SST: The Possibility of Now by Kim Culbertson

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Book Link: Goodreads

Synopsis
Kim Culbertson is back with another fantastic new novel about what happens when you’ve been planning for the future, but everything falls apart now.

Mara James has always been a perfectionist with a plan. But despite years of overachieving at her elite school, Mara didn’t plan on having a total meltdown during her calculus exam. Like a rip-up-the-test-and-walk-out kind of meltdown. And she didn’t plan on a video of it going viral. And she definitely didn’t plan on never wanting to show her face again.

Mara knows she should go back, but suddenly she doesn’t know why she’s been overachieving all these years. Impulsively, she tells her mom she wants to go live with her estranged dad in Tahoe. Maybe in a place like Tahoe, where people go to get away from everyday life, and wiht a dad like Trick McHale, a ski bum avoiding the real world, Mara can figure things out.

Only Tahoe is nothing like she thought. There are awesome new friends and hot boys and a chance to finally get to know Trick, but there are also still massive amounts of schoolwork. Can Mara stopping planning long enough to see the life that’s happening right now?

Guest Post
Inspiration is a tricky thing to pin down but, as I’ve spent the last eighteen years teaching high school, I know that much of my inspiration comes from my students. In my first novel, SONGS FOR A TEENAGE NOMAD, Calle has moved fourteen times in eight years so she keeps a song journal as her only constant. When she hears a song that reminds her of a time in her past, she writes down the memory that comes from hearing that specific song. My students are passionate about their music and this idea came from watching them work on a school project I’d given them to create a soundtrack for a book we’d read. My students have inspired parts of all my novels. I took sixteen students to Italy for a spring break and INSTRUCTIONS FOR A BROKEN HEART grew out of that experience. I overheard a conversation with two of my students about fame and that became the spark of an idea for CATCH A FALLING STAR.

In my newest novel, THE POSSIBILITY OF NOW, the inspiration came from watching many of my students wrestle with stress and anxiety about their futures. I’ve seen them struggle to balance their emotional, social and family lives with the pressure of individually achieving for a future they’ve been told they want. I spent ten years as a college advisor and each year it felt like the process got even more intense. I’ve long thought that too much of our educational (and extracurricular) culture relies on external reward, high-pressure comparison, and the idea that young people should be certain about their futures before they truly know who they are or what they want. I’ve also watched the way online culture has impacted my students and wondered about the correlation to the rise in teen anxiety. THE POSSIBILITY OF NOW explores these themes against the backdrop of Tahoe, a place I often go to unwind, but that also has its own complex, specific culture.

Mostly, though, I’m inspired to write because it helps me to answer questions I have about human behavior. I’m fascinated by what makes us all tick. Ultimately, in all of my writing, I want to find hopeful, honest answers to my questions. Writing novels has been the window into some answers for me.

About the Author:
Kim Culbertson is the author of Catch a Falling Star; Instructions for a Broken Heart, a Northern California Book Award winner; and Songs for a Teenage Nomad. When she’s not writing young adult novels, she teaches high school creative writing. Kim lives with her husband and their daughter in Northern California. For more about Kim, visit http://www.kimculbertson.com.

Giveaway
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SST

Blog Tour: Truest by Jackie Lea Sommers

Truest Banner
Truest
Genre: YA realistic contemporary
Published on September 1st, 2015
Published by Katherine Tegen Books
Purchase Links:AmazonBarnes & NobleBook DepositoryBooks a MillionFishpondIndieBoundKoboPowell’sHarperCollins

Synopsis
Silas Hart has seriously shaken up Westlin Beck’s small-town life. Brand new to town, Silas is different than the guys in Green Lake. He’s curious, poetic, philosophical, maddening– and really, really cute. But Silas has a sister– and she has a secret. And West has a boyfriend. And life in Green Lake is about to change forever.

Guest Post
A Modern Parable

Truest was always going to have some religious themes– the narrator, Westlin Beck, is the daughter of the local pastor, after all. But I wanted to write the story in such a way that wasn’t preachy, cheesy, or saccharine– because my personal faith isn’t those things either. It’s messy and beautiful and hard and raw. I wanted Truest to reflect that reality.

But it’s hard, you know? How do you write a novel intended for the secular market that includes a discussion of faith?

