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Review: Since You’ve Been Gone by Morgan Matson

Review: Since You’ve Been Gone by Morgan MatsonSince You've Been Gone by Morgan Matson
Published by Simon and Schuster Children's on May 6th 2014
Genres: Contemporary, Contemporary Romance, Young Adult
Pages: 449 (hardback)
Format: Paperback
Source: Given From Publisher
four-half-stars
The Pre-Sloane Emily didn't go to parties, she barely talked to guys, she didn't do anything crazy. Enter Sloane, social tornado and the best kind of best friend—the one who yanks you out of your shell. But right before what should have been an epic summer, Sloane just… disappears. No note. No calls. No texts. No Sloane. There’s just a random to-do list. On it, thirteen Sloane-selected-definitely-bizarre-tasks that Emily would never try… unless they could lead back to her best friend.Apple Picking at Night? Okay, easy enough. Dance until Dawn? Sure. Why not? Kiss a Stranger? Wait… what? Getting through Sloane’s list would mean a lot of firsts. But Emily has this whole unexpected summer ahead of her, and the help of Frank Porter (totally unexpected) to check things off. Who knows what she’ll find? Go Skinny Dipping? Um…

*I was given this book for review by Simon and Schuster. This in no way affected my review.*

So this review is far later than I planned :( . One for school and stress and part-time jobs. But also because I thought I’d posted it months ago! Sucks for me. Without further ado, here is my review that should hopefully make you want to read SYBG

SINCE YOU’VE BEEN GOOONE. I CANNOT BREATHE FOR THE FIRST TIIIME.

Since You’ve Been Gone is one of my favourite Summer books and was such a brilliant read. Emily is your average girl who hides behind her best friend Sloane. Yes, the premise is a bit cheesy (aren’t the MCs always boring and average?) but it’s relatable. Sloane abruptly leaves, and Emily is left friend-less all Summer. In the post she recieves a letter from Sloane with a list of things she must do. The list includes things like ‘dance at midnight’ and ‘hug a jamie’, I thought this list brought a fun element to the story and integrated nicely with the romance and ‘finding oneself’ plot.

This writing is along the lines of Gayle Forman’s, in which the romance isn’t the driving point of the novel, but rather Emily finding who she is without hiding behind an enigmatic best friend. I really liked Emily, and I surprisingly liked Sloane. Usually in these type of books where the friend leaves, the MC becomes insufferable and whiny. I know they’re missing their friends, I know. But I’m not reading this book to slog through pages of whining about their loneliness. Sorry.

Emily handles the situation really well–at first she’s a bit thrown–but for someone who’s not massively confident, she isn’t annoying and wimpy. SYBG handles friendships, love, relationships, etc etc–all the stuff I love, if I’m being honest. I adored how the main point of the book was for Emily to bring herself out of her comfort zone and do things she normally wouldn’t do. Summer books are so great because they always feel like they have so many possibilities. Anything could happen. This feeling of endless outcomes and situations is my favourite thing to read.

Emily’s character develops and grows really convincingly as she puts herself in situations she wouldn’t normally put herself in. The minor characters were also really enjoyable, and I learnt to really like them. Frank wasn’t my type of guy, but I warmed to him more than I thought, and himself and Emily were a perfect match. I got really excited for all the chapters and things on the list to get checked off.

SPOILER ALERT SPOILER ALERT : What I didn’t like was how easily Emily’s new ‘friends’ wrote her off. One quick mistake towards the end and these friendships kind of fell apart, what’s that about? Suddenly I didn’t like her new friends nearly as much. Nah. END OF SPOILERS END OF SPOILERS.

This book was an awesome Summer read, and I think it’s a must-read for those who love their Summer books. Despite it now moving into Autumn and cold weather, this Summer book might be necessary to warm you while you’re stuck in the cold.

