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 The Oscars: Hit or Miss?
Stefani Zeiger
Entertainment Editor
March 30, 2015

  Live on Feb. 22 was the 87th Academy Awards, otherwise known as the Oscars. Nominees were announced earlier this year, receiving varied reactions from shock to disappointment.

  Krystal Calanca, junior, was displeased at the Best Picture nominations because “‘American Sniper’ was nominated…. [This movie] is Islamophobic.”

  “American Sniper” is based on the life of Chris Kyle, known for the “most career sniper kills in U.S. military history,” according to his autobiography, off of which the film is based.  He served in Iraq and targeted al-Qaeda threats.

  However, Calanca also mentioned that she hasn’t heard of the other nominees from this list, reason being she doesn’t watch a lot of movies.

  Sophomore Kaitlyn Watkins, on the other hand, said, “I was definitely pleased [about the nominations]. The movies were well-written, and the acting was great.”

  She also mentioned that the nominees were all about stories that needed to be heard.

  Watkins watched a lot of movies during 2014, her favorite off the Best Picture nominations being “The Imitation Game” because “it was a historical piece, and what happened [in the movie] influences us today.”

  “The Imitation Game” stars Benedict Cumberbatch (nominated for Best Actor in a Leading Role) and is about World War II mathematicians trying to crack the enigma code, which was used to decode German signals.

  Best Picture winner was “Birdman,” which ended up taking four awards that night.  This movie follows a washed up actor who attempts to regain fame by producing a Broadway adaptation of a short story.

  The Los Angeles Times posted an article on its predictions of who was to win. For Best Actor the publication’s decision was “Redmayne. Keaton [from “Birdman”] could prevail, but tough to pick against the history of the Screen Actors Guild winner taking this Oscar.”

The cast of Birdman accepting their award for Best Picture.

  Watkins shared the publication’s opinion, saying, “I feel that Eddie Redmayne from “The Theory of Everything” should win because he did a really good job.”

  “The Theory of Everything” shares the story of the relationship between physicist Stephen Hawking with ALS and his wife.

  Redmayne seemed to be a crowd favorite to win and took home the Oscar, yet Calanca wanted Benedict Cumberbatch to win.

   Calanca recognized Reese Witherspoon’s name on the list of nominees for Best Female in a Leading Role but hadn’t heard of the movie for which she was nominated. She mentioned, “[I] don’t pay attention to pop culture, so I wouldn’t know [who I’d want to win].”

  Watkins and The Los Angeles Times both agreed that Julianne Moore should have won Best Actress in a Leading Role.

  “Still Alive was really good…. In the role that [Moore] played, she did a good job [considering that] it was a hard role to play.”

  The Los Angeles Times stated that Moore is to win her first Oscar with her fifth nomination for her performance as a linguistics professor struggling with early-onset Alzheimer’s.

  Julianne Moore took home the Oscar for Best Actress because her role required intense mental acting.

 Beck: It’s not just a Morning Phase
Melissa Burgett
Sports Editor
March 17, 2015

  Morning Phase, the 12th studio album released by folk-rock musician Beck, made headlines with the 2015 Grammy Award for Album of the Year.

  More than 20 years after the release of his breakout single “Loser,” many people were unaware of his maintained success in the music industry, leading to surprise when he received Grammy nominations for Album of the Year, Best Rock Performance, Best Rock Song, Best Rock Album and Best Engineered Album (Non-Classical)-- winning all but Rock Song and Performance.

  Yet, all this success doesn’t warrant approval from the everyday audience.
  The neutral tones and low-key melody is an uneven mixture of frustrated lyrics and soft tones. “Wave” and “Heart Is a Drum” are key exponents of this notion. The sound is similar to other voices and lyrics of the 90s, such as Pixies and Cake; however, blues comparisons draw Beck toward the “Brothers” era of the Black Keys.
  Harsh words coupled with melodies reminiscent of new age style would often categorize themselves as individualistic, yet Beck missed the mark of distinction in Morning Phase; it lacks the style he had made of himself in his prime.

  Morning Phase could have followed the road Beck has paved as an artist without boundaries, never coloring inside the lines of alternative rock and releasing unreleased tracks from the mid-1990s in 2009 for the sole purpose of giving his fans access to his most popular era. Yet, the sound in Morning Phase is folk-country and repetitive, shocking fans who expected the man who so vehemently opposed MTV and the bubblegum pop era.

   Beck, a singular musician of multiple instruments, is deserving of the praise received for his work. But, in a shallow Grammy pool, it’s unclear if Morning Phase was the true Album of the Year.

 Ten anticipated movies coming in 2015

Delaney Appelhans
Opinion Editor
February 26, 2015

The Boy Next Door”: January 23, Rated R

A woman falls for her younger new neighbor just shortly after her divorce from her unfaithful husband, but their romance shortly turns into an obsessive fascination. This upcoming thriller stars Jennifer Lopez, her first highly- anticipated movie since “What to Expect When You’re Expecting,” and “Step Up” star Ryan Guzman. Dustin Putman, critic from TheFrightFile.com, stated, “As Noah, Ryan Guzman (2014's "Step Up: All In") proves that there is far more to him than great biceps and a handsome face, turning on the mega-watt charm one minute, and transforming into a hateful, skeevy creep the next.”


Cinderella”: March 13, Rated PG

This retelling of the old tale based on the story of a young girl who defies the standards given by her stepmother and wins the heart of the prince stars Lily James and Helena Bonham Carter, who plays Bellatrix in Harry Potter. “Being the huge Disney fan that I am, I always enjoy a new movie when they come out,” Larissa Brown, junior, said, “but I’m especially excited for “Cinderella” because I have always loved the classic fairytales Disney created.”


Insurgent”: March 20, Rated PG-13

Trailing the first movie adaption of the book series “Divergent,” “Insurgent” tracks the story of Beatrice Prior and her fight against the alliance of the factions in her society. Following the rise of their fame due to 2014 films ‘Divergent’ and ‘The Fault in Our Stars,” Shailene Woodley, Ansel Elgort and Theo James star in this sequel, too. “[I am looking forward to “Insurgent”] because I love the books, and the trailer looks super suspenseful and relates to the book pretty well, with a few additional tweaks,” said Nichole Babiez, sophomore. “All in all, it still looks really good.”


Furious 7”: April 3, Rated PG-13

Deckard Shaw tries to get revenge against Dominic Toretto and his family for his brother’s death. The seventh movie of “The Fast and the Furious” also stars the actors from the original “Fast and Furious” movies, Vin Diesel, Paul Walker and Dwayne Johnson. “This series is clearly leaning into the James Bond/superhero side of things, and I couldn't be happier,” stated blogger Devin Faraci.


Pitch Perfect 2”: May 15, Rated PG-13

The Barden Bellas, an a cappella girl group, enter in a world-wide competition that has never had an American winner. “I’m super excited for the sequel,” Sophie Fiore, freshman, said. “I know [“Pitch Perfect 2”] will be as funny as the first one, if not funnier, and I love all of the actors and their voices.” “Pitch Perfect 2” stars Anna Kendrick and Rebel Wilson from the original “Pitch Perfect.”

Ted 2”: June 26, Rated R

This sequel of the original movie “Ted” once again follows the story of John Bennett and his teddy bear best friend. The movie stars Liam Neeson, Mark Wahlberg and Amanda Seyfried. “The film's held aloft by the high-concept central premise and a very funny (albeit inconsistent) script,” wrote the Critics Consensus from rottentomatoes.com.


Minions”: July 10, Rated PG

Minions are recruited by a villain who is trying to successfully complete his plan of taking over the world. This movie follows the characters of “Despicable Me” and features the voices of Sandra Bullock and Jon Hamm. Elizabeth Barber from time.com explains, “The eponymous characters are, as the trailer explains, a population of squat beings that all aspire ‘to serve the most despicable master.’”


Paper Towns”: July 31, Rated PG-13

Quentin and his four friends take the road trip of their lives together in order to find the missing and mysterious Margo. Based on the 2008 John Green novel, ‘Paper Towns” is finally making its way to the big screen. Junior Larissa Brown, current reader of the book, stated, “I’m really excited for it because I thought they portrayed ‘The Fault in Our Stars’ [another John Green novel] really well, and because I read the book, I’m excited to see how they portray the characters and the adventures in the book.” This much-anticipated film stars Nat Wolff, last seen as Isaac in “The Fault in Our Stars,” and Cara Delevingne, a Victoria’s Secret model who is joining the acting world.


“Maze Runner: The Scorch Trials”: September 18, Rated PG-13

After the gladers escape the Maze in the original movie adaption of the book series “The Maze Runner,” the boys and girl have to face new challenges in a world full of flares and disease. Corresponding with the original ‘Maze Runner’ movie, the second movie in the series also stars Dylan O’Brien and Thomas Brodie-Sangster. Gabby Antenore, sophomore, stated, “I think that they did a really great job of adapting the first book into a movie and will without a doubt do the same for ‘The Scorch Trials.’”


“The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Pt 2”: November 20, Rated PG-13

After being stuck with the symbol and name of the ‘Mockingjay,’ Katniss Everdeen and District 13 complete their revolution against the Capitol. Being the fourth movie in the ‘Hunger Games’ saga, this movie also stars Jennifer Lawrence, Josh Hutcherson, Liam Hemsworth and Sam Claflin. Dottie Desmond, sophomore, said, “I am looking forward to seeing it because I read the books, and the first part just built up to what is going to be a very action-packed second part.”

 What's dropping in 2015
Stefani Zeiger
Entertainment Editor
February 10, 2015

A new year means new music. This year will include some long-awaited returns, along with some repeated artists from last year.