Some epiphanies are as quiet as a word crawling into your mind while you try to sleep and making a nest for itself there. The word, for me, was parables. Parables in biblical times were meant for some to see … and some to not. I wondered if I could write about faith in such a way that those who wanted to see those things would and those who didn’t want to wouldn’t have to. What resulted are a handful of scenes in the book that mean different things to different audiences, and frankly, I’m delighted by that. It’s been fascinating to hear a variety of interpretations.

My faith– and the faith of so many of my friends– is a wild thing, often complicated, rarely sentimental, and centered around grace and freedom. But so many people think of faith as a greeting card, an after-school special, and a lot of pretense. It was important to me to show Silas Hart, the love interest and the biggest spiritual influence on West, as a boy who screws up, loses his temper, curses like a sailor, battles his own inner demons– and who loves God. I’m hopeful that– just like me– others are drawn in by authenticity of any stripe.

About the Author:jackie

Jackie Lea Sommers lives and loves and writes in Minnesota, where the people are nice and the Os are long. She is the 2013 winner of the Katherine Paterson Prize. She dislikes OCD, horcruxes, and Minnesota winters. She likes book boyfriends, cranky teenagers, and Minnesota springs. Truest is her first novel.

Connect With The Author
www.twitter.com/jackieleawrites
www.jackieleasommers.com
www.facebook.com/jackieleawrites
www.instagram.com/jackieleasommers
www.pinterest.com/jackieleas
www.jackieleasommers.tumblr.com

Giveaway
One signed and annotated hardcover of Truest
Giveaway Link

SST: What You Left Behind by Jessica Verdi

2289c-wylbBook Link: Goodreads

Synopsis (GR):
Jessica Verdi, the author of My Life After Now and The Summer I Wasn’t Me, returns with a heartbreaking and poignant novel of grief and guilt that reads like Nicholas Sparks for teens.

It’s all Ryden’s fault. If he hadn’t gotten Meg pregnant, she would have never stopped her chemo treatments and would still be alive. Instead he’s failing fatherhood one dirty diaper at a time. And it’s not like he’s had time to grieve while struggling to care for their infant daughter, start his senior year, and earn the soccer scholarship he needs to go to college.

The one person who makes Ryden feel like his old self is Joni. She’s fun and energetic—and doesn’t know he has a baby. But the more time they spend together, the harder it becomes to keep his two worlds separate. Finding one of Meg’s journals only stirs up old emotions. Ryden’s convinced Meg left other notebooks for him to find, some message to help his new life make sense. But how is he going to have a future if he can’t let go of the past?

“Ryden’s story is a moving illustration of how sometimes you have to let go of the life you planned to embrace the life you’ve been given. A strong, character-driven story that teen readers will love.”—Carrie Arcos, National Book Award Finalist for Out of Reach.

Guest Post
-What made you decide to write What You Left Behind?

Thanks for having me on your blog, Alexia! The idea for What You Left Behind was actually sparked by an article my husband sent me about a teenage girl who had cancer and was pregnant, and wasn’t allowed to make her own decision of whether she wanted to abort her pregnancy and continue her cancer treatments, or stop the cancer treatments and have the baby. Her parents chose for her (they chose stop cancer treatments and have the baby) and she died a couple days after giving birth, leaving the baby to be raised by her boyfriend. This isn’t exactly what happens in the book, but the issue of choice is one that is very important to me, so I wanted to write about that. And of course I was completely interested in the single teen dad grieving the loss of his girlfriend story.

I actually started drafting the book as a dual narrator (Ryden and Meg) story, while Meg was still alive. About 75 pages in, I realized that wasn’t the way to go at all (it would have been about a billion pages long, haha), and that this story should really be told by Ryden, and begin in the middle of his journey. I had to scrap those 75 pages, which definitely hurt, but it was absolutely the right decision.

About the Author:
Jessica Verdi lives in Brooklyn, NY, and received her MFA in Writing for Children from The New School. She loves seltzer, Tabasco sauce, TV, vegetarian soup, flip-flops, and her dog. Visit her at http://www.jessicaverdi.com and follow her on Twitter @jessverdi.

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SST

Disney Love- Day 15

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Hello, everyone at Adventures in Reading! My name is Erin, and I blog at The Hardcover Lover. I’m extremely excited to be able to share this guest post with you today as I am a huge fan of all things Disney. My love of Disney is not well-known to everyone in the book community, but today, we’re changing that!

