Monthly Archives: October 2014

Monthly Recap – October ’14

~Monthly Recap~

This is a new “feature” I’m starting. It’s pretty self explanatory, on the last day of every month, I’ll recap my month and include some other stuff relevant to me over the past month. As I get the hang of this, I’ll include posts from other bloggers, favorite reviews, etc.

I decided to start this new feature when I was viewing Jamie’s blog, The Perpetual Page and saw her feature “Monthly Rewind”. I’ve noticed a lot of other bloggers do monthly recaps as well. As a new blogger, I thought this would be great to track my progress, how I’m doing and other various things in my life. I’m really looking forward to doing this, though I wish I would have started when I first created my blog. Oh well. 🙂


~YA Indulgences Stats~

Blog Wise:

# of views/visitors: 839/549

# of Blog Posts: 23

# of Reviews: 4

Most viewed post: Review: Where She Went by Gayle Forman

Most liked post: Waiting On Wednesday ($10)

Most commented post: Amber’s Rambles – Book Buying Bans, Binges and Budgets (And a little more) (Part 1)


~Book Stats~

# of Books Read: 8

# of Books Bought: 11

# of Books Borrowed: 26 


~YA Indulgences’s Past Month’s Posts~

Wondrous Covers Wednesdays (#7)

Review: The Truth About Alice by Jennifer Mathieu

Amber’s Rambles (#5) – Introduction to Book Buying Bans, Binges and Budgets

Featured Fairytale Friday (#7) – The Red Shoes by Hans Christian Andersen

The Sunday Post (#10) + Stacking The Shelves (#6)

Musical Mondays (#3.5) (Part Two) – Five Storytelling Songs

Top Ten Tuesday – Top Ten Books For People Who Like Character Driven Novels

Review: Cut by Patricia McCormick

Waiting On Wednesday (#9)

Wondrous Covers Wednesday (#8)

Amber’s Rambles – Book Buying Bans, Binges and Budgets (Part 1: Binges)

The Sunday Post (#11) + Stacking The Shelves (#7)

Seven Deadly Sins Tag

Top Ten Tuesday – Top Ten Places I’d Love To Visit (Or Live)

Wondrous Covers Wednesday (#9)

Top Ten Tuesday – Top Ten New(ish) Series I Want To Start

The Sunday Post (#12) + Stacking The Shelves (#8)

Musical Monday (#4) (Part 1) – Les Miserables

Top Ten Tuesday – Top Ten Characters I Would Totally Want To Be For Halloween

Review: Stargirl by Jerry Spinelli

Waiting On Wednesday (#10)

Wondrous Covers Wednesday (#10) – Feather Theme

Review: Nick and Norah’s Infinite Playlist by David Levithan and Rachel Cohn


~Things I’ve Been Obsessed With~

The Hunger Games, I only began reading this series a few weeks ago and I still need to read The Mockingjay (I lent it out, silly me), but I love this series.


 

~Elsewhere on the Web~

I fell back in love with these videos:


~Blogging Participation~

  • I participated in the Suicide and Mental Health Awareness Theme Read at Resistance is Futile.

  • I’m going to participate in the reading one series a month challenge, that Danielle at Love at First Page came up with, which I learned from Lauren’s post at bookmark lit. 🙂 


 

~Off YA Indulgences~

  • My birthday was on the 11th, I’m now 23 years old.

  • I applied to Barnes and Noble, followed up with several calls and never got a call back about my application. That’s disappointing but not the end of the world.

  • I had an unexpected internet hiatus.