Fall Out Boy- Rock band Fall Out Boy is back with a sixth studio album entitled American Beauty/American Psycho, which was released on Jan. 20. Fall Out Boy responded to an early album leak by re-leaking the album themselves on Jan. 13. The album contains singles “Centuries” and “Immortals,” which were released late last year, along with the title song “American Beauty/American Psycho,” released early this year. Fall Out Boy has also announced a summer tour, entitled The Boys of Zummer, which is to feature Wiz Khalifa and Hoodie Allen.


Marina and the Diamonds- Pop singer Marina and the Diamonds is going to release her third studio album entitled Froot on April 3. Currently released singles from this album include title track “Froot” along with “Happy” and “Immortal.” Marina and the Diamonds plans to play the music festival Coachella, yet they are not on any official tours at the moment.


All Time Low- Pop punk band All Time Low has confirmed its sixth studio album entitled Future Hearts, which is due for release on April 7. On Jan. 12, the group released the music video for a new single entitled “Something’s Gotta Give” and also posted a spring tour announcement with bands Tonight Alive, State Champs and Issues. All Time Low has planned a small February co-headline tour in the UK with You Me At Six and is also to play the month of March throughout Europe with Real Friends.


Bastille- Indie rock band Bastille is due to release a second album sometime this year. According to lead singer Dan Smith, the upcoming album should be released in the first quarter of 2015. Toward the end of last year the band released a collaboration album, which is unrelated to future works. Bastille has no current tours, but the members are set to do a couple festivals in South America.


Pierce the Veil- Post-hardcore band Pierce the Veil is out to release a fourth studio album, whose title remains unknown. Midway through 2014, this album was set to be released sometime in January of 2015, yet there has been no update to this. Although Pierce the Veil is currently on a world tour with fellow post-hardcore band Sleeping With Sirens, Producer Korneff has made sure to work on the album as well.

Imagine Dragons- Alternative rock band Imagine Dragons is set to release a second studio album entitled Smoke + Mirrors on Feb. 17. Singles already released from this album include “Gold” and “I Bet My Life.” Super deluxe edition will also feature previously released songs “Monster” and “Who We Are.”  In late 2014, the band released a YouTube trailer for this upcoming album.


Neck Deep- Pop punk band Neck Deep has recently finished with its second studio album. Late last year it was announced that A Day to Remember frontman Jeremy Mckinnon would be producing Neck Deep’s next album. Currently, they’re about to set off on a UK tour with bands Knuckle Puck, Trophy Eyes and Seaway. Over the summer, they’re to play the entirety of Warped Tour. There are no set release dates for the next album, but the band has made many posts about the album process on social media.


Kanye West- Rapper Kanye West is in the process of working on his eighth album. There are no official details about his upcoming album at the moment, but he recently released a new single with Paul McCartney entitled “Only One.” There are also no confirmed tours, but singer Rihanna has announced that a prize for her auction is VIP tickets to Kanye West’s upcoming North American tour. Other than this announcement, there is no further information about new music.


5 Seconds of Summer- Pop rock band 5 Seconds of Summer has hopes to release a second studio album sometime in 2015. In August of 2014, the band made many statements about releasing something new this year. The band also tweeted on Jan.15 about being ready to write a new album. There are no set in stone plans for this band, but the group is currently on Rock Out With Your Socks Out tour and have been nominated for a Brit award.

Real Friends- Pop punk band Real Friends is out to release a second studio album sometime this year. Record label Fearless Records included this band in the promo for upcoming 2015 albums, yet the band members themselves have yet to release any further information. Real Friends has also just released the music video for “Summer” off of its last album and is going on a spring tour with headliner The Maine, along with Knuckle Puck and The Technicolors.

 Ruby and Sapphire re-release
Stefani Zeiger
Entertainment Editor
January 16, 2015

  Game Freak Inc. is back at it with another installment of the Pokemon games. Previously released in 2002 for the Game Boy Advance, the original Ruby and Sapphire touched the hearts of many, evident in the eager wait for a remake.

  I, along with many others, have been hoping for this remake ever since the releases of Black and White 2, but X and Y were released instead. On Nov. 21, I purchased Alpha Sapphire, one of the two new games.

  So far, the long wait has been well worth it. New features to the game include TMs that don’t go away after one use, new mega evolutions, secret bases and so much more.

  I love the fact that TMs don’t go away after one use because of moves, like flash and secret power, that aren’t HMs, yet are still needed to get through certain terrains.

   For those that don’t know, a TM is a technical machine while HM stands for hidden machine. These items are used in Pokemon to make the players gain a new move, but a Pokemon can only have up to four moves at one time. Previously, players could use HMs as many times as they pleased while TMs only had one use. My favorite HM has always been Fly because it makes it easy to get to already-travelled-to places quickly. These new games have made it so that towns aren’t the only places to fly; now you can also fly to already-travelled-to routes. This makes me very happy because it makes it easier to travel to different areas in small amounts of time.

  New mega evolutions seem fairly exciting. I haven’t yet reached a part in the game where I can use any, but I like that Swampert and Sceptile are now getting mega evolutions. Previously, Blaziken was the only Hoenn starter with a mega evolution (in X and Y), but now it’s changed for the better. This was a good thing because now different types of Pokemon can receive the benefits of mega evolution. The different types are grass, water, fire, electric, flying, normal, ground, rock, fairy, psychic, ghost, ice, fighting, poison, steel, dark, dragon, and bug, and each type has its own special abilities and strengths/weaknesses.

  Another revamped feature was the expansion of contests. Previously, in the original Ruby and Sapphire, and other games such as Pearl and Diamond, there had only been one contest hall. Now, there are many, and although not a main part of the game, it can be incorporated to get items that could later be useful.

   I did not like this feature because it seems too excessive and unnecessary due to the repetitiveness of the activity. Contests are virtually the same thing regardless of what city you’re in when you partake, so having many is useless when you can just fly to the city with a contest hall.

  Secret bases are places where you can store things you win along the way in the game center, through contests and from townspeople you meet along the way. These are created through the move Secret Power, which can be used out of battle on places like low hanging branches, rocks and anywhere where there is a small hole indicating a secret base can be formed.

   I’m not sure how I feel about these, considering that there’s a new feature involving flags. With flags, you can showcase them in your base and then steal friends’ flags from their secret bases. As you collect more flags, your flag goes up in rank. I haven’t really used this feature because it hasn’t interested me, but after playing for a while, I may end up going back and working on my base if it piques my interest.

  Throughout the gameplay, there seem to be a lot more trainers than prior. I noticed that the game seemed harder than before, but I thought of it as a positive. Although frustrating, the challenge was nice because it kept me engaged in the game.

 Winter Cold-playlist
Melissa Burgett
Sports Editor
December 19, 2014

   The winter season incites extremely passionate reactions, from hatred of the cold weather to holiday joy. This seasonal soundtrack is just as diverse, with popular songs ranging over several genres that capture that emotion in its purest form.

Classic Rock


  • Winter // The Rolling Stones- This mellow classic is a Rolling Stones staple, credited to Mick Jagger and Keith Richards. The song was written during the band’s trip to Jamaica and simultaneously celebrates the season’s intimacy through holidays and the closeness of loved ones.
  • Tenth Avenue Freeze Out // Bruce Springsteen- On many legs of his tour, this song kicked off Springsteen’s set. Depicting the formation of the E Street Band, it has been speculated that the title and repetitive chorus line were inspired by Springsteen meeting saxophonist and close friend Clarence Clemons on a freezing cold night.
  • The Blizzard // Johnny Cash- A tragic ballad, originally performed by Jim Reeves,  following the story of a man and his old horse walking home through a blizzard, counting the miles until he reaches his beloved Mary Anne.  


  • Baby It’s Cold Outside // Ariana Grande and Mac Miller- This cover of the classic tune adds a modern feel to a winter necessity. The simple vocals are soft, and the piano interlude is the perfect background sound for a relaxing night in.
  • Early Winter // Gwen Stefani- Though not the most somber song mentioned, Stefani’s 2008 single is a morose tune portraying a relationship that is losing its passion. The admonition of winter’s dismissal and coldness is often lost in holiday cheer.
  • Christmas in the Sand // Colbie Callait- This recent release of Callait’s features her love of spending Christmas in sunny California, a luxury residents of Illinois do not receive. Songs that embody the reminder of better weather are a welcome variant from the usual chilly lyrics.


  • Winter Winds // Mumford and Sons- Winter in this song is a metaphor for the loneliness felt by those lacking a significant other during the holidays. When a cure for winter is found, many people cannot be sure it will last the season and proceed with care.
  • Long December // Counting CrowsThis song follows lead singer Adam Duritz’s search for answers during a December filled with personal tragedy. Duritz tells the listener to push the limits of what is thought as possible and acceptable in order to find true happiness.
  • Snow // Red Hot Chili Peppers- The “snow” symbolizes a blank slate for Red Hot Chili Peppers’ lead singer Anthony Kiedis. It’s about starting fresh and forgiving yourself for mistakes you’ve made. This bass line is simple, and the alternative track provides a perfect theme for the upcoming New Year.


Fury movie review

Marybeth Stone
Staff Reporter
December 15, 2014

   While some may deem this another typical war movie starring Brad Pitt, all too similar to his previous work in “Inglourious Basterds” (2009), “Fury has proven itself to be anything but.

   Set in Germany during World War II, a five-man crew operates a Sherman tank, and this crew is star-studded, including Brad Pitt as Don ‘Wardaddy’ Collier, Shia LaBeouf as Boyd ‘Bible’ Swan, Logan Lerman as Norman Ellison, Michael Pena as Trini ‘Gordo’ Garcia and Jon Bernthal as Grady ‘Coo-Ass’ Travis, as they act out the story of brotherhood built during wartime.