I guess you could say that I was kind of born into my love for all things Disney. I just so happened to be born the year that The Little Mermaid came out in theaters, and my mom made sure she bought it for me so I’d always have my first Disney movie. Years later, I found out that she bought the VHS with the original cover, and despite stores allowing people to return the offensive cover for a new one, she kept it. So… I have a VHS tape of The Little Mermaid with a naughty image on it! Oh well… maybe it will be worth money one day.

Now that I’ve mentioned The Little Mermaid, I want to share another Ariel moment with you. Every year, and even now that I’m an adult, my mom and dad buy me one of the Hallmark Keepsakes Disney ornaments as a Christmas present. It’s a little tradition that I love because it combines my love of Christmas and Disney. I’ve had an obsession with Tinker Bell and Belle for a while, so I usually get those ornaments. But this past Christmas, I decided that I really needed to go for that Little Mermaid connection, and get the 25thLittle Mermaid Anniversary ornament. It’s gorgeous, and I cannot wait to put it on my tree next year! I’m sure it will go well with my collection of Belles and Tinker Bells. (Psh… I even have a Tinker Bell tree topper. I swear that I’m going to need to have a Disney dedicated Christmas tree for the amount of Disney ornaments I have!)

Okay… so since I mentioned Christmas, I want to talk about one more thing. When I was a teenager, I babysat for a woman who just so happened to have a very rich boyfriend. Once Thanksgiving, she took me and my sister to Disney World with her, so we could watch her kids at the parks, and while they went out at night. It was my first (and only) trip to Walt Disney World, but I loved it so much! We stayed at the Grand Floridian, and it was just so much fun! The hotel smelled magnificent because they were building a huge gingerbread house inside the lobby! I loved seeing the parks all decorated for Christmas. We did get kicked off of the It’s a Small World ride because the mom got bored and started splashing us! I loved watching the parades, and the Princess show! It was the most magical week of my life, and I’d love to go back one day during the holidays.

Disney Love- Day 13

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Hi everyone! It’s me again! Jennifer Y. I can’t believe that Alexia allowed me back to talk Disney a second time (what was she thinking, right?)

Anyway, today, I thought I’d continue the Disney theme and discuss one of the things I think of most when I hear Disney and that is: MOVIES

I could go on and on for days discussing all of the Disney films produced throughout the years that I love and those films are special to me. Each film has a special character, moment, or memory associated with it. There are the animated classics such as Snow White and Cinderella. Not to mention the live action Disney films The Parent Trap and Pollyanna. Then there are the ones that blend animation with live action such as Mary Poppins and Bedknobs and Broomsticks.

Like I said, I could go on and on for days…but I doubt Alexia (or you) really want me to do that so I decided to narrow it down to five (which was almost impossible) and share what made that film special to me. These are in no particular order (and again it was almost impossible) and I also only included animated movies that I had seen. (Did I mention narrowing down was almost impossible?)

Beauty and the Beast

So up first, we have one of my favorite movies featuring some of my favorite characters, songs, and scenes of all time. My big sister took me to see this at the theater when I was 8 years old. I still remember sitting there, mesmerized by the beautiful images on the screen, thinking, “That. I want that.” Of course, I was talking about the library. I wouldn’t have minded a prince either at that age, but I have always been a reader and it was neat to see a heroine who loved books like I did. Belle is still one of my favorite princesses probably always will be. I also adored all of the other characters in the film. It is probably one of the best cast of characters…from little Chip to the Cogsworth. Each had their own personality despite their limitations as objects in the castle. It is a special film for me and one I can watch over and over again.

The Little Mermaid

This is another one I remember seeing in the theater when it was released. It was one of the first princess movies in a long time for Disney and was kind of their “Princess: The Next Generation” type thing following the princesses from the previous decades. This movie was wonderful at the time. I loved the music, the characters, the story; I loved everything. I wanted to be a mermaid (which is surprising because I hate swimming in the ocean and the beach now…and those seashells look so uncomfortable). I wanted to sing like Ariel and comb my hair with a fork (which my parents didn’t understand since they hadn’t seen the movie). Even today I will, occasionally, still randomly start singing “Part of That World” no matter where I am (thought I was going to say comb my hair with a fork, huh?). Anyway, I still love Ariel and probably own more with her image on it than any of the other princesses. I even bought a shirt while I was on vacation a couple of weeks ago because she was on it.

