By Gabriela Cafaro '22
The Darkest Corners is a suspenseful ride that’s really two mysteries in one: Where is Tessa’s sister and what really happened the night Lori was killed…?
The novel opens and it has been ten years since Tessa Lowell left her hometown of Fayette, Pennsylvania. Now, she is eighteen years old and living in Florida. Tessa has no desire to return to Fayette. Having had a falling out with her former best friend, Callie, she has no desire to return to the town where she witnessed the brutal murder of her cousin Lori.
However, Tessa finds out early in the novel that her father is dying in prison. She doesn’t care much for her imprisoned father, but she does feel obligated to see him before he dies. Once in Fayette, Tessa finds Callie recklessly partying, claiming to blow off steam for the last few months before she heads off to college. Tessa is skeptical, believing that Callie is more likely using drugs and alcohol to avoid the trauma of their shared past. Almost immediately after Tessa arrives, trouble begins to arise in her narrative of the events on the night of Lori’s murder.
The search for answers definitely leads to many twists and turns. The author carefully crafts the suspense. I enjoyed this book and the I-didn’t-see-that-coming conclusion was definitely there!
By Ann Villamarin '20
Are you interested in going away to college, but still want to come home to Sunday dinner at grandma’s whenever you want? You may want to consider Muhlenberg College, a small, selective, liberal arts college, located just 90 minutes from Bay Ridge in Allentown, Pennsylvania.
The 83-acre suburban campus is divided by a city street, which was a bit surprising. It did not have that enclosed campus feel that I was looking for, but the old stone buildings, all with red painted doors, were charming. The most impressive structure was the Egner Memorial Chapel. Its carved stone and wooden interior were as gothic as you can get. Unfortunately, the only Catholic mass celebrated in this chapel is on Sunday morning at 9:30 am.
Muhlenberg is best known for its theater program and extensive cooperative programs where students can earn both their undergraduate and graduate degrees in less time. Double majors are encouraged and popular. With over 40 majors, there are a lot of choices for Muhlenberg's 2200 students.
Our tour guide was a drama major who certainly had a flare for the theatrical- especially when she touted that the dining hall food was better than homemade. That was a big exaggeration, but I appreciated the free lunch. Not all colleges are willing to expose prospective students to their food.
The dorms were your standard, cinder-block doubles with a communal bathroom down the hall. Most of the bulletin boards in the dorm we visited were bare, so I couldn’t get a strong sense of dorm sponsored events.
I fear the rainy weather did not allow this campus to shine on this particular day. While some students were hunkered down in the student center, I imagine most were tucked away in their dorm rooms because the library was empty and the quads were deserted. The students we did meet were friendly and motivated and I could easily see that Muhlenberg’s culture focuses on each individual. This is a college you should certainly explore if you are interested in a personal touch and professional focus.
By Gabriela Cafaro ‘22
To begin with, Little Monsters by Kara Thomas is about Kacey being the new girl in Broken Falls and moving in with her father, stepbrother, stepmother and her half-sister. Her life is filled with the ups and downs of living with her fickle stepmother. Everyone is welcoming to Kacey and she enters into a tight new circle with two girls named Bailey and Jade. Which becomes odd when they become distant and suddenly, then Broken Falls doesn’t seem so… responsive. This is how Kacey learns very important lessons when living in Broken Falls and the number one lesson she learns is: when you’re new, don’t be so trusting.
Little Monsters was definitely much more appreciated than the last book Bonnie Bluestockings read!
Our discussion took a hit when Sara Daly, a member of Bonnie Bluestockings, said in the group we’re “digging into holes” and getting rather confused. Additionally, there were a lot of weak parts in the novel as well. For example, the author would mention an idea but then never talk about it again. So, the group was looking over at the sections where some idea was properly expressed and trying to explore what the author meant. However, they didn’t discover anything. The more we overanalyzed, the less we began to enjoy the book.
So yes, we really enjoyed this book and look forward to continuing on this path on reading books by Kara Thomas!
By Gabriella Cafaro '22
In the novel, One Day in December by Josie Silver, protagonist Laurie is pretty sure that love at first sight does not exist and only appears in the movies. But one snowy day in December, she sees a man who she instantly knows is the one for her on the bus. When their eyes meet, a struck of electricity runs through Laurie and suddenly, her bus drives away. Her feelings were so deep that she went on a search for him for the next year.
Laurie’s roommate and best friend Sarah unknowingly ends the search for Laurie’s “mystery man” by finding Jack and falling in love with him herself. Laurie cares deeply for Sarah and wants to see her happy, so she decides to tell her heart not to love Jack. However, Jack feels the same deep connection to Laurie. He doesn’t act on his feelings because he feels that Sarah is the total package and he doesn’t want to give her up. Laurie accepts that she needs to move on, while Jack turns into a bigger jerk. However, Laurie and Jack do end up together after all at the end of the novel.
I felt that One Day in December by Josie Silver was not the most interesting to read. I found that the beginning of the book was definitely too slow. I felt that the beginning was repetitive and sort of boring. Overall, it was just not one of my favorites to read. Alongside the other book choices Bonnie Bluestockings have read, this is definitely one that not many enjoyed.
By Gabriela Cafaro '22
In the novel Along for the Ride, a young girl named Auden West is an insomniac because of her mother and father's constant fighting. This causes her to miss out on activities and experiences young kids have - for example, riding a bike. In her senior year of high school, Auden is about to graduate and has been accepted into a prestigious college - Defriese University - and is puzzled about how to spend her last summer before going away. She then receives a package from her brother, Hollis, who is touring Europe. She decides that she will go with her father to spend the summer with him and his new family. Auden hopes to spend the summer with her father, however, this doesn’t end up happening as Auden notices her father spending all his time working on a new novel.
