This was honestly my least favorite of all Ellen Hopkins' books, but it was still captivating. Hopkins has a way with words that draw in the reader, a...moreThis was honestly my least favorite of all Ellen Hopkins' books, but it was still captivating. Hopkins has a way with words that draw in the reader, and make them feel what the narrator is feeling. The characters' experiences come alive, and you can sense the emotions that are playing through each and every one of them. It shows a raw and in-your-face reality of what some adolescents actually go through in real life. I strongly recommend that everyone read at least one of Hopkins' books.(less)
The first time I read this book in 2010, I didn't really enjoy it as much as I did just reading it now. I think at that point in ti...moreReread update 2012:
The first time I read this book in 2010, I didn't really enjoy it as much as I did just reading it now. I think at that point in time when I read the book for the first time, I was a much different person and therefore perceived the book quite a bit differently than I did this second time. Since the first time I read this book I have grown and matured and now can understand more of the book and the meaning behind it as well as the fact that I can relate a lot more to it for having gone through some of the similar scenarios the characters in the book have. I think that everyone should read this book multiple times for the simple fact that there is so much to grasp in this story that you can't possibly catch everything the first time you read it. You never know, your perception of the whole book could do a complete 180 like mine did.
Looking For Alaska follows the journey of Miles Halter, a misunderstood teenager from Florida, as he moves to a boarding school in Alabama in search o...moreLooking For Alaska follows the journey of Miles Halter, a misunderstood teenager from Florida, as he moves to a boarding school in Alabama in search of finding a new beginning to his lackluster and lonely life. Mile’s main interest is memorizing famous people’s last words, and he’s particularly captivated by the dying words of the poet Francois Rabelais: “I go to seek a Great Perhaps.” Most of his peers in Florida found him relatively awkward because of it but when he gets to school in Alabama he finds others who are on the outside like himself. He befriends his roommate, Chip who memorizes lists of different things such as countries’ capitals and populations, Takumi who produces on-the-spot raps and mainly the distraction they use for all their pranks, and Alaska who is a wild child and the one who Miles falls madly in love with. Throughout the year of getting to know each other, they dabble in drugs, alcohol, sexual experiences, and epiphanies about life; ultimately leading them to the one event that will change all of them forever and challenge what they originally thought about life and death to propel them into a more different “Great Perhaps” than they ever foresaw.
Out of all of the books I’ve read, this is one of my favorites. The tension-filled buildup to the tragic climactic event that shapes the whole story was amazing. This story made me ponder life in a new light with it’s prodding philosophical questions and emotional, raw storyline. Go out and read this book NOW!
1. Because you simply cannot draw these things out forever. At some point, you just pull off the band-aid and it hurts, but then it’s over and you’re relieved.
2. I’m not going to be one of those people who sits around talking about what they’re gonna do. I’m just going to do it. Imagining the future is a kind of nostalgia.
3. You spend your whole life stuck in the labyrinth, thinking about how you’ll escape it one day, and how awesome it will be, and imagining that future keeps you going, but you never do it. You just use the future to escape the present.
4. There comes a time when we realize that our parents cannot save themselves or save us, that everyone who wades through time eventually gets dragged out to sea by the undertow—that, in short, we are all going.
5. That is the fear: I have lost something important,and I cannot find it, and I need it. It is fear like if someone lost his glasses and went to the glasses store and they told him that that world had run out of glasses and he would just have to do without.
6. And what is an “instant” death anyway? How long is an instant? Is it one second? Ten? The pain of those seconds must have been awful as her heart burst and her lungs collapsed and there was no air and no blood to her brain and only raw panic. What the hell is instant? Nothing is instant. Instant rice takes five minutes, instant pudding an hour. I doubt that an instant of blinding pain feels particularly instantaneous.
7. He was shaken by the overwhelming revelation that the headlong race between his misfortunes and his dreams was at that moment reaching the finish line. The rest was darkness. “Damn it,” he sighed. “How will I ever get out of this labyrinth!”