~Next Month~

I hope to read a lot more books than I did this month. I want to review twice as many since this wasn’t a very review filled month, due to my unexpected hiatus. I can’t believe the year’s almost over. I hope everyone has a great next month. ❀

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Review: Nick and Norah’s Infinite Playlist by David Levithan and Rachel Cohn

Nick_and_NorahTitle: Nick and Norah’s Infinite Playlist
Author: David Levithan and Rachel Cohn
Published: April 2008 (Knopf Books for Young Readers) (First published in 2005)
Pages: 194
Genres: Young Adult
Format: Paperback
Source: Purchased
Rating: Four Stars
Goodreads Summary:
It all starts when Nick asks Norah to be his girlfriend for five minutes. He only needs five minutes to avoid his ex-girlfriend, who’s just walked in to his band’s show. With a new guy. And then, with one kiss, Nick and Norah are off on an adventure set against the backdrop of New York City – and smack in the middle of all the joy, anxiety, confusion, and excitement of a first date.
This he said/she said romance told by YA stars Rachel Cohn and David Levithan is a sexy, funny roller coaster of a story about one date over one very long night, with two teenagers, both recovering from broken hearts, who are just trying to figure out who they want to be – and where the next great band is playing.
Purchase: Barnes and Noble / Amazon / Book Depository
Cover Thoughts: I really love the text font. New York City in the background was really nice and isn’t something that immediately sticks out. The title definitely grabbed my interest.
First Line: The day begins in the middle of the night.
First Thoughts: It was only a kiss, how did it up like this? It was only a kiss, it was only a kiss
 (Mr. Brightside by The Killers)
~Review~
Nick and Norah’s Infinite Playlist was magical. It reminded me of Where She Went (If I Stay #2) by Gayle Forman and The Statistical Probability of Love At First Sight by Jennifer E. Smith, two books I highly enjoyed. Except a bit grungier and with a bit more language.This New York centric story captured the New York atmosphere from Where She Went and the interpersonal connections two strangers can make like in The Statistical Probability of Love At First Sight.
Nick and Norah’s Infinite Playlist is told from both Nick and Norah’s viewpoints, alternating chapters. We meet Nick in the first chapter who has been dumped by his girlfriend. Nick is in a band that is currently called The Fuck Offs which is sure not to be a permanent name with as often as Nick’s bandmates like to change it. I loved reading about the band aspect, it really added to the atmosphere that the club had. He’s completely focused on the music until he sees his ex, with another guy. In an effort to avoid her, he decides to ask Norah, a girl he’s just met to pretend to be his girlfriend. Norah with her own similar motive, decides to do it.
There were many things about Nick and Norah’s Infinite Playlist that I like. The biggest one is the music aspect that sort of carries the story. From clubs to favorite bands to mix tapes, every musical aspect is here. I loved how in love with music Nick and Norah were. Nick is the bassist of The Fuck Offs, as well as a closeted songwriter who Norah appreciates. Norah’s own connection with music comes from her dad being a big time music producer.
I like how Norah sort of knew Nick even before they had ever met. Norah goes to Convent of The Sacred Heart with Tris. Neither girl gets along with the other, but they have one friend in common, Caroline, her best friend. Norah’s one focus of the night until Nick shows up. Norah says that her parents love Caroline, which is good because Caroline’s own parents don’t really care about her. Caroline is what Norah isn’t, a disappointment. Norah wears flannel and turned down Brown University in order to take a gap year.
Norah isn’t quite fond of Tris and Tris doesn’t care too much about Norah. Norah already knows about Nick due to going to school with Tris. Nick would make Tris mixtures, which she would throw in the trash, uninterested. Norah ends up getting the mixtures and listening to them and sort of falling in love with the person who made them.
Norah was a really interesting character to read about. I liked her personality even though it was cynical, frigid and she had low self esteem. One of the interesting things she says s that because her parents have been married for a quarter of the century, there’s no chance for her to find real love. I loved how much Norah cared about Caroline. When we meet Caroline, she’s drunk and about to hook up with a guy from another band called Are You Randy?. It’s Norah’s job to get Caroline home, which she does in an interesting way that I wouldn’t quite advise doing so.
I liked reading in Nick’s perspective to see what he thought of Tris and Norah. I was annoyed at how obsessed he was with Tris though because she didn’t seem to be the right girl for him, which Tris knew. I liked that Nick was a songwriter and disliked that Tris never really cared about that.
I liked viewing Tris from Nick and Norah’s perspectives. By seeing her through both their eyes, I was able to get a better perspective of her. Tris doesn’t immediately seem like a great person. Norah dislikes her, Nick’s obsessed with her. There was definitely more to Tris than meets the eye, even if she first seems like the typical bad, breaking hearts, completely wrong, girlfriend, mean popular girl. Tris is kind to Nick and Norah at different parts in the books and explain why she broke Nick’s heart.
After Nick and Norah kiss, a night full of adventures happens. Once Caroline’s safely home, Nick and Norah go visit stripping nuns, walk around New York, disconnected and reunite. It’s a story of first and second chances. There’s forgiveness, heartbreak, family aspects, friendship, romance and lust. Like The Statistical Probability of Love at First Sight, Nick and Norah’s Infinite Playlist really made me just want to go to a New York club of my own and find love.
I loved how realistic Nick and Norah were. There characters weren’t perfect, both had low self esteem, a bit of a language problem, didn’t know quite what they wanted, whiny, cynical, and had relationship issues. Despite all that though, it made them more appealing to me. I really loved how much took place over just hours. There were a few things I didn’t like like as all of the cursing which I felt was excessive, though added to the New York, grunge scene that the characters were in. It may turn off some people though who don’t like to read a lot of cursing in books. I didn’t like how the characters at times. Some of their actions just made me frustrated.
When reading the book, I read online that David Levithan and Rachel Cohn wrote this story through email, each sending a chapter to the other and picking the story up there. I thought it flowed extremely well.
Overall I really loved Nick and Norah’s Infinite Playlist. The setting was perfect, the characters, relatable and the storyline, interesting. I would recommend this.

