Book Review: The Fault in Our Stars

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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.

Publication Date: January 10, 2012.

Favorite Quote from the 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.” 

My Thoughts:

Sadly, I did not fall for the hype of this book like so many others.  To me, it was an average book.  It is not awful, but I do not deem it a favorite like so many others.

One aspect of this book that I can appreciate is John Green’s overall writing-style.  Having read Looking for Alaska (and also deeming it an “average book”), I can see how much Green has developed as a writer and author.  The prose in this book is phenomenal and some of the best in Young Adult literature.  Sentences and metaphors (which seemed to annoy many people) seamlessly flow together creating a relatively pleasant read for readers.

However, I could not let Green’s beautiful prose distract the content within the book.  Mainly, I have an issue between the romance of Augustus and Hazel.  Sadly, I would have to label their relationship as the stereotypical “insta-love.”  Since Green is such a renowned writer, I never believed he would stoop to writing insta-love in his stories, but I appear to be wrong.  In my opinion, I think the novel would have been better if Augustus and Hazel remained friends.  For a majority of their relationship, they acted as merely best friends and less like lovers.  I feel as though Green included the romance element in the book to make the story more heart-wrenching.  Simply, the romance is a distraction for a majority of this plot.

One of the biggest issues Augustus and Hazel face is their battles with cancers.  However, one is not completely aware of the severity of their cancers and what exactly their cancers entail.  Rather, the book placed a lot of emphasis on the “sick lovers” aspect.  When a child is diagnosed with cancer, falling in love is one of the last things on their mind.  There’s issues of treatments, finances, and death.  These are so overwhelming that a sick child cannot even begin to comprehend or tackle a relationship in the way Augustus and Hazel did.  I hate to say this, but it is a rather unrealistic portrayal of children with cancer; I know Green is highly praised for his realistic portrayal of teens, but this just wasn’t cutting it for me.

Additionally, I found the dialogue between Hazel and Augustus to be unlikely for two teenagers.  Do not get me wrong, Hazel and Augustus’s conversations are beautifully written and make great quotes, but no teenager talks so eloquently.  Admittedly, I cringe for the day when I will read the word “swag” in a young adult book, but at least that’s how some teenagers talk.  A majority of the young adult population talks in slang, and many do not possess the knowledge or vocabulary that Augustus and Hazel exhibit throughout this book.  In my opinion, Augustus and Hazel are character versions of Green himself; I have nothing against Green, but there is a slight generation gap between him and teenagers which make his “typical conversations” very improbable to the conversations high school students have.

I do not want people to get me wrong.  I appreciate this book.  In fact, I firmly believe there need to be more books written about cancers, diseases, and illnesses.  Unfortunately, many Young Adult authors write books with perfect characters, perfect worlds, and perfect situations when this is hardly the case in many teens’ lives.  Many teenagers struggle with a variety of imperfections, and Young Adult authors should strive to demonstrate the commonality that exists in their problems.  After all, reading unites us!  However, I think that The Fault in Our Stars, while it details the account of two children with cancer, fails to completely recognize that life isn’t always perfect.  I applaud Green for his attempt, and I encourage him and others to continue to write books to the younger generation that demonstrate the imperfections we all face.

Overall, this book is an average contemporary read for me.  It is probably not one that I will reread in the immediate future, but I will always appreciate it as it is the first novel that I have read about cancer.

My Rating:

★ ★★ 3/5 stars!

Recommendation:

I would recommend this book searching for a contemporary novel detailing illnesses.  I would not recommend this book to those wanting to read a beautiful love story as I feel like the relationship between Augustus and Hazel is more of a friendship.

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Book Review: The Next Always

It’s Tuesday, so that means it’s time for another book review!  Tuesday Book Reviews are a part of my Daily Post; to learn more about it, click here!

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“America’s favorite writer” (The New Yorker) begins an all-new trilogy-inspired by the inn she owns and the town she loves. 