Rating: 4.5 Stars– Morgan Matson I am following your new releases like a my dog follows food.

four-half-stars

Review: Wish You Were Italian by Kristin Rae

Review: Wish You Were Italian by Kristin RaeWish You Were Italian by Kristin Rae
Series: Wish You Were...
Published by Bloomsbury, Bloomsbury Children's on May 6th 2014
Genres: Contemporary, Contemporary Romance, Young Adult
Pages: 323
Format: Paperback
Source: Given From Publisher
Goodreads
three-half-stars
Pippa has always wanted to go to Italy … but not by herself. And certainly not to sit in art school the entire summer learning about dead guys’ paintings. When she steps off the plane in Rome, she realizes that traveling solo gives her the freedom to do whatever she wants. So it’s arrivederci, boring art program and ciao, hot Italian guys!

Charming, daring, and romantic, Bruno is just the Italian Pippa’s looking for—except she keeps running into cute American archeology student Darren everywhere she goes. Pippa may be determined to fall in love with an Italian guy … but the electricity she feels with Darren says her heart might have other plans. Can Pippa figure out her feelings before her parents discover she left the program and—even worse—she loses her chance at love?

*I was given this book for review, but it in no way affected my review or opinions–honest!*

This book. Man the cover is so cheesy I can’t get over it! It’s as bad as the old covers for Anna and the French Kiss (y’all who know what I’m talking about understand). However, this book has a lot to offer and I really enjoyed reading it!

Pippa doesn’t have the best relationship with her workaholic parents. For Summer they send her to attend an art course in Italy–something she’s not interested and doesn’t want to do. However, her mother told her about it a week before she was due on the plane. Her friend Morgan gives her a list of all the things she needs to complete for these 3 months (like the premise in Since You’ve Been Gone by Morgan Matson), and one includes: Fall in Love with an Italian. As Pippa arrives in Italy, she realises she utterly does not want to do this course…and she has a lot of money from her parents, so she decides to screw it, and travel Italy by herself.

I loved the self-discovery aspect of this novel, how the relationship with her parents developed, and the adorable romance. These Summer books are my favourite. I adore reading about travelling, and the fact that this was set in Italy, makes me yearn to go there myself. The list element of things she had to do was fun and exciting, it gave Pippa the push she needed to reach outside of her comfort zone.

The romance in this wasn’t sizzling or particularly amazing, but it was sweet in a way that is not always easy to find! Despite the fact that it wasn’t anything majorly exceptional, the romance was a really great addition to the story and fit nicely. I loved how his curly hair was a running joke between them!

I had a brilliant time reading the amusing and entertaining adventures Pippa goes through, along with the characters she meets and how she develops as a character in her 3 months in Italy. It’s amazing how something like this can make a person grow. It’s not an emotional romance or gritty or anything like that, it’s just a simple, pretty story to read in the sun. It’s feel-good, sweet, and a great Summer book. It will be going on my Summer recommendations pile!

Wish You Were Italian is the second book from the series Wish You Were…, however it can be read as a standalone, as I have not read the first. The cheesy covers are really off-putting, however I’m really interested in the other books now!!

ik

Rating: 3.5 Stars

three-half-stars

Thoughts on Tease by Amanda Maciel

Thoughts on Tease by Amanda MacielTease by Amanda Maciel
Published by Hatchette Children's on April 29th 2014
Genres: Contemporary, Young Adult
Pages: 394
Source: Given From Publisher

*This isn’t really a review, it kind of is, and not. I might write a review afterwards discussing other aspects of the book. It’s more my thoughts on the book and my thoughts on the themes in general. For when I want to go beyond the review into my own personal views and experiences. Thinking of making it into a feature…?*

I was given this book a while ago Hatchette Children’s books, but have only gotten around to discussing it now.

I recently read Tease by Amanda McKiel and it frustrated me in so many ways, but also made me think deeper about suicide and the help given to suicidal people. When I recently went to San Francisco to the Golden Gate Bridge, they had to stop the tour bus momentarily because someone was busy jumping off of it. The tour guide then proceeded to tell us that SF is going to spend thousands on building a net below it to stop this. The stupidity of this annoyed me–people will simply find other ways to kill themselves, like jumping off of the Bay Bridge, which just so happens to be opposite. As my older brother said, why don’t they just use that money for charities to support suicidal people?

