"'That's the thing about pain," Augustus said, and then glanced back at me. 'It demands to be felt.'"
Okay, dang. That's deep. I hang out with some of...more"'That's the thing about pain," Augustus said, and then glanced back at me. 'It demands to be felt.'"
Okay, dang. That's deep. I hang out with some of the smartest kids at my school, and we do engage in sophisticated debate from time to time, but none of us really produce such philosophical insight in everyday conversation. How unrealistic John Green's characters tend to be has turned me off from most of his other books - the characters in this one suffered slightly from it too - but The Fault in Our Stars as a whole is John Green's best book to date.
Like I said, at times Hazel (the protagonist) and Augustus (the love interest, but so much more) came off as wise beyond their years. They notice this, their parents notice this, and readers will notice this. However, there is something so human about the way Green portrays them that makes them relatable. They are not simply teens suffering from cancer, but teens who doubt their place in the world, who are filled with angst and longing and confusion and hope. I can't say I've experienced the exact same emotions as Hazel and Augustus have, but I can say that it's easy to empathize with them and feel their pain entirely.
We all know by now that John Green has a way with words. This book is remarkably quotable. Not only the thought-provoking quotes like "some infinities are bigger than other infinities", but funny quotes like "what a slut time is. She screws everybody." (I apologize for the profanity, but that one was too good to pass up. Now that I think of it, it is pretty profound too.) The characters have conversations I could imagine me and my friends having - when I showed a particular conversation to my friend, she literally said "oh my gosh, that's totally something we would say!" Let's just say it involved a one-legged pony.
There were other small things I enjoyed about the book too, such as the friendship between Issac and Augustus, the parallelism between the actual book and An Imperial Affliction, and how clever and cultured the characters were. My favorite aspect, though, was how much I felt. My favorite books make me feel and make me think, and this one did both.
I feel almost gratuitous giving this book 3.5 stars.
I'll start with the things I liked about Hallowed. Hand writes well - better than most y...more3.5 stars.
I feel almost gratuitous giving this book 3.5 stars.
I'll start with the things I liked about Hallowed. Hand writes well - better than most young-adult paranormal authors do - and skilfully avoids most of the typical YA story conventions that can be found in a myriad of other books. The plot is paced in a way that is entertaining but not overwhelming, and the characters are capable of keeping readers' interests.
I'm not sure why everyone loves this book and lauds it so highly though. Nothing reached into my heart and grabbed me, nothing made me want to press those Kindle buttons until my fingers broke from strain, nothing really made me care about the book beyond my basic feelings of surprise and sympathy.
The one thing that detracted from my enjoyment of Hallowed the most was its love triangle. I remember watching So You Think You Can Dance a couple of years ago and hearing one of the judges describe the Quickstep as the "kiss of death" dance - if you pull it out of the hat, you're most likely going to get cut. The love triangle is the kiss of death in the young-adult genre, and, yeah, Hallowed was definitely kissed.
The love triangle ruined the theme of destiny vs. free will for me. Throughout the book, Clara thinks things along the lines of "I'm going to choose my destiny!" or "I may have my purpose, but I'll tough it out and totally strike out on my own!"... and yet, she never does. Sure, she tries, but her purpose was always too powerful and her future too inevitable that every effort she put forth was futile. This made the plot seem pointless and lessened the shock effect exorbitantly.
As for Christian, he's one of those YA plot conventions I referred to earlier - she feels strong when she's around him, and she feels so secure and safe because it's her destiny and what not to be with him. The reader does not get a glimpse of what lies beyond his smirking smile or how he sometimes watches Clara from outside of her window (which sounds a tad familiar...)
Poor, Tucker, he deserved better.
But, while I may sound like I think this book is bad and love triangle fail exemplified, it wasn't that horrible. Fans of Cynthia Hand's Unearthly will love it, and people who have a penchant for fallen angels will too. Heck, I'm giving it 3.5 stars - and rounding it up to 4 on Goodreads - so, it wasn't a complete waste of time. Either that, or I'm too nice.
I agree with every word of Wendy's review of this book. The beginning pulled me in with an intriguing concept of angels and demons, a unique setting w...moreI agree with every word of Wendy's review of this book. The beginning pulled me in with an intriguing concept of angels and demons, a unique setting with an unsettling feel, and a protagonist that while not 100% lovable, was strong in her own special way. But when Akiva - Kaoru's love interest - came in, it all deteriorated. Too many passages were devoted to their oh-so passionate yet unrealistic affection for one another. Even when a few developments arose that may have helped add depth, I didn't feel moved at all by their shared feelings. I kept asking myself: why do you really love one another? What shared experiences have you suffered? What parts of your personalities make your relationship work? And those questions were unfortunately left unanswered.
Still, I throw tons of kudos in Laini Taylor's direction for ending The Daughter of Smoke and Bone the way she did. Not sure whether I'll check out the second installment but I admire and respect where she left Kaoru and Akiva at this one's end.(less)
My four-star rating of this book shows how subjective my taste is and reveals how my reviews reflect nothing but my personal opinion. The Guernsey Lit...moreMy four-star rating of this book shows how subjective my taste is and reveals how my reviews reflect nothing but my personal opinion. The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Society (I know, it's long) follows Juliet Ashton, a budding author who decides to write her second book about the island of Guernsey. Guernsey was occupied by Germans during World War II, and when Juliet goes there to meet its inhabitants and learn about its history, she gets more than what she bargained for. Perhaps, though, a change of scenery from living in London will do her good.