Up

So I didn’t see Up in the theaters. I actually watched it with my dad. That’s one of the reasons it is special to me. I don’t want to spoil anything, but the beginning of this film is very touching and it made me shed a tear or two…okay, I shed a tear or two later in the film as well. But I was also surprised to see, as we watched, to see my Daddy wiping tears away as well. When he noticed me looking instead of denying it by saying, “There was something in my eye” like he usually does, he surprised me and owned up to crying by saying, “You didn’t tell me this was a sad movie! Who makes a sad movie for kids?” I then reminded him of almost every other Disney movie where a main character didn’t have a parent (really, all I needed to say was Bambi). So not only do I love the story, characters (“Squirrel!”), and message of this film, it’s special to for other reasons as well. Every time I watch it from now on, I’ll always think of my dad.

Tangled

Another one I didn’t see in theaters (I don’t go to the movies much anymore), but that I absolutely, positively LOVE. Rapunzel is in my top 3 Princesses…up there with Belle and Ariel. I loved the music, images, characters, story, everything about this movie. I could feel for Rapunzel. Even though I don’t have mile long hair or live in a tower and I know who my family is, growing up I sometimes I felt isolated from the world and alone. I didn’t fit in anywhere and I wanted to know what was out there, but I was afraid of what I’d find. In many ways I envy Rapunzel’s adventurous spirit and bravery because I tend to stick to my little corner of the world wondering what’s out there.

Tinker Bell

This one didn’t go to theaters (at least I don’t think it did), but it is a favorite of mine for many reasons. For the first time we get a Tinker Bell origin story. Although the Tinker Bell in this story is a lot nicer than the silent Tink in Peter Pan (she tries to get the Lost Boys to shoot the “Wendy Bird” down from the sky, for crying out loud!), she is still adorably cute (although she could use a longer skirt). I love that Tink finally has a voice and can express herself. I also enjoyed meeting the fairy friends and learning about the different types of fairies and how Tinker Bell started out. I can’t help but wonder what happened later in life to turn her in the sassy little fairy we see in Peter Pan though…I guess jealousy, cheating ex-boyfriend? Anyway, I thought it was a cute film and I like seeing old familiar characters from classic movies given new life in an interesting new way (also enjoy the sequels).

So as I said earlier it was very hard to narrow down this list as each movie means something different to me and holds a memory for me. One day maybe I’ll write those down so my future children, grandchildren, nieces, nephews, etc. can read and watch. But until that day I will just say that every Disney movie ever made holds a special place in someone’s heart and memory …whether it be mine or someone else‘s. And I think that is what makes movies magical.

What are some of your favorite Disney films?

BIO:
Jennifer is a lifelong reader and Disney fan who can rarely be found without a book. She also might have a slight addiction to anything Disney if the numerous Disney-related items around her house and animated movies on her shelves are any indication. Jennifer has been known to randomly sing songs from Disney soundtracks in public…and in private. She currently resides in the southern U.S. where she dreams of one day owning a library like Belle’s and continues to wait for the woodland creatures that will do her housework and other errands so she has more time to read. If you want to learn more about Jennifer, you can follow her on Twitter: @2many2read or Instagram: @j_lynn82 She also recently took the plunge and joined GoodReads and even though her account is a self-described hot mess right now, would love to meet new friends: www.goodreads.com/2many2read

Disney Love- Day 12

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Ever since I was a little girl I was obsessed with Disney. The two movies I remember first seeing were Beauty and the Beast and The Little Mermaid. I was obsessed with them, until The Hunchback of Notre Dame came out. I was given a doll of Esmeralda, you couldn’t get me to leave it at home for anything. I loved it. I probably watched the movie almost every day.The first time I went to Disneyland, I was five years old. My grandmother entered my cousin and I in a drawing for some company that produced jams and jellies. My cousin ended up winning but I was still able to go because it was a 4 ticket deal. My cousin, aunt, mother and I went. We saw the premiere of Pocahontas. I will never forget that day. I go back as much as I can, and I always find time to ride
Thunder Mountain.

Bio: My name is Cassandra, I am a 25 year old Disney freak! Being an avid reader, I run a blog with my best friend, Booknerdbabes.com. I try to go to as many book related events as possible.

Also, I am a nerd for Star Wars as well as the Jurassic Park franchise.