Tease was a very eye-opening read for me in a couple of ways. A girl commits suicide after being bullied horrendously for months. The main themes are bullying, slut-shaming and suicide, with a dash of friendship and romance. The book follows Sara, one of the many people who bullied Emma before she killed herself. The book is supposed to ask whether this is Emma’s fault, society’s fault, or Sara and the other bullies fault. With the amount of suicide’s on the rise in general, I can’t help but think it’s beginning to be more of an option in society, especially to young people. Teenagers are known to think that their life is over at things that would ultimately be tiny later in life, and many kill themselves over test results, or an unfortunate topless photo of them being passed around. I don’t ever think it’s the victim’s fault, especially to someone like Emma, who obviously had some self-esteem issues before some utterly horrible girls harassed her. I felt like Sara and her best friend Brielle had absolutely no excuse to bully Emma to the point that they did. They had amazing lives that could have grown into so much more. Even afterwards, Emma barely even resembled an emotion such as regret. She blamed Emma a lot at the beginning, and even though I think this was part of her development as a character, it didn’t make me like her much.

One thing that majorly surprised me in the book is slut-shaming. Constantly Sara and Brielle, are calling Emma a ‘slut’, ‘whore’ etc. Emma doesn’t seem like a very nice person I grant you, she steals people’s boyfriends and sleeps with a lot of boys. I understand this isn’t something everyone respects. However no one comments on the guys that sleep with her, they get nary a mention. At all. The fact that girls are judged for sleeping with boys in high school is almost twice as worse because everyone knows about it two seconds after as well.

I think the worst thing about the events in this book – not the book itself – was the fact that the people doing the slut-shaming were girls. That stuns me. Constantly everyday, girls and women are trying to achieve equality and it’s being broken down by that very same gender. Has no one ever heard the phrase ‘us girls have to stick together’? Slut-shaming our own gender is undoing everything we’re trying to achieve and it’s based on such a double standard.

I’m obviously a huge feminist here, I honestly don’t know how you couldn’t be. Who doesn’t want equality? Has anyone else read this book, and what do y’all think? 

Review: Where the Stars Still Shine by Trish Doller

Review: Where the Stars Still Shine by Trish DollerWhere the Stars Still Shine by Trish Doller
Published by Bloomsbury, Bloomsbury Children's on September 24th 2013
Genres: Contemporary, Contemporary Romance, Romance, Young Adult
Pages: 352
Format: Hardcover
Source: Bought
Goodreads
Stolen as a child from her large and loving family, and on the run with her mom for more than ten years, Callie has only the barest idea of what normal life might be like. She's never had a home, never gone to school, and has gotten most of her meals from laundromat vending machines. Her dreams are haunted by memories she’d like to forget completely. But when Callie’s mom is finally arrested for kidnapping her, and Callie’s real dad whisks her back to what would have been her life, in a small town in Florida, Callie must find a way to leave the past behind. She must learn to be part of a family. And she must believe that love--even with someone who seems an improbable choice--is more than just a possibility.

Trish Doller writes incredibly real teens, and this searing story of love, betrayal, and how not to lose your mind will resonate with readers who want their stories gritty and utterly true.

I did enjoy Where the Stars Still Shine, but didn’t think it lived up to expectations. Everyone I’ve heard reviews from loved it–where as I was a bit disappointed. Callie was kidnapped by her mother as child and has been on the run for as long as she can remember. She only has distant, snapshot memories of her past life, but she knows she was kidnapped. Callie’s mother has a mental disability, and has not taken her prescribed tablets in years. Something happens that causes Callie to be re-united with her father and she has to dramatically change her lifestyle quickly and is expected to abide by a certain set of rules that weren’t in place before. This of course, causes issues.