Wondrous Covers Wednesday (#10)

I’m so excited for today’s Wondrous Covers Wednesdays, Wondrous Covers Wednesday (or WCW), is a weekly feature here at YA Indulgences where I showcase three covers. The covers may or may not be in a certain theme.
This week though, they are! I’m so happy I held out on doing this theme until I found three covers to fit it perfectly. Here they are:
StrangeA beautiful cover for a beautiful title. I’ve yet to read this book, unfortunately though. I fell in love with this cover as soon as I saw it. I love the background cover, the feather cover, it’s just so amazing. The blue makes the yellow strike so beautifully. It just seems magical.

The second:
The Probability of MiraclesThis is the second amazing cover in this theme. I really love the colors in this. This is the paperback cover of The Probability of Miracles. I like how bright it is.

My final cover is
MagnoiaYes, the final cover! I just discovered this beautiful cover a few days ago. I about screamed when I saw it. It’s so amazing. I love the feather colors, the blue is really similar to that in The Strange and Beautiful Sorrows of Ava Lavender.  I love how the feather turns into butterflies at the top. The image just makes me so curious about this book. It looks really stunning with the sunset and darkening background it has.

The theme if you couldn’t tell is feathers. 🙂 I’ve been wanting to do this theme forever, but I didn’t want to just do it with two covers rather than three. When I saw Magonia’s cover, I knew I had to do it this week.

Let me know what you think of these covers and what some of your favorites are. 🙂

Waiting on Wednesday (#10)

