I expected this to be one of those books where the girl stands up for gender equality, stands up for what's right, and gets everything she wants in th...moreI expected this to be one of those books where the girl stands up for gender equality, stands up for what's right, and gets everything she wants in the end. I revelled in Frankie's masterful behind-the-scenes takeover of her boyfriend's all-boy society because I believed, like Frankie herself did, that when they found out, they would applaused and accept her, impressed with her cleverness. But this book is honest and true-to-life, and I was as surprised and hurt as Frankie when the boys ignored her, and Matthew rejected her. It doesn't seem fair, but thus is life, I suppose.
I still wish Frankie had gotten her happy ending.(less)
Haunting and uplifting story of a girl who faces her fears and bravely fights back to rescue her parents and those who can't help themselves. Coraline...moreHaunting and uplifting story of a girl who faces her fears and bravely fights back to rescue her parents and those who can't help themselves. Coraline is a true heroine and someone for everyone to admire, no matter her age.(less)
Engrossing and delightful, even while being full of sadness. Bod is the best sort of boy, and with the loving protection and guidance of his adoptive...moreEngrossing and delightful, even while being full of sadness. Bod is the best sort of boy, and with the loving protection and guidance of his adoptive family, Bod is able to overcome the tragedy of his early years. Perhaps unsurprisingly, it is the dead who teach Bod how to truly live.
As a side note, the romantic in me thinks Coraline and Bod would be perfect for each other. :D(less)
Very flowing and easy to read. Kind of felt like a pebble, skimming along the surface. This was my pick for our book club, and I'm happy to have read...moreVery flowing and easy to read. Kind of felt like a pebble, skimming along the surface. This was my pick for our book club, and I'm happy to have read it. I was slightly disappointed, however, when I started reading and realized I HAD seen the movie, though I previously thought I hadn't. Luckily, the book is quite different from the movie in many ways, and so it became easier as the book went on to tune the movie out of my head. The characters were interesting and likable, though perhaps a bit shallow. It seems like there was so much more to know about them, and we just weren't told. Gaiman could fill up several more books with Tristran and Yvaine's adventures, as well as the history/workings of the whole mysterious Castle group, and I would happily read them. I love the slow, natural way Tristran and Yvaine's relationship developed. At some point, it just seemed inevitable that they were going to be together. In the end, I liked the story and the writing, I just couldn't fully shake my self-induced disappointment.(less)
I added this book to my to-read list a couple of years ago, because it sounded interesting. Then I took it off my to-read list, because Colin sounded...moreI added this book to my to-read list a couple of years ago, because it sounded interesting. Then I took it off my to-read list, because Colin sounded kind-of annoying. Then I added it back last year, because I thought it sounded good again. Yes, I can be fickle when I'm trying to "prune" my to-read list. :) I'm so glad that I kept it on my list, though, and so glad that I was inspired to pick it up (by a friend mentioning one of John Green's other books, actually).
It's true that Colin can be annoying at times. As a child prodigy who is a prodigy no longer, Colin is obsessed with becoming a genius, doing something to make a mark, be famous, be remembered; in essence, he wants to matter. To be honest, in this respect Colin is not that different from everyone else - what is the point of life if you're just sitting around, doing nothing? In order to be somebody, you have to do something you care about. In order for you to matter as a person, something has to matter to you. Not only did Colin figure this out by the end of the book, but Hassan and Lindsey did as well, each in their own way.
Colin more annoying obsession, though, is with girls named Katherine. To be fair, it doesn't seem like he would refuse to date someone if they were named something else. It's just that, after the coincidence of the first 10 or so, he was psychologically predisposed to find a girl attractive if her name was Katherine. Plus, when he says he "dated" 19 Katherines, he includes girls that shouldn't necessarily have been on someone's dating list - most specifically the girl who only asked him out to make fun of him, who he didn't even actually have a date with. Katherine the 19th is clearly the most important, the one he dated the longest, the one he loved the most, the one who broke his heart, and, incidentally, the one who started the whole obsession. I'm relieved when Colin is finally able to break free from his prison of Katherine's, and figure out that as much as his intelligence can help him figure out what went wrong in the past, the only thing he can do to help his future is live life to the fullest.