Callie’s father, Greg, was such a sweet guy and I really loved him for it. They’re strangers to each other, Callie is 17 and grew up without a father figure. Callie has also grown up with abuse from her mother’s boyfriend/s. This is really the heart and trauma of the book. It affects Callie’s perception of men, and herself involving men. Callie adapted to this new lifestyle really well, but obviously she makes a lot of mistakes and has the tenancy  to run when things get hard.

Callie annoyed me in a lot of ways, because I felt she never tried to help herself. I could never, ever, understand the torrent of emotions and what she’s going through. However, sometimes she made things harder for herself and that frustrated me. Also, I never got a strong impression of her personality. She felt quite two-dimentional to me, because a lot of the book is obviously focused on her reaction to her situation, she felt a bit plastic. I’m not sure if this is intended though, because Callie’s never really had the opportunity to have a personality. Anyway, the whirlwind of emotions that tore through her was written beautifully and felt spot on–despite never having been in this situation myself. Callie’s torn between her wanting to love Greg, but wanting to be loyal to her mother; and even though she kind of hates her mother, her mother’s all she’s ever known.

There is romance, which I think added to the growth of Callie, because it caused her to overcome a lot of issues. Alex was a lot more sweeter than I thought he would be, but at the same time their relationship annoyed me. I thought they should have taken it slower, right from the beginning to contrast to her other relationships and show that it was different. I felt like she never really learnt anything, even though Alex helped change her perception of men.

Overall, I’ve never read anything like this before and enjoyed it originality the set-up. Even though I didn’t think it was outstanding, it was still a pretty amazing book and I would recommend it!

Rating: 3.5 Stars

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Review: Amy and Roger’s Epic Detour by Morgan Matson

Review: Amy and Roger’s Epic Detour by Morgan MatsonAmy and Roger's Epic Detour by Morgan Matson
Published by Simon and Schuster Children's on May 4th 2010
Genres: Contemporary, Contemporary Romance, Young Adult
Pages: 352
Format: Paperback
Source: Bought
three-half-stars
Amy Curry thinks her life sucks. Her mom decides to move from California to Connecticut to start anew--just in time for Amy's senior year. Her dad recently died in a car accident. So Amy embarks on a road trip to escape from it all, driving cross-country from the home she's always known toward her new life. Joining Amy on the road trip is Roger, the son of Amy's mother's old friend. Amy hasn't seen him in years, and she is less than thrilled to be driving across the country with a guy she barely knows. So she's surprised to find that she is developing a crush on him. At the same time, she's coming to terms with her father's death and how to put her own life back together after the accident. Told in traditional narrative as well as scraps from the road--diner napkins, motel receipts, postcards--this is the story of one girl's journey to find herself.

After Amy’s dad dies in a car accident, her mother decides to move to Connecticut. Whilst Amy’s brother is in rehab, and her mother is getting the house ready in Connecticut, Amy is alone in her house in California. She hasn’t driven since her father died, so to get to her new house in Connecticut, Amy’s mother organises her to be driven by her old childhood friend–Roger.

Amy and Roger’s Epic Detour was a fun read with serious undertones, but not something that astounded me. Ultimately, because the romance let it down. (Romance is very important to me and this didn’t tick all the boxes, sadly.) I felt very much for Amy on a personal level, because my father died of cancer, and Amy’s dad died in a car accident. This made it a pretty emotional book to read at times, because I could relate to a lot of her regrets and thoughts. There’s a lot of messages about loss, family, love and life that anyone can identify with.

I loved the travelling aspect of this, because Amy and Roger travel over a whole lot of states in America. America is somewhere I’ve always wanted explore and go on a road-trip to. The UK is so small, that it freaks me out how huge North America is, therefore, I found it so cool to find out that some restaurants  and chocolate bars are only in certain states. Every couple of chapters there’s a list of songs that are from Roger’s playlist, which was really fun, and every chapter there were pictures and recipes which added to the exciting imagery of travelling.