Disney Love- Day 11

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My Top Ten Favorite Disney Movies
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Mulan

            This was based from the story of Fa Mulan, a legendary warrior from China. She pretended to be a man to take his father’s place in the army and bring honor to her family. What I love about this movie, besides Li Shang of course haha, is that it tackles empowering women and shows that women can be equal to men, which is a great message to children. Disney made Mulan as one of the Disney Princesses, I have to say she’s my favorite!

Into the Woods

            Into the Woods is one of the most recent Disney films I’ve seen. This is a musical comprised of different characters from different fairy tales. I love the twists and the songs from this movie. I really enjoyed it!

Toy Story

            Okay this. I know a lot of people love this series. I remember being so young, and we watched the second one in the cinemas. I also remember crying at the end of Toy Story 3 and found myself wanting another Toy Story movie.

Finding Nemo

            The ocean really fascinates me so I really enjoyed Finding Nemo. I love the diversity of the sea creatures in the movie. Also what’s there not to love about Dory?

Princess Diaries

            I jumped in late into this movie series. I think I watched the first one around 2011 and heck I loved it so much. The chemistry between Anne Hathaway and Julie Andrews was amazing! The story was also amazing, amusing and very enjoyable!

Pirates of the Caribbean series

Johnny Depp plus Orlando Bloom. ‘Nuff said.

Okay well kidding aside. This movie series stole lots of hours of sleep from me. I remember staying up late with my sister while we marathoned the movie series. This was a bit dark but very fun franchise. I’m very excited for the fifth movie!!

Tangled

            Tangled turned out to be more than just a cheesy movie. I love this movie so much and that scene with the sky lanterns?? That was totally breathtaking!

Maleficent

            Maleficent was one of the best Disney movies ever. I loved everything in the movie! The different side of Maleficent was really interesting to see. I think that Angelina Jolie’s portrayal of Maleficent was superb!

Big Hero 6

            Now this one. I cried, no bawled, like crazy in the movie. This was one of the most enjoyable, fun, emotional animated movies ever created. I watched this with my sisters and we all cried and went to sleep puffy eyed. Fun times. Plus, this was from Marvel and Stan Lee’s cameo was one of the best! Haha!

The Lion King

            The Lion King is my favorite Disney movie ever. When I was like 10 or 11, I watch this almost everyday with my sister to the point that I memorized every single dialogue and song. My sister and I even recite the movie before we go to sleep. Yeah, I loved it that much.

Short Bio
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Hi, I’m Inah! A 20 year old bibliophile from the Philippines. College student by day, book blogger by night. Besides reading books, I love to spend my time watching films and tv series or jamming out to my favorite bands.

Links:
Blog: http://thebibliophileconfessions.reads-it.com

Facebook: http://facebook.com/thebibliophileconfessions

Twitter: http://twitter.com/inahreads

Instagram: http://instagram.com/inahreads

Goodreads: http://goodreads.com/inahreads

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Disney Love- Day 10

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Thank you so much to Alexia for inviting me to guest post today while she is off having fun in Southern California! My name is Emily and I blog over at www.emilyreadseverything.com. I love Disney but I have really unusual tastes. My favorite Disney movie is Robin Hood! I haven’t been to DisneyWorld in 15 years and I’ve never been to Disneyland. I feed my Disney obsession by following blogs written by people who are closer to Disney than I am or who approach Disney with a unique perspective.

The first is Gorillas Don’t Blog http://gorillasdontblog.blogspot.com/. Funny name, great Disney blog. This blogger posts beautiful vintage pictures from Disneyland.. Sometimes he includes Knott’s Berry Farm or other California locations. I love seeing these glimpses of the past and I think its great to compare them to pictures of Disney today. Everything Disney does is so heavily themed and that hasn’t changed a bit over the years!

From my first pick, you can tell I love art.That goes double for my next pick. Kevin Kidney at http://miehana.blogspot.com/ is an artist and maker who posts pictures of projects. Right now he has an amazing build of a ghost they made as a reproduction of a ghost in the Haunted Mansion. His past posts are just as interesting and slightly obscure. He did an indepth look at Tik Tok from Return to Oz, a personal favorite of mine.. If you aren’t familiar with Return to Oz, you should definitely check it out. It’s darker than The Wizard of Oz with a giant, walking, talking clock and a pumpkin headed man.

