I listened to the audio book for Size 12 is Not Fat almost a year ago, but with the release of the 4th installment in this series (Size 12 and Ready...more I listened to the audio book for Size 12 is Not Fat almost a year ago, but with the release of the 4th installment in this series (Size 12 and Ready to Rock) I thought I would go ahead and do a quick book review.
The initial thing that drew me to this book was the title. I have had weight issues my whole life, and was a size 12/14 when I first heard about this series. I wanted to read it because I wanted to read a book about a protagonist that looked like me and dealt with the same issues I deal with.
I really enjoyed this book. I loved listening to Heather's inner monologue (it's so like my own lol) and I loved reading about the antics that all of the college kids get up to. The murder mystery is also really well done, I had NO idea who the killer was and was thoroughly surprised as the different twists were revealed. I also really liked the commentary on weight in the media and how gaining weight doesn't reduce your value as a person.
Honestly, I can't pinpoint the exact thing that made this book so enjoyable for me, it really was everything. Size 12 is Not Fat is a cute and fun story that is a perfect summer read. (less)
Paper Towns is an interesting look at obsessive teenage love and how our ideas of a person can become much grander than the person themselves. This bo...morePaper Towns is an interesting look at obsessive teenage love and how our ideas of a person can become much grander than the person themselves. This book tells the tale of a boy who discovers himself by searching for the girl of his dreams. Only she isn't the girl of his dreams, she's Margo. She has her own faults and shortcomings. She is a real person, not a dream girl whose only purpose in life is to lead Quentin down the road of self understanding through her uncanny wisdom and quirky personality. She is the anti manic pixie dream girl. Paper Towns is romantic but honest portrayal of love, loss, and expectation.
Paper Towns has many other wonderful aspects as well. While rich in metaphor and contemplation, it also has a wonderful sense of humor with perfect timing delivered by an endearing supporting cast. One thing I love about John Green's writing is the sprinkling of hilariously casual observations such as:
"I'm not saying that everything is survivable. Just that everything except the last thing is."
"Talking to a drunk person was like talking to an extremely happy, severely brain-damaged three-year-old."
"Traveling, I am finding, teaches you a lot of things about yourself. For instance, I never thought myself to be the kind of person who pees into a mostly empty bottle of Bluefin energy drink while driving through South Carolina at seventy-seven miles per hour - but in fact I am that kind of person."
It's in this voice that John Green truly stands out as a writer of his own class. He can connect to the reader in such a friendly and self deprecating way that allows the reader to be in the moment of the book. I believed that these were my friends, I was at my school, and I learned things about myself. Paper Towns was a book that came full circle for this author. In Looking for Alaska he uses MPDG as a plot device and in Paper Towns he breaks her apart and shows her faults.
Overall Paper Towns is an amazing book about learning to look at yourself and others for who they really are, not what you wish they could be. This book is a unique gem, and should not be missed.
"The fundamental mistake I had always made--and that she had, in fairness, always led me to make--was this: Margo was not a miracle. She was not an adventure. She was not a fine and precious thing. She was a girl."(less)
Looking for Alaska is a coming of age story that is both ridiculously hilarious and touchingly poignant at the same time. This book deals with friends...moreLooking for Alaska is a coming of age story that is both ridiculously hilarious and touchingly poignant at the same time. This book deals with friendship, love, and death in a real and honest way that will hit home with not only teens but adult readers as well. Brilliantly set up into two sections of "before" and "after", Looking for Alaska shows how a single event can change a persons life forever.
First I want to comment on the humor in Looking for Alaska. There is a lot of it, and I like it. The writing is witty and the dialogue snappy and clever. More than once I literally laughed out loud while reading this book, much to my embarrassment because I got to the mother fucking fox hat in the middle of a crowded Starbucks.
There is sex, drinking, and smoking in this book, but they are realistically done. The sex isn't beautiful and perfect, it's awkward and a little embarrassing. The drinking and smoking are also realistic in that for most teens they can experiment without anything horrible happening beyond a hangover and maybe throwing up after going a little too far. However, I think Looking for Alaska also gives a warning about being irresponsible and the serious consequences drugs and alcohol can have without sounding like a public service announcement. It handles a tough topic in a way that won't turn teen readers off for sounding too much like their nagging parents.