This book was full of great characters and many fun and memorable events. Colin, of course, is endearing because despite his annoying qualities, his anti-social behavior and tendency towards self-centeredness, deep down he is sincere, caring and honest. Hassan is a supportive friend, but when he finally realizes his own flaws - that of the never-ending funnyman - he becomes an even better friend. And let's be honest, if Hassan hadn't bugged Colin to go on a road trip, to have an adventure, to do something to get over Katherine, this wouldn't have been a book. :) Lindsey is an interesting girl - part of her cares what other people think, and part of her doesn't. She spends a lot of this book sort of lost, trying to figure out who she really is, and what she can say about herself that is true. Once she has that figured out, she can finally look forward to growing up and finding something she can care about, other than making everyone else like her.
Green's writing is pretty hilarious - the dialogue is zippy and fast-paced, and the situations the characters find themselves in can sometimes be ridiculous, but they still feel outrageously real. I loved the hunting scene, with the hog attack and the race through the woods, and the following scene in the graveyard was dramatic yet real. I'm happy with the way everything ended because though it was happy, it didn't feel like it was over-the-top, fairytale happiness, but real-life, normal happiness.
P.S. I'm glad to see that Colin agrees with Anne Shirley in regards to the spelling of the name Katherine - "Katherine with a K is so much more alluring than Catherine with a C. The C always looks so smug." :)(less)
A great story about love, friendship, and telling the truth, even if it hurts. I'll admit, the first few chapters of this book, I can't say I was part...moreA great story about love, friendship, and telling the truth, even if it hurts. I'll admit, the first few chapters of this book, I can't say I was particularly fond of either of the Will Graysons. They both seemed sort-of self-involved and angry at the world. I suppose that is the prerogative of a teenage boy, to be full of angst, but it does get annoying fast.
Pretty quickly, though, I starting to see past the annoying parts of these boys and see to the heart of them: lost, lonely, desperately in need of a friend who understands them. Each Will had his own battle to fight, his own lesson to learn, his own path to tread. Their lives intersect on one fateful night, and that night becomes a turning point for each of them, though not because they each met another Will Grayson. The central figure who moves in between the Will Graysons is Tiny Cooper, one of the most special, optimistic, shiny characters I have ever met. Yes, Tiny also has his own flaws, as everyone does, but in the end, you can feel his sincerity shine through though shortcomings.
In the end, the most important thing seemed to be this: Don't hold in what you are feeling. Be honest, and speak the truth, regardless of whether you think it's the good idea. Don't be afraid of failing, because you can never succeed unless you try, and with trying often comes failure. In a sea of extremely quotable lines, I think my favorite one is this: "If you don't say the honest thing, sometimes the honest thing never becomes true." You might love someone with all your heart, be thankful for them, want them in your life, but if you don't say it, is it ever true?
I love the way each chapter switches back and forth between the two Wills, and how different their voices are. I've long been a fan of John Green's smart, witty style, and I'll definitely have to check out more of David Levithan's work. I'm curious about how the writing process works when you are collaborating in this fashion. Was each author responsible for one of the Will Graysons? Or was the work and creativity shared across the board? I'm sure google will tell me in a minute. :)
One last note: if you can, listen to the audio version of this book. Each Will gets his own narrator, Tiny has his own voice, and best of all, Tiny SINGS. That's right. You will get to hear bits of the actual songs from "Hold Me Closer", aka "Tiny Dancer", the best musical the suburbs of Chicago have ever seen or heard.(less)
This was a sweet little book, and a nice break from the heavy dragging introspection that was Interview with a Vampire. Yes, I have widely varying lit...moreThis was a sweet little book, and a nice break from the heavy dragging introspection that was Interview with a Vampire. Yes, I have widely varying literary tastes.
Here's what I know about Scarlett: she's young and pretty, though she doesn't think she is particularly attractive, having a beautiful older sister she keeps comparing herself to. She's remarkably independent for a 15 year old, and is a creative and dedicated problem-solver when things go wrong. Also, she quite quickly falls head over heels for a hunky 18 year old friend of her brother's. To be honest, Scarlett seemed much older than 15 to me - more like 17 or 18 - but maybe that's just because I can't imagine being anything like her when I myself was a 15 year old. That being said, she does come off as sweet and earnest and quite likable. Eric, her kissing-partner-but-not-boyfriend, seems sweet if misguided, and like Scarlett, I can't quite trust him, given his history.
My favorite character by far is Scarlett's older brother, Spencer, the would-be actor and crazy-stunt-extrodinarie. Spencer is everything you would want in an older brother - fun, friendly, and charmingly over-protective.
I can't say this has the most moving plot or storyline, but the characters were interesting enough to pull me through, and make me want to read the next one. And like I said, it's a nice, fun break for your brain.(less)