For the rest of the world, the movies are entertainment. For Justine, they’re real life. The premise was simple: five kids, just living their lives. There’d be a new movie about them every five years, starting in kindergarten. But no one could have predicted what the cameras would capture. And no one could have predicted that Justine would be the star. Now sixteen, Justine doesn’t feel like a star anymore. In fact, when she hears the crew has gotten the green light to film Five at Sixteen, all she feels is dread. The kids who shared the same table in kindergarten have become teenagers who hardly know one another. And Justine, who was so funny and edgy in the first two movies, feels like a disappointment. But these teens have a bond that goes deeper than what’s on film. They’ve all shared the painful details of their lives with countless viewers. They all know how it feels to have fans as well as friends. So when this latest movie gives them the chance to reunite, Justine and her costars are going to take it. Because sometimes, the only way to see yourself is through someone else’s eyes.
Not to be ironic, but I can totally see this as a movie or a TV series. Maybe not as much as L.J. Smith’s The Forbidden Game series, but still. Seriously. It would make a cool drama. Last year, my school librarian went to one of the bigger book events for the US and came back with about ten to fifteen ARCs. I got it into my head that I wanted to read all of them, even the ones that I didn’t really care about.
The first of those, the one I wanted to read most, was Prodigy by Marie Lu, but that’s another post. This was the third or fourth. Somehow, I got it into my head that this was the sequel to The Beginning of After, also by Jennifer Castle, and there was nothing to prove me wrong because–of course–I had not read The Beginning of After yet. (I plan to). And the funny thing is, the whole time I was thinking how talented an author Jennifer Castle must be to make me feel that this was the first book when really it was the second book but in actuality, it was the first book. Riddle me that. Anyway, even though this book isn’t in a series, I still think Jennifer Castle is talented.
This is a book based around characters. Okay, maybe that was a bad way to say it. I mean–all books are based around characters, right? There’s just this indescribable feeling though. You just know when an author writes a story based around their character’s lives, and is not just a story about them. And, like many things in writing, writing a story based around your characters and not about them, is a talent all it’s own.
Sometimes when I find a good, compulsive read, I realize it really quickly. It happened with Kathy Reichs’s Virals, which turned out to be one of my five star books. It happened with The Hunger Games and The Book Thief. It happened with most of Rick Riordan’s books. Notice that all of these books I’m mentioning are action-adventure. I’ve always been more of an action-adventure type rather than a romance-contemporary type, though I do read those too. It’s harder for me to see, but occasionally I’ll get a contemporary novel that makes me sigh and grumble whenever someone calls my name or my phone beeps, because I’ll have to get up, go over there, and find out what they want. And in that time, I won’t be reading. This was one of those contemporary books.
Personally, I think my favorite character was Rory. She was funny, quirky and I saw a lot of growth in her character. She’s one of those people where being around her friends makes her stronger. And because of her, her friends become stronger. They felt protective towards her, as did I as I read this story.
As I read about the five growing up, I was really impressed. I thought that Keira and Nate had the most intense, interesting stories, but Rory was also intriguing in the past because she was diagnosed with autism early on. I hope that Jennifer Castle writes more stories about the five, because I will definitely be interested in reading them! 4.5 stars.
pg count for the hardback: 368
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