8. Karl Marx famously called religion ‘the opiate of the masses.’ Buddhism, particulaly as it is popularly practiced, promises improvement through karma. Islam and Christianity promise eternal paradise to the faithful. And that is a powerful opiate, certainly, the hope of a better life to come. But there’s a Sufi story that challenges the notion that people believe only because they need an opiate. Rabe’a al-Adiwiyah, a great woman of Sufism, was seen running through the streets of her hometown, Basra, carrying a torch in one hand and a bucket of water in the other. When someone asked her what she was doing, she answered. ‘I am going to take this bucket of water and pour it on the flames of hell, and then I am going to use this torch to burn down the gates to paradise so that people will not love God for want of heaven or fear of hell, but because He is God.
9. ” ‘Everything that comes together falls apart,’” the Old Man said. “Everything. The chair I’m sitting on. It was built, and so it will fall apart. I’m gonna fall apart, probably before this chair. And you’re gonna fall apart. The cells and organs and systems that make you you—they came together, grew together, and so must fall apart. The Buddha knew one thing science didn’t prove for millennia after his death: entropy increases. Things fall apart.” We are all going, I thought, and it applies to turtles and turtlenecks, Alaska the girl and Alaska the place, because nothing can last, not even the Earth itself. The Buddha said that suffering was caused by desire, we’d learned, and that the cessation of desire meant the cessation of suffering. When you stopped wishing things wouldn’t fall apart, you’re stop suffering when they did.
Someday no one will remember that she ever existed, I wrote in my notebook, and then, that I did. Because memories fall apart, too. And then you’re left with nothing, left not even with a ghost but with its shadow.
10. He was gone, and I did not have time to tell him what I had just now realized: that I forgave him, and that she forgave us, and that we had to forgive to survive in the labyrinth. There were so many of us who would have to live with things done and things left undone that day. Things that did not go right, things that seemed okay at the time because we could not see the future. If only we could see the endless string of consequences that result from the smallest actions. But we can’t know better until knowing better is useless.
11. So I left the note on the top bunk and sat down at the computer, and I wrote my way out of the labyrinth: “Before I got here, I thought for a long time that the way out of the labyrinth was to pretend that it did not exist, to build a small, self-sufficient world in a back corner of the endless maze and to pretend that I was not lost, but home. But that only led to a lonely life accompanied only by the last words of the already-dead, so I came here looking for a Great Perhaps, for real friends and a more-than-minor life…And there’s no sugarcoating it: She deserved better friends…That which came together will fall apart imperceptibly slowly, and I will forget, but she will forgive my forgetting, just as I forgive her for forgetting me….I still think that, sometimes, think that maybe ‘the afterlife’ is just something we made up to ease the pain of loss, to make our time in the labyrinth bearable…I believe now that we are greater than the sum of our parts…There is somthing else entirely. There is a part…greater than the sum of her knowable parts. And that part has to go somewhere, because it cannot be destroyed…One thing I learned from science classes is that energy is never created and never destroyed…Those awful things are survivable, because we are as indestructible as we believe ourselves to be. When adults say, ‘Teenagers think they are invincible” with that sly, stupid smile on their faces, they don’t know how right they are. We need never be left hopeless, because we can never be irreparably broken. We think that we are invincible because we are. We cannot be born, and we cannot die. Like all energy, we can only change shapes and sizes and manifestations. They forget that when they get old. They get scared of losing and failing. But that part of us greater than the sum of our parts cannot begin and cannot end, and so it cannot fail.
12. Thomas Edison’s last words were: “It’s very beautiful over there.” I don’t know where there is, but I believe it’s somewhere, and I hope it’s beautiful.
13. Francois Rabelais. He was a poet. And his last words were, “I go to seek a Great Perhaps.” That’s why I’m going. So I don’t have to wait until I die to start seeking a Great Perhaps.
14. I found myself thinking about President William McKinley, the third American president to be assassinated. He lived for several days after he was shot, and towards the end, his wife started crying and screaming, “I want to go too! I want to go too!” And with his last measure of strength, McKinley turned to her and spoke his last words: “We are all going.”