An aspect that I really enjoyed is how Amy steps out of her comfort zone, by defying her mother and by spending a lot of time with a cute guy, when she has spent the last 3 months in her house alone.  Amy’s mother annoyed me beyond belief. Her father dies and her mum decides to move house. I understand the reasoning behind this, but after such a massive change, Amy now has to deal with a new house, new school and all the other stresses that comes with moving states. On top of that, Amy’s mother refuses to have a proper conversation with Amy, and leaves her alone in the house for THREE MONTHS, after her father has died. Neglect anyone? That is simply not okay, and means Amy has to mourn alone. There are so many more things that made me hate her mother, but that would probably take up pages so…

Roger was a cute guy, but was a bit lost and blind to what he wanted. The romance is slow-building and sweet, but nothing mind-blowing. However, it’s not really supposed to be. The last couple of romances I’ve read have left something to be desired! UGH. Anyway, when they realised their feelings together, the novel was pretty much done and there was really no room for any scenes together, which disappointed me. I like to see how the characters are in their relationship and how it develops.

Overall, a cute novel and something I would recommend because it has a lot to offer (travel, dealing with death, romance, stepping out of you comfort zone), and really it was the romance that let it down. Otherwise, it’s a really great book.

Rating: 3.5 stars

three-half-stars

16068905

Review: Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell

Review: Fangirl by Rainbow RowellFangirl by Rainbow Rowell
Published by My Kinda Book on September 10th 2013
Genres: Contemporary, Contemporary Romance, Young Adult
Pages: 445
Format: Paperback
Source: Bought
five-stars
A coming-of-age tale of fan fiction, family and first love. 

Cath is a Simon Snow fan.

Okay, the whole world is a Simon Snow fan . . .

But for Cath, being a fan is her life — and she’s really good at it. She and her twin sister, Wren, ensconced themselves in the Simon Snow series when they were just kids; it’s what got them through their mother leaving.

Reading. Rereading. Hanging out in Simon Snow forums, writing Simon Snow fan fiction, dressing up like the characters for every movie premiere.

Cath’s sister has mostly grown away from fandom, but Cath can’t let go. She doesn’t want to.

Now that they’re going to college, Wren has told Cath she doesn’t want to be roommates. Cath is on her own, completely outside of her comfort zone. She’s got a surly roommate with a charming, always-around boyfriend, a fiction-writing professor who thinks fan fiction is the end of the civilized world, a handsome classmate who only wants to talk about words . . . And she can’t stop worrying about her dad, who’s loving and fragile and has never really been alone.

This book is all kinds of adorable and I loved it. Cath is a fangirl–if you hadn’t worked that out–and this is something many readers can relate to. Cath has a twin and does pretty much everything with Wren, because why wouldn’t she? However, when it comes to university, Wren doesn’t want to be roommates with Cath in a bid to be more independent. I really liked Cath’s character, because she was bookish and shy. She does not want to be rooming with some random person and make eye contact with them…and stuff. Therefore, she’s a little hurt, and turns into a slight recluse in her room.

I related to Cath in a lot of ways, particularly how much she loves books and in this case, a particular series. Except, I’m not her kind of fangirl. I don’t write or read fanfic, however, I do have posters and T-shirts like her. I loved that Cath was a really popular fanfiction writer, and loved writing about those characters.

Cath is a really shy person, and doesn’t really go out of her room at the beginning. She hates the idea of going to the cafeteria for the first time and having nobody to sit with. I get that, but everyone’s in the same boat at this point, so you might as well get it over with. Personally, I would make friends with my roommate or the people in halls, then go sit with them. But Cath just sits in her room and lives on protein bars for a couple of months! Oh my! By the time she makes her way down there, everyone’s already got their groups. So Reagan helps her out, and practically forces her down there to eat. Her roommate Reagan was so awesome. She’s my kind of person 100%. She says what she feels and doesn’t skirt around on bullshit. You know what to expect from her. Some think she’s rude, but really she’s just being real with you. I was more like Reagan personality-wise than Cath, because I’m not as shy as Cath. She’s really good to Cath, she helps her a lot, and without Reagan, Cath would have been a complete hermit. We all need friends that help us in ways we can’t help ourselves.

