled web of data to find the truth, it's clear only one person can help her bring it all to light: the ex-boyfriend she swore she'd never speak to again.

Review: The Cruel Prince by Holly Black

the cruel prince holly black

Title: The Cruel Prince  
Author: Holly Black  
Series: The Folk Of The Air #1  
Genre: Fantasy, YA  
Publication date: January 2, 2018 
Rating: ★★★★½ 

Jude was seven years old when her parents were murdered and she and her two sisters were stolen away to live in the treacherous High Court of Faerie. Ten years later, Jude wants nothing more than to belong there, despite her mortality. But many of the fey despise humans. Especially Prince Cardan, the youngest and wickedest son of the High King. To win a place at the Court, she must defy him–and face the consequences. In doing so, she becomes embroiled in palace intrigues and deceptions, discovering her own capacity for bloodshed. But as civil war threatens to drown the Courts of Faerie in violence, Jude will need to risk her life in a dangerous alliance to save her sisters, and Faerie itself.

Review: Shatter Me by Tahereh Mafi

shatter me tahereh maxi
shatter me tahereh mafi

Title: Shatter Me  
Author: Tahereh Mafi  
Series: Shatter Me #1  
Genre: Dystopia, Science Fiction, YA  
Publication date: November 15, 2011 
Rating: ★★½ 

Juliette hasn’t touched anyone in exactly 264 days. The last time she did, it was an accident, but The Reestablishment locked her up for murder. No one knows why Juliette’s touch is fatal. As long as she doesn’t hurt anyone else, no one really cares. The world is too busy crumbling to pieces to pay attention to a 17-year-old girl. Diseases are destroying the population, food is hard to find, birds don’t fly anymore, and the clouds are the wrong color. The Reestablishment said their way was the only way to fix things, so they threw Juliette in a cell. Now so many people are dead that the survivors are whispering war – and The Reestablishment has changed its mind. Maybe Juliette is more than a tortured soul stuffed into a poisonous body. Maybe she’s exactly what they need right now. Juliette has to make a choice: Be a weapon. Or be a warrior.


Someone picked up the sun and pinned it to the sky again, but every day it hangs a little lower than the day before. It's like a negligent parent who only knows one half of who you are. It never sees how its absence changes people. How different we are in the dark.

To new beginnings.


Hi everyone,

It's been a while. It's been a long while, actually. 

If you're still reading this after those months of silence, know that I am incredibly grateful. I did not expect you to, but it makes me really happy anyway. These last couple of months have not been easy. I've been under a lot of pressure and if there's one thing I can say about myself, it's that I do not handle stress well. Not real stress anyway. It slowly eats away at me. I hide it and I allow it to shut me down, to lock me in place and to make me ditch responsibilities. I'm fully aware of the problems this causes. I still can't seem to help myself.

Stress is something subjective. Perhaps other people in my position would have been perfectly fine. I, however, decided to drown my own thoughts, hoping they'd go away without me having to acknowledge them. I'm acknowledging them now because things only got worse.

Everything started back in September when my grandmother died. It was not unexpected and I was honestly relieved that she no longer had to suffer, but the inevitability of it all still haunts my mind.  Up until then I'd had the luxury of not having lost many people that were close to me. I'm not hardened yet, although none of this would every be truly bearable.

On top of that there were/are work-related issues. I had a hard time adjusting to my new position. I still haven't completely reconciled myself with it. It's a harsh thing having to switch the job you love (and have been doing for three years) for something not nearly as fulfilling just because you're still young and can't possibly compete in the seniority game. I do not hate what I'm doing now, but I do not love it either. Some days are better than others, but the mornings where I have to force myself out of bed outnumber the others.

And then there is the house-issue. For those of you who don't know: I'm building a house (okay fine a real estate firm is) on my own. Me. Twenty-five-year-old-unexperienced-blue-me is building a house. It's absolutely wonderful. I'm hopefully moving out of my parents' house in a couple of weeks time and it the most thrilling thing in the world. But however great it was to see my near-future place built brick by brick, it has been one of the hardest endeavors yet. When I close my eyes at night all I see are forms I barely understand but need to file and impossible bills. In between the excitement there is also a considerate amount of worry and fear that I've ignored for far too long. I remind myself daily that it will all be worth it in the end. But it's time I finally stop pretending that this hasn't also been incredibly hard on me.

For a while I couldn't bring myself to read anymore. Which added to more stress because I was failing my reading challenge. It seems so insignificant but I haven't read less than fifty books a year for over a decade and it actually made me feel bad. With everything already going on in my head, taking a temporarily break from blogging was necessary. Instead I took some longterm, highly appreciated me-time. Which I almost ruined by doing NaNoWriMo despite my better judgement but luckily that worked out in the end. I really committed myself to bullet journalling for one, and it has proven to be a wonderful instrument for self-care and better organisation. Things are improving. The weight on my shoulders is lifting. Brick by brick.

I'm back now. Or at least I'm actively trying to be. I'm excited and ready for a new beginning. New house, new books, new me. I can do this. So happy New Year everyone! I wish you all the most wonderful year. May it be full of magical new memories and infinite laughter. I'll be seeing you around.

Love,

Maaike

Upcoming Releases: September 2017

upcoming releases september

I feel so honoured presenting you the september young adult releases. So many of my deeply beloved authors are publishing this month. Sarah J. Maas, Leigh Bardugo, Marie Lu, Adam Silvera, Jay Kristoff, Jennifer L. Armentrout and even Stephanie Perkins. The only one truly missing is John Green but since he's publishing next month I won't even go there. I MEAN LOOK AT THEM. They're stunning, aren't they? All I want to do is cuddle these precious babies. I've heard mixed reviews about all of them, but I'm giving each and every single one a fair chance to impress me. I want to be impressed. It's been so long since I got blown away by a book. This is an excellent month to get back on track. I need to finish my reread of Empire Of Storms, but then I'm all set to dive in. Head first.
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