This book is truly unique in the young adult genre. Looking for Alaska has equal parts hilarious moments and deeply emotional moments. There are some great instances of reflection about life's purpose and the morality with which you achieve it that challenges younger readers into thinking beyond the mega hot brooding vampire. That is the best part of this book, in my opinion. How Green challenges the reader with complex issues is what makes this book a true classic.
Overall Looking for Alaska is at it's heart, a story about self discovery. It's about finding out who you are and seeking the great perhaps that lives within.(less)
fantastic! I absolutely loved all the math in this novel. After I was finished I busted out the calculator and figured out Colin's Theory for myself....morefantastic! I absolutely loved all the math in this novel. After I was finished I busted out the calculator and figured out Colin's Theory for myself. Turns out I'm the dumper in my current relationship lol.(less)
Will Grayson, Will Grayson is a ridiculously hilarious book about high school students trying to find themselves through, friendship, love, betrayal,...moreWill Grayson, Will Grayson is a ridiculously hilarious book about high school students trying to find themselves through, friendship, love, betrayal, and musical theater.
This book is told from the perspective of two different Will Graysons, each written by one of the authors, and gives an interesting reading experiences. The first Will Grayson is written by John Green and is a quite and introspective boy who is often overshadowed by the loud and super gay personality of his best friend Tiny Cooper. We'll call this Grayson BFF Grayson. The second Will Grayson is written by David Levithan and is dealing with being gay and in the closet and the feeling of loneliness that comes with that. I'll call this Grayson emo Grayson.
At the beginning of the book I found myself liking John Green's chapters more, but I soon figured out that it wasn't BFF Grayson that I liked, it was the humor found in Tiny Cooper who is a force to behold. More on him later. When it comes to the actual Graysons, I found myself relating a lot more to emo Grayson. I was a huge loner myself in high school, and I could really relate to feeling like no one understood him and that desperate search to find someone who could love you for just being you. Also some REALLY shitty stuff happens to him which I hated but thought was brilliant.
I love all of the crazy stuff that happens that brings the characters together. There's a lot of great humor and you can tell that the authors not only have similar writing styles, but have a strong friendship. All three of the main characters (BFF Grayson, emo Grayson, and Tiny Cooper) grow so much throughout the book. I really loved Tiny Cooper though. I really connected to him. At first I thought he was going to be a stereotypical gay sidekick character, but he is so much more than that. I think a lot of his personality comes from insecurity, and I love how both graysons help him learn to love himself and in the process, grow as people themselves. I also absolutely loved the ending. Tiny Dancer is everything I hoped it would be, and so much more. I actually teared up at the end which is something I was not expecting.
Overall Will Grayson, Will Grayson is a wonderful coming of age story about people learning to accept their friends for who they are and to love themselves. I highly recommend this book to any gay teen who is feeling lost or alienated and to all teens as a book about accepting those who are different.(less)
The body finder has a really interesting premise that I thoroughly enjoyed. I really liked the idea of the echos, how they worked and how they helped...moreThe body finder has a really interesting premise that I thoroughly enjoyed. I really liked the idea of the echos, how they worked and how they helped Violet solve the murders. For me they were a unique concept that really added to the suspense of the mystery.
Violet was a fairly likable main character in general, even if she is obsessively boy crazy. I mean, I know most 16 year old girls are obsessively boy crazy, but Violet was taking it to a new level. The teenager angst was a little too heavy for my taste, and I would have preferred more murder and mayhem, and less high school drama. (though I have to admit the kissing scenes were pretty great, Derting knows how to write sexual tension (comeone adult romance novel!))
Speaking of murder and mayhem, I really loved the serial killer! Some of the chapters were written from his perspective and they were FREAKY! I really loved these chapters beacuse they were perfectly timed and added a lot of great suspense to the story. I was really surprised by some of the plot twists and had absolutely no idea about the killer's identity, so that's a pretty good sign of a good mystery in my book!