Have you heard of cosplay? Probably, you have but I will explain it anyway. Cosplay is the act of dressing up like characters that you like from different fandoms. I just love looking at the way people interpret and put together costumes. Its a costly and time consuming labor of love, just like blogging is. Check out http://hellyadisneycosplay.tumblr.com/ for some amazing costumes.

Speaking of cosplay, Disney does it differently, like they do everything different and there is a specific Disney way to cosplay called Disney Bounding. This is when instead of dressing up overtly like your favorite character, you put together an outfit that uses street clothes from  your closet to suggest the aspects of a character. It’s a little hard to explain but there is a great blog about this at http://disneybound.tumblr.com/. I love the amount of work and attention to detail that goes into crafting a great cosplay. I also love the amount of creativity and innovation that goes into designing and assembling the perfect Disney Bound.

Finally, my very favorite Disney blog isn’t really a Disney Blog. Jen at www.epbot.com (also known as Jen from www.cakewrecks.com) writes a blog that she calls Geekery, Girliness and Goofing Off. She lives close to Disneyworld and she often goes there on special days to tell post pictures about it. For instance, Disney hosts a Dapper Day once a year? Jen has gone and taken great pictures! Jen is also an incredible maker in her own right. She posts tutorials and patterns of things that she’s made. For instance, check out this AT-AT Rocker that Jen and her husband, John created. I love seeing the things she comes up with.

I had so much fun putting this post together. I hope you enjoyed it as much as me. Thanks again to Alexia for inviting me to be here!

ERE

Disney Love- Day 9

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There is no better movie than The Lion King for me: Disney or otherwise. It’s one of those movies that pulls together so many memories and feelings of different people and times in my life. I’m surprised people actually don’t mind watching the movie with me, because I’m sitting there quoting all of the lines as the characters say them. This movie was actually the first one I ever saw in theaters, so it holds a special place in my heart. My best friend is equally obsessed, so her and I have a tendency of watching it a little too often. (We once stayed up until 5:00am to make bacon and watch The Lion King – a night that we constantly reminisce about!) Watching and talking about this movie makes me think of so many different things in my life. I’d never be able to pick a favorite character or moment, because the whole thing is just a masterpiece to me.

Today I’ll be sharing with you the five main reasons The Lion King is perfect, and if you FOR SOME REASON haven’t seen it – I don’t even want to think of that possibility – go do it!

1THE “CINEMATOGRAPHY”
Honestly, my favorite part of The Lion King is the way the way they animated the scenery. I know it’s not really cinematography if they didn’t film live action, but it feels so real. I mean, honestly, look at that. My friend is currently working on a tattoo sleeve with only imagery from The Lion King, and it’s pretty awesome. The colors mixing together, the little feathers flying in the wind… I just can’t deal with how pretty it is.

2
THE HUMOR
With Disney movies, there are definitely some jokes that go WAY over your head when you’re a kid… but make you laugh your head off as an adult. The Lion King is obviously no different! There are so many things (especially said by Timon and Pumbaa) that are so hilarious and sometimes inappropriate for small children. Humor is always subtle in Disney movies, but I think the presence of Timon and Pumbaa really add another layer to the story.

3
THE FEELS
Um, do I have to explain this one? Looking at this gif alone makes me tear up. This scene completely kills me every time. There are actually a lot of instances in this movie that get me emotional. Simba spends his whole life away from his home and is faced with coming back to all of the people (er, animals) he left behind. It’s not easy to face anything like that, let alone as the heir to a throne you didn’t even want in the first place. Simba’s struggles mirror plenty of normal life experiences, even though he’s an animal. You have to face your past at some point, realize that things change, let go of your worries, and take responsibility for what you have to. Countless life lessons!

4
THE MUSIC
Okay, honestly, how can you not love the music in the movie? Between “The Circle of Life” and “I Just Can’t Wait to be King” and “Can You Feel the Love Tonight?” and “Hakuna Matata,” you really can’t go wrong. I’m definitely the kind of person who gets annoyed by too much singing in Disney movies, but this movie can do no wrong. All of these songs are so wonderfully tied in to the movie and catchy.

5
THE QUOTES
“Oh yes, the past can hurt. But, you can either run from it or learn from it.” This is not only one of my favorite quotes from this movie, but probably from anything. Like I said above, there are countless life lessons in this movie (usually from Rafiki!). One of the more obvious messages from this movie is Hakuna Matata – no worries. I tend to be a worrywart about everything, so this one particularly resonates with me. No matter what happens in life, worrying doesn’t get you anywhere.

