Tag Archives: John Green

Book Reviews
April 20, 2014 posted by Emma

Paper Towns – John Green

Paper TownsQuentin Jacobsen has spent a lifetime loving the magnificently adventurous Margo Roth Spiegelman from afar. So when she cracks open a window and climbs back into his life—dressed like a ninja and summoning him for an ingenious campaign of revenge—he follows.

After their all-nighter ends and a new day breaks, Q arrives at school to discover that Margo, always an enigma, has now become a mystery. But Q soon learns that there are clues—and they’re for him. Urged down a disconnected path, the closer he gets, the less Q sees of the girl he thought he knew.

 

I know it’s already been reviewed, but I figured that in honor of the recent announcement that Paper Towns was going to follow in The Fault In Our Stars‘ footsteps and be made into a movie, it’s about time to put in my two cents!

First off, I want to say that I’m definitely a fan of John Green. TFIOS was probably my favorite book of his, but I’ve mostly enjoyed the rest of the them as well. There’s definitely some huge issues with his books, as well as just the way that the YA community has turned him into a sort of writing-god, but that’s a rant for another time. This is about Paper Towns, which I thoroughly enjoyed (for the most part).

Paper Towns kind of follows in the footsteps of TFIOSLooking for Alaska, and An Abundance of Katherines, in that it follows the story of nerdy, quiet Quentin who is looking for something more than his average life. He’s always been a little in love with the quirky next door neighbor, Margo, and when she climbs through his window one night, he has the adventure of a lifetime. But then she disappears, and with only a few clues to go on, Q embarks on a journey to find Margo (and discover more about himself in the process).

I really did enjoy this book! Q had me laughing quite a bit, and Margo was the kind of girl that I would want to be best friends with. And their friends were just as full of personality and life, which made for a very fun read. There were definitely some parts where I was like…okay…no teenagers I know talk like that (or are that pretentious). BUT sometimes you just have to roll with it and make believe.

The plot was interesting as well, from Q and Margo’s night of adventuring, all the way to the craziness that unfolds as Q gets closer and closer to finding Margo. John Green had me guessing for a lot of it…I honestly had no clue where Margo was, or whether she was even going to be alive or not when Q finally figures out her clues. I won’t say what happens at the end, but I will say that I was mostly satisfied with it and thought it was appropriate, all things considered.

I guess my only complaint lies with the characters themselves. Or more than that, I think it’s the formulaic way that John Green tends to write. I’ve read all of his books now, and to be honest, Margo could’ve just as easily been swapped out by Alaska or one of the Katherines and I probably wouldn’t have even noticed. Same goes with Quentin (/Miles/Colin). It’s all the same story. I’m not saying it’s not a good story! But it’s very similar: a cute, yet decently nerdy and intelligent boy becomes infatuated with a crazy, wonderful girl that doesn’t quite have her life together, and through this he learns about himself. The girls in these books are honestly just plot devices so that the male protag can grow up and figure himself out, and if you’re cool with that, then you’re gonna enjoy John Green’s books a lot! But otherwise, it may bug you like it bugs me.

Anyway, despite my grumbling about the lack of a legit female character and the formulaic-ness to all of John Green’s books, I DID actually enjoy Paper Towns. It was a fun read, and I loved the whole concept of paper towns themselves.

Pick this one up if you’re a John Green fan, or if you’re interested in light (and yet at the same time deep and a little pretentious) contemporary stories!

Pages: 305

Date Published: September 22, 2009

Publisher: Speak

Rating:  ★★★½☆

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.”

 

Guest Reviewer: Brigid Kemmerer
Guest Post
July 8, 2012 posted by Nichole

Guest Reviewer: Brigid Kemmerer

Brigid Kemmerer is the author of the Elemental series. You can find out more about Brigid at her website.

The Fault in Our Stars by John Green  

Review by Brigid Kemmerer

 

The Fault in our Stars by John Green is one of the first books to make me regret the “Young Adult” label. Not because there’s anything inherently wrong with the label itself, but because some people might be quick to dismiss the book as being just for kids, and that’s not the case about many YA books at all, nowadays. Definitely not this one.

 

I’m going to keep the fangirling and squeeing to a minimum, but let me lead off by saying that this book was oozing awesome. It’s surprising they didn’t sell it with a handful of paper towels.

 

Actually, they should have sold it with an accompanying box of Kleenex, but more on that later.

 

If you’ve read John Green’s other stuff, this will feel familiar. The teens, Hazel and Augustus (“Gus”) are three dimensional and real. Some people may have an issue with their dialogue (when Hazel and Gus meet, he says, “Oh, I’m grand…I’m on a roller coaster that only goes up, my friend.”), but I read it as realistic.

 

You know why? Because these kids are living outside the norm.

 

Hazel and Gus meet at a cancer support group. Neither is in school. They are both extremely well-read and analytical. I loved the dialogue, I loved their rapport, I loved their entire relationship. There’s a scene with a Venn diagram about one-legged boys that made me tear up.

 

Did you miss that I mentioned a cancer support group?

 

When I try to recommend this book to people, I almost don’t want to mention the cancer aspect. You hear “cancer book” and immediately think “downer.” And this book is so not a downer. Yes, the kids have cancer. But they are living with it, not dying from it.