Overall The Body Finder is a really cool start to this unique murder mystery series. I'm really curious to see what kind of bad guy will show up in the next book, Desires of the Dead. The title hints that maybe there will be more ghosty happenings? Who knows, but I'm really excited to find out! (less)
I have to admit that after the awesomeness that was Shadow Kiss my expectations where VERY high for Blood Promise. Sadly, I was disappointed. Blood Pr...moreI have to admit that after the awesomeness that was Shadow Kiss my expectations where VERY high for Blood Promise. Sadly, I was disappointed. Blood Promise was the only weak point in the entire series and it was very weak for 75% of the book. With that said, there are still some really great parts of the book (mostly the ending, very awesome) and the introduction of some cool new characters (Sydney is super great as is Abe), but the book as a whole is far below the bar the rest of the series sets.
So, let's review the positives first. Sydney is introduced in this book, and she becomes a pretty cool character in the rest of the series and in the spin off series Bloodlines. However, in this book she's not that awesome, it's mostly just a way to put her in Rose's life. I also really enjoyed the ending. The final "battle" is exciting and really made me interested in the next book. I don't want to give any spoilers, but trust me that the last 100ish pages are totally awesome.
However, there are 300 pages of BORING before you get to the awesome. This book really takes a hit with the separation of Lissa and Rose. Mead tries to have both their story lines run congruently, but neither are very interesting. I found myself not really caring about Lissa when Rose wasn't around. I didn't think the information revealed about spirit was that great, and most of Lissa's plot was just filler to give her something to do while Rose was away. Also while Rose is in Siberia, we meet a lot of character that (with the exception of Sydney and Abe) serve no purpose to the main storyline and are basically just filler. Which is very obvious. Not to mention the way over use of flashbacks. There was just TMI. I don't care about the conversations that Rose had with Dimitri a couple months ago, I want to know what they're doing now. This entire book (with the exception of the last 100ish pages) is just filler that doesn't do anything to push the main story along.
(view spoiler)[I did not think new Dimitri was evil enough. Strigoi are supposed to be a-holes, and I felt like Mead didn't want Dimitri to be so evil that Rose couldn't find anything redeeming in him. She made him still sexy, when I just wanted him to be vile. (hide spoiler)]
OK, even with all of that said, this is still an enjoyable read, just not as TOTALLY FREAKING AWESOME OMG! as the rest of the series. Don't let this book stop you from the final two books. They are super excellent, especially Last Sacrifice. Overall Blood Promise is a bit of a hiccup in an otherwise enthralling series. ["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>(less)
I was really excited to read the maze runner after having met James Dashner at a book signing for his newest series, The Infinity Ring. He had such en...moreI was really excited to read the maze runner after having met James Dashner at a book signing for his newest series, The Infinity Ring. He had such enthusiasm for writing for kids and encouraging them to read that I wanted to read all of his books right now! However, I was really disappointed with a lot of what happened in The Maze Runner. (sad panda!)
The one thing that got really old with The Maze Runner was the withholding of information from Thomas just because "you don't need to know that right now greenie". UGH WHATEVER! I hate books that try and create tension by purposefully keeping the main character in the dark. It's one thing if the character has amnesia, that I don't mind, but it's when they ask a specific question and are told "you don't need to know that" or "I'll tell you later". No. NO! TELL ME NOW!
This is especially true in a dystopian type setting. Like ok, if it's a contemporary and the reason you don't want to tell the main character something is because you have too many feels and you're just not ready yet or whatever ok. I get that. BUT in a dystopian kind of setting information is how you survive! Why would you with not tell someone some vital information for no reason other than you think it doesn't matter or they don't need to know? That's crazy talk! And yet this went on for pages and pages during The Maze Runner.
However, a pretty interesting story did develop. While I wasn't a huge fan of the majority of The Maze Runner I like where it's going. I was really drawn into the story in the last 25% of the book, so that's where the 3 stars came from. So while the second book, The Scorch Trials, isn't very high on my TBR pile, it's in there. I'm not giving up yet! (less)
Divergent is an action packed adventure about a young girl who learns to follow her heart and be true to herself. Divergent is the first of a trilogy,...moreDivergent is an action packed adventure about a young girl who learns to follow her heart and be true to herself. Divergent is the first of a trilogy, and I think it does a wonderful job of setting up the world and the overall setting of the trilogy while still being a complete story within itself.