The historic hotel in BoonsBoro, Maryland, has endured war and peace, changing hands, even rumored hauntings. Now it’s getting a major facelift from the Montgomery brothers and their eccentric mother. As the architect of the family, Beckett’s social life consists mostly of talking shop over pizza and beer. But there’s another project he’s got his eye on: the girl he’s been waiting to kiss since he was fifteen…-Goodreads summary

Judge the Book by its Cover:

  • I think this cover is absolutely GORGEOUS!  I like how the image is of the rustic inn.  It allows readers to fully appreciate its beauty beyond Roberts’s wonderful descriptions.  I’d love to stay at this inn!

Things that Made Me Happy:

  • The first sentence in this novel had me hooked.  I know Roberts is a NY Times bestselling author, but I never picked up her books.  My mom bought this book for me as a gift assuming I’d enjoy it since Roberts writes in the same genre as Nicholas Sparks, who I love!  I must say, I’m extremely impressed.  Roberts writes in a poetic manner that is full of beautiful imagery that just makes readers sigh in delight.  Her whimsical writing transforms a “typical romance story” into something utterly honest, unique, and breathtaking.  This is not my last Roberts’s book!
  • I absolutely adored Claire, the protagonist of this story.  Suffering the death of her dear high school sweetheart husband and having to care for her young children, Claire manages to remain strong, fulfill her duties, and achieve her dreams.  Her selfless attitude and charisma is so infectious that I found myself weeping and rejoicing with her.
  • Secondly, I absolutely adored Beckett.   What a hunk!  Besides his good looks, he truly cared about Claire.  Sometimes Contemporary Adult Romances are too forced.  However, Beckett and Claire’s relationship was balanced and flawless.  Also, I found myself swooning when Beckett interacted with Claire’s children and insisted on having “Man Time” with them.  Can he be any more perfect?!
  • All of the other supporting characters were fantastic.  Claire’s friends had a wonderful friendship, and Beckett’s brothers had an endearing bond.  The characters were all incredibly unique and well developed.  In fact the other two books in this series will focus more on the supporting characters of this novel, but we’ll still get to see Claire and Beckett’s relationship blossom!  I definitely anticipate further character development of the other supporting characters.
  • As mentioned, the romance was wonderful.  I sometimes have an issue with Adult Contemporary Romances; at times I can find them to be not well written, too unbelievable, and too focused on the physical aspects of the relationship.  Writing about love is an intense human emotion which needs to be done so intricately.  Roberts was able to delicately build a romance that has her audience swooning.
  • The ending had me in delightful happy tears.  I look forward to finishing this series!

Things that Made Me Unhappy: 

  • Nothing!

My Rating:

★★★★ 5/5 stars!  

Recommendations:

I’d recommend this book to those who enjoy adult fiction, contemporary, romance, and chick-lit novels!

Happy reading!

Katie

Currently Reading: The End Games and am 50% into it.

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Thirsty Thursday: Where’d You Go, Bernadette?

Hello, lovely readers and Happy Thursday!  Today’s Thirsty Thursday post is about a book that I am super excited to read.  Thirsty Thursday is a part of my Daily Post; to learn more about it, click here!

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Bernadette Fox is notorious. To her Microsoft-guru husband, she’s a fearlessly opinionated partner; to fellow private-school mothers in Seattle, she’s a disgrace; to design mavens, she’s a revolutionary architect, and to 15-year-old Bee, she is a best friend and, simply, Mom.

Then Bernadette disappears. It began when Bee aced her report card and claimed her promised reward: a family trip to Antarctica. But Bernadette’s intensifying allergy to Seattle—and people in general—has made her so agoraphobic that a virtual assistant in India now runs her most basic errands. A trip to the end of the earth is problematic.

To find her mother, Bee compiles email messages, official documents, secret correspondence—creating a compulsively readable and touching novel about misplaced genius and a mother and daughter’s role in an absurd world.-Goodreads summary

I saw RinceyReads on YouTube do a book review of Where’d You Go, Bernadette?, and I immediately knew that I had to read this book.