15. “Sometimes I don’t get you, ” I said.
She didn’t even glance at me. She just smiled towards the television and said, “You never got me. That’s the whole point.”
16. “He”-that Simon Bolivar-“was shaken by the overwhelming revelation that the headlong race between his misfortunes and his dreams was at that moment reaching the finish line. The rest was darkness. ‘Damn it,’ He sighed. ‘How will I ever get out of this labyrinth!’”
“So what’s the labyrinth?” I asked her…
“That’s they mystery, isn’t it? Is the labyrinth living or dying? Which is he trying to escape-the world or the end of it?”
This was an amazing book in my opinion. A superb novel for those trying to find themselves in the chaos of the world today, this story depicts a teena...moreThis was an amazing book in my opinion. A superb novel for those trying to find themselves in the chaos of the world today, this story depicts a teenage girl trying to come to terms with a troubling situation she experienced causing her to discover who her true friends are and leading her to discover her true self as well. Wonderfully written!
Quotes (that I liked from the book):
1. “Some people think they like music, but they have no idea what it’s really all about. They’re kidding themselves. Then there are people who feel strongly about music, but just aren’t listening to the right stuff. They’re misguided. And then there are people like me.”
I just sat there for a second, studying him…”People like you,” I said. “What kind of people are those.”
“The kind who live for music and are constantly seeking it out, anywhere they can. Who can’t imagine a life without it. They’re enlightened….I mean when you really think about it,” he continued, “music is the great uniter. An incredible force. Something that people who differ on everything and anything else can have in common…Plus there’s the fact that music is a total constant. That’s why we have such a strong visceral connection to it, you know? Because a song can take you back instantly to a moment, or a place, or even a person. No matter what else has changed in you or the world, that one song stays the same, just like that moment. Which is pretty amazing, when you actually think about it.”
2. “I think you should be responsible about what you’re putting out there for people to hear. If it can be pollution or art, why wouldn’t you choose art?”
3. “There comes a time in every life when the world gets quiet and the only thing left is your own heart. So you’d better learn to know the sound of it. Otherwise, you’ll never understand what it’s saying.”
4. “I was beginning to understand, though, that there were no such things as absolutes, not in life or in people…It was day by day, if not moment by moment. All you could do was take on as much weight as you can bear. And if you’re lucky, there’s someone close enough by to shoulder the rest.”
5. “I was beginning to see, though, that the unknown wasn’t always the greatest thing to fear. The people who know you best can be riskier, because the words they say and things they think have the potential to be not only scary but true, as well.”
6. “Because this is what happens when you try to run from the past. It doesn’t just catch up: It overtakes, blotting out the future, the landscape, the very sky, until there is no path left except that which leads through it, the only one that can ever get you home.”(less)
Not the best Blue Bloods book but it still kept me on the edge of my seat. I was afraid for a moment that Oliver and Mimi might get together, which wo...moreNot the best Blue Bloods book but it still kept me on the edge of my seat. I was afraid for a moment that Oliver and Mimi might get together, which would be horrible in my opinion but thank goodness it didn't happen that way. I can't wait until they go and rescue Kingsley in the next book because he was one of my favorite characters.
But all in all, another satisfying read from Cruz.(less)
One of the first books I’ve read in a long time that doesn’t follow a standard plot or is easy to predict in any way. This book takes you on a journey...moreOne of the first books I’ve read in a long time that doesn’t follow a standard plot or is easy to predict in any way. This book takes you on a journey through the lives of high school teens about to graduate and embark on life’s journey. It shows the resistance to conformity and the dedication and courage it takes to find one’s self. When one of the most popular girls in school goes missing, nobody knows if this is just another of her elaborate pranks or whether to be truly worried. Quentin believes there’s more to her disappearance than everyone thinks and goes searching for her. Along the way he discovers the meaning of true friendship and the acceptance of others as well as finding the courage to be himself. Another good read!
1. “My heart is really pounding,” I said.
”That’s how you know you’re having fun,” Margo said.
