Love is the Higher Law | Review

*bit of a long post*

Love is the Higher Law | Available for Purchase: Amazon.com « Barnes & Noble « Book Depository
Author: David Levithan
Publisher: Knopf Books for Young Readers
Release Date: August 25, 2009
Pages: 176 pages, hardcover
Received Copy: Paperback copy, also signed by author

Synopsis (via Goodreads):

First there is a Before, and then there is an After. . . .

The lives of three teens—Claire, Jasper, and Peter—are altered forever on September 11, 2001. Claire, a high school junior, has to get to her younger brother in his classroom. Jasper, a college sophomore from Brooklyn, wakes to his parents’ frantic calls from Korea, wondering if he’s okay. Peter, a classmate of Claire’s, has to make his way back to school as everything happens around him.

Here are three teens whose intertwining lives are reshaped by this catastrophic event. As each gets to know the other, their moments become wound around each other’s in a way that leads to new understandings, new friendships, and new levels of awareness for the world around them and the people close by.

David Levithan has written a novel of loss and grief, but also one of hope and redemption as his characters slowly learn to move forward in their lives, despite being changed forever.

Just last weekend marked the 15th year anniversary of the terrorist attacks against the United States in: New York City, Washington, DC, and Shanksville, PA. I was invited to meet with a friend on the 9/11 date to spend two days in New York City and in doing so I decided to finally read David’s novel. I bought Love is the Higher Law few years ago when he did an author visit at a local bookstore. It was right near the anniversary and he explained some of the sights he witnessed and also notes this at the end of the book. I thought it was most appropriate reading on the day we remember all of the lives lost, innocent and the brave ones who died saving others.

I read the book on the train, well what I could–there were some loud talkers who ended up breaking my concentration from time to time and I also went in and out of periods where I was overwhelmed with emotion and kept tearing up. I was in high school so I remember more vividly than others who might’ve been younger at the time and also living in New Jersey which wasn’t as far away from NYC as opposed to where I live now. While reading Love is the Higher Law I could relate on various levels of the characters in their feelings, even though I wasn’t a New Yorker or someone extremely close to the situation, that day left a mark on everybody who was able to witness it.

Claire, Jasper, and Peter are coming from different viewpoints on this tragic day–Claire at school Uptown, worried about her younger brother, and getting word from their mother. Jasper has slept through the entire morning in Brooklyn only to be awoken by a phone call from his parents in South Korea to hear of the news, and Peter who skipped school to hang out at a record store and see the effects from Midtown. All present at a party a few nights before, they’re all thrown into the mix Claire and Jasper meeting just by chance, developing a friendship with him and eventually Peter who is a fellow senior such as herself. Peter and Jasper who were supposed to have their first date September 11th, but the day postpones things giving a bad vibe on their meeting. Looking at the devastation and destruction these characters start looking at their lives in a new perspective and realizing they don’t exactly understand what’s happened but know they are forever changed. Thinking deeply, caring more, and an array of emotions helps shape their lives now.

It’s a short read and it’s really interesting from a YA point of view–a time when teens already have so many emotions, to put this new level upon them having the characters examine their lives. I might read it again next year on the date, haven’t decided but I’m glad I have it on my shelf because I haven’t seen a lot of books on the subject like David notes in his final acknowledgements in the back of the book. And again, as someone who was a bit younger than the main characters but still able to witness the impact of that day is really fascinating to read.

The picture above does no justice on how truly amazing this sight was to see in person. The overwhelming emotion of patriotism, love, sadness, anger, and sorrow you have looking at the new skyline and the lights that shine brightly for not only all of the victims but the loss of the buildings which represented a part of the city as well. The sun set beautifully that night and my friend and I watched the sky turn from bright reds, to cotton candy pinks and blues, to a dusty gray, to finally the darkest black to show the twin lights.


I’m pretty sure I’ve shared this on social media at some point, but I’m sharing it again:

For the life of me I can’t remember my first period schedule but, it was our first year using a type of blocking scheduling at our high school. Day Whichever had XXX class first period (driving me crazy I can’t remember), then Driver’s Ed with Mrs. Collura who was BFFs with my English teacher Mrs. Hults–their classrooms were next door to each others, and third period was French II with Madame Cardell…ugh! She was such a useless teacher. I’m getting off topic but I had to set the scene. We started early at my high school, morning bell was at 735am, and classes started 750ish, so I was already a quarter to halfway done with second period.