Waiting On WednesdayHey guys. It’s Waiting on Wednesday, a meme created and hosted by Jill at Breaking The Spine. Every Wednesday, you can share that one special book yet to be released that you’re waiting to have. If you would like to join in and link up, you can go here.
I didn’t think I would actually be posting WoW this week, as I hadn’t heard of anything I was interested in being released this week. I discovered my pick earlier this week though, on Monday. Although it doesn’t come out until next year, I couldn’t resist posting it.  I’ve been anxiously awaiting until today to share it with you all! Here it is!
A Court of Thorn and RosesA Court of Thorn and Roses (#1) by Sarah J. Mass
Release Date: May 5th, 2015
Published By: Bloomsbury Children’s
Genres: Young Adult, Fantasy, Fairytale, Romance
Pre-Order/Purchase: Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Book Deposiory
Goodreads Summary:
When 19-year-old huntress Feyre kills a wolf in the woods, a beast-like creature arrives to demand retribution for it. Dragged to a treacherous magical land she only knows about from legends, Feyre discovers that her captor is not an animal, but Tamlin—one of the lethal, immortal faeries who once ruled their world.
As she dwells on his estate, her feelings for Tamlin transform from icy hostility into a fiery passion that burns through every lie and warning she’s been told about the beautiful, dangerous world of the Fae. But an ancient, wicked shadow over the faerie lands is growing, and Feyre must find a way to stop it … or doom Tamlin—and his world—forever
Why I Can’t Wait:
Isn’t it the most amazing cover you’ve ever seen? It’s so gorgeous. I don’t know what I love more, the title, the cover, or this beautiful, dangerous world of Fae with an ancient, wicked shadow idea. It just sounds so freaking amazing! Doesn’t it? It DOES.
I believe it’s a sort of Beauty and The Beast retelling. If you don’t know, Beauty and The Beast is my favorite Disney movie, I just love it so much. The only hint of that I see of the actual fairytale though is the beast like creature which is actually a faerie. There’s also Fevre who has to stop the shadow though or “doom Tamlin–and his world–forever”. It sounds so dramatic! Nevermind, on second thought, this totally sounds like a Beauty and The Beast high fantasy, super dramatic, awesome retelling. I can’t wait.
It’s by Sarah J. Mass who I’ve heard amazing things about. I just love this premise. I’ve never read a story involving faeries, unless you count Thumbelina and one or two others. 🙂 But this is a full length book! This book sounds so awesome, I’m going to have to pre-order it. If YOU want to pre-order it, there are three links above where you can do so.
That’s it for this week. What are you anxiously waiting on this Wednesday? Let me know in the comments. 🙂