2. “The longer I do my job,” he said, “the more I realize that humans lack good mirrors. It’s so hard for anyone to show us how we look, and so hard for us to show anyone how we feel.
Seriously this is one of my all time favorite quotes! —>
3. “Maybe it’s more like you said before, all of us being cracked open. Like, each of us starts out as a watertight vessel. And these things happen—these people leave us, or don’t love us, or don’t get us, or we don’t get them, and we lose and fail and hurt one another. And the vessel starts to crack open in places. And I mean, yeah, once the vessel cracks open, the end becomes inevitable. But there is all this time between when the cracks start to open up and when we finally fall apart. And it’s only in that time that we can see one another, because we see out of ourselves through our cracks and into others through theirs. When did we see each other face-to-face? Not until you saw into my cracks I saw into yours. Before that, we were just looking at ideas of each other…but never seeing inside. But once the vessel cracks, the light can get in. The light can get out.”
4. “If you don’t imagine, nothing ever happens at all.”
5. “It is easy to forget how full the world is of people, full to bursting, and each of them imaginable and consistently mis-imagined.”(less)
The first time Luce sets her eyes on Daniel, she feels this unexplained pull towards him. Almost as if they are already familiar with each other. Dani...moreThe first time Luce sets her eyes on Daniel, she feels this unexplained pull towards him. Almost as if they are already familiar with each other. Daniel, however, vehemently does everything in his power to push Luce away, practically pushing Luce into the caring arms of Cam, a confident and friendly classmate. Luce's obsession over Daniel grows no matter what she does though so she sets out on a confusing and empty search for any information about him. And what she finds out, was definitely not what she expected...
It was a typical young adult fantasy story. Although, I did like it better than most others I have read. It was quick-paced and didn't drag on forever which is really something I appreciate in a book (not taking 100 pages just to get into what the story actually is). I think Lauren Kate could have done more with developing her characters though. This story does have a large cast and they are all integrated into the storyline frequently, but nobody really finds out any information on them until the end of the story and then Kate just throws it in, basically like a side-note...BAM...end of story. And the epilogue was just plain confusing. One moment there's a fight to the death and the next the two opposing sides are sharing a quick conversation under the cover of night, while still stating they are against one another...
I am still looking forward to seeing how Kate progresses with the story into the next book, Torment. She has a good writing sense but just needs to know how to put it onto paper better.(less)
Elsewhere begins with fifteen year old Liz waking up on a ship. As a matter of fact, it’s a ship that’s supposed to take her over to the afterlife, to...moreElsewhere begins with fifteen year old Liz waking up on a ship. As a matter of fact, it’s a ship that’s supposed to take her over to the afterlife, to a place called Elsewhere. Liz doesn’t want to be in Elsewhere. She just wants to go back to her old life and spends all of her time reminiscing about her old life instead of coming to terms with her new one. In Elsewhere, you can’t die again. Instead, you age backwards from the moment you died to birth and are then sent back to Earth to be reborn. This is a moving story about life and death and coming to terms with the cards one is dealt with. Liz has to discover her place in Elsewhere and as she does, she makes some new friends and learns a little bit about herself in the process.
This book made me feel for the character and really made me think long and hard about the decisions and moments we take for granted everyday in life. This carefully constructed yet original novel about what happens after death was very enjoyable. With its moments of emotional honesty, this book really made for a very interesting read. I thoroughly enjoyed it and as such recommend not only this book but all of Gabrielle Zevin’s novels.
1. People, you’ll find, aren’t usually all good or all bad. Sometimes they’re a little bit of good and a whole lot of bad. And sometimes, they’re mostly good with a dash of bad. And most of us, well, we fall in the middle somewhere.
2. Oh, there are so many lives. How we wish we could live them concurrently instead of one by one by one. We could select the best pieces of each, stringing them together like a strand of pearls. But that’s not how it works. A human life is a beautiful mess.
3. No one actually needs another person or another person’s love to survive. Love is when we have irrationally convinced ourselves that we do.