Mrs. Hults called on our phone system to Mrs. Collura to turn on the news. Most classrooms did have TVs, albeit not modern but would work well enough, and when she did, I believe both towers had been struck by the planes at that point. Either it was just the one, or the second happened in moments that I wasn’t paying attention because I kept thinking ‘Wow, this is just like a movie!’ Not looking at the severity of it nor the sheer magnitude of what happened. Mrs. Collura told us we were probably witnessing history, little did she know how right she would be. Those moments watching the towers burn are forever engrained into my brain. At that point, class ends and it seemed determined by staff that we really shouldn’t be watching the television and try to get back to our classes but within the switch from Driver’s Ed to French, word around school was that the Pentagon had been hit by a plane as well. We watched a little of the coverage, I honestly don’t remember the towers falling or if I watched it live. I think at that point we weren’t allowed to know much else as students but I started going into panic mode.

Before French ended I gathered up two quarters so I could call my mom. With the knowledge I have of Philadelphia now that I live so close and actually working in Center City, I understand the layout and the surrounding towns. I didn’t realize back then that my sister’s attendance at St. Joseph’s University isn’t near the heart of Philadelphia if damage was done but at that time, you honestly didn’t know which piece of news you would hear next. We could all agree that this day, destroying those buildings had a huge impact on markets and big businesses who set up shop in those towers. My dad worked in the financial industry at the time and would seldom have to take the PATH train in right underneath the towers. I never really knew whether or not he would have to go to New York or not until after the fact and he came home after his day. Needless to say I ran to the payphone at school and was able to get a hold of my mom who told me my father wasn’t in NYC today, and my sister should be fine, no reports in Philly so she’s relatively safe.

The weirdest part of that day was hearing some surrounding schools were dismissing kids early. As millennials do, we were sorely disappointed our school wasn’t one of them. The rest of the school day was a blur, everyone and their mother tried to teach us when all we could do is discuss the morning and if there were other revelations we hadn’t heard about. Some kids were called to report to the office over the loud speaker having us all look at each other and morbidly wonder what had happened. A lot of classmates had parents who worked in NY/NJ right where everything happened and you could only imagine.

My neighborhood was next to the high school and I remember walking home, turning on the television seeing every station was reporting the coverage–Nickelodeon, MTV, local news stations, etc. all broadcasting. I came home exhausted and fell asleep listening to the news; I just couldn’t take it. The anxiety for everyone, the anxiety for the people I knew hoping they were okay, the country, the tears I shed when I came home. What’s pretty crazy is my mom would always tape her soap operas on the VCR when she worked. Guiding Light on CBS at 10am, Days of Our Lives on at 1pm on NBC, she recorded a bunch of the coverage that I still have the VHS tape recording history live on TV.

The next year, a family friend and native New Yorker took my sister and I on a day trip to the city. We walked by Ground Zero and the enormous holes in the ground just left you speechless. The construction going on to rebuild, the Missing people’s pictures up and American flags everywhere was a sight to see. Not only that but it was quiet–just so very quiet for the city that never sleeps.

 

That was my day, my recollection of September 11th, 2001. Parts of it mirror what Claire, Jasper, and Peter experienced that day. Obviously on a more emotional level as I didn’t live as close as they did, but the perspective is there for sure. To learn more information on the events & to donate, check out the 9/11 Memorial website http://www.911memorial.org

My Motivational Monday version

Taking on this idea of #MondayMotivation, I wanted to put my own spin on things because I need some hardcore motivation. I feel like overall my brain never stops and by doing this I become overwhelmed and paranoid and this is clearly problematic. It’s problematic because I don’t accomplish anything. At that point I start to realize this, I get frustrated, then the stream of tears start and I want to curl up into a ball and hope that in my next life I become a domesticated pet who just eats and sleeps all day.

So in order to get myself in gear I’m starting to face some perspectives:

  1. Next week is December. DECEMBER, PEOPLE!! Where did 2015 GO?!!
  2. 2016 is the year I turn, *gulp*, 30. Yes, 3-0. I’m terrified (see above’s first paragraph of how things are right now)
  3. Because of item #2, my health needs a vast improvement…mentally and physically.
  4. Stop waiting and start doing. Like #1 states, it’s already almost the end of the year, and I’m going to officially get a start on it…for 2016 that is!
  5. These all lead up to something new I’d like to try…

I tend to do this thing on Twitter where I tweet because I’m so overwhelmed I need the pick-me-up or my need to vent, but I have a habit of tweeting in a sort of “Oh, woe is me”. It’s not cool. Who knows how many people notice it or if they don’t. Again, probably my paranoia, but I want to take this and turn it into a positive.