   Lerman’s acting of the naive character, Ellison, is a large part of what makes the movie worth seeing. Though Lerman is more recently known for acting in less intense films, such as “Percy Jackson & the Olympians: The Lightning Thief” and “The Perks of Being a Wallflower,” his acting gives connection with the audience and makes them empathize with him as he represents the way war destroys innocence.

   However, some parts are very far-fetched, such as Brad Pitt’s hair remaining perfectly slicked back the entire time. Another example is Pitt surviving three shot wounds, including one to the heart, long enough to have a last heart-felt talk with Lerman’s character Norman in order to give him and the audience closure.

   Despite some unrealistic portrayals in the movie, it achieves great heights filled with bravery and honor without being overly patriotic.

   Cinematographer Roman Vasyanor’s work also contributes to this movie’s ability to stand apart from other war movies. Through his cinematography, Vasyanov exposes the true nature of war and the effect war has on those involved in it. By giving the movie an overall blue-grey hue, the startling images of red blood and orange fire certainly make a statement.

   Fury” also offers a unique look at how the inside of a war tank works. The film crew was gifted with many real war tanks to work with to structure the one they desired. The film crew wanted to achieve a perspective that allowed viewers to see the movie from inside the tank.

   You do not have to be a war movie fanatic in order to like this movie. Anyone would be able to appreciate this gripping story of ruined innocence and built relationships. However, I would advise to those who have weak stomachs that there are many explicit scenes involving mangled bodies and gruesome violence, as what would happen in a real war. 

 Make some Noise
Dani Adaska
Staff Reporter
December 16, 2014

   It honestly could have been the coldest day in Chicago this year, but the bands on the Journey’s Noise Tour quickly heated things up.

   There were five bands on the tour with the headliner called Issues. This tour also included an English band called Marmozets, the band Nightmares, and the band I Killed the Prom Queen, but the band that I had bought a ticket to see was my favorite-- Ghost Town.

   I waited for four hours outside at the House of Blues, Chicago, in the cold with my best friend Katie for doors to open, wrapped up in a blanket and talking to other people in line. Finally, at 5:15 p.m., we got inside. Not long after packing in, the first band, Marmozets, started to play.

   It’s usually uncommon for bands in the rock industry to have any female members, let alone a lead vocalist who’s a female, and often these bands are degraded for having such members. However, the lead vocalist of Marmozets was a female, and the band was excellent. The lead singer had powerful vocals that shook the entire venue, and the rest of the band played their songs as well as they did on their tracks.

   Next to play was Nightmares, a small band out of Georgia. A little more hardcore than Marmozets, the band was very interactive with the fans and got the energy up and going. The lead singer hopped into the crowd multiple times, as did other members of the band, and the entire band encouraged the audience to get off their feet through the set.

   Before Ghost Town’s set, when Nightmares was taking their set apart, I saw Ghost Town’s photographer in one of the balconies of the venue. They had posted on their Facebook page that if you saw him, yell “Trick or Treat” at him, and he would take a photo of you for Ghost Town’s next tour diary that is posted on YouTube. Sure enough, I was the one girl in the crowd to yell “Trick or Treat!’ and if you look in “Ghost Town: We are the Haunted Youth - Episode 5,” my picture is in the end credits of the video!

    Finally, it was time for Ghost Town to go on. As soon as I saw the hand-painted drum kit placed onto the stage, I immediately got excited. The drum kit is painted by Alister Dippner, the artist who also does all of their whimsical cover art, and was a yellowish-orange forest-themed set. This had been the moment I was waiting for, all night and well, all day, too.
   After a set up that seemed like forever, Ghost Town finally started, and I sang and danced through the whole set. They played old and new songs and their most famous song “You’re so Creepy.”  I knew the words to every song.
   The band never ceased to amaze me, as usual, and after their set ended, they announced that they would be by their merchandise tables to take pictures and sign autographs.

Photo submitted by Dani Adaska
Adaska hugging Ghost Town drummer Manny Dominick

   Katie and I rushed back to the tables and hopped into the line, which was so long, it led into the women’s bathrooms. I had seen them three times prior and had also met them all three times. The members were very genuine and had remembered me after the first time meeting them.

   After about ten minutes, I approached the lead singer of Ghost Town, Kevin McCullough. He smiled when he saw me, and his eyes lit up. He took me into a huge hug, and we took a picture together and had a short conversation about their set.

   One of the most important things to me was that after looking at the picture Katie took of us hugging, Kevin’s facial expression looked like he had missed me almost as much as I missed him.

   Next, I walked over to Manny, the drummer. Manny hugged me super tight, and I gave him the Pikachu thermal hat that I had brought for him, since I knew he had a Pikachu baseball cap, but it  was getting colder outside, and I wanted to give him something. He smiled brightly, thanked me, and gave me another tight hug. I got a photo with him and the two other members of the band and headed to find the band’s photographer.

   He took a photo of me with his camera, and Katie and I exited the venue after saying goodbye to some friends we had met in line.

   Overall, the band really does never get old. They’re really good at getting the crowd riled up, getting everyone dancing and whatnot, and I would, and will go to see them every time they come back to Illinois.


 Forgotten hero rises from the ashes

Dan Tagtmeir
Guest Reporter

December 15, 2014

   Michael Keaton’s comeback film “Birdman” is a hilarious dark comedy that deserves a lot of attention due to its amazing acting from the entire cast, extraordinary directing, and a satisfying soundtrack.                         

   The film tells the story of a former Hollywood celebrity named Riggan Thompson, who once played the celebrated superhero Birdman. After being Birdman for three films, his career, along with his family, went down the drain. Desperate to become popular again, Riggan chooses to direct a play that he believes will make him a star again and also will bring his family back together. The entire film shows the days leading up to the premiere of his hit play.

   Riggan is played by the great Michael Keaton, who delivers the most remarkable performance he has in a long time. He may be looking at the Best Actor Oscar. Edward Norton, who plays Mike, is a successful actor who gets involved with the play after one of the main actors in Riggan’s play gets severely injured by a falling spotlight. Norton brings a notable performance to this film. Emma Stone plays as Riggan’s daughter Sam, who does not like her father because he sent her off to rehab for a drug problem. Stone may be up for a nomination for her role in “Birdman.”

   The director of this phenomenal film is Alejandro González Iñárritu, who has directed other great films, such as “Babel,” “21 Grams,” and “Biutiful.” Alejandro makes this film look marvelous because he made it look like it was just one continuous shot. I was amazed at what he’s done with “Birdman,” so he will most likely win for Best Director at the Academy Awards.

   Another outstanding aspect of this film is the soundtrack. The soundtrack for this film is done by Antonio Sanchez, who is a great jazz drummer who sets the beat throughout the film.
   Overall, this film is going to rock the Academy Awards due to its powerful acting and great directing. I believe it may win best picture. My verdict for Birdman: 5 out of 5.




 The Maze Runner captivates audiences 
Maybeth Stone
Staff Reporter
November 21, 2014

   “Just follow me and run like your life depends on it. Because it does.”

   This line comes from James Dashner’s book “The Maze Runner,” which was originally published in 2009. It took off in more recent years and became one of the most popular young adult novels of 2013 and 2014. The movie of the same name was released in Sept. 2014 and became highly anticipated by fans-- but how do the two compare?

   The story follows main character Thomas, who wakes up one day in an elevator with no memories besides his own name. He is pulled into the Glade, which he soon discovers to be the center of a giant stone maze where a large group of boys has been arriving every month, just like Thomas, for the past three years. Thomas soon learns the group has two main leaders, Newt and Alby, and they have established an order based on work. There are builders, slicers, farmers-- and runners.

   Minho, an experienced Glader, is the leader, or ‘keeper’, of the runners. There are few boys who consent to be a runner-- because it is the most dangerous, rigorous, and terrifying job in the Glade.

   Every day, those select workers go out into the maze to map it in order to find a way out. Thomas quickly acquires a job as a runner to help satisfy his curiosity, much to the dismay of several others who believe Thomas is different and can’t be trusted.

   Soon, everything begins to change; a girl is brought up in the elevator, and the boys are forced to find a way out or face certain death, all while Thomas faces the persecution of those who don’t trust him and who oppose everything he suggests.

   The movie “The Maze Runner” was released on Sept. 15. Based off the book, it also follows Thomas’ adventures in the maze, and the role of Thomas is played by 23-year-old actor Dylan O’Brien.

   Going into the movie, I expected O’Brien to capture his character’s confusion and curiosity perfectly, and that’s exactly what happened.

   Based on his previous works, such as “The Internship” (2013) and “Teen Wolf” on MTV, O’Brien has proved to be a talented actor, during action or heartfelt moments. He comes across as realistic and manages to become his character in every project. Choosing O’Brien to play Thomas was a great move on the part of director Wes Ball.

   The movie was captivating due to other factors as well. The special effects were well-done, and it was obvious great care was taken in creating and editing.

   “I like how they put their own twist on the maze and the changes they made,” said Junior Megan Nugent.   The ivy-covered stone walls of the maze rose high above the characters’ heads and looked as real as possible. It gave a sense of 

vastness. The creators purposely made it with depth to help it seem as large as Dashner described in the book, and it was also given a feeling of darkness and mystery with the colors and lighting.
   The release date was even pushed back a whole seven months to make the film the best it could be.

