Free Smart Pop YA Essay:Case Notes: Salvatore, Stefan and Salvatore, Damon

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A Visitor's Guide to Mystic Falls

Case Notes: Salvatore, Stefan and Salvatore, Damon

by Heidi R. Kling

Note: Since the subjects are fictional characters, rather than sit down
with them separately or together, the therapist viewed twenty-two
hours of tape footage (one “season”) depicting their interactions with
one another and with others.

 

Stefan Salvatore

Observations

Appearance

Stefan Salvatore is male, Caucasian, appearing to be about
seventeen years old (younger than his stated age of 162).
Stefan stands approximately 5’10”. With a coif of stiff “James
Dean” hair, a black leather jacket, and expensive designer
pants, he resembles a rebellious–albeit wealthy and wellgroomed–
teenager from the 1950s. Other than an ornate
ring he wears no jewelry. His build is athletic, with an
emphasis on weightlifting; the thin black T-shirt he wears
reveals clearly defined pectorals. Though Stefan is officially
undead, he appears healthy.

Available Until Wednesday, June 3rd, 2020

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Free Smart Pop YA Essay:Sharper Than a Seraph Blade

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Shadowhunters and Downworlders

Sharper Than a Seraph Blade

by Diana Peterfreund

The Shadowhunters of Cassandra Clare’s Mortal Instruments series have a variety of weapons at their disposal, and most possess particular favorites. Isabelle Lightwood is fond of her golden electrum whip, Luke Garroway (when not wolfy) is very attached to the kindjal blade Valentine gave him to off himself with, and Clary Fray probably gets the most mileage out of her Angel-given gift of rune making–that is, when she can manage to hang on to her stele. (Honestly, she drops that thing more often than Stephanie Plum forgets her gun.)

But Jace Wayland Morgenstern Herondale Lightwood–who, thanks to his angel blood, is one of the most powerful of all Shadowhunters, and who has more names for seraph blades than can be found in your average baby-naming book–has one weapon that trumps them all.

Humor.

Seraph blades and daggers and steles are all well and good (and for Jace, they’re very good indeed), but the …

Available Until Wednesday, May 27th, 2020

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Free Smart Pop YA Essay:Smoke and Mirrors

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The Girl Who Was on Fire

Smoke and Mirrors

by Elizabeth M. Rees
smoke and mirrors: cover-up; something that is intended to draw attention away from something else that somebody would prefer remain unnoticed –Encarta World English Dictionary smoke and mirrors: irrelevant or misleading information serving to obscure the truth of a situation –Collins English Dictionary When I was a kid my favorite game was “Let’s Pretend.” Every child plays one version or another. You create a world for a day, or an afternoon, complete with rules, with adventures, with tragedies and silly happenings, everything from tea parties to out-and-out galactic warfare. But then your mom calls you in for dinner, or to do chores or homework, and game time ends. Poof! The pretend world evaporates into thin air, never to exist in exactly the same way again. But what if it never vanished? What if all that pretense, that make-believe, wasn’t imaginary at all? What if your whole world, day-in and day-out, was made up of pretense, lies, and deceit? What if your life or your death …

Available Until Wednesday, May 20th, 2020

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Free Smart Pop YA Essay:Show Me, Don't Tell Me

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Navigating the Golden Compass

Show Me, Don't Tell Me

by Daniel P. Moloney

Philip Pullman’s His Dark Materials trilogy is obviously indebted to the Christian story and derives much of its form from it. But rather than trying to write a modern Christian allegory in the fashion of C. S. Lewis, Pullman attempted to write an anti-Christian allegory based on a revisionist interpretation of Paradise Lost in which Satan is the hero. Pullman has made no secret that he intends his story to be offensive to Christians, and in this he succeeds (after all, to offend, it is sufficient to communicate one’s desire to offend). But, his scorn for the Church aside, the religion to which Pullman’s novel is opposed is such a caricature of real Christianity that most Christians would join him in rejecting it. At his best, his storytelling even advances Christian themes and values.

Pullman’s best is very good, and not offensive to Christians. It’s when he tries to propose anti-Christian …

Available Until Friday, May 15th, 2020

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Free Smart Pop YA Essay:To Bite, or Not to Bite; That is the Question

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A New Dawn

To Bite, or Not to Bite; That is the Question

by Janette Rallison
What’s your definition of a bad day? A fight with a friend? A speeding ticket? How about being attacked by a vampire and painfully turned into the undead, then realizing you must wander for eternity fighting off a craving to kill people? Yeah, that would pretty much be a bad day. Carlisle, the leader of the Cullen clan of vampires had this bad day and (we can assume) many other bad days that followed. Stephenie Meyer doesn’t skimp when dishing out problems for her characters. Seriously, if you were Cinderella and could choose someone to be your fairy godmother, you wouldn’t want it to be Stephenie Meyer. Sure, she could come up with the ultimate Prince Charming to take you to the ball, but he might kill you afterward. Anyway, this particular bad day of Carlisle’s, when he was attacked and transformed into a vampire, started the ball rolling for the Twilight …

