Not rating this down because of literary quality (that's why it's two stars instead of one, in fact). I just hated it. I used to feel guilty about hatNot rating this down because of literary quality (that's why it's two stars instead of one, in fact). I just hated it. I used to feel guilty about hating it, but then I found more avid readers who also hate this book so I felt better about that.
eta: I hated this book because Holden Caufield is a whiny, self-absorbed, hypocritical jerkface and after being in his head for five minutes I couldn't stand it any longer. I know he's supposed to be a loathsome (but sympathetic--and I did sympathize with him on occasion, though it didn't change the fact that I loathed him) character but this just isn't the type of story I like to read. ...more
I enjoyed this book, for the most part. The characters, especially Hampton and Sara and even Blaine, were well-developed. I really liked Hampton, andI enjoyed this book, for the most part. The characters, especially Hampton and Sara and even Blaine, were well-developed. I really liked Hampton, and I loved Sara. I loved the way that the setting was used (it felt a lot like my high school). I liked the high school football backdrop.
Still, though, this book didn't captivate me the way I thought it would. The plot was...well, I didn't find it. There were elements to the story that needed to be better developed--things like Hampton's relationship with his mother. I wanted more scenes exploring that dynamic. There was never any tension there, and so when that story was resolved I didn't feel at all invested in it.
There needs to be more conflict all around in the story. Yeah, there's plenty of internal conflict in Hampton and in Blaine (which we see through Hampton), but that all just builds and builds and the pay-off for the tension is kind of a letdown.
All in all, it's an okay book, and an easy read. The characters are great. The plot elements, however, left a lot to be desired....more
I read this book quickly, mainly because I was hardly able to put it down for long. This is a haunting story about the aftermath of long-ter4.5 stars.
I read this book quickly, mainly because I was hardly able to put it down for long. This is a haunting story about the aftermath of long-term domestic abuse, with heavy themes of family and brotherhood, redemption, and healing. After I finished, I knew that this was a novel that will stay with me.
The relationship between Jace and Christian is what drew me in. These are two messed up and deeply flawed characters. Christian is all who Jace has left to trust, but Christian's own issues dictate that their relationship remain as distant as possible. Christian's girlfriend, Mirriam, attempts to break through the barriers of both brothers so that they can finally heal.
There's so much here and I am struggling to put my thoughts into words. Through the story, Jace and Christian struggle to forgive themselves and each other and they deal with their guilt in their own ways. They live in fear of their father finding them--a fear that Christian has suffered silently for five years, a fear that Jace, having just left, is just beginning to understand. They also must come to grips with their mother's decision. Jace begins to realize that deflecting his father's rage onto him in order to protect her, a technique he learned from Christian, can only end in tragedy. Christian, meanwhile, is torn apart by the realization that Jace and their father are more alike than he ever realized.
The threads running through this story come together beautifully, with each serving to illuminate the brokenness of the situation. There are certain storylines, however, that I felt uncomfortable with. While I appreciated the resolution between Jace and Lauren's relationship, I couldn't support the budding romance between Jace and Dakota. It isn't that I didn't like Dakota, but I felt that things were a little too raw for Jace to be entering into another relationship so soon after Lauren.
Don't get me wrong, I understood the purpose of the romance--Dakota was a chance for a new beginning for Jace, a chance to be the person he wanted to be, not the person he was becoming with Lauren, back when his father still held the complete power.
Mirriam and Christian provided Jace with an example of how a functional relationship should work, a contrast from what he learned growing up. He is genuinely surprised to learn that a serious disagreement doesn't have to escalate to angry, hurtful words, and later on he realizes that angry words don't have to escalate to violence.
Mirriam, too, is on her own journey. She is shocked to learn of the secrets Christian has been keeping from her and she works to break through to him and to Jace, though she isn't quite sure how to do that. No matter what, she doesn't give up, even if at times Jace wished she did.
At the end, despite the heartbreak, despite everything that had happened to them, I felt something that seemed absent through the majority of the book--and that was hope. ...more
I read this book in high school, maybe 14 or 15, but don't remember too much about it. I remember I really liked it, especially the stream-of-consciouI read this book in high school, maybe 14 or 15, but don't remember too much about it. I remember I really liked it, especially the stream-of-consciousness style. At that time, I live in a black-and-white world and I was pretty judgmental of people who fell outside of the proper moral boundaries (say, people who become parents in high school). Reading books like this was what really drove me into considering giving up my role as the moral police and becoming more compassionate toward others, especially teenagers, who were in difficult situations.
I don't know if I'll read this book again so I can rate it, because I remember very little about the book itself. The main point is that this is a book that made me think rather than just being entertaining (which I think it was). ...more
I was disappointed. I felt it was under-developed -- both in story and character. There was so much going on for what was ultimately a rather short noI was disappointed. I felt it was under-developed -- both in story and character. There was so much going on for what was ultimately a rather short novel. I felt it could have been longer or broken up into a series. (I know there is a sequel, but I probably won't read it as I've been spoiled and I don't think I like I've read about the plot or the characters in that one.) The story meandered around so much it was hard to see a point. I felt this had a lot of potential -- self-conscious, anxious, shy teenager girl musters up courage on overseas scavenger hunt? Unfortunately, it fell short....more
I wanted to love this book, but in all honesty I found it lacking. Don't get me wrong, the writing was good, the story was strong and I think3.5 stars
I wanted to love this book, but in all honesty I found it lacking. Don't get me wrong, the writing was good, the story was strong and I think Hazel was a strong character. Still, I had issues.
The language, for one. It's one thing to use philosophical and flowery prose in the narrative, but in dialogue it just made the characters seem pretentious. I don't buy it from teenagers; I don't buy it from anyone. It made Hazel and Augustus seem very pretentious. I think that's part of the reason I really didn't like Augustus. With Hazel there was more internal dialogue and I was able to understand her character more, but Augustus? I didn't buy his character at all.
That was the main thing which took me out of the story. There were things I liked, however. The people I felt the most sympathy for were the parents, and I thought Green did a good job portraying their agony without overdoing it. It wasn't the focus, but it was always there in the background.
Peter Van Houten was another character I really liked, and probably my favorite. Yes, he was an asshole, but he was perhaps the best character in the book. It was obvious immediately that there was something more to him, some information we were not privy to, and I really did pity him in the end.
On the whole, the story explored certain philosophical questions but there were no answers. With death, though, there are no certainties. The book had a clear central theme, which I liked, without being preachy. There's no right or wrong. I agreed with Hazel's observations and disagreed with others (I truly do believe that pain and joy cannot exist without each other, for example) but her opinions on the world felt realistic to me.
Despite the flaws with dialogue and some issues with characterization, I did enjoy this book. Perhaps due to my expectations and the hype surrounding it, however, I came away disappointed. I do plan on reading more from John Green in the future, now that I kind of know what he's about....more
I read the entire book on the plane ride from Tulsa to Sacramento (about 3 hours or so). Very easy read, but good. It was probably too young adult forI read the entire book on the plane ride from Tulsa to Sacramento (about 3 hours or so). Very easy read, but good. It was probably too young adult for me (and I love YA), but I still enjoyed it. I like the idea of getting into the mind of a teenage girl dealing with a horrible tragedy. It was heartfelt, filled with sentiment without being cheesy. Jenna is a very likable protagonist and you can't help but grieve with her. Oates doesn't wrap everything up neatly -- grief is never really over, after all -- and Jenna's path to finding peace and forgiving herself is far from easy. The story, however, is not without hope. 3.75 stars. ...more