Then there’s Levi. Levi. Levi. I love Levi. So different from a lot of guy characters currently in YA books. He’s just so happy and smiley and genuine. He supported Cath in a lot of ways, and didn’t push her. He also has a very weird way of learning. He’s a dependant on auditory learning, and listens to lectures instead of reading. But he wasn’t stupid, he just learns in a different way and struggles with how things are taught, so he works harder. I could relate so much to this, except I’m a visual learner, and sometimes I find things harder to process–but I’m not stupid. I’m generally an A/B student, but I identified with Levi a lot in that respect. Cath is naturally a genius, and she gets a little lazy at times. It was so great how Levi just didn’t allow her to be lazy, because he works so hard for his grades and would kill to get amazing grades as easily as her. You go Levi.

Fangirl’s Cath has an obsession with Simon Snow, a character from their world’s Harry Potter. I didn’t grow up with Harry Potter, I’m a bit young and kind of missed the party on that. Therefore, I didn’t entirely relate to that aspect, but the overall Fangirl parts I did relate to.

I really, really loved this book. It was sweet, funny, interesting and something I could completely relate to. I’ve not read anything quite like it, and will re-read this again and again. This will definitely be added to my Contemporary Romance recommendations, and if you haven’t read it, you really need to!

Rating: 5 STARS!!

five-stars

18669197

Review: The Midnight Dress by Karen Foxlee

Review: The Midnight Dress by Karen FoxleeThe Midnight Dress by Karen Foxlee
Published by Hot Key Books on October 8th 2013
Genres: Contemporary, Mystery, Young Adult
Pages: 288
Format: Paperback
Source: Given From Publisher
Goodreads
three-stars
Quiet misfit Rose doesn't expect to fall in love with the sleepy beach town of Leonora. Nor does she expect to become fast friends with beautiful, vivacious Pearl Kelly, organizer of the high school float at the annual Harvest Festival parade. It's better not to get too attached when Rose and her father live on the road, driving their caravan from one place to the next whenever her dad gets itchy feet. But Rose can't resist the mysterious charms of the town or the popular girl, try as she might.

Pearl convinces Rose to visit Edie Baker, once a renowned dressmaker, now a rumored witch. Together Rose and Edie hand-stitch an unforgettable dress of midnight blue for Rose to wear at the Harvest Festival—a dress that will have long-lasting consequences on life in Leonora, a dress that will seal the fate of one of the girls. Karen Foxlee's breathtaking novel weaves friendship, magic, and a murder mystery into something moving, real, and distinctly original.

*Thank you so much Hot Key Books for this review copy, this in no way affected my review*

The Midnight Dress is very hard for me to describe, because it’s not my usual read. I was really fascinated with the blurb and the whole idea encasing it, so I decided to take the jump and request it. It’s a story about friendship, mystery and things that are not as they seem. First of all, Foxlee’s writing style is probably the most beautiful I’ve read in a while. I have certain preference when it comes to author’s writing; for example, I really don’t like Cassandra Clare’s writing. As much as I love her fantastic world and characters, her description is stuffy and feels like it’s suffocating me. I’m no expert, but I simply want it edited. Anyway, Foxlee’s vivid description is the kind that washes over you when you’re reading it. I also loved the fact that it was set in Australia, which made the description that much more captivating.

It was very different the way Foxlee carried me through the book and let me discover things, about Rose specifically. We learn about her mostly through the story and not through her thoughts, because it’s in a certain style of third person. There’s an incredibly subtle magical element that intrigued me, and weaves in the story quite well.

The thing that I didn’t like was the epic slowness of the book. I can appreciate the build of tension, but Karen Foxlee builds tension throughout practically the whole book, and things aren’t made clear until the very end.

