Thursday, July 25, 2019

Reading on a Theme: Movie Magic

Let's go to the movies. Or, if you'd rather stay in, here are some books about movies and movie makers.

The Actress:
Lacey Barnes is a debut actress hoping this film will be her big break. But show business isn't all fun and games. The director is worried about her chemistry. Accidents on set seem to happen when she's around. Most embarrassing of all, Lacey's dad keeps reminding everyone that she's the only underage actor on set. He even hired a straight-laced kid named Donovan from the local high school to tutor her. Kasie West did it again with Fame, Fate, and the First Kiss. This book is so delightfully charming. Lacey's spunk makes her so much fun to read about. The zombie movie is entertaining; the mystery is intriguing, and the romance is the sweetest. Out February 5, 2019. Review copy from Edelweiss.

The Hosts:
Best friends Josie and Delia host a creature feature that airs every Friday on a public assess television station. Now that graduation has come and gone, Josie and Delia are facing the big "what comes next" when it comes to the show and their friendship. For Josie, television has always been the goal, for Delia, the bad horror movies are a link to her absent father. It's never easy to say goodbye. Once again Jeff Zentner managed to get me to laugh out loud and cry while reading Rayne & Delilah's Midnite Matinee, and that's why I love his books. This one leans more toward the comedic side than his previous tearjerkers, but there were still plenty of real, hard topics and poignant moments (clearly). Out February 26, 2019. Review copy from NetGalley.

The Manager:
Green Street Cinema is Ethan's home. It's where he went to deal with the pain of his dad's death and where his dad's memory is most alive. Ethan's basically running the place these days, which is why it's up to him to save the cinema when they get an eviction notice. This Book is Not Yet Rated is a poignant and meaningful story about love and loss. I really liked Peter Bognanni's writing style, which conveys angst so well. This book is also populated with a very fun cast of side characters. The employees of Green Street Cinema are super quirky and colorful. There's also Raina, Ethan's best friend who made it big in Hollywood and is now back in town after a breakdown. Out April 9, 2019.

The Studio Owner:
Dario Heyward is the heir to Moldavia Studios, the castle where his father wrote, directed, and filmed the type of B-list horror classics that Rayne and Delilah screen on their show. Dario has six months to turn the studio around, despite the fact that he never wanted this job and he swore he'd never come back after becoming legally emancipated at the age of twelve. Scream All Night was much more serious than I thought it would be. Dario has to confront some real demons from his past (pardon the pun), and he feels a lot of pressure to do right by the residents of Moldavia. The book is also laced with black humor. The scenes with the Ciller Cauliflowers were both hilarious and cringe-worthy. I loved the setting Derek Milman created in his debut novel and the story within a story nature of a book about a film. Out July 2018. Review copy from Edelweiss.

The Filmmaker:
Maya Aziz is a Indian-American Muslim teen growing up in Illinois. Her dream is to become a filmmaker and go to NYU, but her conservative parents don't think this would be a suitable career. In fact, Maya hasn't even told them she applied to NYU. Love, Hate & Other Filters is a coming of age story. Maya is wondering how to best assert her independence. She is navigating what it means to be a Muslim teen in America, what kind of life she wants to lead, and whether or not the expectations of her parents and her religion are right for her. About halfway through this novel, an event occurs that turned the book on its head for me. I was impressed with Samira Ahmed's handling of this serious issue. Out January 2018.

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