While the book deals with a serious issue of 15 year-old Bee trying to find her missing mother, Bernadette, the novel also seems to reflect a comedic and sarcastic tone and, at the same time, impart valuable messages to its readers.  That sounds all too good to be true.  However, I found that many people have also enjoyed this book.  A follower on my Tumblr book blog informed me that it was “worth all the hype.”  Additionally, people on Goodreads claim that this book is a fantastic, lighthearted, and humorous read that will surely leave a multitude of impressions on its reader.  Likewise, I also like how this book’s ratings aren’t too high as I always seem to be underwhelmed by extremely hyped books.

Overall, I anticipate reading this book!  If you have read this book, let me know what you thought of it!

*What book(s) are you looking forward to reading?  Comment below!*

Also, Happy Fourth of July to all my fellow Americans!  God bless the USA!

Worst Read Wednesday: Anna and the French Kiss

Welcome to Worst Read Wednesday in which I talk about books that were awful or that I did not enjoy as much as it was/is hyped.  Worst Read Wednesdays are a part of my Daily Post; to learn more about it, click here!

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Anna is looking forward to her senior year in Atlanta, where she has a great job, a loyal best friend, and a crush on the verge of becoming more. Which is why she is less than thrilled about being shipped off to boarding school in Paris–until she meets Étienne St. Clair. Smart, charming,beautiful, Étienne has it all…including a serious girlfriend. 

But in the City of Light, wishes have a way of coming true. Will a year of romantic near-misses end with their long-awaited French kiss?-Goodreads summary

Before I begin I just want to say that I do not hate this book.  Rather, its high ratings and hype made me expect something more.  Please do not kill me! 

Anna and the French Kiss is one of the most popular YA books at my local Barnes & Noble; I had to hunt the shelves and figure out their shipment schedule in order to obtain this book.  For all the hype this book receives and the trouble I went through to purchase it, I could not wait to begin this book!

I read this book in December, 2012.  As I typically love reading romances in the summer time, there’s also something quaint about reading romance novels during the Christmas season, and I could not wait until summer to read this book!

As stated, I started reading this book with extremely high expectations.  EVERYONE told me to read it.

The book began a bit shaky for me.  Immediately, I was annoyed with the main character, Anna.  She has been given an amazing opportunity to study abroad in France.  While it is her senior year of high school and she’ll have to leave her former routine, I understand some slight disappointment.  However, Anna was extremely upset about her parents’ decision.  I recall her father’s reasoning for this trip was so she could “experience the world in which she lives.”  What a lucky girl!  Yet, Anna was appalled by her parents’ judgments and could never seem to grasp their appreciation of multiculturalism.

Therefore, this led me to believe that Anna’s character, Perkins’s attempt to fictionalize an 18 year-old girl, was not quite an accurate portrayal of girls Anna’s age.  Indeed, everyone, including characters, have their flaws, but Anna’s frequent unhappiness with her new schooling (IN PARIS!!) felt unrealistic.  I was 18 not too long ago, and I would have jumped on this experience.  Likewise, I know many others who would be thrilled to have such a trip.  

Furthermore, Anna’s frustrations do not fully cease until she meets “the boy,” Etienne St. Clair.  Admittedly, he is charming, and I did have a little crush on him.  However, I felt as thought he was too perfect.  I mean, a French/American guy with a British accent, who was also very worldly, smart, and knew exactly how to swoon girls; do such boys exist because I have never encountered one?  If they do, where do I sign up to get one?  Anyway, where Anna was lacking in some “likable” qualities, Etienne was hogging the charisma, and where Etienne was lacking in the flaws, Anna acted too annoying.  Thus, I think both Anna and Etienne needed more blending in order to be realistic teenagers.