Review: Stargirl by Jerry Spinelli

Stargirl_Jerry_SpinelliTitle: Stargirl (Stargirl #1)
Author: Jerry Spinelli
Published: September 2002 (Scholastic)
Pages: 186
Genres: Young Adult
Format: Paperback
Source: Purchased
Rating: Four Stars
Goodreads Summary:
From the day she arrives at quiet Mica High in a burst of color and sound, hallways hum “Stargirl.” She captures Leo Borlock’s heart with one smile. She sparks a school-spirit revolution with one cheer. The students of Mica High are enchanted. Until they are not. Leo urges her to become the very thing that can destroy her – normal.
Purchase: Barnes and Noble / Amazon / Book Depository
Cover Thoughts: I love the simpleness of this cover. I think it’s unique because the title isn’t written, but rather portrayed by a star and a girl.
First Line: When I was little, my uncle Pete had a necktie with a porcupine painted on it.
~Review~
Stargirl immediately drew me into the story from the prologue which is from the main character, Leo’s point of view. Leo is a high school Junior whose co-hosts the popular show, Hotseat with his best friend Kevin. He’s fascinated by Stargirl, but doesn’t act on it in the beginning, except for following her one time. It was really interesting to see his point of view of Stargirl before he really knew her.
Stargirl is one of the most interesting characters I’ve ever read about. She doesn’t say the Pledge of Allegiance correctly, she carries around a ukulele going from lunch table to table, singing happy birthday to various students, she has a pet rat and most notably, she had this phenomenal kindness and desire to do good for everyone.
When Stargirl goes to Mica High School, the students are curious about her strange behavior often now knowing what to make of her. However, the students come to love Stargirl as she unifies the students, joining in her kindness crusade. This all changes at a basketball game though and the shunning begins for Stargirl and Leo.
There was a sort of magical aspect to both the character and the book, Stargirl, with the way she acted and people reacted. I thought it was realistic how the students became Stargirl crazy, dressing like her and acting like her, then turning around and rejecting her. High school students aren’t always the most kindest peoples as we learn in Stargirl.
I liked the romance aspect between Stargirl and Leo was built up. Leo never makes fun of Stargirl and eventually begins hanging out with her. Despite her being the school outcast, he still hangs out with her. It was well portrayed. Stargirl and Leo’s hanging out was refreshing to read because they did unique things such as following people for 15 minutes in the mall, trying to figure out what card they needed. They visited a desert where they would just sit silently and be content.
Stargirl was always a sort of mystery to Leo that he could never quite figure out and I enjoyed that. Stargirl was a mystery to all of the students because they couldn’t imagine someone who wanted to be kind no matter what, let others win sometimes and be there for someone, even if they didn’t know them personally.
Stargirl was likable, joyful and down to earth, despite some of her out of the world behavior. She creates a scrapbook for a young boy in her neighborhood, makes cards for people she feels needs them, learns information about people that others wouldn’t think about, and even cheers for the school’s opposing teams. Stargirl is not always a happy person Leo finds out though. When he visits her house he finds a wagon she calls her “Happy Wagon”. The happy wagon is a small wagon full of pebbles that Stargirl either puts one in or takes one out depending on if she’s happy or not. He discovers she’s been very sad at times about the students not liking her. She always hides her sadness though with joy.
It was believable that Leo wanted Stargirl to be “normal” so they would be thought of better by their classmates. The peer pressure Leo felt with being in a relationship with Stargirl was believable while being painful. I felt really upset that Stargirl wanted to be liked and have friends and one event just ruins that. I can understand the students not liking her at times because her behavior was strange to them, but it was still sad to read.
I thought Leo was an okay enough character. I couldn’t really understand why Stargirl was so initially attracted to him. I was annoyed at times because he thought so much of what his classmates thought of him and it affected how he thought of Stargirl. I can’t fully blame Leo though for feeling upset because in high school peer pressure and conformity are big issues. Before Stargirl came to Mica high, Leo had been well liked and afterwards, he was shunned.
There were other characters in Stargirl such as Archie, a retired paleontologist, a person who studies fossils. Archie teaches kids on Saturdays including Leo and Stargirl. Students are free to come in at any time though to be taught by him, which Stargirl and Leo do. He has a mentor type friendship with Stargirl and Leo. Archie was an interesting character. I liked how he understood Stargirl a bit as he was a little strange himself. I also liked how he confronted Leo about his trying to change Stargirl in his own way. Archie seemed very wise to me and like a teacher or mentor I wish I would had.
Leo’s best friend, Kevin, was an okay character. Like Leo, I wasn’t completely crazy about him. I liked how he didn’t outright shun Leo and Stargirl when the rest of the students did, but he wasn’t much better. In the beginning he wants Stargirl to be on Hot Seat, which Leo is against. Kevin ends up nagging Leo about it and eventually Leo gives in. This makes me wish Leo would have thought more for himself than others.
One event in particular frustrated me a lot because if it had occurred differently, it would have caused a different ending. I did like the ending for the most part, it was mostly satisfying but heartbreaking as well.
Stargirl was uniquely written with its simplistic yet beautiful deep meaning writing. I fell in love with so many of the quotes in it.
Stargirl was inspiring. At 23 years old it made me examine myself and how often I go out of my way to be kind to others despite their own behavior. Stargirl shares a great message of  simply being yourself despite what others think and being kind no matter what. I loved how Stargirl dealt with issues such as individuality, peer pressure, hate and social norms, especially in high school.
The only flaws I felt were in this book was Leo’s lack of depth outside of Stargirl’s effect on him. I wish the book was a bit longer as well. Overall I really enjoyed the book and it’s one I’ll definitely read again.

Memorable Quotes

She was elusive. She was today. She was tomorrow. She was the faintest scent of a cactus flower, the flitting shadow of an elf owl. We did not know what to make of her. In our minds we tried to pin her to a corkboard like a butterfly, but the pin merely went through and away she flew.
One morning we had a rare rainfall. It came during her gym class. The teacher told everyone to come in. On the way to the next class they looked out the windows. Stargirl was still outside. In the rain.
I observed her as if she were a bird in an aviary. One day I turned a corner and there she was, coming right at me, the long skirt softly rustling, looking straight at me, surrounding me with those eyes. I turned and trotted off the other way. Seating myself in my next class, I felt warm, shaken. I wondered if my foolishness showed. Was I myself becoming goofy? The feeling I had had when I saw her around the corner had been something like panic (3.39).