Disney Love- Day 8

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Hi everyone! I am so happy to be on Alexia’s blog today for her guest post Disney series. This post will include some spoilers for The Hunchback of Notre Dame, Tangled and Frozen, so if you haven’t seen them, you may not want to read this post. 😉

I am going to be discussing a topic that I’ve thought about for years and never really gotten the chance to discuss beforehand! I was inspired about this topic in college when I was in my Interpersonal Communications class when we discussed feral children and the effects of isolation or neglectful behavior in children.

Today I am going to talk about Quasimodo from The Hunchback of Notre Dame, Rapunzel from Tangled, and Elsa from Frozen. All three of these characters have been isolated for one reason or another and I wanted to discuss the effects this had on them and how they compared.

Hunchback of Notre Dame:
In the beginning of The Hunchback of Notre Dame, we meet a gypsy woman who is traveling with others illegally into Paris. Frollo, a judge of justice had trapped them. He finds a baby with the gypsy woman, presumably the baby’s mother. After discovering the baby is ugly, he almost kills it until the archdeacon comes and confronts him. Frollo then decides he will raise the child. Frollo named the child Quasimodo which means half-formed. Quasi has a hunchback and is basically sentenced to the bell tower and his job is to ring the bells.

The story begins roughly 18-20 years later when Quasimodo is grown. Our first scene is seeing him encourage a baby bird to fly, “no one wants to be cooped up here forever” he tells it. The bird flies away and three gargoyles come to life. One of the effects that extreme isolation can have on a person is hallucinations. It’s been talked about that these gargoyles really never talked to Quasi and he just imagined it.

Another effect of his isolation and upbringing is the sad perspective that he has on himself. This is due to Frollo making Quasi memorize his “alphabet” where A is for abomination, B is for blasphemy, C is for Contrition, D is for damnation, E is for Eternal damnation and F is for Forgiveness. Hearing these words, we can only imagine what the rest of the alphabet was. He teaches Quasi that gypsies are evil and that he, himself, is a monster.

Frollo convinces Quasi that he’s better off in the tower. When Quasi leaves the tower, he ends up being crowned the Pope of Fools.

He spirals out of control and soon the crowd realizing he’s not wearing a mask begin to throw things at him. Frollo sits by as he waits for him to learn his lesson.

Frollo is just an awful person. He convinces Quasi that he just belongs in the bell tower and that he’s the only one that will take care of him. The effects Quasi faced are easy to see, his views on gypsies are distorted and he doesn’t like himself much. Esmerelda tells Quasi that maybe they’re both not how Frollo sees them.

It’s really amazing he didn’t have worse issues than he had. In real life, there would be years of therapy trying to go against what Frollo taught him about himself. After Quasi meets Esmerelda and is put in a position where he has to save her, does Quasi realize he’s not really a monster.

Tangled:
Rapunzel, much like Quasimodo, ultimately has a positive view on life. In the beginning of Tangled, we see her playing hide and seek with Pascal, her chameleon friend. When Pascal doesn’t want to come in, she says “It’s not that bad” and begins her opening number, a classic “I Want” song. Rapunzel wonders when her life will begin and hopes she’ll be able to leave the tower soon.

Another similarity between Rapunzel and Quasimodo was the fact that they weren’t completely alone, but they had toxic parent figures to “take care of them”. Gothel steals Rapunzel and Frollo after presumably killing Quasi’s mother, decides to take Quasimodo. Gothel scares Rapunzel into not wanting to leave despite her wanting to go.

Long periods of isolation can cause a number of emotional, mental and psychological problems, including depression and bipolar disorder. In Tangled, when Rapunzel leaves the tower for the first time, we see her say it’s the “best day ever” then she goes through a series of drastically switching her mind about how she feels. In addition to her isolation, Rapunzel also dealt with Gothel making fun of her and saying she was just “teasing”. Gothel tries to keep Rapunzel trapped by saying the world’s full of dark things like ruffians, thugs and the plague. She tells Rapunzel she’s the only one that can keep her safe.