   One thing that was really impressive was the Grievers-- the deadly creatures that roam the Maze at night-- because they actually put a sense of fear inside the viewers. The creepy, metallic and fleshy monsters were something to haunt the viewers’ dreams, and the sounds of their legs skittering across the stone mixed with the suction cup noise of their gooey flesh grossed out viewers until we were all rooting for their complete destruction.

   But with all the young adult novels being made into movies these days, why is “The Maze Runner” any different?

   It’s that sense of mystery - I’d pitch it as “Lord of the Flies” meets “Lost.” That sense of mystery is a really big engine in our movie --what the hell is going on?” said Director Ball in an Oct. 10 interview with Den of Geek, a popular website that covers movies and TV shows.

   Unlike “The Hunger Games,” “Divergent,” or even “Twilight,” “The Maze Runner” really focuses on the unity and survival of a group. There is little to no romance, just action and adventure. I would recommend both the book and movie to anyone who enjoys a good, suspenseful thriller.

   As with the majority of books-turned-movies, the production of “The Maze Runner” had to leave out a few events in the storyline. If there was a downfall to the movie, it would be the lack of development on the relationships Thomas formed with his fellow Gladers.

   “I feel like it lost a lot of the good plotline. I didn’t like how Thomas and Theresa’s relationship was not shown,” said Kaci Gray, junior.

   The movie also didn’t elaborate on how close Thomas originally got to Chuck. The book portrayed that Thomas was quite isolated when he first arrived in the Glade because he was new-- the ‘greenie’-- but the film jumps right into his mission to escape the maze. The problem with this adaptation was it easily caused viewers to understand the point of view of Gladers who didn’t trust Thomas while the book makes it clearer that most boys thought the main character was very trustworthy.

   Overall, the movie did the book version of “The Maze Runner” justice. The actors captured their characters well, the scenery was on point and most of the adaptations satisfied fans of the series.
   If you haven’t read the novel yet, I would suggest it. Then, race over to the theater before it’s gone, or pick the movie up at your local rental mid-December.

Mundelein takes on “The Odd Couple” for Winter Play

Michael del Rosario
News Editor
March 19, 2015

  Between Jan. 29 and Jan. 31, the MHS theatre presented “The Odd Couple” as the school’s winter play. Originally a 1968 feature film, “The Odd Couple” has since been adapted for Broadway by playwright Neil Simon. The play features the neat, organized Felix Ungar alongside the casual, laidback slob, Oscar Madison in order to give a comedic account of two roommates and their dysfunctional, heartwarming friendships needed to cope with their recent divorces.

  Additionally, a female version of the play has been created for theater productions in which Felix and Oscar become Florence and Olive, and was also performed at MHS.

  Preparing for two versions of a play at once can be stressful, and MHS’s Director of Theatre, Jonathan Meier, worked to assure everything ran smoothly.

  “The thing that made it work is we had very strong student directors. There were two student directors per show, and the students really stepped up. I can only be in one place at a time.”

   The student directors for the original version of “The Odd Couple” were Juniors Patricia Roques and Kaila Saunders while the female version was student directed by Junior Angela Peterson and Senior Sydney Salit.

  Sophomore Thomas Ferro starred as Felix but previously played the role Charlie in the school’s production of “Trust,” a character who was an online predator targeting a teenage girl.  In contrast to Felix, Charlie was a much darker character.

  While preparing to play the compulsive Felix Ungar, Ferro said, “The biggest challenges for me [were] trying to find different levels to play Felix and trying to distance Felix and my last character.”

  Regarding his other cast members, Ferro said that there was a close and friendly dynamic between them, especially with fellow cast member Brenden Paul who played the more relaxed Oscar Madison.

  “Brenden is a very good friend of mine. When we found out we were doing [The Odd Couple] at Mundelein, Brenden and I set out on a quest to score the leads since we're Oscar and Felix in real life.” 

Photo by Michael del Rosario

Sophomores Thomas Ferro (left) Brenden Paul (right) play Felix and Oscar in the MHS production of the Odd Couple. This January, MHS theatre took on two versions of the comedy which included both the original and female adaptations of the play.

  Junior Gina Otrembiak prepared for the role of Florence Ungar, Felix’s counterpart in the female version of “The Odd Couple,” by looking “into the style of the 70s, since that’s where the original sitcom takes place.” She also researched “how a housewife would hold herself during that era.”

   Junior Kiley Hernandez starred opposite of Otrembiak as Olive Madison. On the two cast members’ rapport offstage, Otrembiak said that they “are very close friends, and we are a lot like the characters in real life. The whole cast is so close.”

  On a recent note, CBS rebooted “The Odd Couple” as a television series this January. The new TV version stars Matthew Perry, best known for his role as Chandler on the hit TV show “Friends,” as Oscar, alongside actor and comedian Thomas Lennon as Felix. Perry is also credited as a developer and producer for the series.

   Although “The Odd Couple” is a light-hearted comedy, it does not lack substance.

   Meier said that MHS theatre chose to perform this play because “it’s a classic comedy, and the female version is not as well known. So I thought it would be a fun and interesting project to be doing two plays that are so related but different at the same time. It’s got a good message even though it’s a comedy.”  

 Teachers share favorite movies from high school
Elizabeth Ramer
Staff Reporter
November 21, 2014

   Many trends come and go concerning pop culture, which in many ways influences movie making. Movies that are being made today can relate to teens’ lives now, as they are often made relatable with starring characters.  

   But what some people fail to realize are the way movies can be timeless and relate to people in nearly every generation.

   MHS teachers have their own favorite memorable movies they had when they were in high school that can still relate to the MHS student body today.

   English Teacher Ryan Buck listed movies such as “Dazed and Confused” and “Good Will Hunting,” which contain good stories about finding one’s identity.

   In 1999, when Buck was a senior in high school, he saw a shift in movies take place where a new style of technology and the questioning of reality became popular through films, such as “The Matrix,” “Fight Club,” “Sixth Sense” and “Being John Malkovich.”

   However, “American Beauty” was one that was particularly enjoyable for Buck because of the intriguing story and themes the movie held.

   “I connected with the lesser character Ricky because he wanted to better his life, and he found beauty in things that were never thought to be beautiful,” said Buck.
   Buck added that the movie could still relate to teenagers today as it touches on many topics, such as body image, judgmental parents and those struggling to find an identity. 

   Broadcasting Teacher Kent Meister’s favorite movie in high school, and still remains to be so today, is Back to the Future” because he liked the actor Michael J. Fox at the time.

   It still remains as his favorite movie because of the fun storyline and because of his fascination with the 1950s era.

   “It takes something basic and adds a twist. Careful writing can really make a topic interesting,” said Meister.

   He, too, believes that it can still relate to teens today.

   “Kids are experiencing the same things like bullies and falling in love. The story line is timeless,” said Meister.

   Math Teacher Nicole Briatta’s all-time favorite movie in high school as well as today is Disney’s “Beauty and the Beast.”

   “I like that I can identify with Belle. She likes to read. I like to read. Her dad is weird. My dad is weird,” said Briatta.

   When she first saw the film as a child, she enjoyed the songs the most, but as time went on, she came to appreciate the story’s theme about how someone so scary looking can be so nice.

   “It teaches such a good lesson. You can’t judge a book by its cover, and you shouldn’t judge someone before you get to know them,” she said.

   Since the movie sends such a good message, she believes that teenagers today should still try to enjoy the film, even if it isn’t the typical movie a high school student would choose.

 My Chemical Romance: Where are they now?
Dani Adaska
Staff Reporter
November 21, 2014

   From 2001 to 2013 My Chemical Romance released seven records including The Dangerous Lives of Fabulous Killjoys and The Black Parade. My Chemical Romance stole the hearts of fans and toured all over the world. With singles like “I’m Not Okay (I Promise)” and “Sing,” My Chemical Romance was one of the biggest bands in the punk industry.

   Fans were devastated on March 22, 2013, when the band announced the end of their career together after over a decade.

   “Being in this band for the past 12 years has been a true blessing,” said the band on its website. “And now, like all good things, it has come time for it to end. Thanks for all your support and for being part of the adventure.”

   But two years after the break up and a ‘greatest hits’ record dropped, all four members have moved on from their MCR past and started with a clean slate.

   Gerard Way, lead singer, released a new solo album on the first of October titled “Hesitant Alien.” Surprisingly more pop than rock, Way received three out of five stars on the Billboard charts.

   Many have described the genre of this album as ‘britpop’.

   According to Oxforddictionaries.com, ‘britpop’ is “pop music by a loose affiliation of British groups of the mid 1990s, typically influenced by the Beatles and other British groups of the 1960s and perceived as a reaction against American grunge music.”

   MCR’s music is opposite of the Beatles. For Way to take this leap in releasing an entire record made up of this light, happy music is saying something bold about his future career without his band.

   Many fans have conflicting emotions about Way’s new album, expecting something more punk, as My Chemical Romance was. For Way, the lead singer and mastermind of MCR, to go from hard rock to a heavier type of pop seems very strange and out of character.  

   Way’s brother, Mikey Way, bassist of MCR, began a soft rock group called Electric Century.

   Because Mikey Way has only released one single “I Lied,” fans are eager to hear more from the Electric Century duo of Mikey Way and David Debiak, former member of Sleep Station.

   Electric Century’s single is soft, but considering Mikey’s role in MCR, this isn’t as shocking as Gerard’s album, considering Mikey’s quiet reputation throughout his career with My Chemical Romance.

   However, Frank Iero, former guitarist of My Chemical Romance, stayed true to his punk roots and formed FrnkIero andthe Cellabration. Releasing his new record Stomachaches on Aug. 26, Iero and the band have been touring with the new record, even before Gerard Way released any local dates.  