The Instagcollage photo I made represents all my current traffic jams (clockwise from top right):

  • I need to start appreciating the little things. I get so heavy with what I don’t have that I can’t remember what I DO have! It’s so crazy and very important, not because Thanksgiving is days away–granted, that shouldn’t be the only time you reflect what you’re thankful for, but it’s something that’s a good reminder.
    • Sure I don’t have that job that the chick I lightly stalk on social media because she has my dream EVERYTHING, and I would love to switch places with her in a heartbeat, but I can’t and I won’t because there’s probably something else she could very well look at in my life and think the same thing.
  • do what you love is much easier said than done. I don’t know how some do it. I don’t know how they harness the power to overcome so much and become successful. I’m unsure of how to reach my true potential and I fear this more and more every day. What’s hurting me most is that I focus on this too much and I need to just take what I can get even though this is tough to swallow because I think the best I can be is doing something that I absolutely love and have passion forThis is what gets me in trouble because I don’t know how to accomplish it, and the more time I pretend I can do it, the more time I lose because I’m getting nowhere.
  • extravert, sensing, feeling, judging. I really need to look at the qualities I already have and put them to good use, put that positive spin and go with it. These are my Humanmetrics Jung Typology Test results and I don’t know what to do with them.
  • my health and wealth. My friend ran her first marathon yesterday and I felt sad I wasn’t running with her. While I’m nowhere near her pace when it comes to running or have her dedication, this was the first race I watched and didn’t participate in. My 5Ks are cakewalks now. Do they still feel like they’re the longest runs ever? Meh, I have some days where it’s nothing and some days where it feels like forever. I’m out of shape. I only have one half marathon under my belt and I’m not okay with that. Forget about what running does to my body physically, mentally it does help me feel stronger because it’s one thing I have achieved before that makes me feel good. My diet is another thing that 2016 has to be ready for. If I want to run my marathon, I at least want to lose 50 lbs to get there. I need to feel lighter and be lighter, my body will thank me for this in the long run.

After all this is said and done, my new idea is that I can’t get myself down. Things have to change. What’s important is that I recognize this and starting small counts. For every time I feel the need to post my “Oh woe is me” I want to try and find an inspirational quote and hopefully I will start to get that motivation ball rolling that I so much desire. Let the first motivationally speaking commence!

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That Time I Was

Happy Monday to everyone! While fixing my resume and sprucing up tiny crevices in my blog late Sunday night, at 1230am, I was struck with this brilliant idea to get the followers to know a little bit more about me.

I think most have a good sense of who I am but I decided to post some random stories that are fun and can keep you entertained in between book posts and reviews 🙂 As of right now I’m just going to sprinkle these posts, I don’t have an exact schedule because, hey–I literally came up with this idea five seconds ago and I’m running with it. BEHOLD THE NEWEST FEATURE TO THE KID’S BLOG:

JK, the year was 2006 and in the summer there was a little show on VH1 called World Series of Pop Culture.

Wait, what?

YESSSSSSS 😀 😀 😀

This show existing was basically the universe saying, “Lindsey, all of your useless knowledge could actually be beneficial!” After the series first season, I had caught wind of auditions for the following season and recruited two friends of mine who were pop culture fiends, such as myself where we all decided–we must be on this show!

We submitted our entry and mid-November of 2006 we had ACTUALLY gotten a response back from someone at VH1 who was interested in our team!

Our team consisted of friends of mine, Chris and Amanda, fans of TV/film and pop culture like myself! At the time there was a popular celeb gossip blog called Pink is the New Blog that we all loved and decided to dub our team after as Pink is the New Pop Culture. After our applications were submitted we got into ANOTHER ROUND of competition this time heading to NYC and to take a 60-minute written quiz and possibly move onto the audition round!!

😦 Sadly due to a conflict we didn’t end up getting to go to NYC. Such a bummer because the opportunity would have been amazing and even if we hadn’t passed the quiz to move onto auditions, it still would’ve been awesome to talk about! Heck, it’s still fun to think back on it. Even though we passed the original submission and application, it still cool to say I once had a shot at it.

So, that time I was almost a contestant for VH1’s World Series of Pop Culture for 2007 was an actual thing. It’s been nine years and I still haven’t deleted those emails and won’t any time soon.

#fangirlstatus

#fangirlstatus

Do you have a random past where you were a contestant on a show but no one knows? Do tell–I want to hear all the stories!

*GIFs and WSOPC image not mine

How I turned frustration into strength – my road to running

This is a healthy, real-life emotional post I wanted to share with you all!

On March 29th, 2015, I will be running my first ever half-marathon, the Love Run in Philadelphia! Yep, that’s 13.1 miles to complete! I’m so nervous but super excited because when I started I didn’t think I would ever get here. I’m mostly there (distance-wise) and I’m ready to shout it from the rooftops because I’ve worked really hard for this.

