Tuesday, November 12, 2013

The Fault in Our Stars: review

Title: The Fault in Our Stars
Author: John Green
Rating: 5 stars
Summary: Despite the tumor-shrinking medical miracle that has bought her a few years, Hazel has never been anything but terminal, her final chapter inscribed upon diagnosis. But when a gorgeous plot twist named Augustus Waters suddenly appears at Cancer Kid Support Group, Hazel's story is about to be completely rewritten.

My Thoughts:

I never expected to write a review on this book. I mean, I don't read cancer books. And I've said that to anybody who's recommended it to me. Oh, but I am so glad I finally decided to give it a try. Now I just have to figure out how to put my thoughts into words.

First though, to be honest, this is the first book of John Green's that I've really liked. I read Paper Towns and Looking for Alaska a couple years ago, and I liked them okay, but now I guess I can say I'm a true fan, having read The Fault in Our Stars. (I'm a bit late onto that boat, but hey, I got there.) Before reading, I had no idea what the story was actually about, besides the c word, and someone named Augustus. (both of which I learned from religiously watching the videos.) I really love when books have small and unassuming summaries.

Okay. There isn't much to say. The Fault in Our Stars is a genuinely fantastic story, and I think everyone should read it. It'll probably change you, even if it's only a little. For me, I paused while reading, thought about what was said, reread passages a few times, that sort of thing. It's a thinker book. I don't come across those very often, considering how many books I read, and unfortunately it's almost unheard of in the YA section of fiction. Or maybe I just read too much fantasy.

The relationship between Hazel Grace and Augustus Waters is perfect. Perfect in the way that it's not perfect, which makes it feel so not-made-up. Their intellectual ponderings back and forth are so engaging, and there are many quote-worthy statements. On the other hand, their relationship with Van Houten is most fascinating to me, because I could never really guess how it would turn out. He is a very interesting and different character.

Even though this is a teenagers-with-cancer book...it's really not. It's a teenager book. The teenagers may talk about death a lot, well, because they'll die a lot sooner than most teenagers expect to. There is an international flight, which is slightly more unusual for a teenager book. And there is kissing. But it's safe to say any age reader would enjoy this story.

I guess, it's the way that cancer is talked about, that makes it different. Teenagers/young adults/kids have cancer...but they're still just that. Cancer is cancer, which sucks like no other, but to me, this story shows how people can separate themselves from it, if that's making any sense. The tone is uplifting, in a way that makes you crack a smile between the tears every now and then.

I think I found the right time to read this, too: A few weeks ago my mom finally reached her five-year-free of cancer anniversary. This past weekend, I walked the Susan G Komen 3-day walk with her and saw hundreds of cancer survivors and thought of the thousands that didn't. And I read most of the book with my cancerous cat wheezing on my shoulder. So safe to say, it was an emotional weekend.

My only regret upon finishing it. I wish I could go back and read it again for the first time. I didn't mind the crying, it was worth it.


Post Script, I totally can't wait to see the movie.

Saturday, November 2, 2013

The Moon and More: review

Title: The Moon and More
Author: Sarah Dessen
Rating: 4 stars
Summary: Luke is the perfect boyfriend: handsome, kind, fun. He and Emaline have been together all through high school in Colby, the beach town where they both grew up. But now, in the summer before college, Emaline wonders if perfect is good enough.

Enter Theo, a super-ambitious outsider, a New Yorker assisting on a documentary film about a reclusive local artist. Theo's sophisticated, exciting, and, best of all, he thinks Emaline is much too smart for Colby.

Emaline's mostly-absentee father, too, thinks Emaline should have a bigger life, and he's convinced that an Ivy League education is the only route to realizing her potential. Emaline is attracted to the bright future that Theo and her father promise. But she also clings to the deep roots of her loving mother, stepfather, and sisters. Can she ignore the pull of the happily familiar world of Colby?

Emaline wants the moon and more, but how can she balance where she comes from with where she's going?

Sarah Dessen's devoted fans will welcome this story of romance, yearning, and, finally, empowerment. It could only happen in the summer.

My review:

While this is not my favorite of her books, I still definitely recommend it to any Dessen or contemporary reader. It's a nice escape read, which was really good for me after reading a rather depressing and deep book. The Moon and More is on the longer side (for her books) at about 430 pages, but it's entertaining enough to deserve that length.

My favorite thing to do while reading Sarah Dessen's books is finding all the cameos along the way, from her other books. Colby is a small town, but with each book, I feel more and more familiar with it and it's people. I was able to find quite a few references in here, including a moment of "Gotcha!" which made me laugh.

Benji, Emaline's half-brother, is probably the character I like most next to Morris. My heart broke for that little ten-year-old, and if I lived in Colby, I'd totally adopt him as my little brother. He has a crazy spirit and is full of fun ideas. Morris on the other hand, IS my little brother...needing-exact-instructions and shuffle-step and everything. It's really hilarious how Emaline describes her best friend.

Emaline's famliy Realty company sounds busy, hard, and would probably be really fun to watch on a show. Her family is an odd bunch, but for the most part, everyone gets along and it's nice to read about them. I would like to see some other story off of one of those characters, even though they're all older...hm.

My main issue with the book is actually the whole relationship thing with Emaline. It seems a little weak, and even though the new-guy-love-interest (aka Theo which is an awesome name by the way) has some enjoyable quirks to start out with...well honestly he was really annoying. I feel if I met him in real life I'd just walk away while he kept talking. At first it was sweet, because he's so enthusiastic about everything in the world, but then I started to see what Emaline started to see: Not From Around Here. And I didn't really like it.

Luke, the boyfriend, was okay. He wasn't in the story overly much for me to really get a huge opinion on him. Nice guy. That's about all I can come up with. Not too much development.

Maybe that's what this book was supposed to be about, not about the boys and drama crap associated, but with Change, and how Emaline deals with that change; be it her father, Theo, Luke, Benji, school, everything. And that part of the story is really well done, that much I can say.

It's not summer anymore, but stick your feet in the sand anyway. It's a great feeling.

Friday, November 1, 2013

Dystopian Giveaway Hop!

Thanks to My Shelf Confessions and I Am A Reader, Not A Writer for hosting this hop!
You can see the complete list of hop participants here.

I'm giving away a book to two winners, from these three books. First winner picks from all, second winner picks from the remaining two.

I have a new paperback copy of Under the Never Sky by Veronica Rossi, and ARC of Monument 14, or an ARC of Dualed up for grabs. So enter below, and I wish you luck!

a Rafflecopter giveaway