 Although Rapunzel was constantly alone, she had outlets, much like Quasi did. She read, baked, painted, sewed and played with Pascal. When she meets new people in the village, after leaving with Flynn Rider, a wanted thief, she isn’t socially awkward or worried about it.

An affect of isolation is that people will have trouble with social interaction. This definitely isn’t the case as Rapunzel is very warm to people in the Snuggly Duckling (a pub) and the village. Most likely this is due to the flower used to save her mother and from the magical powers she has. Since the flower came from the sun, it would make sense for Rapunzel to be very happy and kind to people. In the beginning though, Rapunzel doesn’t know quite how to get around the village with so many people. When she first meets Flynn she checks to see if he has sharp teeth.

When Gothel discovers Rapunzel’s left with Flynn, she’s furious. While Flynn’s away from Rapunzel, Gothel shows up to tell her she needs to go with her. Rapunzel tells Gothel that she thinks Flynn likes her and Gothel immediately tells her she’s wrong and why would he like her.
Whether or not Gothel really does care for Rapunzel is up for debate. Before Rapunzel is born, Gothel stalks this flower that basically makes her ageless. When she discovers Rapunzel has the power, she steals her.

After Rapunzel’s journey with Flynn, she realizes that there are people that aren’t dark or scary. She sees that there are people who have her best interests, like Flynn. This gives Rapunzel the strength to stand up against Gothel.


Frozen:

Without a doubt the saddest and most heartbreaking isolation experience is felt by Elsa who is isolated for years. Unlike Rapunzel and Quasimodo, Elsa’s isolation was entirely self imposed. As a child, Elsa had ice powers that she injured her sister with. This lead to Elsa becoming afraid of her powers and keeping herself in her room. Elsa and her father tell her “Conceal it, don’t feel it, don’t let it show”

When the powers grow stronger, she becomes afraid she’ll hurt her parents and in turn, completely leaves herself alone in her room. When Anna knocks on her door, Elsa tells her to just go away which leads to the song “Do You Want To Build A Snowman”. At the end of the song, we see Elsa in her room that’s completely surrounded by ice.The fact that Elsa isolated HERSELF is the saddest thing I’ve ever heard in a Disney movie.

The effects for Elsa are very clear to see:
1. Fear- She’s terrified of hurting anyone again.
2. Bottling up emotions.
3. She gets used to the isolation.
4. Anxiety/Stress.
5. Introverted.

Since she was young, Elsa’s trained herself to bottle everything up. Bottle up her powers and ultimately, I believe, bottling up how she feels. Her family doesn’t understand these ice powers anymore that up until she hurt Anna, seemed to be okay. They don’t try to teach her to control it, it’s just like “Hide it”. I think had her parents encouraged her in a gentler way to control her powers by helping her, it would have worked out better for her. Elsa doesn’t see herself in a nice a way, she’s just a person with these powers that she can’t control and will ultimately hurt everyone. Her anxiety and stress over the powers keep her from becoming close with her sister.

Elsa’s personality is very quiet. She’s definitely an introvert from what we see, becoming much more free in her new ice palace after Let It Go. One of the clearest effects that isolation had on Elsa was her anxiety that she faces. We see anxiety in play when it’s time for her Coronation and she’s just trying to get through that one day.

At the ball that night, Anna tells Elsa she’s getting married and Elsa tells Anna she’s not. This leads to the two girls arguing ultimately about Elsa shutting the world out and Elsa freezing everything. Now that Elsa’s worst fear has come true, she’s hurt people (her sister, emotionally) and she’s turned the town to ice, she runs away.


After being alone for so many years, Elsa’s convinced that she just belongs alone because she’ll hurt everyone. When Anna tries to convince Elsa to go home with her, Elsa tells her she’s better alone and that Anna belongs there where it’s nice. Anna tells her that the entire town is covered in ice, this causes Elsa to again freak out about what she’s done. Toward the end of the scene, Elsa gets flashbacks when she’s close to Anna and ends up having her thrown out.

Elsa’s ultimate break free from this isolation is when her sister saves her and they hug. It seems from this one touch Elsa has with Anna, she’s not afraid to hurt anyone anymore. She’s able to finally embrace her powers.


In typical Disney fashion, each of these movies have a happy ending for the main characters. However, they each have a very important message in them and showcase mental illness at least a little.

I hope you enjoyed this post! I didn’t get as in depth as I would have liked, but hopefully you took something from it. Thank you so much, Alexia for having me!