The Fault in Our Stars by John Greene

The Fault in Our Stars by John Greene

The Fault in Our Stars by John Greene

Let me just start off by saying that this book was really good, but not as good as everyone made it out to be. I really did enjoy it; however, it wasn’t the life changing novel I was told it was. Maybe people played it up too much for me. I was expecting more than I got.  Most people give it five stars on Goodreads, but I only gave it four. *hides from the mob of John Greene worshipers*

Like I said, I really liked this book. Well, audio book. I listened to it during a road trip last weekend. and I found it to be humourous, witty, happy, sad, tragic, you name it! It wasn’t like other books about kids with Cancer. In fact, the main character in The Fault in Our Stars, Hazel, makes fun of cancer-kid literature on a regular basis.

Because I don’t have the physical copy of the book to reference I can’t go back and look up the details, so the basic plot is this: Hazel is living with cancer. She meets a hot boy, Augustus Waters, at support group who is in remission from a type of bone cancer. They flirt, become friends, more than friends. They help their friend adjust to being blind, struggle through Hazel’s trip to the ICU. Hazel feels she is “a grenade” because she could up and die any time and doesn’t want to hurt anyone. She wants to basically be a hermit and distance herself from everyone so no one will miss her when she dies. Both Hazel and Augustus love the book An Imperial Affliction by Peter von Houten (which is not a real book, unfortunately…) and as Augustus’s wish from the Wish Foundation he takes Hazel overseas to meet him. Their meeting doesn’t go as planned and they are both disappointed. During the trip Augustus tells Hazel that he has relapsed and his cancer has spread almost everywhere. So the rest of the book is about Augustus’s deterioration, and Hazel trying to help him, and then eventually, Hazel coping with his death.

I love the humour and the witty dialogue in this book, and while it was sad, sad enough to make me choke up with dammed up tears, I didn’t feel heartbroken at the end. I was thinking about it a lot, and I think it is because Hazel is okay with Augustus dying. Or at least she will be. This made me okay, too. Maybe, had I read the physical book instead of listening to the audio book my emotions about this book would be different.

That’s really all I can say about The Fault in Our Stars. It was good, not amazing, but good.

Advertisements

A Monster Calls by Patrick Ness

A Monster Calls by Patrick Ness

A Monster Calls by Patrick Ness

Lucky you, Internetland! Two reviews in one day! How awesome is that?

This time around I am reviewing A Monster Calls by Patrick Ness, and again it is a book for my Young Adult Literature course.  I don’t think I would have been attracted to this book in any way, shape or form had it not been on the reading list, but I am so glad that I read it. It was heartbreakingly sad and real and honest.

The version of the book I read had illustrations by Jim Kay, and they were perfect. Simple, yet detailed and reminiscent of a nightmare.

Honesty with oneself is the main theme in this book, I think.

The story follows Conor, a thirteen-year-old boy, who has been having a reoccurring nightmare for months. When Conor wakes up one night at 12:07am he find a Yew tree monster waiting for him outside his room. Not the monster from his nightmare, but a monster nonetheless. The monster says that Conor called him, and so he will tell Conor three stories before Conor must tell his own story. The truth about what his nightmare is really about.

We find out that Conor’s mother and father are divorced and his father has moved to America to start a new family. Conor’s mother has also been diagnosed with some terminal illness and none of the treatments seem to be working. We never find out exactly what the illness is but it’s highly hinted at being some form of cancer.

The stories that the monster tells Conor are meant to demonstrate that things are not always as they seem and human beings are complicated. Nothing is black and white, there’s always a grey area. For example: a prince needs to do something horrible in order to save his village from a potentially evil witch, a lonely man becomes more lonely after becoming violent, a preacher gives up his beliefs to save his daughter but ends up being punished for it.

Then Conor must tell his own story. In his nightmare he lets his mother go. He tries to lie to himself saying she just slipped away and he couldn’t hold on, but when the truth comes out he realizes that he lets her go and wants all his pain, and hers, to end. Conor has to face his feelings, and the monster was actually called to help and comfort him

I cried while reading this book, and I am starting to tear up just thinking about it. I mentioned in a previous post that watching someone wither away and die in front of you is hard to handle. I have experience with this. Many people do. Conor’s reaction to his mother illness is so real and believable and honest. Exactly the way a lot of people, especially teenagers, react to life-changing events and the death of someone close to them.

Now I want to talk about the monster. The monster says he’s older than everything and takes the form of a yew tree, which a lot of medicines are based off. We find out that this has meaning, because the monster is really a healer. But, I think the monster represents more than just a healer. I think the monster is God. Now I’m not the most religious person in the world, but I do believe in God. If you don’t believe in God, then maybe don’t read this next part.

The reason I think the monster is God is because in the mind of Conor, a thirteen-year-old whose mother is dying, God may be seen as a monster for letting someone he loves die for no reason. The stories the monster tells are examples of how God works in mysterious ways, if you will. And the end scene where the monster holds Conor while he holds his mother’s hand when she dies makes me think of how God is around us when he need Him most, carrying us. Like that poem, Footprints in the Sand. That poem has always made me cry.

So, overall, A Monster Calls is a really amazing read and will make you cry. i don’t know how you couldn’t cry while reading it. Unless you have a heart of stone covered in ice. even then, this book may just melt the ice and turn your heart into flesh and blood again because it is so emotional and honest.