The strongest part of Divergent is the action sequences. The writing is excellent. The trials Tris goes through are adrenaline fueled and make you keep turning the page. I also thought that the development of Tris's character as she learns to adapt to her surroundings and listen to her intuition was very well done. Tris is a very well rounded character who constantly surprised me with her choices and reasons behind them.
There were a few stylistic choices that Roth made in her writing that didn't sit well with me, but also did not detract from the story. I also thought there could have been more development of Tris's past and her family, but I also suspect that there will be more revealed in the coming books.
Overall Divergent is an exciting debut dystopian novel that brilliantly introduces the story of Tris. Divergent intrigues from the start and will stay in the readers head long after they have turned the last page.(less)
Zany, wacky, silly, hilarious, empowering, awesome. All adjectives that can describe Libba Bray's satire on modern beauty stereotypes and women's role...moreZany, wacky, silly, hilarious, empowering, awesome. All adjectives that can describe Libba Bray's satire on modern beauty stereotypes and women's roles in today's society as well as consumerism, racism, LGBT issues, and politics. This is a perfect book for fans of Drop Dead Gorgeous, Miss Congeniality, and Legally Blonde (AKA me).
I really enjoyed all of the girls on the island and their unique personalities. What I liked was how each girl started off with their own preconceived notions, their own mold that they were trying to stuff themselves into (in particular Mary Lou was amazing). As the book progressed they learn how to let go of society's demands and expectations of them and to become the girls that they truly are. I think this is a lovely message for the book and I really enjoyed the delivery.
The humor in this book is pretty out there, I will admit. I consider my sense of humor to be pretty dry, so this over the top slap stick humor was a little too much for me at times. Other times this humor was right on point and had some very poignant undertones. Beauty Queens has varying levels of humor, so don't be surprised if you find yourself simultaneously rolling your eyes and laughing out loud.
Overall Beauty Queens is a very funny satire that comments on beauty and how we try and contain it and give it structure and definition instead of letting it be the wild exciting thing it is. While the humor doesn't always hit the mark for me, when it's on it's SO ON and speaks truly about sexuality and growing up. (less)
more like 3.5, but I'm going to round up. Interesting development and ending, but definitely a case of middle book syndrome. Felt like a transition bo...moremore like 3.5, but I'm going to round up. Interesting development and ending, but definitely a case of middle book syndrome. Felt like a transition book, not a unique story. There's absolutely no refresher on who people are and what they're doing at the end of divergent, so I really had a hard time connecting to the characters. I kept thinking, "who was that again?" Also the transitions between scenes were extremely choppy and hard to follow. There seemed to be a lack of editing in terms of continuity and flow.(less)
OMG less than one month away! So excited, I want it yesterday!
I like it, but I have to admit I'm not in love with it. I do like the simp...moreOMG less than one month away! So excited, I want it yesterday!
I like it, but I have to admit I'm not in love with it. I do like the simplistic nature of it and maybe once I read the book I'll like the cover more. That certainly was the case for Paper Towns so I'll keep an open mind.
I do have one massive problem with the cover though. Why the HELL is Jodi Picoult quoted on the cover!? First of all, Jodi Picoult is a lame-o lifetime movie-esque adult author, not a funny-as-hell-while-still-being-extremely-poignant YA author. Second of all, just because Jodi Picoult wrote a shitty book about a teen with cancer that got turned into a fairly successful movie, she's the go-to default author on the subject? I'm sorry but if The Fault in Our Stars is even one tenth similar to My Sister's Keeper I may just have to punch a baby. (oh and for the record, the movie of My Sister's Keeper is totally different from the book and has much more believable characters and a way more logical ending...go movie people you got it right). I'm really disappointed by this blurb and I hope this isn't final and the publishers will wise up and put someone else on the cover (or no one, that's ok by me) but I doubt it.