In our book club discussion, we felt that Auden’s birth parents were bothersome. For instance, her father kept making excuses and was not reliable. For example, he seemed to avoid time with his family and caring for Thisbe, Auden’s stepsister. On the other hand, her mother put extreme amounts of pressure on Auden. We felt that her parents weren’t parenting Auden well enough, leading to her difficulty sleeping at night and their constant fighting.
Nonetheless, we all agreed that the overall summer and beach vibe theme of the book was charming and enjoyable to read about. In addition, her relationship with Eli was pleasant to read. Auden and Eli both experience sleeping problems and because of this they hang out at night time. Eli shows Auden things she never experienced growing up, such as bowling, and they eventually kiss for the first time. I also noticed the connection of how the book cover relates to the information in the novel. The depiction of the girl on the bike shows Auden learning from Maggie, one of her stepmom’s employees.
By Joanne Centeno '21
“What’s your name man?” Lin-Manuel Miranda took a simple four-word question - one that would otherwise mean nothing more than what it asks - and built a tremendous Broadway show that still sells out performance after performance. That show is called Hamilton.
When I saw Hamilton for the first time, it was sheer magic. As a then-student in Mark Twain Middle School, our vocal program was introduced to the score. Hamilton was at the time just starting to make headlines with record-breaking ticket sales. I immediately knew the music would change the way I heard, sang, and gravitated to musical theater. What is it about Hamilton that can change you musically? Well, for starters, something as simple as the name, Hamilton.
I remember thinking it would be nothing more than boring historical facts set to music. Wow, was I wrong! The genius Miranda not only set these boring historical facts to tremendous accompanying music, but he made historical facts entertaining, enjoyable, and melodically interesting!
I noticed that this year in Global, while I was learning about The French Revolution, I already was familiar with some of the material. Even though Hamilton is about the American Revolution, the second act touches on the French Revolution in one of my favorite songs “Cabinet Battle 2.” At the end of class one day, I asked Mr. Fiasconaro if we could listen to the song in class. He didn’t love the idea, but he did appreciate that I was able to relate what we learned in class to Hamilton.
I saw Hamilton for the second time a few months ago, and while the cast was different, the show still delivered nothing less than sheer amazement in my musical heart. I also have to admit, history isn't as boring as I originally thought. I also know the name Hamilton is more than just an answer to a question of “what’s your name man?” It’s an empire of groundbreaking Broadway performances. If you know the show, then you’ll know “history has its eyes on you.”
By Gabriela Cafaro '22
To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before is about a teenage girl’s love letters that are exposed, causing many conflicts. The book and the movie version differ in many ways. In addition, this was the first book chosen for this year’s Bonnie Bluestockings Book Club!
Who Sent the Letters?
In the book, it was anyone’s guess as to who sent the letters. However, in the film, it’s obvious that Kitty was the one who sent out the letters after she sneaked into Lara Jean’s closet and looked in the hat box.
Why Kitty Sent Out The Letters
Kitty meant well by sending out letters in the movie. In order to find her older sister, Lara Jean, a boyfriend, she decides to send out all 5 letters at once. In the book, Kitty sent out the letters after Lara Jean found out about Kitty’s crush on Josh, Kitty decided to send out the letters as revenge.
Lara Jean and Peter’s First Interaction
Before they are first seen together in the movie, it is affirmed that Lara Jean and Peter have a long history. The way they interact from the book and movie is completely different. In the book, Lara Jean has some car issues and Peter decides to help her out. In the movie, Lara Jean backs up and almost runs him over in the parking lot of the school.
Peter’s Letter is Missing Something Specific
Once the letters were sent, Peter tried to sort things out with Lara Jean. He mentioned that she wrote about him having ‘golden specks’ in his eyes, and which was a fairly cute scene in the movie. In the book, Lara Jean wrote about Peter having an STD, something that was definitely not mentioned in the movie.
Peter Kavinski’s Car: Jeep Vs. Audi
In the film, Peter Kavinski’s silver Jeep was definitely approved by Kitty, but in the book, it is written that he actually drove an Audi. However, when he started to pick up Kitty and Lara Jean before school, he switched to his mom's minivan in order to fit everyone.
In the book, Josh has feelings for Lara Jean. He ends up being jealous of her new relationship with Peter In the movie it's not really clear why Josh hates Peter. It seems he's over protective over Lara Jean because of their past friendship.
Lara Jean’s First Kiss
In both the book and the movie, Lara Jean decides to kiss Peter, in order to make Josh jealous. In the movie, Lara Jean kisses Peter in the middle of the track field once she sees Josh. In the book, she accidentally runs into Peter after Josh tries to confront her and Lara Jean kisses Peter.
Why Peter Tries to Start the Secret Relationship
Genevieve, Peter's ex-girlfriend, is the major reason why he wants to start a fake relationship. In the film, he hopes that this fake relationship will help him get back with her. In the book, he tries to use the relationship in order to send a message to Gen saying that their relationship is over.
Reason Behind Lara Jean and Peter's Big Fight
In the movie, Lara Jean and Peter break up after she finds out that he went to Gen’s room the same night they were together in the hot tub. In the book, they break up after Lara Jean thinks he still loves Gen.
The Hot Tub Video
In the movie, the identity of who posted the video of Lara Jean and Peter is revealed to be Genevieve. In the book, the identity is not revealed until the sequel book, P.S. I Still Love You.
The movie was adorable and is definitely a film I recommend watching. As for the novel, it was equally as enjoyable and I could not put the book down! Nonetheless, even though To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before is labeled as a young adult novel, I feel that it is written a lot more immaturely, even though topics in the book are of a mature nature.