I loved that every chapter is named after a stitch, for example ‘anchor stitch’ and at the beginning of each chapter a little snippet of the ending is revealed. We see the missing person’s case through the detectives eyes, and little pieces of what happens at the end are shown carefully. I thought that was really crafty and well-written. Except, it kept me wanting to know more, and then I felt like the actual chapter itself was a bit anti-climactic and boring. I mostly enjoyed the tension, and the way the characters developed different relationships. So much of the book tells what’s happening to Rose and about everyone else and their antics in the town it seems as if the ending was an afterthought, except it’s always present. I can’t help but feel that doesn’t make sense, but if you read it, hopefully you would understand my ramblings better.

The Midnight Dress is very hard to describe without giving anything at all away, but I can tell you, the ending is a shocker. Foxlee cleverly played against my assumptions and twisted it into something completely different. I was pretty shocked. This is a great read if you like tension, beautiful writing, ambiguity and slow-burning mysteries. It’s not something to read if you want something fast-paced and conventional.

Rating: 3 Stars– I guess it was the slowness that put me off. Nothing really happened for a good portion of the books as everything builds up. However, I did simply adore the writing style and the way the characters relationships developed throughout. I will definitely check more of Foxlee’s books.

three-stars

15283043

Review: The Distance Between Us by Kasie West

Review: The Distance Between Us by Kasie WestThe Distance Between Us by Kasie West
Published by HarperCollins, HarperTeen on July 2nd 2013
Genres: Contemporary, Contemporary Romance, Young Adult
Pages: 320
Format: Paperback
Source: Bought
Goodreads
four-stars
Seventeen-year-old Caymen Meyers studies the rich like her own personal science experiment, and after years of observation she’s pretty sure they’re only good for one thing—spending money on useless stuff, like the porcelain dolls in her mother’s shop.

So when Xander Spence walks into the store to pick up a doll for his grandmother, it only takes one glance for Caymen to figure out he’s oozing rich. Despite his charming ways and that he’s one of the first people who actually gets her, she’s smart enough to know his interest won’t last. Because if there’s one thing she’s learned from her mother’s warnings, it’s that the rich have a short attention span. But Xander keeps coming around, despite her best efforts to scare him off. And much to her dismay, she's beginning to enjoy his company.

She knows her mom can’t find out—she wouldn’t approve. She’d much rather Caymen hang out with the local rocker who hasn’t been raised by money. But just when Xander’s attention and loyalty are about to convince Caymen that being rich isn’t a character flaw, she finds out that money is a much bigger part of their relationship than she’d ever realized. And that Xander’s not the only one she should’ve been worried about.

Caymen and her mother live in an apartment behind their doll shop. Caymen’s mother (Susan) has issues with rich people. When Susan was young, she became pregnant and was given hush money from her boyfriends parents to keep quiet about it and disappear. Her boyfriend left without a backwards glance and her parents disowned her–this caused her hate for rich people. Susan believes that they have short attention spans and only care about appearance. I always thought this premise was kind of naive, because it’s such a massive generalisation and doesn’t make much sense. However, this affects how Caymen perceives people and when an attractive, rich guy walks into her mother’s doll shop, she knows not to get too interested.

Caymen’s sarasm and dry humour is practically identical to mine–except she’s way more witty than me! She’s so deadpan that sometimes people can’t figure out if she’s being sarcastic. Her reaction to Xander was actually really funny, and the book continues in this amusing fashion, with funny remarks on every page. Xander is not my favourite book boyfriend but he was really sweet and he got Caymen and her character. They were both a little lost and didn’t know what they wanted to do with their lives. Caymen is really poor and trying to keep the doll shop afloat with her mother, and Xander is R.I.C.H. (seriously rich) and his dad expects him to take over his hotel business–something he doesn’t want to do.

The romance was full of miscommunication, doubt and insecurities. It was really interesting to see how the amount of money someone earns divides social groups in such a huge way. Caymen lives in a fairly small town and she hadn’t even met Xander before, because he obviously hangs around in completely different social circles and goes to private school. Caymen only really has one friend, but a sweet, genuine friend at that. The romance isn’t sizzling, which is what disappointed me the most. It didn’t make me want to fan myself or want to dive in the book and marry Xander because he’s so amazing. However, I felt like Caymen and Xander had a really great connection, in that they understood what the other needed, and got each other like no one else. That’s what made the romance special to me, but no, I will not be adding Xander to the top of my book boyfriends list, despite how awesome his name is.