   Some songs off the record are short, some even only a minute and a half long, but Iero took a project that he originally had no direction on and made it into an entire album. The vocals are very raw and without editing, and the music itself is messy, meaning that the speed of the songs make everything a bit jumbled, but it fits together well with the lyrical talents of Iero himself.

   All in all, FrnkIero andthe Cellabration produced a great debut album, and fans are eager to hear much more from Iero’s new project.

   Ray Toro, former lead guitarist of MCR, has released a single called “Isn’t that Something.” He’s due to release a record called Minimization Procedure soon, and fans are all sitting on pins and needles waiting to hear the release date.

   “Isn’t that Something” was a solo effort on the part of Toro, who developed every element in the song (instruments, vocals, editing). After hearing the new single, fans were shocked that Toro’s vocals weren’t featured on more tracks during his MCR period. 

 Netflix beats out cable

Julie Avila
Staff Reporter
November 20, 2014

   The minute you get home, the first thing you want to do is relax, lie down and watch some TV. Do you pick Netflix or cable?  

   With Netflix, there’s the luxury of picking any genre, any actor, any movie, any show. You can pause and play whenever you want, so you don’t miss a second, and you can watch it wherever you go.

   But cable offers currency. If you want to decide what to wear the next day, cable gives you the weather. You have the news, sports games, talk shows and the most recent episodes of a series.

   So which one do you pick?

   Many students and even staff members seem to agree that Netflix beats cable any day.

   “Overall, it’s more affordable, and there’s a ton of options,” said Maggie Sharp, math teacher.

   She likes Netflix because she has choices unlike cable where the viewer can’t change whatever is playing.

   “Ever since my parents started cutting channels because they were too expensive, I rely on [Netflix]. Plus, it’s cheaper,” said Janet Perez, sophomore.


   According to Time Warner Cable, a starter TV package will cost a person $20 a month.  

   However, many viewers pay much more than that, especially for some of the premium channels. 

   But with Netflix, subscribers pay $8 a month. That’s more than double the cost of cable.

   Despite the reasonable costs or maybe because of the cheap monthly rate, there are some downsides to Netflix.

   “Netflix isn’t better than Cable because it’s not always updated, and you need Wi-Fi for it to work,” said Nick Hollander, junior.

   Netflix tends to update its shows and movies months after they’ve been out, so viewers have to wait for something to get onto Netflix.

   The updates also come through the internet, so if there’s no Wi-Fi access, there’s no service.  

   But still, for many, the positives beat the negatives.

   “[I’d choose] Netflix any day because you can actually watch what you want and start a new season [whenever you want],” said Lizette Rodriguez, sophomore.

   She likes binge-watching TV shows.  When she finishes one season, she’s able to start the next season immediately.  There’s no month-long waits between seasons, so viewers never have to sit through a cliffhanger or even a commercial.  

   Many at MHS, then, would say, “Cancel cable and tune into Netflix.”

Terrifying movies haunt Halloween night
Alex Loding
Staff Reporter
October 30, 2014

   Halloween, the scariest time of year, includes costumes, candy, and of course scary movies. Jason, Michael Myers, Freddy Krueger, The Headless Horseman, and all of the other scary characters this fall will bring screams and entertainment.

   “I enjoy watching scary movies during Halloween. They set the mood for this time of year,” Jackson Steiner, sophomore, said.  

   The most famous horror films of all time include “Halloween,” “Friday the 13th” and “Nightmare on Elm Street.” 

   “Halloween” stars one of the most recognized and ruthless slashers, Michael Myers.  He breaks into people’s homes and chases them until the chance comes to murder them. This movie will get your heart pumping and your adrenaline rushing.

   According to IBDM, a website with movie and TV show reviews and summaries, “Halloween is not only the godfather of all slasher movies but the best horror movie of all time!”  

   Another adrenaline-pumping and heart-racing movie is “Friday the 13th.”

   “Old, classical horror films are the best, and “Friday the 13th” is definitely one of the best,” said Shane Kosmach, sophomore.

   This movie is about a group of teenagers who try to reopen an abandoned campground on Friday, the 13th. The only problem is that the machete-wielding, hockey-mask-wearing Jason haunts the campground. If you are into mystery, horror or suspense, then this is the movie for you.

   A downright terrifying movie is “The Exorcist.”

   “I think ‘The Exorcist’ is the scariest movie I have ever seen! I couldn’t sleep for a couple weeks,” Steiner said.      

   It’s about a pastor’s goal to remove a demon from the body of a 12-year-old girl. The girl has been possessed by demons that control her body.

   “The Exorcist is a great classical horror movie that was revolutionary for its time! Lots of movies have been based off ‘The Exorcist,’” Kosmach added.

   Arguably the most terrorizing movie of its time is “Nightmare on Elm Street.” This horror film involves the brutal dream wrecker Freddie Krueger. Krueger appears

in people’s dreams and murders them while sleeping. He wears gloves with knives on each finger and slashes his victims while they sleep. If being scared out of your mind is what you enjoy, then this movie is highly recommended.
   “I can see that the film has got something unique, which makes it different from other horror movies,” Jiri Kacetl explained on IMDB.com.

   “Nightmare on Elm Street” is unique because Freddy comes up with weird ways to kill people other than cutting and slashing them. In one scene, Freddy breaks off a woman’s arms, and she becomes a scorpion-looking creature that eventually dies. Creepy, right?

   Besides the old, classical thrillers, there are new and frightening movies of the 2000s. These terrifying movies include “Paranormal Activity” and “The Grudge.”

   “I love the scary movies that were made when I was growing up,” Steiner said.

   According to IMDB.com, “Paranormal Activity is probably the most popular movie of the 2000s.”  

   It’s about a couple who has just moved in to their new home. But, there is a big problem. The house is haunted by supernatural presences that torment the couple while they are living there. The presences move furniture, slam doors and do anything else to freak out the young couple. The presences also possess the couple and their family, which could result in some deaths.   

   The "Paranormal Activity” series has had an average of over $1 million at the box offices and has been seen by billions of people worldwide, making it one of the most popular movies ever to hit theaters.

   Arguably one of the most terrifying movies of the early 2000s is “The Grudge.” “The Grudge” involves a nurse in Tokyo who is exposed to a supernatural disease that takes over a person’s body and eventually kills the person. After killing the host, the disease moves on, infects and kills more and more people. This movie will definitely have you trembling this Halloween.

   “The Grudge is the scariest horror film I have ever watched. I had nightmares for a week after seeing it,” stated Kosmach.

   This fall, horror is coming to your local theatres. New movies “Annabelle” and “Ouija” have hit the big screens in October. These new movies will definitely give you nightmares if you decide not to stay in and watch some of the old and new classics.

"Annabelle" rarely spooks its viewers
Jarielys Cepeda
Staff Reporter
October 28, 2014


Annabelle’s trailer was intensifying; it showed previews of the well-known horror doll Annabelle and the effects it has on the house it haunts. As a result, the trailer led me to believe that the movie’s primary focus was going to be the doll, and so the second I saw the trailer for Annabelle, I knew it was one of the movies I wanted to see this Halloween season.

The doll was so good at scaring me the first time in The Conjuring that when I found out there was a movie based on that exact doll again, I thought the movie was going to offer the same thrills.  

But as I sat there watching the movie, I was very disappointed that the trailer and the movie were completely two different things. I thought the movie was going to be a good horror movie, but after watching Annabelle, my expectations of the movie were not met.

I had been more afraid during the trailer than I was during the actual movie itself.  I was disappointed because the doll was based on a true story about a 1970s haunted Raggedy Ann doll that wanted to take the soul of someone pure and giving. The Raggedy Ann doll would move by itself and was inhabited by an inhuman, demonic soul.  For this reason, I thought the movie makers could have done a better job with the information that must be out there on this doll.

Also, Annabelle is a prequel to the movie The Conjuring with Annabelle as the same exact doll from the previous film.  The Conjuring was about a family moving into a new farm house, and the demonic figure begins to take or try to take over the family who tries to fix the problem by hiring professional ghost hunters.  

When I was watching The Conjuring, the doll freaked me out.  I don’t like dolls to begin with because they're creepy-- the way they sit there with a blank expression. It just feels like they’re always staring at you, but this doll has pigtails, creepy grey eyes, make up and crack marks around the doll’s face. Some of those cracks at some points in the movie even had blood in them.  This should take “creepy doll” to a new level, so I expected this movie to be very scary, especially since The Conjuring had been haunting and Annabelle’s trailer focused mainly on the doll.  Also, Annabelle is rated R, so I figured that would mean it was really scary, too.  It wasn’t.  

The doll, Annabelle, wasn’t even a big aspect in this movie.  I thought the doll was going to appear more than it did.  When the doll did appear, it really didn’t do anything.  For example, in one scene the stove was turned on, and the viewer never actually sees the doll move to turn it on.  And when the movie-goer would get to see the doll, it often just sat there, moved its neck without actually the viewer seeing it for him or herself. As a result, the movie looked really staged with the doll, which often just seemed like a pointless addition since it didn’t talk and it hardly moved.  

Critics gave Annabelle a rating of 5.9 out of 10, but I would give Annabelle a rating of 6.5 out of 10. During this movie, it had its thrilling pop-ups like any good horror movie, but it wasn’t very much of a horror; it was more like a suspense movie.  The viewer didn’t know what was going to happen next, but horror movies should be scarier than suspense films.  They should have a lot more pop ups with their sole purpose being to frighten the audience while suspense films are more stimulating to the brain to keep the movie watchers on their toes, anxiously waiting to see what happens next.  Based on these definitions, then, Annabelle made for a poor horror film.

