From the prose to the characterization, "We Were Liars" is a dazzlingly thrilling, atmospheric read that will suck you in till the last page. Not to m...moreFrom the prose to the characterization, "We Were Liars" is a dazzlingly thrilling, atmospheric read that will suck you in till the last page. Not to mention, that ending will literally leave you gasping and questioning everything you've ever known.(less)
Where Fury had an intensely creepy atmosphere to it, Envy lacks that and reads more like a Gossip Girl novel, full of popularity, backstabbing, and hi...moreWhere Fury had an intensely creepy atmosphere to it, Envy lacks that and reads more like a Gossip Girl novel, full of popularity, backstabbing, and high-school romance.
"So Close To You is an entertaining, fun debut that definitely keeps your attention!"
So Close to You has no doubt been on the top of my wish-list for...more"So Close To You is an entertaining, fun debut that definitely keeps your attention!"
So Close to You has no doubt been on the top of my wish-list for a really long time. I mean, come on, it has everything I need in a book. Conspiracy theories, romance, time-travel, mystery, suspense, and a fast-pace, all wrapped up in one YA debut? I was hooked. The minute that So Close to You came to me in the mail, I devoured it.
Was I completely impressed by Carter's debut? Not exactly. I found that Lydia lacked emotional depth and a true voice throughout the story, and her actions tended to be sporadic and inconsistent. I liked Lydia, there just wasn't anything special about her that made her stand out. And at times I felt an emotional disconnect from her, especially when it seemed like the moment called for the most emotion of the whole story. Nevertheless, I didn't notice the disconnect often.
The action and pacing of So Close to You is perfection. Carter has a way of moving the story along without making it feel rushed, and also leaving room to add depth to the story with flashbacks, character development, etc.
When authors try to conquer the subject of time travel, I usually give up when they info-dump a ton of physics and time-travel aspects onto the reader in a single chapter. Usually the author is writing a time-travel novel because they have prior knowledge of time-travel and all it's fundamentals, but Rachel presented time-travel very slowly to the reader, and dumbed it down quite a bit for the reader. It made the reading experiance much more enjoyable.
Rachel Carter's debut is entertaining and kept my attention, but she definitely has some room to grow character-wise. And the ending is a total cliffhanger that left me begging for the sequel!(less)
Shiver, what a complicated relationship you and I have. It's quite funny, I've actually tried to read you twice. In 5th grade, three years ago, I pick...moreShiver, what a complicated relationship you and I have. It's quite funny, I've actually tried to read you twice. In 5th grade, three years ago, I picked up your pretty hardcover self and was all excited about this wolf novel that sounded amazing. I opened you up and read 70 pages. I found myself increasingly confused and bored. What were all these odd comparisons? Why won't anything happen? Let's get the plot moving people! I'm bored!
Finally, my little brain shut down and I sold the book. I forgot about it completely, and heard all my friends ooing and gooing over it. I just couldn't find my liking in that book.
Three years later, I've got a new look on YA! I'm more open to ambiguous prose, metaphorical language, big ideas, different kinds of plots and genres, and I was compelled to crack open Shiver once more. Within the first ten pages I was really loving it! The intricate, metaphorical prose was simply intriguing and different.
30 pages in. Still amazing! In love! Totally wanted to read more! I was invested in Shiver and the characters. I found myself trying to forget that, yes, I was annoyed by the constant use of the words "My Wolf" when Grace referred to the wolf who saved her. And yes, I thought Grace was a weirdo because she was obsessed with these wolves and she was all loner about it. I was weirded out by the way her and her best friend let themselves fight over wolves.
But the prose, it was so good!
100 pages in and things had really started to pick up! The action was nicely described, though a bit hard to race through because I found myself re-reading the highly metaphorical sentences that I felt could have just been stated instead of skewed upside down and made all fancy.
And the insta-love. What insta-love it was. I'll get to that later.
Finally, page 190 or about 200 hit.
What the heck? Why. Where was this story going? We were all in love and Sam and Grace are all nice, innocent teenagers who want to be respectful of one another and only kiss passionately then pull away and talk non stop about longing for more. Like, three pages of things that had already been said.
And really, how could Sam and Grace be in love? How could they even be able to sleep in the same bed on the FIRST NIGHT THAT THEY MEET and Grace not feel the slightest bit uncomfortable that, yes, maybe this odd boy who I think is a werewolf will hurt me.
But no. He's "my wolf," who growled when I was eight and all the other wolves followed him away from me. He could be some scary, axe-murderer who's lying to me. But no. Come sleep in my bed and let's kiss and let's tell each other that we LOVE EACH OTHER.
But then, Sam said THIS:
"I was a leaking womb bulging with the promise of conscious thoughts..."
What. The. Heck. I re-read this sentence a million type. I couldn't get over that. What the heck was this? This weird, totally scary metaphor. I'm all for this adventurous prose. I'm all for authors trying new things and trying to stand out and be different. But to compare the idea of having conscious thoughts to a woman's LEAKING WOMB just isn't...real? Would any male (or even female, for that matter) take the moment in extreme agony or frustration to point out that: YEAH, I fell like a leaking womb!
I don't think so.
Now, before you all start commenting saying: "It's beautiful! Stop hating on Maggie! It symbolizes his level of knowledge! It's a book, it's not real life! It's just a better way to say something! Characters don't have to be like everyone else."