Top Ten Tuesday – Top Ten Characters Who I Would Totally Want to Be For Halloween

It’s Top Ten Tuesday! Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme created and hosted by the women at The Broke and The Bookish. Every week there is a new bookish top ten list for bloggers to enjoy and post about. To find out more and link up, you can go here. For this week’s top ten list, there were two choices:
Top Ten Books/Movies To Read Or Watch To Get In The Halloween Spirit OR Top Ten Characters Who I Would Totally Want To Be For Halloween
I chose:
Top Ten Characters Who I Would Totally Want To Be For Halloween
I’ll say up front that most of my answers are not rare or unique, so most likely you’ll all know of the characters I speak of.
Here’s my list:
1. Katniss Everden from The Hunger Games
This one doesn’t even need an explanation, it’s Katniss. Everdeen. I’ve only read the first two books, but I love her. Plus she has a bow and arrow. I may have a fascination with bows and arrows
.and a strong desire to learn how to wield one.
Katniss_EverdeenKatniss_Everdeen_THG
2. Gemma Doyle from A Great and Terrible Beauty (Gemma Doyle Trilogy #1)
This series takes place in the 18th century Europe. What’s not to love? Except some of the insane asylums going around in this time period and illnesses. Nothing! So I would be Gemma for the chance to dress in such amazing clothes without the fear of obtaining said diseases or getting committed to an insane asylum.
3. Lola from Lola and The Boy Next Door (Anna and The French Kiss #2(ish)
Lola believes in costumes, not fashion. Some of her clothes choices in the books are a bit. . . interesting. Halloween would give me the best opportunity to try them out and deciding if I would want to dress like that full time. I really just want to wear the amazing Marie Antoinette dress she wears. So I would be Lola dressing like Marie Antoinette.

robe "Marie-Antoinette"

4. Aria from Pretty Little Liars (Series)
Aria’s clothes are really amazing in the show. I’d like to be her for that sole reason. 🙂
PLL_AriaAria_PLL
5. Sailor Moon from Sailor Moon manga
This really should be my top answer, but my answers are in no particular order. I. love. Sailor. Moon. The only question I have is
would I dress in the Sailor Scout costume or the Neo Queen Serenity costume? Decisions, decisions.
Sailor_Moon_TransformationsPrincess_SerenityNeo_Queen_Serenity
So you can see my problem, yes?
6. Belle from Jeanne-Marie Leprince de Beaumont’s Beauty and the Beast
Slightly cheating with this one as I’d dress as the movie character rather the book character. Look at these dress choices! It’s like, how do you choose?  I’d wear the big yellow/gold(?) ballgown! I actually was Belle for Halloween once, I believe I was seven. True story. 🙂
Belle_DressesBelle_in_Gown
7. Eponine from Les Miserables
Again, I’m slightly cheating, because I would like to be dressed like the musical character than the book character, for reasons I’ve discussed in yesterday’s Musical Monday! Anyway, I honestly just want to really wear fancy dresses and live in 18th century France while not actually dealing with any of the problems there.
Samantha_Barks_As_EponineSamantha_Barks_As_Eponine_Dress
8. Daenerys from Game of Thrones
I’ll admit it
 I have not even finished the first book yet, which means Daenerys hasn’t even showed up yet, but, well I’ll prove my point with a picture. Or two.
DaenerysDaenerys_S3
Enough said, right? Such pretty dresses.
Well this was really fun. What character would you totally want to be for Halloween? Let me know below! 😀

Musical Monday (#4) – Les MisĂ©rables

Good evening everyone. It’s time for Musical Monday (#4). This is a bi-monthly post occurring every other Monday. The first part talks about a specific musical and the second part gives five storytelling songs or songs with storytelling elements.

This week I chose Les Miserables as my musical pick. This is perhaps my absolute favorite musical I’ve never had the privilege of seeing.