I wouldn’t necessarily recommend people go to see this movie in the theaters because it’s simply not as good as the trailer made it seem.  It’s better to wait until it comes out on DVD when it can be comfortably watched at home.  Until that time, you aren’t missing anything.  

 Wisconsin Music Festival makes a Sonic Boom
Dani Adaska
Staff Reporter
October 10, 2014

    Sept. 13, 2014, JJO Sonic Boom Festival, Janesville, WI-- There have been 10 successful years of this festival, and I was walking into the 11th with my boyfriend and my friend Celeste.

   The festival, on the Janesville Airport grounds, held only two small stages surrounded by Wisconsin food stands and merchandise tables.

   Skipping out on our first homecoming experience, we arrived around 2 p.m. even though the bands we wanted to see started at 7. With idle time, we bought our merchandise and ended up standing in a line to meet Chiodos, a band whose performance we had missed.

   “No pictures,” the security guard snidely remarked. “In and out, there are too many people for anything else.”

   Shaking, with sweaty palms, I stepped behind the tent where the five members were sitting. The drummer was up first with a stack of posters advertising their newest album entitled DevilHe shook my hand and told me it was nice to meet me and that he was happy that I was here.

   Smiling, I told him that my boyfriend, Stone, Celeste and I had skipped homecoming to come to the festival. The drummer and three other members smiled, as the guitarist Brad Bell looked at me and said, “That’s really rad, totally something I would do.” He signed my poster.

   Finally, I got to the lead singer, Craig Owens, in the final seat. He smiled brightly at me, and after asking me for my name, he said, “Nice to meet you Dani; I’m Craig,” as if it were a casual meeting between two people on the street, and not a meeting between a fourteen-year-old girl from the Illinois suburbs and a lead singer of a band who’s played Vans Warped Tour.

   I shyly asked him for a picture, and even though it wasn’t allowed, he gladly smiled at the camera with me. After the three of us got pictures and our posters, we walked out of the tent and met up with two other friends who had been in the mosh pit-- a huge group of people bumping into each other to the rhythm of the song. They invited us to come back into it with them, and we gladly hopped into the Motionless in White crowd.

   By the end of the song during which we had entered, we were nearly at the barricade-- the bar that keeps all the wild fans from the stage. The band played two songs from their new album that they’d never before played; this was when the jostling began.

   In the middle of the set, a crowd surfer hit me in the head, knocking my plug (earring) out of my ear. A man standing next to me saw the look of distress in my face, and when I told him I had lost my earring, he gladly backed everyone off of me, so I could reach down and get my earring without being trampled. (The thought that metal heads are ‘mean’ is a misconception. Before this, I’d only heard stories of these kind acts, but this was my first experience.)

   Motionless in White finished up their set, and the crowd dispersed to the left stage. Out of breath and already sweating, I appreciated the breeze that came between my back and my backpack that held all of my friends’ possessions. It also reminded me that it was a perfect day for a festival like this.

   With two to three hours before Bring Me the Horizon went on, we walked around for a bit, only to discover a small tent with about twenty or thirty people in line. We walked up to them and asked what they were in line for.
   A girl with skeleton makeup replied, “BMTH meet and greet, you can skip the line and wait with us if you’d like.” 

   Excited, my boyfriend and I hopped into line with the three kids who ended up being from Zion, a town not too far away from where the two of us lived. We waited and talked for about twenty minutes until the line started moving rather quickly. At this point, my heart was beating out of my chest. I was going to meet a band I had been listening to for three years now.

   I got to the entrance of the tent, and I could see them-- the guys who had been my wallpaper multiple times, standing less than 30 feet away from me. The lead singer’s smile, the way he talked, the way he interacted with the fans, almost brought me to tears.

Oli Sykes of Bring Me the Horizon


A selfie taken with Craig Owens of Chiodos

   After all the kids with passes walked out, I began to walk in, only to be stopped by the security guard at the entryway. She told me that people without VIP passes couldn’t get in, and by the time she finished her sentence, the band was gone. I was crushed.

   With Bring Me the Horizon’s set close to starting, we began to make our way toward the front, and by then, we were nearly at the front of the pit. Stone and I were separated from Celeste by now, but we knew that we were still in the same area/pit as she was.

   Within a few minutes, the lights dimmed, and Jordan Fish, the keyboardist, walked out onto stage. Everyone went crazy, and the first song, “Shadow Moses,” began to play. Oliver Sykes, the lead singer, and the rest of the bandmates came out on stage and began to jam. The band played 10 songs, with a screen in the background displaying animations that matched the song playing.

   As soon as BMTH ended, we watched as the set went up for A Day to Remember. It looked like Mount Rushmore but with the band members’ faces instead of the presidents, and instead of their eyes, bright white lights flashed through. When their first song “The Downfall of Us All started, smoke and confetti filled the air. But of course, not before the intro from “A Space Odyssey” (you know the tune when you hear it, trust me) filled the air. Jeremy, wearing a bright pink shirt and a leather jacket, hopped around on stage and began to scream the lyrics of the song.

   A Day to Remember is a fun, positive band that interacts with all the fans, so their set was my favorite of the day.    

   The seventh song they played is a song that means a lot to me (no pun intended) called “If It Means A Lot to You The song is all acoustic, and when Jeremy came out with an acoustic guitar, I started to cry; I didn’t think that they would play the song. It’s a beautiful, harmonic piece, and at the end, it combines with female vocals that are featured in the song, screams and Jeremy’s raw voice itself. Even without the guest female vocals, the song gave me goose bumps in every possible way.

   In the middle of their set, they started playing the “Macarena. Only the fans up close could see that the dance song was to stall out the fact that the crew was blowing up a giant hamster ball on stage. The song “Homesick” began, Jeremy hopped into the ball, and was held up by fans and tossed around the crowd.

   After the band played a couple more hardcore songs, they began a song called “End of Me Stone and I didn’t get the chance to go to homecoming, yet alone slow dance, so he took my hand, and sure enough, the crowd around us cleared the way so that we could have our first dance together.

   When “End of Me” was over, ADTR played three more songs, and the night came to an end. I was the happiest I’d ever been, entering the fest with teal shoes and exiting with brown ones! Having two broken ribs and being sore all over was worth it because “the day rolled on, and we know the price we pay” (A Day to Remember, The Price We Pay). Sometimes, it just happens to be worth it.



 Fall playlist collaboration

Stefani Zeiger
Entertainment Editor
October 9, 2014

When most people imagine the fall season, they think of oversized sweaters, drinking hot chocolate or tea and breezy days with falling leaves. The perfect music to accompany this is pretty and mellow, puts you in a serene environment and makes you feel good. To achieve this perfect fall mood, try listening to the following playlist.  


Sweater Weather // The Neighbourhood - Speaking of oversized sweaters, this

2013 hit sets the mood perfectly for a chill autumn day.


Grapevine Fires // Death Cab for Cutie - Live in the moment, and enjoy the weather as it comes.


Cough Syrup // Young the Giant- This pretty, lyrical song is like a chill, windy day.


Clairvoyant // The Story So Far - This song emphasizes how change doesn’t change you for the worse, such as how the changing of the leaves doesn’t make them any worse.


Trouble // Coldplay - This song is about struggling but how things get better, just as how the cold weather eventually turns warm.


A Daydream Away // All Time Low - This song is nice way to stop worrying about things while lying down.   


Riptide // Vance Joy - People get stuck in fear, like how they get “stuck” in the atmosphere of fall.


Iris // Goo Goo Dolls - Although it talks about hiding because of fear, just embrace changes as fall does.


Young Volcanoes // Fall Out Boy - This light-hearted song embraces being freed from struggles while getting through them.


The Middle // Jimmy Eat World - Fall isn’t the middle of the year, but it is the middle of the school year - just keep going through it.

Ways To Go // Grouplove -  Keep on keeping on; just remember that you’ve “got a little bit longer”, and eventually you’ll do what you want and be where you want to be.

Dani Adaska
Staff Reporter
October 9, 2014

Many of these songs are mellow, just like fall. Here’s a playlist of songs that are great to listen to this time of year.


To Build a Home [The Cinematic Orchestra] // Andrew Gavin Williams - This song captures fall because it’s like sitting under a tree and reading on a breezy day.


Flightless Bird, American Mouth // Iron & Wine - This song resembles the chilly weather with all the harmonies in it.


Stay // Lewis Watson - A lot of acoustic songs are similar to autumn, and this one is especially. It’s a very cool-toned song with a lot of minor chords.


Flaws (Acoustic Version) // Bastille - The acoustic version of this song is beautiful, with the beat completely made out of everything but drums. It seems like something that could be heard around the campfire.


Autumn Leaves // Ed Sheeran - The title says it all, and the melodies of the song are very similar to this time of year.


The Calendar // Panic! At the Disco - The chorus sings, “Put another ‘x’ on the calendar, summer’s on its deathbed,” which is like the transition from one season to the next.


Lullaby // Front Porch Step - This one man band only has one album, but all of the songs on it are perfect for any season. It’s another acoustic song that reminds me of this time of year.


Underwater Bride // Passenger - Passenger is a folk-like artist, and folk music is commonly found at the fall festivals, so this song fits into this playlist really well.


Grand Theft Autumn // Fall Out Boy - The song has ‘autumn’ in the title, which is very literal. The song also has a very good, upbeat rhythm that relates to the upbeat tone of fall.


Loose Leaves // Bright Eyes - This song has ‘leaves’ in the title, but it also has a very nature-like fall theme about it throughout the entire song and talks a lot about exploring in autumn.


Beautiful Times (feat. Lindsey Stirling) // Owl City - This song is a great song for this season because it’s very bubbly and happy. The violin in the soundtrack from the amazing Lindsey Stirling really tops the whole song off.


