Tag Archives: Cancer

The Fault In Our Stars by John Green
Book Reviews
September 5, 2012 posted by Nikki

The Fault In Our Stars by John Green

Despite the tumor-shrinking medical miracle that has bought her a few years, Hazel has never been anything but terminal, her final chapter inscribed upon diagnosis. But when a gorgeous plot twist named Augustus Waters suddenly appears at Cancer Kid Support Group, Hazel’s story is about to be completely rewritten.

Insightful, bold, irreverent, and raw, The Fault in Our Stars is award-winning author John Green’s most ambitious and heartbreaking work yet, brilliantly exploring the funny, thrilling, and tragic business of being alive and in love.

Hazel has cancer. The bad kind that just won’t go away. No one is sugar coating anything for her – it is inevitable, just a matter of time. She hasn’t been to school in three years, which means her list of friends can be counted on one hand. She hauls herself up in the house reading the same novel over and over and subjecting her parents to re-runs of bad reality TV programming. Hazel’s mom thinks she’s depressed and forces her to go to a local support group for kids like her. She protests, of course, but even cancer can’t get you out of some things.

Enter Augustus Waters. Cancer survivor, amputee, life optimist, cancer support group resident hot guy. And he’s looking at Hazel like that. By the end of the meeting Augustus has managed to convince Hazel to go back to his place and watch a movie with him, and just like that Hazel’s terminally ill cancer life changes to terminally-ill-but-now-she-gets-to-live-a-little-too.

Here’s what you need to know about this book: YOU WILL NEED LOTS AND LOTS OF KLEENEX.

This is a story about kids with cancer, so I think the plot probably speaks for itself, but what I did find utterly astonishing was just how funny it was. John Green has somehow managed to spin the situation Augustus and Hazel find themselves in so that it’s completely and totally hilarious without discrediting the seriousness of a disease like cancer. In fact, the first time I picked up a tissue was to wipe the laughter from my eyes.

You will fall hopelessly head over heels in love with Augustus and Hazel. By the end of the first chapter, I wanted to wrap Hazel in bubble wrap and hug away all the badness she’d endured throughout her life. Then Augustus came along and I realized he wanted to be the one that did all that for her, so I stepped off.

Regardless of the humor, regardless of how much I laughed out loud while reading, Augustus and Hazel’s story is heart crushingly, soul destroyingly sad. Perhaps that’s what makes this book the shining diamond that it is: it’s ability to be both brilliant and horrifying all in one.

There’s not much else that needs to be said about The Fault In Our Stars, except that this is, without a doubt, the best book I’ve read in any genre for a really, really long time. And not because it’s about cancer, but because it’s about people, love, and making it count.

Five stars isn’t a high enough rating for this masterpiece. If I could give it more, I would.

John Green, thanks for your brilliance. The Fault In Our Stars will change lives.

 

Pages: 313

Publication date: January, 2012

Publisher Dutton Books

Rating:: ★★★★★

Teaser Quote: “I bet you say that to all the boys who finance your international travel.”

 

Book Reviews
July 20, 2011 posted by Christina

Exile – Rebecca Lim (Mercy, Book 2)

“All Mercy knows is that she is an angel, exiled from heaven for a crime she can’t remember committing.

So when she wakes inside the body and life of Lela Neill Mercy has little recall of her past life, except her memories of Ryan, the mortal boy who’d begun to fall for her – and she for him.

Lela works as a waitress at the Green Lantern, a busy city café frequented by suits, cab drivers, strippers, backpackers and the homeless and Mercy quickly falls into the rhythm of this new life. But when Mercy’s beloved Luc reappears in her dreams, she begins to awaken to glimpses of her true nature. What she does not know is that her attempts to contact Ryan will have explosive consequences.

Meanwhile, ‘the Eight’ – responsible for her banishment – hover near, determined to keep Mercy and Luc apart, forever…”

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Last year we were introduced to Mercy series and it got off to an interesting start. A unique concept plus a killer cover made for a great combination. I, like many, were really looking forward to the second book in the series, Exile.

When we last saw Mercy she was in the small town of Paradise as Carmen Zappacosta. After facing a kidnapping and dolling out punishment to her captor with powers she thought were lost to her, she also started to develop feelings for Ryan, a mortal. Before she could even begin to address those feelings, her time as Carmen was up.

In Exile Mercy finds herself in the body of Lela Neill, which comes complete with a dull waitressing job in a not-so-nice part of town, and a mother who is at the end of a battle with her terminal illness. What does Lela’s life have in store for Mercy and how will she ever make her way back to Luc? Looks like Ryan may be the key.

I was really hoping that the series would start to pick up in book two but it just fell a bit flat for me. Just as Mercy starts over in a new life it feels like the story goes back to square one too. By the end we’re no closer to finding out why Mercy is being punished or what she should do about it.

The main focus of the story was more about Lela’s life and problems rather than Mercy’s. Even though I still found that interesting, and the ending will take you by surprise, it didn’t quite have that wow factor. There was something about Mercy this time that made me like her a little less, some of her actions came across as selfish and careless, and since we see her and Luc together in the middle of their relationship it’s hard to understand their attraction or why they’re together.

I liked many of the secondary characters – Justine, Cecilia even Mr Dymovsky, but the villain was a surprise left till the very end. A surprise but also a bit…random?

If you loved Mercy you’ll probably still like Exile, but if you were only on the fence for the first installment, Exile might be a bit disappointing. Will I continue on with the series? Perhaps.

Pages: 293
Publication Date: April 2011
Publisher: Harper Collins
Challenge: n/a
Rating: : ★★★☆☆

Teaser Quote:  “I think I’m going to scream. Or throw up. ‘Qualis es tu?’ I think, gritting my teeth. ‘What are you?’

‘Te gnovi’, something growls into the space inside my head. ‘I know you.’”

Before I Die – Jenny Downham
Book Reviews
November 26, 2008 posted by Nikki

Before I Die – Jenny Downham

This book comes with an extreme tear-jerker warning attached to it. If you spend your entire reading experience blubbering, don’t say we didn’t warn you!

Suffering from leukaemia, sixteen-year-old Tessa only has a few more months left to live. She has compiled a list of ten things she wants to do before she dies. More than anything else she wants to lose her virginity, so her friend Zoey takes her out clubbing one night to see if she can help make Tessa’s wish come true.

As Tessa works her way through her list she meets Adam, her next-door neighbour. On the brink of death, Adam makes Tessa feel more alive than ever before. What could a nineteen-year-old boy possibly see in a dying, cancer-ridden girl? Believe me when I say, more than you think.

Adam’s character is so real, so mature. Readers will fall in love with him from the very first moment he is introduced into the story. He becomes Tessa’s life force as he injects a new enthusiasm, a new desire to live just that little bit longer. Adam’s devotion and attentiveness, his adoration for a dying girl completely restored my faith in teenage boys everywhere.

But don’t be fooled, this is not one of those stories where everything works out in the end. The title itself indicates that Tessa will in fact pass on. I don’t feel like I’m giving away any crucial plot elements by divulging this, if anything, I’m preparing you for the inevitable. And I think that if you approach this book knowing that your beloved protagonist is not going to make it through, her experiences, her emotions and revelations become all the more important.

I cried, I laughed and then I cried some more. Before I Die is a beautifully written tale that readers everywhere will enjoy.

Rating: : ★★★★☆