~Background~
Les Miserables is a French novel by Victor Hugo, published in 1862. The novel begins in 1815 and ends in 1932 going over several charter interactions and arcs. The novel speaks heavily on the history and architecture of France, Paris, religion, justice, morals, politics, love and redemption.
For the original French production, French songwriter, and French composer, Claude-Michel Schönberg teamed up to make Les Miserables a concept recording. In 1980, a stage version of Les Miserables was directed by Robert Hossein,
For the West End production, the musical was expanded and edited for english from the French production. The first production was produced by Cameron Mackintosh and adapted and directed by Trevor Nunn and John Caird. It opened in 1985.
Les Miserables premiered on Broadway in 1987 at The Broadway Theatre. Colm Wilkinsonand Frances Rufelle from the London Production, reprised their roles on Broadway.The musical ran on Broadway until 2003.
Les Miserables was first revived on Broadway in 2006 and closed in 2008. The musical was made into a movie which came out in December 2012. Since then there has been a Toronto revival and most recently, the 2014 Broadway revival.
 
~How I Discovered it~
I’d heard of Les Miserables mentioned briefly online at times, but I never knew any specifics. A couple years ago, I was home flipping through channels when I saw the 25th anniversary concert edition of Les Miserables on PBS. I decided to watch it because it was long over due and fell in love with it.
~Main Cast~
Original Broadway Cast:
Jean Valjean – Colm Wilkinson
A prisoner for almost 20 years for stealing bread, he breaks probation and lives his life better after the Bishop shows him love and forgiveness.
Javert – Terrence Mann
An officer who sees in black and white. He wants to capture Valjean no matter what and take him back to jail.
Fantine – Randy Graff
A woman who works in the factory Valjean runs. Fantine has a child named Cosette who lives with the Thenadiers at their inn. Fantine has send them extra money for medicine for Cosette.
Cosette – Judy Kuhn
Fantine’s daughter, who later becomes Valjean’s adopted daughter and Marius’ love interest.
The ThĂ©nardiers – (ThĂ©nardiers –  Leo Burmester (Madame ThĂ©nardier – Jennifer Butt)
A married couple who con people out of money at their inn, cons Fantine into sending them more money, and have two children, Eponine and Gavroche.
Eponine – Frances Ruffelle
The Thenadiers oldest child who helps her parents con people for money. She’s in love with Marius.
Marius – David Bryant
A student who plans to participate in the June Rebellion until he meets Cosette and falls in love. He is also friends with Fantine.
Enjoiras – Michael Maguire
A fellow student and is in charge of The June Rebellion..
Gavroche – Braden Danner and RD Robb
Eponine’s younger brother.
My favorite cast of Les Miserables is the 25th anniversary one, which I may be a bit biased for since that was my first encounter with Les Miserables. I find the cast to be about flawless with Alfie Boe and Samantha Barks who play Valjean and Eponine, being my favorites.
~The Movie Cast~
Les_Miserables_MovieJean Valjean – Hugh Jackman
Javert, – Russel Crowe
Fantine – Anne Hathaway
Cosette – Amanda Seyfried
ThĂ©nardier –
Madame ThĂ©nardier –
Eponine – Samantha Parks
Marius – Eddie Redmayne
Enjoiras – Aaron Tveit
Gavroche – Daniel Huttlestone
~Plot~
Les Miserables is told in three separate story arcs spanning from 1815 to 1832 . The first story arc takes place in 1815 with Jean Valjean, or 24601 as Javert calls him, being released from jail (The Prologue). Valjean has been imprinted for 20 years for stealing bread to feed his sister and nephew and then trying to escape multiple times. Valjean got five years for stealing bread. This is something people can’t imagine happening these days, such a harsh punishment for a good deed, even if it included a bit of Robin Hooding.