 

And this book is about so much more than their relationship with cancer (which is so well written that the disease might as well be listed as a primary character). It’s tough for me to write this review without giving away any of the twists in the novel (of which there are many, and each one knocked me off my chair).

 

The writing is rich, but fast. I think I read the entire book in two days, and with a full time job and three kids in the house, that’s saying something. The characters will inject themselves into your heart and brain until you can’t wriggle them loose—especially when you consider that I’m writing this review six months after reading the book, and I still remember crucial scenes vividly.

 

This book will make you cry. I cried as a mother, I cried as a woman, I cried thinking of all the things Hazel and Gus had to live without, and how full their lives seemed despite their illnesses.

 

I don’t know what else to say other than, “Read it.” You won’t regret it.

School Bans Looking for Alaska by John Green
News
May 24, 2012 posted by Nichole

School Bans Looking for Alaska by John Green

Sumner school district in Tennessee has banned Looking for Alaska by John Green. Apparantly they had a problem with the two page sex scene that is included in the book. Sumner is not the first district to ban Looking for Alaska from their reading list.

This is what a parent had to say on the matter:

“Kids at this age are impressionable. Sometimes it’s a monkey see, monkey do,” said parent Kathy Clough, who has a freshman and a senior at White House High School, where the book had been assigned reading. “I’m going to trust that my school board made the right choice. … If they feel like this book is a little too graphic, I’m all for it.”

What do you guys think about book censorship? I, for one, am completely against it. I think that anybody should be able to read whatever they want to read. Reading is a form of intelligence, and I am just impressed when I see kids actually wanting to read.

Now, sometimes you’ll see warnings in my reviews. For example, I warned teachers and parents about mental abuse in one of the books I read. Why? Because I think that it’s good for parents to know these things so that they can discuss them with their children. I wouldn’t want my kid to read about mental abuse and gain the impression that it was alright simply because she loved the characters. As for teachers, I don’t want them getting in trouble because they ordered a book I reviewed. One thing I would never say, though, is not to let a child read a certain book.

Below I am going to link where I found this article. Take a look at it and come back and tell me your opinion. Whether you agree or disagree, I want to know your answers and hear your reasonings. Please keep in mind, though, that everyone has their own opinions and that there is no need to attack others.

You can find the article here.

That’s all for now, folks. See you next time!

Paper Towns – John Green
Book Reviews
January 8, 2009 posted by Nikki

Paper Towns – John Green

John Green is no stranger to praise. His previous novels, Looking for Alaska and An Abundance of Katherines scored much recognition, and won many awards. The hype surrounding his new novel, Paper Towns, is huge. Everyone knows someone that has read it, or knows someone who wants to read it. So when I picked up the three hundred odd page novel I had super high expectations. That’s the problem with expectations: as soon as you expect something, you’re almost always going to be disappointed. And I was, but not for any reason that I can justify. I think I thought it was going to be breathtakingly mesmerising from the very first word. In all the hysteria, I forgot that a novel needs to lay its foundations and introduce its characters to the reader before any kind of connection or relationship is achieved. Once I remembered all these things, I let my preconceived ideas dissipate and found myself really enjoying everything Paper Towns had to offer.

Paper Towns is narrated through Quentin’s point of view. His neighbour – and long time crush – Margo Roth Speigelman has a thing for running away from home. When she disappears again, everyone is upset, but no one is surprised. Only this time it is different, and Quentin thinks Margo wants him to find her. He uncovers some clues, which he believes she deliberately planted for him, and begins piecing all of them together. While Quentin spends the final months of his senior year looking for Margo, the rest of his friends spend their final months preparing for prom and revelling in the fact that their high school days are finally numbered. Quentin becomes totally consumed with finding Margo and misses out on all kinds of experiences (like graduation) as he follows dead end lead, after dead end lead. He starts to wonder all kinds of crazy things, like whether or not he’ll find her alive, or whether he’ll ever find her at all.

Quentin is an incredibly likeable character. He’s compassionate, dedicated to his cause, and everybody’s best friend. Margo, on the other hand, I found harder to care about. Although she is gone for a lot of the novel, readers learn a lot about her through the clues that Quentin uncovers on his journey. From my vantage point, Margo is conceited, superficial, melodramatic and not worthy of Quentin’s affections at all. I found myself wishing that he’d stop looking for her and just let himself enjoy the last few months of high school with his friends. But if I’m honest with myself, Quentin’s supreme dedication to find her, dead or alive, is one of the characteristics that I admired about him most.

In the end, although none of them really think they’re going to find her, all of Quentin’s friends forfeit their graduation ceremony so they can accompany him on a last ditched effort to follow a lead. They end up in a car headed for New York. It’s during this trip that readers are really exposed to the true strengths of friendships, relationships, love and loss. The road trip to New York is my favorite part of the novel and I found myself re-reading several pages because I was so touched by some of the words and actions of the individual characters. I’m not going to tell you whether they actually find Margo or not, because that would ruin the ending for you all. But I am going to tell you that I think Margo is someone that will always run, will always look for the quickest escape route when anything gets tough. She’s one of those girls that lack the strength of character to look life in the face and deal with its raw and brutal consequences.

This was my first experience reading a John Green novel and I can happily say that it will not be my last. There is a little something for everyone in this novel, with action, drama, romance and real life experiences and emotions spread across its pages for all to absorb. yaReads give you two very big thumbs up, John Green. Two very big thumbs indeed!

Rating:: ★★★★☆