I was hesitant about reading this book. The truth is I just thought the first book in the series was "okay." I'm glad I picked it up though because th...moreI was hesitant about reading this book. The truth is I just thought the first book in the series was "okay." I'm glad I picked it up though because this second book in the series was filled with a lot more character development, emotion, and a greater depth of story. I cared more about these characters and their fates.
Now I'm very much looking forward to the third book in the series. If momentum is any indication than it will be well worth the wait.(less)
This is probably one of the saddest and most beautiful stories I've ever read. Wait? I've said that before about another book... oh yes, The Book Thie...moreThis is probably one of the saddest and most beautiful stories I've ever read. Wait? I've said that before about another book... oh yes, The Book Thief. Well, you know what? I could easily put these two books together on their own shelf and be content to know that each of them deserve to be singled out. Anyways... to the review...
If you read YA, then you've read a "coming of age" book a time or two. Well, this is a coming of age book about cancer kids. Kids that are trying to learn to be teenagers, keep and make friends, fall in love, have dreams, all while also trying to come to terms with the fact that they will very likely die soon.
All of the characters we easy to fall in love with. Hazel Grace Lancaster, just a normal girl who spends the better part of her day just trying to breathe. When she can take her thoughts off of that for a while, she goes to a cancer support group (against her teenage will), reads deeply philosophical stories (and some not so philosophical ones), watches America's Next Top Model with her mom, and wishes that her cancer won't ruin the lives of everyone around her. Augustus Waters, a boy whose best friend is about to lose his sight so he joins him at support group (ie a great friend), has a deeply philosophical mind even if he just reads books based on video games, knows what having cancer is like having lost his leg to it, tries to find ways to enjoy the here and now and tries to keep everyone around him in a positive state of mind. Also, ninety-nine percent of the secondary characters are just as amazing as the main ones.
Not only are the characters amazing, but the book is full of quotes that will resonate in my mind forever. (Not to mention this is the first book I ever quoted to someone in my dream! No joke!) Note here: I've chosen quotes that are not spoilers, but I've added the spoiler tag in case you want to skip them and move on the the rest of the review, except for the last quote which is one of the points of this review.
(view spoiler)[“As he read, I fell in love the way you fall asleep: slowly, and then all at once.”
“My thoughts are stars I cannot fathom into constellations.”
“That's the thing about pain... it demands to be felt.”
“The world is not a wish-granting factory.”
“Some infinities are bigger than other infinities.”
“You have a choice in this world, I believe, about how to tell sad stories, and we made the funny choice.”
“Whenever you read a cancer booklet or website or whatever, they always list depression among the side effects of cancer. But, in fact, depression is not a side effect of cancer. Depression is a side effect of dying.” (hide spoiler)]
And probably the most poignant quote for this particular book: “Sometimes, you read a book and it fills you with this weird evangelical zeal, and you become convinced that the shattered world will never be put back together unless and until all living humans read the book.”
The thing about this book is that I cried. I cried a lot. But I also laughed. These kids whose story we read have had enough time in life to philosophize which make many people who read this book say that they don't act their age. It is true, they don't. Personally, I've not known of any seriously, possibly terminally, ill child/teenager who does. But the secret of this book is that they are teenagers, and in between their philosophical discussions they go to the mall, watch pointless reality television, play video games, and deal with trying to fit into a world that is trying to avoid looking them in the eyes. They are funny kids too. I actually laughed a lot in between all the crying, and every time I though, "Should I be laughing while reading about cancer kids?" But like the point of the book I realized, that is life. We laugh and we cry, sometimes together.["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>(less)
I have to give this book five stars, and I'll tell you why...
This book almost got me written up at work. You read that right. I almost got a write up...moreI have to give this book five stars, and I'll tell you why...
This book almost got me written up at work. You read that right. I almost got a write up because of this book. And you you know what I would have written in the comments? "Shawna Romkey made me do it!"
Here's the story: When I woke up in the morning I had about 130 pages left to read in the book. Life, three kids, and some laundry later, I was down to about 30 pages to go an hour before work. Add to the mix a 20-25 minute drive and getting ready for work. 30 minutes before my shift and my 7 year old actually asked me why I hadn't left for work yet. I still have fifteen pages to read!! Then I get dressed for work with the font set to large on my computer so that I can read it from across the room while getting ready. With 20 minutes before my shift I ran out the door... At my job we have a three minute leeway. If we clock in four minutes late, we get written up. I clocked in at 4:03. ... ... WITH FOUR PAGES STILL WAITING TO BE READ AT HOME!
OH! The book... I loved it. It was a great follow up to the first book in the series and it has me on the edge of my seat for the next. It is a quick read for any fans of paranormal YA, indie authors, or anyone looking to try something new. Just make sure you give yourself plenty of time to get to work. (less)