After Valjean is released, he’s put on probation. which he ends up breaking and left on the run from Javert (Valjean’s Solilquoy). Valjean turns his life around and becomes mayor of a town eight years later (At The End of The Day).
It is in this new town where Valjean encounters a woman named Fantine who has been wrongly fired. Fantine has a child named Cosette. Since the Thenadiers have sent Fantine a letter saying Cosette’s sick, Fantine is desperate to make money. She then. who Valjean rescues from the Thenadiers, two cunning inn keepers after Fantine dies (The Bargain). Javert has again found Valjean causing the two to escape.
Nine years later, Valjean is still hiding from Javert and Cosette is left isolated with no one else. Cosette meets Marius and the two fall in love instantly. Normally this would bother me to no end, but the way it’s done is so beautifully. Especially the following passage from the novel:
The power of a glance has been so much abused in love stories, that it has come to be disbelieved in. Few people dare now to say that two beings have fallen in love because they have looked at each other. Yet it is in this way that love begins, and in this way only.
Marius is focused on The June Rebellion, a real event that Victor Hugo used as a big aspect in Les Miserables, until he meets Cosette (In My Life). The musical then picks up with the rebellion happening.
Les Miserables was adapted from Victor Hugo’s novel, changing quite a few things. One could say the musical was a disneyfied or glorified version of the book, but I think that’s a little extreme. There was a change in Eponine’s character in the book and the musical. In the book she’s spoiled by her parents while being mean to Cosette. Years later, her family’s lost their money, she’s left conning people with her parents to live who don’t really care about her, unattractive, uneducated, selfish, friendless and pining after Marius who acts politely to her.
~Favorite Characters~
The BishopColm_Wilkinson_Les_Miserables_Movie
After watching the movie, I had a new appreciation for the bishop that gives Valjean a second chance. Without the bishop, I don’t think Valjean would have changed because his heart was hardened from spending almost 20 years in jail.
In the beginning of Victor Hugo’s novel, there’s a large focus on the Bishop. I loved seeing the Bishop’s character in Les Miserables and it helped me understand his character in the movie and musical.
Eponine
Les_Miserables_Samantha_Barks_25th_Anniversary
Friend of Marius and victim of unrequited love, Eponine is my first favorite character. It’s hard not to just shake Marius through the screen (or recording :P) and tell him how Eponine loves him. Alas, he’s blind to it all.
A common debate among Les Mis fans is the great Eponine vs. Cosette. Cosette has the ability to come off an early Disney princess copy. She’s had a tragic past, grew up poor for the first nine years of her life, has the ability to sing, and of course, lands the guy. When I first watched Les Miserables, I was Team Eponine all the way. It wasn’t until after I watched the 2012 movie that I really began to like Cosette.
Les_Miserables_Eponine_Movie
~Favorite Moments~
The Bishop telling the guards Valjean’s done no wrong in The Prologue.
When Valjean shows up at the court in Who Am I?
One Day More
On My Own
Drink With Me
Valjean’s Confession
Epilogue
All the little singing/talking done between Eponine and Marius that don’t make it to actual songs.
~Favorite Movie Moments~
The Bishop forgiving Valjean
Valjean’s Soliloquy
Valjean and Cosette’s escape scene
All of the song transitions
Marius and Eponine’s interactions that aren’t official songs
I love how Valjean’s Soliloquy and Javert’s Soliloquy mirror each other.
The Epilogue
Empty Chairs At Empty Tables
One Day More
Do You Hear The People Sing
Seeing Marius and Enjoiras for the first time in Paris – Look Down
Any Samantha Barks scene
~Musical Style~
Les Miserables is almost an opera with it’s constant stream of singing. There’s an orchestra playing throughout the musical.
~Key/Favorite Songs~
The Prologue
Valjean’s Soliloquy
Who Am I
Paris, Look Down
One Day More
Bring Him Home
Javert’s Solilquoy
Valjean’s Confession
The Epilogue
~You May Not Know~
  • Lea Salonga was the singing voice for Jasmine in Disney’s Aladdin and Mulan from Disney’s Mulan.
  • Lea Salonga played Fantine in the 10th anniversary and Eponine in the 25th anniversary.
  • Colm Wilkinson who played the original Valjean in London and Broadway, plays the Bishop in the 2012 movie, causing it to go sort of full circle.
~Why I Love It~
What’s not to love? Les Miserables has everything I love in fiction, relatable characters, a rebellion, redemption, strong emotions, romance, unrequited love, flawed characters, meaning,  streetwise characters, and charismatic characters. I love that it is set in France, even though it’s not during the most glamorous time period. I love the three separate arcs that intertwine. The songs are amazing and fit so well together. I love the story of Valjean’s redemption, Fantine’s struggle and the rebellion the students have.
~I Would Recommend This For~
Fans of classic literature, street wise characters, unrequited love, forgiveness, multiple story arcs, ensemble casts, romance, rebellion, and redemption themes.

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