For fans of Aidy Bryant or Lindy West’s work, Shrill is a big deal. Hulu’s new show is the first show developed by Bryant and Bryant (along with a slew of other notable writers like Samantha Irby, author of We Are Never Meeting in Real Life), and the first to showcase Bryant’s talents as both a writer and an actor. There have been many reviews of this show, not all of them favorable. The biggest criticisms--which I do agree with--are that the show takes its time getting started. The season only contains six episodes (probably due to Bryant’s SNL schedule) and a tight story arc. I argue that’s part of its beauty.Read More
Last October, Hulu began a horror anthology series called Into the Dark, releasing one “episode” per month. They began with “The Body,” a Halloween themed episode that takes place over one spooky night, but I didn’t start watching until “New Year, New You,” and even then I didn’t fully grasp what the series was about, or why Hulu was producing it. “New Year, New You” follows a group of friends over the course of a New Year’s Eve party as they try to kill an old friend that has become Instagram famous and egotistical. The episodes are long, about an hour and a half, or the length of a short movie. They have good casts and production values, and they’re all campy. Very, very campy. (Spoilers for “Treehouse” to follow)
In August of this year, indie-rock (punk-disco-pop?) musician Mitski released her highly-anticipated fifth album, Be the Cowboy. Her last record, Puberty 2, was widely acclaimed by both critics and plebs like us; one song, “Your Best American Girl,” even managed to place at #16 on NPR’s 200 Greatest Songs by 20th Century Women. Needless to say, expectations for her follow-up album were exceptionally high. Of course, Mitski surpassed them anyway, because she is our queen.
September 1st is here, which means it’s nearly the end of summer. Which means… It’s the final installment of YA Book Club in Paradise. But fear not, fans of Mary and Emily’s YA Book Club series. We’re not taking a break this time. Immediately following this, we’re jumping into a little YA Book Club mini-session we’ve dubbed YA Book Club: Back 2 School. We’re hitting up two books for this installment of the book club. They are:
My Plain Jane by Cynthia Hand, Brodi Ashton, and Jodi Meadows (end of September)
Children of Blood and Bone by Tomi Adeyemi (end of October)
Read along with us, and come back at the end of the month to read our review of My Plain Jane. But for now? Let’s get into our last pick for the summer: The Earth, My Butt, and Other Big Round Things by Carolyn Mackler. Spoilers to follow…Read More
Freeform’s television show about three young women tackling life and love in New York City has just finished its second season to little fanfare. Sure, the premise of the show sounds familiar enough (comparisons to Sex in the City are built into the plot and referenced by the characters themselves), but what it lacks in original plot it makes up for in the way it handles the tricky position of being of being a former “family” channel. Where The Bold Type pushes boundaries in many ways--it has a lesbian couple! A woman in a hijab!--it sometimes ventures into the realm of afterschool specials, with special episodes on pregnancy, gun control, and sexual harassment. Still, these themes are handled in new, and somewhat realistic ways; the pregnancy episode centers on one characters decision to freeze her eggs because of her cancer risk, while the gun control episode frames the gun debate in light of recent mass shootings.
While I do have some personal attachment to the show, I objectively think that it--at the very least--attempts to discuss issues that are important to real young people in a respectful way. It has a diverse cast (and acknowledges when it’s lacking diversity), and it features a group of young women who genuinely support each other--no catty backhanded compliments, no gossip.
But there’s one problem. Jane. Tiny Jane, as they call her.
It's the second installment of YA Book Club in Paradise. For the month of June, we read This One Summer by Mariko Tamaki and Jillian Tamaki. So why don't we get things started straight away and let Mary introduce the book?
Mary: Ok! This One Summer is a 2014 graphic novel (published by First Second, one of my favorite publishers) written by Mariko Tamaki and illustrated by Jillian Tamaki, who are cousins. The story follows friends Rose and Windy during a summer at Awago Beach. The girls watch scary movies rented from the convenience store, spy on the cashier, Dunc, and become interested in his personal drama--his girlfriend Jenny is pregnant. Meanwhile, Rose's mom has been depressed all summer, and gradually the reason why becomes clear. I don't know if that's a good summary or not, but this comic has a lot going on!Read More
The first season of 13 Reasons Why made me uncomfortable. It was not an easy show to watch, but it was well-made, and the actors did a really good job with the material. My feelings about the subject matter and the story were mixed, and are even more so now since the allegations about author Jay Asher. He denies them and says he was wrongfully accused, but like… ugh. Let’s not go there.
Based on what I’ve been reading about this season online, a lot of people agreed with me that this show had no reason to be renewed for a second season. Regardless of how you felt about the story told in season 1, the whole story was told. The narrator Hannah Baker constructed a tight narrative through cassette tapes that concluded with a gratuitous and triggering suicide scene. I really don’t know what else there is to say.
But of course Netflix saw that there was more money to be made on this concept and more wounds to be salted.Read More
The May YA in Paradise chat is here! This month, we talk about Moxie, a novel by Jennifer Mathieu. Come join us!Read More