Aware // Front Porch Step - This song is not only a very cute love song, but it’s similar to the countless days of taking walks in the fall.


Natures // Being as an Ocean - This song has a lullaby tune to it and is nice to listen to while going for a walk.


Under Wraps // Ghost Town - This song is mummy-themed, which is related to Halloween coming around the corner. It also has a really cool beat to it that’s really energy packed and happy.


Girls // The 1975 - With the group’s indie roots, this song is perfect for fall with its bounciness and catchiness. The lightness of the song is similar to the season’s vibe.


What are you going to be watching this fall?

Alex Loding
Staff Reporter
October 6, 2014

   The fall is a great time of year. The NFL begins, baseball season is ending, and hockey and basketball are right around the corner. Besides all of the exciting sports news, the fall is a time of year when the best shows start again and new shows premiere. All of this action happens in the span of two months-- September and October.  

   First up on the list of most-anticipated TV shows is Gotham. Gotham is a story about villains and vigilantes growing up in the corrupt city of Gotham and one police officer’s rise through the city’s police department.  Yes, this is a spinoff of the classic Batman, even talking about the birth of Batman, one of the most pronounced heroes in the world, but the show isn’t just about Batman; it’s about all of the famous villains and Officer Gordon.

   “[Gotham] turns out to be not only an origin story about Batman but also a humdinger of a noir crime thriller,” Franzier Moore wrote for The Associated Press on Aug. 27.

   Gotham premiered on Sept. 22 on FOX.

   A show in its fifth season that historically has drawn huge audiences is Pretty Little Liars, a mysterious drama about four girlfriends and their dangerous battle against a gang of people known as “A”. This show has everything: close friends, drama, action, insanity, suspense, and of course romance.  If you can name it, this show has it. With all of the craziness and insanity, you’ll practically rip your hair out.

   Critics say that the fifth season is a must watch on ABC at 7/8C.

   Another suspenseful show in the mix is American Horror Story. American Horror Story premieres Oct. 8 on FX. If you’re into horror or love suspense, then this show is the one for you.  

   “I’m so excited for the new season of American Horror Story. I love the suspense and creepiness of the show,” said Sheridan Hurtig, sophomore.

   A highly-anticipated show coming to NBC is Bad Judge, which premiered Oct. 2. This new show is about an unorthodox judge, Kate Walsh, with a wild and fun private life. It is said to be one of the funniest shows debuting this fall.
   “[Bad Judge] presides with little judicial restraint but with plenty of laughs,” said Frazier Moore of the Associated Press in an Aug. 27 review.

   Another anticipated show coming to NBC is the singing competition, The Voice. Season 7, which premiered Sept. 22, stars famous musicians, such as Adam Levine of Maroon 5, Blake Shelton, and new judges/coaches Pharrel Williams and Gwen Stefani. Levine and Shelton are the only two coaches to win on The Voice. Can Pharrel Williams or Gwen Stefani knock them off their thrones?

   “I think [with the new judges] that it can be either really good or the opposite, and they’ll choose bad singers who shouldn’t make it,” said Hurtig, a singer in the MHS show choir.  

   Arguably the most anticipated show of the fall is How to Get Away with Murder, which premiered on ABC on Sept. 25 at 10/9c. This show stars actress Viola Davis, who has appeared in the TV shows Traveler and Century City.  This new series is said to be Davis’s best show.

   In How to Get Away with Murder, Davis plays a college professor. The show is about college students who have to use Davis’s teachings to solve real life murder cases.

   “[Viola] Davis is a gray character made to keep us guessing throughout,” wrote Matt W. Mitovich on July 8 on TV Line, a website that follows all TV shows in America.   

   The show that many people are looking forward to is The Walking Dead. Its fifth season premieres Oct. 12 on AMC. The Walking Dead is about a group of people from Atlanta who have banned together to survive an on-going zombie apocalypse. Over the past couple of seasons, The Walking Dead has had an average of 15.7 million viewers, making it one of the most watched TV shows in America.    

   “I can’t wait [for the new season]. I have the countdown on my phone for once the season starts,” stated Joey Krusinski, sophomore at Carmel Catholic High School.  

   With all of the new shows premiering, there is an entertaining fall ahead of us. Catch as much of them as you can.

 "The Giver" pleases audience

Hannah Koehler
Staff Reporter
October 6, 2014

Imagine a colorless, dystopian world in which everyone is equal. Pain, love and lies do not exist, along with any memories of the past. This is the type of world in which The Giver, directed by Phillip Noyce, takes place.

   Based off of Lois Lowry’s novel written in 1993, the movie tells the story of 18-year-old Jonas (Brenton Thwaites), his friends Fiona (Odeya Rush) and Asher (Cameron Monaghan), and the community, dictated by the Elders, in which they have grown up.  On the day they find out to which jobs they’ve been assigned, Jonas is chosen to be the next receiver of memory. This means that the Giver, who holds all memories, acts as Jonas’s mentor. When he touches hands with the Giver, Jonas is able to look into memories of the past for the first time. With this new knowledge, he has to decide how to help his world escape the lies in which they’ve been living.

   The acting in The Giver is nothing short of phenomenal. The film features six-time Academy Award nominee Jeff Bridges (the Giver), three-time Academy Award winner Meryl Streep (Chief Elder), and a relatively new face to Hollywood, Brenton Thwaites (Jonas). The actors really brought their characters to life. Bridges embraced the wisdom of the Giver, and Streep embodied the calm and collected head of society. As the star of the production, Thwaites proved his many acting abilities as his character grew in the progression of the film, developing into the hero of society.

   One of the most important aspects in this movie was color. As it takes place in a dystopian society where emotions do not exist, everything is black and white to the characters, except for Jonas. Further into the movie, Jonas begins to see color developing more and more as he realizes his true power. This was a key characteristic to the movie because it helped to emphasize the drastically different futuristic society.

   The Giver is perfect for fans of The Hunger Games or Divergent, or anyone who loves Sci-Fi movies, as dystopian and futuristic novels and movies have been becoming more popular.

   Not only is The Giver interesting and entertaining for the young-adult audience, but it is also chock-full of important lessons. After viewing the movie, it is apparent just how significant memory is. The movie demonstrated that without memory, there is no pain to remember, but there is also no happiness. Happiness cannot exist without having pain to compare it to.

   The audience also learns how important individuality is. Like all dystopian books and movies, conformity is always shown as undesirable. The community in The Giver never celebrates differences, and everyone is expected to act in the same way. By the end of the movie, it is clear how Jonas starts to become his own person.

   The main critique for The Giver, though, is that some scenes moved at an extremely quick pace.  At the end of the movie, things ended quite abruptly, leaving a few questions unanswered. The final scene needs to be extended to satisfy the viewer’s curiosity.

   Overall I was very pleased with The Giver. It met my expectations, and it did a fantastic job at teaching valuable life lessons. There was never a dull moment and the music, cinematography, and special effects made the movie even better. I recommend that young adults see this movie because it will keep you on your toes and will really make people think about what’s important in life.


Caught in the One-Acts

Senior Sydney Salit and Sophomore Jasmine Cuasay became
sisters Henrietta and Mabel in their piece "Suppressed Desires"
directed by Senior Natalie Lawrence.Photo by Melissa Burgett

Melissa Burgett
Sports Editor
October 3, 2014

   For many theater fans, the nights of Sept. 8 and 9 provided a look into the world of young directors attending MHS. Seniors Emma Morton, Natalie Lawrence, Stephen Ferro, Maya St. Clair and Rachel David took on the role of director voluntarily, selecting actors and productions.

   The Chocolate Affair directed by Emma Morton and assisted by Aaron Banez- A young mother (Nikki Rankov, freshman) faces a crisis no one should ever face: beauty or happiness. The struggle between her love of candy and love for her daughter drag her to a seedy motel to make the biggest decision of her life, with a little help from her friends M&M (Henry Carpender, junior) and Mr. Goodbar (Karl Kirkpatrick, freshman). Rankov shined as the mother, portraying the pain of a parent. Her role tugged on the heartstrings when she revealed her true intentions.

   Suppressed Desires directed by Natalie Lawrence and assisted by Marisa Nuzzo-Henrietta (Sydney Salit, senior) is an obsessed housewife with her mind set on the brain.  “I loved it at the first read,” said Director Natalie Lawrence, senior. Her husband, Stephen (Oscar Delgado, junior), and sister, Mabel (Jasmine Cuasay, sophomore), both agree that her fixation on psychoanalysis is pure fiction; yet once Mabel realizes her “suppressed desire” for the unobtainable, the balance of the family shatters. Salit as Henrietta gave a performance of the highest caliber. The young actress truly gave off a convincing feel of true passion for psychoanalysis.  
The Blueberry Hill Accord directed by Stephen Ferro and assisted by Hannah Weiss- This is a true coming of age story that every teen girl can relate to: two best friends realize they’ve grown apart. After  

many years stuck together like glue, Lindsay (Kaila Saunders, junior) and Hannah (Patricia Roques, junior) meet at their favorite spot to eat and talk. Lindsay surprises Hannah with a contract, detailing the terms of their break up. The actresses Saunders and Roques had such chemistry; it was easy to forget they were performing and not just having a heart to heart with their best friend.

   The Scary Question directed by Rachel David and assisted by Thomas Ferro- A young couple enjoying their night is quickly interrupted by a sickening revelation-- they have no plan for when the zombie apocalypse threatens the human race.  Brian (Colton Schroetter, senior) quickly realizes that his love for Linda (Ginny Zundel, freshman) transcends the test of time and decomposition after she shares what she has harbored in the event that the undead should rise. The awareness of Zundel on stage was magnificent, and her energy made the play as successful as it was.