There are some things that I really enjoyed about this book.  For example, the setting of Paris and Perkins’ descriptions of the experience were phenomenal and enable the readers to truly envision the scenery.  However, my issues with Anna and Etienne were my major reasons for not falling for this book’s hype.  In Perkins’s defense, I believe that YA Contemporary Romance is one of the hardest genres to write as one has to create a relationship that is meaningful but believable without being unbelievable or distasteful.  While the attraction between Anna and Etienne is obvious, and I enjoyed reading their various “moments” when they were together, I just could not get past the individual characters.  

Overall, this is a good book but not a fantastic book.  I look forward to reading Perkins’s next installment Lola and the Boy Next Door in the near future.

*What are some books that you did not like or felt they were/are overhyped?  Comment below!*

Mention Monday: Stargirl

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From the day she arrives at quiet Mica High in a burst of color and sound, hallways hum “Stargirl.” She captures Leo Borlock’s heart with one smile. She sparks a school-spirit revolution with one cheer. The students of Mica High are enchanted. Until they are not. Leo urges her to become the very thing that can destroy her – normal.-Goodreads summary

I have always been a fan of Jerry Spinelli, but this book has to be my favorite!  Many YA books encourage individuality, but none of them are quite as effective in their message like Stargirl.  The actual character of Stargirl is charming and encourages her peers to break the conformity and just be themselves.

Therefore, I think this book’s overall message is perfect for anyone.  Whether you’re carrying your pet rat and playing your ukulele, like crazy Stargirl or reading upstairs in your room, like me, just be yourself.  Stargirl proves that there can be only one you!  Live your life!

This book is a super quick read and perfect for summer.  This is the first book in the Stargirl duology.  I look forward to reading the second one!

*What are some of your favorite reads that you would like to recommend to me?*

Book Review: Sea

Hello!  I apologize.  My book review did not post from my phone last Saturday, and I didn’t realize that until now!  Anyway, I post a book review on Saturday.  Saturday Book Reviews are a part of my Daily Post; to learn more about it, click here.

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Still haunted by nightmares of her mother’s death, fifteen-year-old Sienna Jones reluctantly travels to Indonesia with her father’s relief team to help tsunami orphans with their post traumatic stress disorder-something Sienna knows a lot about. Since her mother’s plane went missing over the Indian Ocean three years before, Sienna doesn’t do anything if it involves the ocean or planes, so this trip is a big step forward.

But the last thing she expects is to fall for Deni, a brooding Indonesian boy who lives at the orphanage, and just so happens to be HOT. When Deni hears a rumor that his father may be alive, Sienna doesn’t think twice about running away with him to the epicenter of the disaster. Unfortunately, what they find there could break both their hearts.

A compelling summer romance, Sea marks the arrival of a stunning new voice in YA.-Goodreads summary

Judge the Book By its Cover:

  • I think this cover is absolutely beautiful.  In person you notice the different patterns that are combined to create a”sea effect.”  The shadow of the couple embracing is absolutely beautiful, too.  I really like this cover; it’s perfect for a summer romance!

Things that Made Me Happy:

  • I love how this book dealt with a relatively current tragedy, the Indonesian tsunami.  Kling artistically wove this event into the plot.  Of course I remember when the tsunami occurred and viewing the various pictures and videos, but it never quite hit home.  Reading these fictionalized characters and survivors and the impact the tsunami had on them touched my heart.  Like the character Sienna, I want to do something.  This book is truly an inspirational novel.
  • The character development of the protagonist, Sienna, is the best I have read in quite some time.  Like other people, she has her flaws and desires to overcome them, which made her such a relatable and believable character.  In particular dealing with the death of her mother has been one of the most critical challenges Sienna endures.  However, this trip encourages Sienna to think beyond herself and channel her mother’s kindred spirit to help others, which creates a beautiful healing process.  Sienna learns about the impermanence of life but the permanence of love, which seriously brought tears to my eyes at the end of this novel.
  • YA Contemporary Romance is a touchy genre.  Some authors write splendid romances, while others write cheesy flings.  Of every YA Contemporary Romance novels that I have read, this book is my favorite.  It is a beautiful romance that felt so real to me.  Deni and Sienna are marked by tragedies but rely on each other in their healing.  During this difficult process, they continually are supporting the other; whether it is a kind smile or a touching remark, Deni and Sienna always had the best selfless interest of the other in mind.  THAT is a real relationship.  
  • I seriously loved everything about this book.  YOU NEED TO READ THIS BOOK!