4. Why do two people fall in love? It’s a mystery.
5. We never know what will happen…but I believe good things happen even when bad things happen. And I believe on a happy day like today, we can still feel a little sad. And that’s life, isn’t it?(less)
When Naomi falls down the stairs at school and suffers a serious head injury, the past four years of her life are erased from her memory and she has t...moreWhen Naomi falls down the stairs at school and suffers a serious head injury, the past four years of her life are erased from her memory and she has to learn everything from those years all over again, including some personal shocking details she soon discovers. Naomi learns many details about herself pre-amnesia that she doesn’t like. Vowing to be different now, she finds herself on the path to self-discovery and along the way learns the true meaning of love and friendship. But if and when she gets her memory back, will those ideals be able to withstand the unbelievable things she remembers from before the accident? Or will she have to then make a compromise between who she was and who she is now?
This book truly touched me and opened my eyes to many things that people take for granted presently. Through a willfully blooming plot line that opens your mind wider and wider to the meaning of personal self and identity, and the author’s use of character development to demonstrate how through new opportunities one can shape their own future life for either the better or the worse, Zevin gives us a moving novel that really makes the reader think and question their own life and the choices he or she makes.
1. “What were you like?” I asked her. “Were you happy? Or were you smiling because they told you to?”
2. I asked him how he’d gotten into visiting graveyards.
“Well…when my brother died, I guess. I liked thinking of all the others who had also died. It seemed less lonely somehow. Knowing that there are more of them than us, Naomi.”…
It was pleasant in the graveyard. Silent. Empty and yet not empty. It was a good place for forgetting things.
3. Without our “madness” (how else to put it?) to unite us, there wasn’t anything much there. Or maybe too much had happened in too short a time. It’s like when you take a trip with someone you don’t know very well. Sometimes you can get very close very quickly, but then after the trip is over, you realize all that was a false sort of closeness. An intimacy based on the trip more than the travelers.
4. “You forget all of it anyway. First, you forget everything you learned—the dates of the Hay-Herran Treaty and the Pythagorean theorem. You especially forget everything you didn’t really learn, but just memorized the night before. You forget the names of all but one or two of your teachers, and eventually you’ll forget those too. You forget your junior year class schedule and where you used to sit and your best friend’s home phone number and the lyrics to that song you must have played a million times….And eventually, but slowly, oh so slowly, you forget your humiliations—even the ones that seemed indelible just fade away. You forget who was cool and who was not, who was pretty, smart, athletic, and not. Who went to a good college. Who threw the best parties. Who could get you pot. You forget all of them. Even the ones you said you loved, and even the ones you actually did. They’re the last to go. And then once you’ve forgotten enough, you love someone else.”
5. For the longest time after that, neither of us said anything. I was unaccustomed to his silence, but I didn’t mind it. I knew near everything about him, and he knew near everything about me, and all that made our quiet a kind of song. The kind you hum without even knowing what it is or why you’re humming it. The kind that you’ve always known. (less)
This is the most amazing start to a series I've read in a long time. I'm tired of reading so many flimsy fantasy books all the time and this was definitely a great change. I loved the dystopian feel of the work as well as the fact that Katniss is a very independent mature girl who sets about to right the wrongs made by the Capital and doesn't really rely on a guy the entire time like what happens in most young adult books nowadays. I'm ordering the second book of amazon this weekend! Can't wait to find out what happens next with the two victors ;)(less)
Before I fall is an emotional gut-wrenching story that will have you on the edge of your seat waiting to see if Samantha succeeds in making the last d...moreBefore I fall is an emotional gut-wrenching story that will have you on the edge of your seat waiting to see if Samantha succeeds in making the last day she relives over count. I was in tears by the end of this book. **spoiler alert** Samantha's self sacrifice at the end of this book just tore at my heartstrings. The way she choose to save another at her own expense was truly amazing.
This book made me sit back and think about how I would handle things if I had to live my last day over like she did. Her choices up until her last moment made a difference. If we all thought like that and acted as if every one of our choices had a great consequence or result what would we accomplish? hmmmmmmm....(less)