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Movies and Media in Not Your #Lovestory, a guest post by Sonia Hartl

When I sat down to write NOT YOUR #LOVESTORY, I didn’t realize at first how big of a role older movies would play in my story. I knew I wanted my main character, Macy, to be a YouTuber and I knew my premise would involve Macy going viral through a series of tweets captured by a stranger, but it took some time for me to land on what she did with her YouTube channel.

I watch a lot of older movies with my own teenage daughter, and we sometimes poke fun at them, but we also talk about what we think the movies are trying to say, or what they say to us. It really made me realize how media can bridge the gap between generations, and how movies can make it possible for us to have conversations we wouldn’t otherwise know how to start.

A big theme in NOT YOUR #LOVESTORY is how destructive media can be, especially when people are photographed without consent or when they have personal tragedies picked apart, but I also wanted to show how it can connect and heal as well. Movies are a way for Macy’s mom to say things to her daughter that she isn’t able to vocalize, but it’s also a way for Macy to explore where she fits in the world. They allow her to shape her own views based on the way they speak to her and what she takes away from them.

I also wanted these older movies to act as symbol for the town she lives in as a whole. The way these films are often viewed through a nostalgic lens, but there is always a new way of looking at things that is often much deeper than what appears on the surface. Media has its ugly side, but it’s also what connects us and lets us see the commonalities we have with each other.

Meet Sonia Hartl

Sonia Hartl is the author of NOT YOUR #LOVESTORYand HAVE A LITTLE FAITH IN ME (Page Street), which received a starred review in BookPage and earned nominations for the Georgia Peach Book Award, YALSA’s Quick Picks for Reluctant Readers, Bank Street College of Education’s Best Children’s Books of the Year, and ALA’s Rise: A Feminist Book Project List. When she’s not writing or reading, she’s enjoying pub trivia, marathoning Disney movies, or taking a walk outside in the fall. She’s a member of SCBWI and the Managing Director for Pitch Wars 2020. She lives in Grand Rapids with her husband and two daughters. Follow her on Twitter @SoniaHartl1.   

About NOT YOUR #LOVESTORY

Not Your #Lovestory

#PlaneBae meets Gilmore Girls in this hilarious and heartfelt story about the addictiveness of Internet fame and the harsh realities of going viral.

Macy Evans dreams of earning enough income from her YouTube channel, R3ntal Wor1d, to leave her small, Midwestern town. But when she meets a boy named Eric at a baseball game, and accidently dumps her hotdog in his lap, her disastrous “meet-cute” becomes the topic of a viral thread. Now it’s not loyal subscribers flocking to her channel, it’s Internet trolls. And they aren’t interested in her reviews of VHS tapes—they only care about her relationship with Eric.

Eric is overly eager to stretch out his fifteen minutes of fame, but Macy fears this unwanted attention could sabotage her “real-life” relationships—namely with the shy boy-next-door, Paxton, who she’s actually developing feelings for. Macy knows she should shut the lie down, though she can’t ignore the advertising money, or the spark she gets in her chest whenever someone clicks on her videos. Eric shouldn’t be the only one allowed to reap the viral benefits. But is faking a relationship for clicks and subscribers worth hurting actual people?

ISBN-13: 9781645670544
Publisher: Page Street Publishing
Publication date: 09/01/2020
Age Range: 14 – 17 Years

Book Review: Not Your #Lovestory by Sonia Hartl

Not Your #Lovestory

Publisher’s description

#PlaneBae meets Gilmore Girls in this hilarious and heartfelt story about the addictiveness of Internet fame and the harsh realities of going viral.

Macy Evans dreams of earning enough income from her YouTube channel, R3ntal Wor1d, to leave her small, Midwestern town. But when she meets a boy named Eric at a baseball game, and accidently dumps her hotdog in his lap, her disastrous “meet-cute” becomes the topic of a viral thread. Now it’s not loyal subscribers flocking to her channel, it’s Internet trolls. And they aren’t interested in her reviews of VHS tapes—they only care about her relationship with Eric.

Eric is overly eager to stretch out his fifteen minutes of fame, but Macy fears this unwanted attention could sabotage her “real-life” relationships—namely with the shy boy-next-door, Paxton, who she’s actually developing feelings for. Macy knows she should shut the lie down, though she can’t ignore the advertising money, or the spark she gets in her chest whenever someone clicks on her videos. Eric shouldn’t be the only one allowed to reap the viral benefits. But is faking a relationship for clicks and subscribers worth hurting actual people?

Amanda’s thoughts

The following is just a short list of things I’m a total sucker for: Rom-coms, meet-cutes, 80s/90s movies, Say Anything (see the very end of this post), interesting family dynamics, stories set at a workplace, and stories set in small towns. Truly. Give me any of those and I’m in. Give me ALL of those? And you’ve given me this book.

Macy is 18 and lives with her mom, who is 35 and a full-time waitress, and her grandma. They barely make ends meet and rely on bartering in their small town to get most of their goods and services. Macy’s dream is to scrape together enough income from her YouTube channel reviewing “old” movies to move to Chicago in a year or so. Until then, she works at a combination video store and repair shop. Now, you might say, really? A video store? Yes—and not just DVDS, but many of the movies are on VHS. Look, I grew up in a tiny rural town. There’s nothing to do and if anywhere is going to have the last VHS-rental store on Earth, it’s going to be some tiny town. So I buy it.