In the college application process, I've had to answer questions like "describe yourself in two words" or "what three words would you use to describe yourself best"? I always think to myself, well, this is ludicrous - how can I describe the entirety of my being with only two or three words? However, when it comes to this book by Mary Ann Shaffer and Annie Barrows, two or three words does suffice: sweet, innocent, and light. There were a lot of dark subjects in this story, as one might expect when reading a book that even slightly deals with the Holocaust. There were touching aspects too, like the death of Kit's mother or the homosexuality of one of the main characters. All of these themes could have been more developed, as I felt like Shaffer and Barrows skimmed the surface but did not delve deeply enough.
Overall, a cute little book narrated in epistolary format. Not a serious work of literature, but a piece of brain candy that will have you sighing in contentment and maybe even swooning a little by its close.
I love reading books about books. How to Read Novels Like a Professor has excited me and made me more enthusiastic to start my next novel. For those w...moreI love reading books about books. How to Read Novels Like a Professor has excited me and made me more enthusiastic to start my next novel. For those who do not have much experience in learning about what constitutes a novel - for example, I'm only a high school student - Foster's book would be a great place to begin. He provides a fantastic list of rules (which you can find in this review) and uses a wide array of examples from novels published decades apart.
However, because I have already read his book How to Read Literature Like a Professor, I felt that I already knew and was rereading some of the sections in this book. It makes sense because literature and novels are bound to share some qualities, but the idea of intertextuality as well as there being only "one story" did not impress me. Intellectually they do, but I would have enjoyed reading about them more if I hadn't already done so in one of Foster's other works.
Overall, this is a well-written guide that many will find useful. Perhaps I'll reference it sometime later on in my senior year or while I'm in college. Foster's engaged tone and occasional humorous remark makes the information he's relaying easy to digest, and much better than reading a textbook on the same subjects.
Okay, not really. But more things than not, at least when it comes to literature. I was hesitant to read How to Read Literature...moreEVERYTHING IS A SYMBOL.
Okay, not really. But more things than not, at least when it comes to literature. I was hesitant to read How to Read Literature Like a Professor because I felt that I had not read enough classics to understand what Thomas Foster would be talking about - but then I realized that maybe it was a good idea to read the book before embarking on my literature quest, so I would have some background knowledge heading in. After all, knowledge is power.
And I was right. Though a myriad of the book titles went over my head and some of the examples were consequently confusing, for the most part I feel like I've learned a lot from reading this book. Granted, I'm a high school student, so I didn't know much to begin with, but I would highly recommend this book to anyone who loves English, literature, or is interested in reading a book about books. As a bibliophile and self-proclaimed future English major, I loved learning about irony, allusions, and everything else Foster shared using his casual yet sophisticated writing style.
Not a bad book to start out 2012 with. Now to move on to an actual novel...
While reading it as opposed to watching it may have lessened some of the play's magic, I still loved the portrayal of Thoreau and agreed with many...more3.5
While reading it as opposed to watching it may have lessened some of the play's magic, I still loved the portrayal of Thoreau and agreed with many aspects of his philosophy. A great introduction to Transcendentalism.
Also, I will remember this line forever: "I hereby excommunicate you from the Milky Way!" Ha ha. (less)
Very interesting. While I don't necessarily agree with every argument Cicero has made, I do think that he does bring up great philosophical points tha...moreVery interesting. While I don't necessarily agree with every argument Cicero has made, I do think that he does bring up great philosophical points that apply to real life and are worthy of discussion. Read in Latin IV in high school.(less)
I'll Be There is one of the most unique young-adult novels I've ever read. It's about Sam and Riddle Border, brothers who have been moving around with...moreI'll Be There is one of the most unique young-adult novels I've ever read. It's about Sam and Riddle Border, brothers who have been moving around with their unstable father for several years - Sam, now 17, hasn't seen a classroom since the second grade. Their lives consist of grabbing food from garbage disposals, hiding from people who may report them to the police, and moving away whenever their criminal father makes a too close for comfort encounter with the local authorities. One day, Sam steps inside a church and sees Emily Bell singing - and that single moment sends their lives spiraling in directions they had never imagined.
It's difficult to describe the magical, lyrical feeling Holly Goldberg Sloan instills in I'll Be There. Readers are disconnected from the characters, but not in a bad way - it's like you're watching them from faraway, yet standing close enough that you can discern their thoughts and emotions. Sloan switches perspectives constantly, traveling inside the mind of almost every character in the book. Each character and their respective point of view is like a thread hanging on its own, interacting with other threads (not sure how that would work, but), and by the end of the book Sloan somehow ties together all the threads to make one spectacular, interconnected story.
My only qualm with the book was Sam and Emily's relationship. Their bonding is never broken down and shown to the reader. We're simply told that they love each other very much, but why? Their relationship is immense and profound, but how so? What do they see in each other? What is it that makes them love one another so much? These questions are touched upon but not enough to fully convince me of the power of their connection.
Overall, an inspiring novel about human ties and how little things can add up to create something profound. I finished it in a day, and I must once again thank my friend who gave this to me for Christmas. Highly recommended for fans of realistic fiction and books like Marcelo in the Real World.