I won’t lie and say the road to running isn’t bumpy; during my training I got sick (just regular cold stuff, stomach bug), I had lazy days, I had days where I was super busy and couldn’t squeeze a run in before work or after, but I have stuck it out and that’s the most I can be happy with.

For as long as I can remember I’ve never been happy with my weight and/or appearance. I’ve always been the heavy friend, always –to quote Taylor Swift, “she’s cheer captain and I’m on the bleachers” …I’m the girl in the t-shirts and hanging out on the bleachers. Even as I got older my rationale about who I am hadn’t changed much. And that’s something I definitely need to work on, have been working on for a while and sometimes I see improvements.

Running works for me because I can zone out. I end up caring about how much more until I reach the half mile point, or when I have a mile under my belt. How many more songs will it take until I finish my distance? Breathe in, breathe out. All of these things are traveling so fast within my mind that I’m not paying attention to much else…and that’s a really good thing because I have been known to do too much thinking.

So with my weight issues three years ago I started to work out with Jillian Michaels DVDs. I saw some results but I just was super adamant on not wanting to spend money on a gym membership (which I eventually did) so I was taking the cheap road and spending $9 on a workout DVD where you’re your only workout buddy besides Jillian and she won’t know if you cheat and skip out on a move or not. Despite seeing some slimming I just never felt like I was seeing enough of an improvement and I like food too much to officially change my diet for the better. Even with counting calories on and off and a small time at WeightWatchers, it just wasn’t there for me and I was losing hope. I did hear of one other way you could lose weight faster and that would change soon.

On April 15th, 2013 Boston was celebrating its city’s day as well as one of their exciting community events, the Boston Marathon. 26 miles are run by thousands of individuals and thousands more come out to support and cheer all of those hardworking runners on! (Great, I’m tearing up writing this because it’s the truth no matter how clichéd you think I am) We all know what happened next.

That day I felt really terrible for the victims. Everyone who was effected and most importantly, every runner and supporter who ironically lost their leg(s) that day…it just broke my heart. I cried a lot and thought how freaking awful were these individuals to bomb such a happy occasion with this hate and hurt so many innocent people! People who were RUNNING now have a really long and difficult road to recovery to possibly running again, and may never want to try. After I got sad, I got angry and thought, “How can I come home every day and not want to take advantage of having two working legs, when these poor victims don’t have that simple right anymore?” It just…it really got to me and in addition to trading in my DVDs, I decided to become a runner instead.

I downloaded C25K, Couch 2 5K app for my iPhone, and decided I was going to make a real goal. I was going to attempt to find time to run and I set my goal that May to run my first 5K in October of that year. The app starts you off slow, you run on and off 1 minute to 1.5 minutes and you do that for 28-30 mins with a 5 mins warm-up and cool down. In the following weeks, you progress to 3 minutes then 5 and then 8 minutes and so on. I remember when I got to when I had to run 5 minutes in a row—I thought I was going to die. I was getting anxiety about it because I was barely managing the three, and kept thinking, THAT’S A WHOLE SONG! I’M ATTEMPTING TO RUN FOR AN ENTIRE SONG! SOMEONE HELP ME! Hahaha!

Oh if only my old self could see me now! Most recently the week I had to run my 12 miles I was so proud I ran 4 miles for 45 minutes without stopping for a breather or water and walk it off! Now that may be child’s play to some runners, but for me that was seriously monumental!

Since getting that inspiration on that tragic day in April, I’ve run (officially) seven 5K’s, two virtual 10K’s (run on your own, anywhere, pay and receive a medal—HOLLA! An honor system basically), and signed up for a 10K but had to pass on it because travel plans changed. This year I have my first half-marathon, a 15K, and a 5K already signed up for and I hope to run that 10K I didn’t get a chance to run the year before. I’m really proud that I’ve been keeping up with it and I’m hoping one day in the near future I can try for a full marathon!

I need a real trainer to help me get to running 26.2 miles…oh god I want to throw up thinking about that, haha, but thinking about running 5 minutes in a row once gave me that feeling too and I conquered that so I have faith and know in time I can attempt it and make it happen!

Family and most importantly my friends have cheered me on telling me how proud they are and some days I get it and some days I don’t. Running doesn’t seem like it’s a big deal. It’s just using your legs to get from one point to another. But some days… some days I get it. I get the appreciation people tell me because running isn’t easy and it isn’t for everyone.

The fact that I can make a conscious decision to get out of bed, lace up my sneakers, put in those earbuds, and owning that treadmill or pavement does feel pretty good. And that does take effort that I always sell myself short on. Again, some days I get it—I see the hard work I’ve put forth, and some days it just feels like second nature to run because it’s another day and that’s what I have to do, I don’t need praise to do it because I just will.


xx Linz aka The Kid