Macy’s world becomes bigger, at least virtually speaking, when videos and a tweet thread go viral. In them, Macy and Eric, a guy she randomly sat by at a baseball game and accidentally dumped her food on, appear to have fallen in love at this game and hooked up in the bathroom. As with so many observed stories, stories told by people other than who they happened to, there is very little truth to this. However, after initially feeling furious at both the invasion of her privacy and Eric (who is still a total stranger to her), who is playing along with this great love story, Macy sees how this could benefit her. Her videos are suddenly wildly popular and she just may be able to earn enough from them to really support her family and save to eventually leave. But playing along means not just selling out, but hurting the people who know the real Macy.

And you know what? Big whatever to Macy and Eric. We see right away that he’s a manipulative jerk and while Macy may get something out of playing along, readers aren’t going to root for them to end up together. Now Macy and Paxton… that’s a different story. Her coworker is cute, funny, sweet, and loves Say Anything. But he also seems to be hiding something. And there’s the fact that Macy’s mom has made her swear to never date a coworker.

Hartl does an excellent job showing how reality can look so very different from how something appears online. With an interesting cast of characters, layered backstories (trauma, grief, heartbreak, poverty, and more), and quick dialogue, I #lovedthisstory.

And now, a tour of my office:

Review copy (ARC) courtesy of the publisher

ISBN-13: 9781645670544
Publisher: Page Street Publishing
Publication date: 09/01/2020
Age Range: 14 – 17 Years

Coming Soon: YA Lit on the Small and Big Screen

Like many people, I watch a lot of Netflix. Too much? I mean, it’s possible. But it turns out, a lot of what I’m watching on Netflix came from a YA novel, which should surprise no one.

I first noticed this phenomenon when I saw a movie called iBoy on the streaming service. Isn’t that a YA novel, I thought? And the answer is yes. It’s a book written by Kevin Brooks which was originally published in 2010. I had no idea it had been made into a movie and yet here I was watching it. So today for you I share a round up of current and coming soon small and big screen productions that come from a YA novel. This is by no means a complete list so if you know of more please add them to the list in the comments.

Ranking all the YA novels you can currently watch on Netflix, including Dumplin’ by Julie Murphy and To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before by Jenny Han https://thewhisp.mommyish.com/entertainment/ranking-netflix-original-ya-novel-adaptations/5/

Trinkets series on Netflix (https://deadline.com/2018/10/netflix-orders-trinkets-series-based-ya-novel-brianna-hildebrand-kiana-madeira-quintessa-swindell-leads-1202483312/)

The Wilds series on Amazon (https://variety.com/2019/tv/news/amazon-the-wilds-series-1203226989/)

Light as a Feather, which you can now see on Hulu, began on Wattpad but you can buy the books and add them to your YA collections now https://www.forbes.com/sites/adamrowe1/2018/10/13/how-light-as-a-feather-traveled-from-a-wattpad-novel-to-a-hulu-tv-show/#450619b95d8c

YA Novel The Stand In is the basis of the Netflix Rom-Com The Perfect Date (https://www.globenewswire.com/news-release/2019/03/12/1751964/0/en/YA-Novel-The-Stand-In-from-Carolrhoda-Lab-Becomes-the-Netflix-Film-The-Perfect-Date-Starring-Noah-Centineo.html)

Along for the Ride by Sarah Dessen coming soon to Netflix (https://www.hollywoodreporter.com/news/netflix-options-sarah-dessen-ya-novels-sets-along-ride-adaptation-1214672)

Tiny Pretty Things optioned by Netflix (https://deadline.com/2019/08/netflix-orders-tiny-pretty-things-ballet-drama-series-based-book-cast-1202662556/)

The Grishaverse/Shadow and Bone series by Leigh Bardugo (https://deadline.com/2019/01/netflix-orders-shadow-and-bone-series-leigh-bardugo-grishaverse-fantasy-novels-1202532783/)

Aurora Rising optioned https://deadline.com/2019/06/aurora-rising-ya-novel-adapted-television-mgm-tv-1202632339/

Panic by Lauren Oliver is coming to Amazon https://www.hypable.com/lauren-oliver-first-look-deal-amazon/

Children of Blood and Bone by Tomi Adeyemi is being made into a movie https://www.tor.com/2019/02/21/children-of-blood-and-bone-movie-adaptation-tomi-adeyemi/

Popsugar has a list of some current and upcoming productions https://www.popsugar.com/entertainment/YA-Novels-Becoming-Movies-34609728

Epic Reads also has a list of all the YA books being made into movies https://www.epicreads.com/blog/book-to-movie-adaptations-progress/

Cheat Sheet has a list of movies coming out in 2020 that are based on YA books https://www.cheatsheet.com/entertainment/books-becoming-movies-2020.html/

Screen Rant has a list of movies in production and some possibilities https://screenrant.com/ya-adaptations-development-possibilities/

Also, if you’re interested, here’s a list of all the teen shows currently on Netflix that may be of interest to teens: https://www.thrillist.com/entertainment/nation/best-teen-shows-on-netflix

To keep up with this information, I use resources like those you see above and The Hollywood Reporter, Coming Soon.net, Hypable, io9.com, The AV Club, MovieInsider.com and the coming soon feature on IMDB.