   The Drunken Sisters directed by Maya St. Clair and assisted by Angela Peterson- The Fates (Junior Josie David, Junior Karsen Sample, Sophomore Annie McGrath) realize they’ve grown bored of each other and the same repetitive riddles. This development makes it impossible for them to resist the offer of a new riddle by Apollo, the sun god disguised as a poor peasant played by Sophomore Max Basso. His price for the new riddle is the life of a king, though the saving of one life involves the sacrifice of another, a sacrifice Apollo is not willing to make. Basso’s performance stood out among one of the most well done, for he had powerful monologues mixed with hilarious dialogue.  Basso said, “I enjoy acting and thought [the one acts] would be cool.  It would be fun to be a god.”

Movies burned hot or burned out this summer at theaters 

Jessica Carrasco
Staff Reporter
October 2, 2014

   This summer not only brought in the hot weather to Mundelein, but it also brought in some hot movies as well. Some of the movies were on fire with their fantastic production; however, there were some that could have been thrown in a fire.

  “22 Jump Street” is the comedy sequel to the hit “21 Jump Street”, which also starred Jonah Hill as Schmidt and Channing Tatum as Jenko. In “22 Jump Street” the best-buddy cop shenanigans are back but now with a different task. This time they are stationed to go undercover in a college, whereas in the previous movie they were undercover in high school.

   “22 Jump Street” was one of the more successful movies of this summer, even receiving an 84 percent from Rotten Tomatoes, a movie critics’ website. It was enjoyed by many students at MHS as well.

 “It was unique in its own way, didn’t follow clichés, and when it did, it called them out. And also there’s Channing Tatum; that’s all you need,” said Laura Kim, sophomore. She would give it an 8 out of 10.

  However, in my opinion, there is the same if not more comedy and heart in the second movie than in the first movie. It is mostly because we get to know more about their characters and the bromance that they have.  We see how strong their friendship is when it is put through tests.

  The comedy was done very well and had me laughing throughout the whole movie. Hill and Tatum performed perfectly, taking their characters to a whole new level of funny, when their characters start to believe and act like they are really enrolled in college.  It was paced better than the first movie, so there didn’t seem to be as many lulls in the movie, and if there were, they were over quickly. All in all, I would also give this movie an 8 out 10.

  The book-turned-movie “The Fault in Our Stars” by John Green was also one of the more popular movies of the summer. It stars Shailene Woodley as Hazel Grace Lancaster and Ansel Elgort as Augustus Waters.

  An interesting fact is that they also previously co-starred together in “Divergent” as brother and sister. However, this time they play the roles of tragic lovers in this movie.  Hazel and Augustus both meet at a cancer support group and fall in love. But like every other love story, there are many complications both Woodley’s and Elgort’s characters may face. As romantic movies go, “The Fault in Our Stars” did very well in theaters and with critics alike, receiving an 80 percent from Rotten Tomatoes.

   Ryan Buck, English teacher, said that “both (his wife and he) read the book and really enjoyed it. [The movie] really tied to the book. We were both crying, my wife more than me.”

  Although I haven’t read the book, the movie was quite similar to “A Walk to Remember”, originally a book written by Nicholas Sparks.  Both movies were made to make the viewer feel the same mixture of emotions, such as complete heartache and joy. What I like about the movie is that both the main characters have a great and believable chemistry, having previously worked together. 
   Dianna Antonio, sophomore, agreed by saying, “I saw the ‘Fault in Our Stars’, and it was intense and emotional. But they both had cancer already, so you are kind of seeing the movie already expecting that something [bad] will happen to one of them.”

  She gave the movie a 3 out of 10 because she also thought that the movie closely resembled “A Walk to Remember”, where the main characters face similar illness-related problems.
 I also wasn’t very fond of the ending because it didn’t
turn out how I wanted it to, but as Antonio previously mentioned, we go watching the movie already expecting and bracing ourselves for the ending that we know will come. But, the road to getting there is still heartfelt and heartbreaking, so I give it a 7 out of 10.  
The Amazing Spider-Man 2” was the sequel to 

The new Spider Man movie was met with harsh criticism by fans and critiques alike.
Photo from the official Amazing Spider-Man 2 website

the hit reboot of the Spider-Man movies.  It stars Andrew Garfield as Peter Parker/Spider-Man, and Emma Stone as Gwen Stacy. Spidey is back to save the day, but he is still conflicted over his relationship with Gwen, along with finding out the unanswered questions of his past.

  This movie didn’t have many high reviews. Many people still thought it was too soon for a Spider-Man reboot. Other people claimed that it didn’t do so well because they had too much information that they tried to focus on all at once.  Many, however, love Garfield and Stone’s cute chemistry on set and off because when they are not just dating as Peter Parker and Gwen Stacy, they are also one of Hollywood's favorite real life couples.

  Despite the negative reviews, it brought a lot of people to the theater, like Jocelyn Acosta, senior, who said, “Overall the movie was really good and the ending was sad.” She also said that she would give this movie an 8 out 10 because she believes that people should “watch this movie because it has a lot to do with having hope.”

 The movie is enjoyable because it has everything: romance, comedy, friendship, action, etc. For me it was a delight seeing the story of Spider-Man told again in a new and fresher way. I didn’t think there were many problems, and I also didn’t think that it was too soon for a reboot.

  Jacqueline Meza, senior, also enjoyed the movie saying, “I have always liked the Spider-Man series. This one didn’t disappoint me at all…. But all in all I think this movie was one of the greatest that I have seen this summer.  In my opinion, I think this film consisted of all of romance, action, and a bit of a humor.”

  This summer was a season of many part twos or part threes in movies, so there weren’t a lot of movies that really pushed the envelope. But among the ones that did, “Snowpiercer” and “The Edge of Tomorrow” were some of the best. They had action, and humor, and they also had heart, which was a bit surprising for me.

  “Snowpiercer” is one of the better dystopian movies. It was adapted from a French comic book and stars big names like Chris Evan, Tilda Swinton, and Korean actor Song Kang Ho. It was also directed by Korean director Bong Joon-ho. I’d give it a 9 out of 10 because its magnificent ideas of how life is and how life will be if we continue the way we are, in some ways, are spot on.

  “The Edge of Tomorrow” is very good as well since it also has a blend of comedy and action as well as romance. It stars Tom Cruise as the person who experiences the same day each day with every day ending with his death.  Emily Blunt, the only one who can help him, works with him to stop an alien invasion. For this one, the viewer is already expecting the ending, but Cruise and Blunt carry the movie very well. With Cruise, it’s his complete ambition to save the world and the people he cares about, and for Blunt, it is her fearsome and fearless charisma that draws us into her character. I went in only expecting an action movie, but it pleasantly surprised me that it had a bit of humor as well, so I give this a 9 out of 10, too.

  Even though the heat might have cooled out at the movie theaters now that summer has passed, try catching these movies once they hit a local Redbox near you this fall.

"If I Stay": Gayle Forman’s compelling tale hits home



Ashley Wolfe
October 1, 2014

   Recently released in theatres, but written nearly five years ago, If I Stay by Gayle Forman tells a story that can’t easily be forgotten and is sure to make the reader take a closer look at the person he or she wants to become.

   The novel centers around Mia, a senior in high school and an avid musician whose life revolves around her cello and her boyfriend, Adam, a guitarist in an up-and-coming band. She and Adam are far from anything alike. He plans to stay in Portland--the novels setting--while she has dreams of attending Juilliard, which could put more than a few miles between them.

   This difficult decision is put on hold after a traumatic car crash, which kills Mia’s parents and younger brother. She, unfortunately, is caught between life and death, her spirit roaming the halls of the hospital and sending the reader back and forth between her time there and her memories up until then. Will she die and follow her family or stay with the few people she has left?

   Like any good book, If I Stay has both pros and cons. Mia and Adam have an envious fairytale relationship, and sometimes it’s difficult to relate to them. One of the most realistic parts happens to be the conflict they face over the future of their relationship should Mia be accepted and choose to attend Juilliard.  

   In addition, Mia’s free spirited former rock star parents seem to echo every teen’s dream parents. They offer little structure within their home and very few, if any, rules for Mia and her younger brother. While it’s understandable that books like this are simply works of fiction and function as a means to escape reality, it also helps to have some form of relatable material. Had her parents been a bit more like the everyday parents, it might have led to a better connection between the reader and the main character.

   However, If I Stay is written in a way that allows the reader to learn and gather information without simply reading it straight from the author. Forman gives the reader multiple looks into Mia’s past and the events of her life which have led to and resulted in the Mia that she is now, allowing the reader to develop inferences and learn things without simply being told. For example, it’s through Mia’s memories that the reader learns about her strong attachment to Adam. Rather than the author explaining this in a brief paragraph, the reader sees the development of their relationship through her memories of their moments together.

   Furthermore, Mia’s story teaches the reader a lot about the value of life and how important it is to appreciate what one has. Besides the fact that her parents and younger brother are taken from her, Mia faces the challenge of choosing to either join them or fight to stay alive. Both have a series of advantages and disadvantages.

   In reality the same applies. No one knows when we’ll lose everything or be left in a difficult position. Although we are told by our parents and elders that we should appreciate what we have and give thanks, we rarely take it to heart and realize that nothing lasts forever. Mia’s story is one example--fictional, thankfully--of just how fast life can change in such short time.

   Therefore, Gayle Forman’s If I Stay is a book for anyone who enjoys a story that hits home. Although not always realistic (what book is?), it delivers a phenomenal story and a lesson that applies to everyone.

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