Books, to a point, are cool. They can do so much more than anything else. More than film, or music, or art. You can make and write anything you want to with a pen and a piece of paper. You can make any kind of word, make any kind of characters, make any kind of situations. Anything.
But there's a difference between an author making her characters "Different" and "vivid" through special prose, and making them sound stoic and very un-YA. And that quote from above is simply nothing. NOTHING. That a boy or girl of the 13-18 (or, like 100) range of age would say.
Now, the prose is not the only reason why I severely dislike this book (though it is the main reason.) I found the relationship between Sam and Grace quickly made and not really that...good. I found that, even though there was insta-love, I found no way of tracking WHY Maggie felt they should fall in love instantly. Sure, this "wolf" saved Grace when she was young. And sure, she's been completely obsessed with for her whole life. But, when he suddenly comes to her door with his "leaking womb" and snazzy title of "My Wolf," why is she all of the sudden in love?
And the whole 'come into my bed on the first time I've ever met you young, hormonal teenage boy who is half-animal.' just whacked me out. It's just like Grace was saying: 'Come over here, could-be-murderer, and maybe you can KILL ME IN MY SLEEP.'
Love and writing style aside, I found Grace and Sam to be Bella and Edward, but now Bella turned into some obsessive wolf-girl and Edward became a lonesome, stalker wolf. Oh wait, oh my goodness, nothing changed at all except for the whole wolf part! Bella was obsessive of Edward, well guess who got into a fight over a wolf with her BEST friend because she looks at pictures of “her wolf” all the time? Grace. Edward watched Bella through her window and while she slept. Well guess who sits on the edge of the woods as a wolf and tries to see Grace in her bedroom? Sam!
Nowadays, the problems with insta-love and stereotypical copycats of Twilight are less so. I find that a lot of times authors are doing their best to make sure they don’t look like Twilight. But Shiver, written right when Twilight was huge, managed to capture all the problems and characters of the terrible book and tell it in this prose that talks about leaking wombs.
And it ends up not being such a good mix.
Another thing that put me off was Grace’s dependence of Sam’s being there to have an interesting life. It seemed as though that when Sam was like: “Go home, go to sleep, I’ll be there later,” she’d get all clingy and needy. I remember one of the lines was: “I’m afraid you’ll never come back.” I found it annoying how desperate Grace was for Sam, and when she was alone after about 100 pages into the book she was a murky, dull character, and then she came alive when she was with Sam.
Shiver is an extremely disappointing read for me! With a highly metaphorical, overly fancy prose that talks about leaking wombs and kisses that taste like peppermint, a heroine with an unhealthy relationship to a boy she just met, and a silent, tortured werewolf who is stalkerish and prone to shifting any time the temperature gets a wee bit too cold, I recommend picking up something a bit more unique and fresh in the YA world!
As of March 16th, 2012, I have skimmed the final 160 pages or so of Shiver I had refused to finish. The ending was quite climatic and a nice touch to the book, but all-in-all I still found this book draining and hard to understand. The last chapter was chilling enough that I have now allowed myself to raise the rating to two stars instead of one.
The only way I will ever read Linger, though, is if a giant book-bomb crashes to the earth and destroys all my books except for my copy of Linger.
"A poignant, moving novel crafted by a master storyteller. Told through the eyes of an cancer patient with bursts of both laughter and crying, The Fau...more"A poignant, moving novel crafted by a master storyteller. Told through the eyes of an cancer patient with bursts of both laughter and crying, The Fault in Our Stars is sure to become a classic."
I can sum up the Fault in Our Stars perfectly with this picture. It's right on the mark and is the very sole meaning and amazing thing about this poignant, moving novel crafted by a simply astounding, masterful storyteller by the name of John Green. I've met this man. I've shook hands with John Green. He said: "Sorry about your arm." I have a picture of me breathing the same air as him.
And I hadn't read anything by him when that happened, so I didn't realize how I was meeting the very God of writing, the very definition of "an amazing writer." Because if I had, I would've hugged him and then bowed down to him and started crying and bawling and gushing and I'd say this.
John Green, you have written a novel that is the very epitome to "moving." The Fault in Our Stars made me laugh. Really laugh, a genuine chuckle because John Green wrote flawlessly, easily slipping into the personalities and easily projecting the truly unique voices of Hazel and Augustus, our main characters of the novel.
John Green, you have made the most amazing couple ever. Hazel is smart, sarcastic, dry-humored, and so completely unique that I just wanted to reach through the pages and give her a big giant HUG. And her cancer, she is so strong. But she doesn't want pity, she doesn't want to be looked at oddly, she's different, but that's because of her utterly amazing syntax. The way she speaks is infectious, the way she is way beyond her years yet there are still hints of her youth, of that 17 year old girl still inside of her.
John Green, the last, well, 300 pages of the book killed me. Yes, only 17 of the pages didn't kill me, and that's still not completely true. Every word was another step closer to that complete heartbreak (page 261...*sobs*) Every word was perfect. Each word was superbly placed. For a reason.
The Fault in Our Stars is a heart-shattering, poignant novel told through the eyes of a cancer patients. Told in alternating tones of both humor and heartbreak, John Green's latest is sure to have the tears flowing and the laughter booming.(less)