Wednesday, October 14, 2015

Series: If/Then - Week 2 [Contributor: Lizzie]

Lizzie kicked off a brand-new series a few weeks ago that she pitched to me titled If/Then. Have you ever watched a television show and thought: "I would love to read a book like this"? Or have you ever read a book and thought: "If only this could be a television show"? If/Then is a series that highlights this! Lizzie has chosen TV series you would enjoy based on your reading habits and vice versa. 
If you liked Teen Wolf...
... then you might enjoy The Vampire Academy Series.


Hello, my loves. It’s me again! Fall TV season is upon is, and that honestly leaves less time to read than I would like. (But then again, this is me –– I have four books in my car, one in my purse, two on my desk at work and at least seven loaded on my cell phone at any given time). So, what do you do when your schedule is already filled with wonderful things you need to catch up on? Because seriously, there are so many good shows to watch. Well, you become more selective, of course.

That’s why I’m here: to provide awesome (if I do say so myself) recommendations and occasional witty commentary. And also, I’m here to try to help you determine stuff you want to read based on the stuff that you already like. You know, the fun stuff, the relevant stuff. That means you probably won’t find a long-winded essay about why you should read The Catcher in the Rye in this series (though I admit to having read it and loved it –– yes, I AM that person).

So, we’re pretty much going to stick the content people are actually watching and care about, and books that are relatively new/famous as well as easy to find. Because, if not, what’s the point?

Without further ado, here are my picks for this month!


Teen Wolf is a new love of mine. I’d heard many things about the series before I finally committed: that it was very good, that some of the main characters had left so I shouldn’t get attached to people, that guys were often half-naked, that it was a teenage soap opera. All of those are true in a way, and yet none of them take away from the overall fun of the series. Because watching this show is just that –– a whole lot of fun.

And it’s not just because of the multitude of shirtless hunks (though that helps), the numerous supernatural components, or even the totally awkward and yet relatable teenage romances. No, Teen Wolf is so great because of the characters. Sure, there’s plenty of plot to go around in the series, and wonderful fight scenes, but the driving force behind this show is its characters and the strength of the relationships they have cultivated.

Stiles’s sarcasm. His bromance with Scott. Derek’s loyalty. A host of leading ladies who skirt stereotypes and who always, always steal the show. Whatever it is you look for on a TV show, Teen Wolf probably has it.

But the thing about Teen Wolf that really, truly gets me is that it’s not a show about teenage romance, or even about the supernatural. No, at its core, this is a show about family. And it is a show that focuses on not just the family you’re born into, but the family that you CHOOSE to make for yourself. That’s what a pack is, after all. And I’m a sucker for stories about people who find their family outside of their biological ones. They’re my kryptonite.


Talk about a book that took me by surprise. I have a strange and complicated relationship with fictional vampires, in general. I either love them (Angel) or absolutely hate them (Edward Cullen). There seems to be no middle ground.

I expected to hate this book. I really did. No one’s more surprised than me by the fact that I not only liked it, but that it quickly became one of my favorites. When my sister first recommended it, I scoffed. Vampires at a school? How lame was that? Why would vampires need a school? Why would you even attend school if you were a vampire? What classes would they even teach at said school?

Yes, there are answers to all of these questions. And yes, as surprising as it sounds, the answers do make sense.

There’s also a great female friendship in The Vampire Academy –– one that reaches Scott/Stiles bromance levels. Rose and Lissa are not your typical teenage girls (obviously), and they’re not your typical friends, but they work in a way that few female pairings in recent literature have. Maybe it’s because they’re so different. Maybe it’s because they each get to be full-fledged characters with problems, faults and love lives. Or perhaps it’s just because they really are the main relationship in this book.

I’m not lying to you. They are. Yes, there’s romance, and a lot of it. There’s heartbreak and longing and ill-advised decision-making and stupidity and many, many other things that you’ve likely come to expect from young adult literature. But through it all, you never doubt that the most important thing for each of these characters is protecting those they care about –– the family that they’ve come to find in each other.

As surprising as it sounds, The Vampire Academy is not a book about vampires. This is a book about family, and the people you love enough to consider part of yours.


Because the truth is that family is not always this thing you’re born into. Family, sometimes, is what you make of it for yourself. Family is who you love, and who you choose to care for. Family is who always has your back, no matter what. Family is a choice.

And that choice is at the center of both Teen Wolf and The Vampire Academy series. I’d even go as far as to say that it’s the main connecting thread in both. And, for a show and a book(s) about young people –– with supernatural powers –– trying to find a way through high school... well, that’s pretty remarkable.
Do you have a TV show in particular and you’re desperate to find its book counterpart? Or, have a book and want me to give you a TV recommendation based on the book's content? Send your requests my way! I’m willing to take one for the team and research. I’ll read a lot of books, and watch a lot of television. And I’ll do it for all of you! 
It’s a hard job, but someone’s gotta do it.


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