Available Until Wednesday, May 13th, 2020

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Free Smart Pop YA Essay:The Language of the Heart

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Demigods and Monsters

The Language of the Heart

by Sophie Masson

When I was about nine, I had a horrible recurring dream. It was pretty simple. All I could see was a face, which at first was small and in the distance, but then got bigger and bigger till it seemed to be right on top of me. I couldn’t see a body, just a face. It was a monstrous face: very, very pale, almost gray-skinned, with big staring eyes so pale they seemed almost white and a thin pale mouth that opened on to long yellow teeth tipped with red. Straggly hair that seemed to move and lift in an invisible wind blew out aroundthe face as if there was an electric current running through it, or as if each hair was alive and wriggling horribly. I always woke up just as the mouth opened wide on a terrible scream, and I’d be screaming myself, yelling my head off.

My mother …

Available Until Wednesday, May 6th, 2020

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Free Smart Pop YA Essay:A Very Dangerous Boy

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A New Dawn

A Very Dangerous Boy

by Susan Vaught
[NOTE: Please read entire essay before pressingon the hate-mail!]

I’m the world’s best predator, aren’t I? Everything about me invites you in–my voice, my face, even my smell.

–EDWARD CULLEN, TWILIGHT

Edward Cullen. Yes, I know, every fangirl in the Twilight universe just squealed at the mere mention of his name. And what’s not to love? He’s powerful. He’s rich. He’s romantic. And, as he notes in the quote above, he’s thoroughly enticing in every possible way. He’s also a predator, just like he says. For the first three books in the Twilight series, Edward Cullen is a dangerous, bloodthirsty predator at constant risk of murdering the girl he loves. In the fourth book, after he spends several days conspiring to kill his unborn child, he finally does take Bella’s life. More specifically, he rams a needle full of vampire venom into her heart, then uses his teeth to keep filling her with venom in …

Available Until Wednesday, April 29th, 2020

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Free Smart Pop YA Essay:The Gods Among Us

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Demigods and Monsters

The Gods Among Us

by Elizabeth M. Rees

What You Can’t See Might Harm You

Living in New York City, just under two miles from what became Ground Zero, I witnessed the events of 9/11 all too close to home. It was a scene to gladden the war-mongering heart of Ares, the Greek god of war. The smoky, fiery image of the Twin Towers was surely one lifted straight from Hades’ wildest dreams.

Although I am old enough to know Superman is make-believe and that James Bond is just a character in books and film, I actually found myself wondering, “Where are they?” Why didn’t Superman soar onto the scene and snatch a plane in each fist a second before they struck? Why had James Bond’s trademark derring-do failed when his valiant deeds were most crucial?

What a foolish part of me expected was larger-than-life action taken by one of our own pop culture demigods (Clark Kent) or heroes (Bond). What …

Available Until Thursday, April 23rd, 2020

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Free Smart Pop YA Essay:The War between the States

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A Visitor's Guide to Mystic Falls

The War between the States

by Claudia Gray
The online protests began around the time the makers of The Vampire Diaries cast Nina Dobrev as Elena Gilbert. Were fans of the book series worried that Dobrev couldn’t carry the central role? Nope. Were they advocating for another fan-favorite candidate? No again. There was no way Dobrev could play Elena–because Dobrev is a brunette, and in the original L.J. Smith books, Elena is a blonde. It seems like a pretty small thing to get upset about, but when it comes to adapting a beloved book into film or television, fans understandably dread the inevitable changes. We’ve all been burned before by books that got “dumbed down” or turned into something unrecognizable from the story we originally loved. Even alterations as minor as a character’s hair color set off warning bells, making those of us who loved the books wonder just what else was about to get changed. But …

Available Until Wednesday, April 22nd, 2020

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Free Smart Pop YA Essay:The Elements of Life

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Nyx in the House of Night

The Elements of Life

by Bryan Lankford
Good evening! It’s good to see this many humans who are interested in vampyre culture. As it has been many years since I’ve spoken to a group this large who were not vampyres, I beg your indulgence if I misspeak somewhere along the line. Tonight we are going to be discussing rituals and the elements as they are used in vampyre worship. Many of you have read about vampyre rituals in Zoey’s chronicles, but it may surprise you to know that our form of worship is not confined exclusively to the vampyre community. There are in fact many human groups who think and worship in a very similar fashion to vampyres. Human groups such as Wiccans, Pagans, Shamans, and witches all over the earth live and worship in a manner similar to us. They do not all worship our Goddess Nyx, nor do they use blood in ritual, but …

Available Until Monday, April 20th, 2020

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