Things that Made Me Unhappy:

  • Nope.  Nada.  Nothing.  This is perfection printed on pages held with a spine between two covers.  

My Rating:

★★★★5/5 stars!  Again, YOU NEED TO READ THIS BOOK!

Recommendations:

I’d recommend this book to those who enjoy young adult fiction, romance, contemporary, realistic fiction, travel, and chick lit novels.

Friday Reads

Happy Friday!  Woohoo you successfully got through another week!  Friday Reads enables me to share what I plan on reading this weekend.  As I do not post on Sundays, it allows you to be updated and know what I hope to accomplish in my reading endeavors.  Additionally, Friday Reads is a part of my Daily Post; to learn more about it, click here!

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“Still haunted by nightmares of her mother’s death, fifteen-year-old Sienna Jones reluctantly travels to Indonesia with her father’s relief team to help tsunami orphans with their post traumatic stress disorder-something Sienna knows a lot about. Since her mother’s plane went missing over the Indian Ocean three years before, Sienna doesn’t do anything if it involves the ocean or planes, so this trip is a big step forward.

But the last thing she expects is to fall for Deni, a brooding Indonesian boy who lives at the orphanage, and just so happens to be HOT. When Deni hears a rumor that his father may be alive, Sienna doesn’t think twice about running away with him to the epicenter of the disaster. Unfortunately, what they find there could break both their hearts.

A compelling summer romance, Sea marks the arrival of a stunning new voice in YA.” –Goodreads summary

I picked this up from the library a week ago because the summary was extremely compelling.  First, I definitely like how the author implements a “recent” historical event into the story.  I see this as an opportunity for some major character development.  Additionally, I believe it will be thought-provoking to readers as it deals with an extremely difficult tragedy; I slightly am hoping that this will be one of those books that may “change my life!”  Lastly, I am pleased that this author has included some romance in the book.  Having the protagonist dealing with the effects of the tsunami will probably be difficult to read; therefore,the romance will be a nice relief-at least, I hope!

As of now, I have only read the prologue.  I cannot give much of an opinion about the book as I feel it has not had sufficient time to receive any sort of judgments.  However, I look forward to reading this book!  Look for a review in the future!

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“In an alternate London where magical creatures are preserved in a museum, two teens find themselves caught in a web of intrigue, deception, and danger.

Vespa Nyx wants nothing more than to spend the rest of her life cataloging Unnatural creatures in her father’s museum, but as she gets older, the requirement to become a lady and find a husband is looming large. Syrus Reed’s Tinker family has always served and revered the Unnaturals from afar, but when his family is captured to be refinery slaves, he finds that his fate may be bound up with Vespa’s—and with the Unnaturals.

As the danger grows, Vespa and Syrus find themselves in a tightening web of deception and intrigue. At stake may be the fate of New London—and the world”-Goodreads summary

l probably won’t finish The Unnaturalists this weekend, but I’m hoping to attempt it.  Again, I got this book from the library and was very intrigued by its summary.  I love historical fiction books, and I love that there will be some Steampunk elements in this novel-I mean look at that cover; it looks so Steampunky!  

Other than the excitement of the plot and cover, I really do not have many expectations for this book.  I just hope its an enjoyable read!  I plan on reviewing this book in the future as well.

*What books do you plan on reading this weekend?  Comment below, and you may be featured in the next Friday Reads!*