Update 1/10/12 Since my amazon preorder wouldn't be shipping until Friday, I went and bought a new one because I couldn't wait. And look what I got...
Update 1/12/12 I need to put a disclaimer on this review that I highly doubt this review will adequately describe just how much this book means to me. I've always been a fan of John Green's work, but The Fault in Our Stars takes him to a new category. There are definitely still the elements that make it a John Green book, such as teens that have a better vocabulary than most dictionaries, references to obscure books, music, and lots of poetry, and in-depth analyses of the meaning of life. But with The Fault in Our Stars, he does this better than any book he's written before. Yes these teens are maybe too smart, and yes I had to look up a word more than once, but never the less this book looks at death, love, and illness in a way that is so REAL.
First I want to give you a little background on where I'm coming from, and why Hazel in particular touched me on a very personal level. When I was 14 (just about to enter high school), I had to go to the doctor for a routine checkup. I had some basic bloodwork done, then went home to await the results. I got a call at 1:00 AM that night saying I had to go to the hospital right then and there. It turns out my platelet count (they're in your blood and cause it to clot) was so low I was considered a "medical emergency" (An average count is 150,000 - 500,000. I was at 7,000). On top of that my red blood cell count was HALF of what it should have been. I spent that first of what would be many weekends in the hospital with doctors trying to figure out what was wrong with me.
They eventually diagnosed me with ITP (Idiopathic Thrombocytopenic Purpura) which is basically where my immune system attacks my platelets for no reason. But I went through months before the diagnosis where they thought I could have anything from ITP to a bone marrow disorder to leukemia. Yes, I went around for about three months thinking I had blood cancer. Not very pleasant for a girl just starting high school. Luckily for me I didn't have luekemia, but I was still in the hospital 1-3 times a week for two years. I was on a very aggressive steroid treatment as well as periodic IVIg treatments that not only didn't really fix my blood problem, also caused me to gain 80 lbs, have severe mood swings, and lead me to some pretty hard core self image and depression issues.
After 2 years my doctors decided I had to go to a more drastic from of treatment by way of splenectomy. Word to the wise, if you can avoid having abdominal surgery, I suggest you do it because it hurts like a bitch. If that didn't work we would have had to resort to forms of chemotherapy, which totally scared the shit out of me. Luckily the splenectomy worked and after a couple weeks my counts leveled to a perfectly healthy 300,000 which was way better than expected. I'm basically cured and I don't have to take any medication or do anything special now. I just have to be aware of my immune system because I am missing a spleen, so I can get sick more easily than other people. But compared to having blood cancer? I'll give the spleen freely, again and again.
Ok, I'm telling you all way too much information so you can understand where I'm coming from when I say this book hit me on a very personal level. John Green does an excellent job capturing the feeling of being sick. From puffy steroid face to midnight hospital runs to being afraid that your death will ruin the ones you love, John Green covers the realities of illness with sensitivity and honesty. He really gets what it's like to be sick, and to be so sick that you could die. It doesn't fall into that sappy lifetime movie-esque melodrama of so many other cancer books.
I also just LOVE Hazel and Gus. So much. And I won't spoil the plot, but I totally did not expect what happened to them in this book, and I am so glad it didn't go the way I was expecting it to. I loved how their relationship forms and how they understand each other. What's really great is these characters are people, not just their disease. Plus the banter back and forth is adorable while their serious conversations made me think about my life and what I really valued. I particularly loved the lesson Gus learns about wanting to leave a mark on the world, a legacy, something to be remembered by after he has died. I think we all feel like that, but is the whole world knowing who we are really what's important? Isn't having people who love you and loving them back enough? I also loved their "infinity". I don't want to say more than that, because I don't want to spoil, just tell you a little bit about why I love this book so much.
While I'm not happy with the cover nor the blurb (I get why Jodi Picoult is on it, I just hate the fact that she is) I hope people outside the YA and nerdfighter community will pick this book up. The Fault in Our Stars should be read by everyone who has ever felt like their life was less valuable due to something they cannot control, anyone who has ever wanted to be seen as more than "that cancer girl", and anyone who has ever had to come to terms with the finality of a human life.(less)