The Distance Between Us was a really great read but I didn’t enjoy it as much as Pivot Point (something Kasie West has also written).  I would recommend it, because the premise was different and entertaining, with a hilarious MC and fairly intense storyline.

Rating: 4 Stars.

four-stars

Review: Skin Deep by Laura Jarratt

Review: Skin Deep by Laura JarrattSkin Deep by Laura Jarratt
Published by Electric Monkey on March 5th 2012
Genres: Contemporary, Contemporary Romance, Young Adult
Pages: 377
Format: Paperback
Source: Bought
four-half-stars
Ugly people don't have feelings. They're not like everyone else. They don't notice if you stare at them and turn away. And if they did notice, it wouldn't hurt them. They're not like real people. Or that's what I used to think. Before I learned...After the car crash that leaves her best friend dead, Jenna is permanently scarred. She struggles to rebuild her life, but every stare in the street, every time she looks in the mirror, makes her want to retreat further from the world. Until she meets Ryan. Ryan's a traveller. When he and his mother moor their narrow boat on the outskirts of a village, she tells him this time it will be different. He doesn't believe her; he can't imagine why this place shouldn't be as unwelcoming as the rest. Until he meets Jenna. But as Jenna and Ryan grow closer, repercussions from the crash continue to reverberate through the community. And then a body is found...

Skin Deep is about a girl who is in a car crash and suffers severe burns, causing a large, disfiguring scar to mar along one side of her face. This accident has happened less than a year ago and the wounds are still fresh (literally and figuratively). Jenna doesn’t often go out anymore, for fear of the pointing and whispering from other people. Naturally, as a 14-year-old, she’s already got some insecurities about her appearance, but after this accident,  Jenna has understandably become more reserved and has only one friend.

Skin Deep was an incredibly emotion-inducing read. It was a brilliant blend of romance and contemporary that I love. Ryan is a traveller, who’s mum has Bi-Polar disorder and never wants to stay in one place. This time though, Ryan puts his foot down, and is set upon staying in this town for longer than usual–perhaps permanently. I loved the way the scars were handled, and how Ryan treated Jenna with the scars. At first, Jenna is incredibly sensitive and takes offence at many words that were not meant to be hurtful. Soon though, she begins to crack out of her shell and do things normal teenagers should do without a second thought.

Ryan is goshdang special, there is simply no other word for it. I have read many Romances and I have a lot of book boyfriends and Ryan is so incredibly different and so the same. As Ryan and Jenna fall in love, I was so happy for them and loved the way it was written. Ryan had this way of making Jenna feel beautiful even with her scars, which was a hard feat. He helped build her confidence and I’m sure, without him it would have taken many more years to gain such confidence. I thought they were genuinely perfect for each other. Together, they had their own issues, and it was very balanced the way they both leant on each other, and helped each other when they needed to.

The only thing that annoyed me about this book was Jenna’s father. In the accident, Jenna was with her best friend friends, who were smoking and taking drugs whilst driving. No, Jenna did not have the imitative to make them stop and let her out, and this caused the crash. However, I’m pretty sure she learned her lesson by the months it took her scar to heal–and is still healing. Also, with the emotional trauma of her best friends dying, and another girl dying. This doesn’t stop her father from stunting her emotional growth when she’s trying to re-build herself though. He constantly questions what she is doing, and shouting at her for trying to go out with friend. I get that there’s a trust issue after that crash and Jenna was close to dying, but that’s his problem–not hers. Her father is just so incredibly angry all the time, and sets up a local campaign in their small town to take a stand against speeding. But he doesn’t listen to her. Jenna hates this campaign, she feels uncomfortable being looked at, and no one treats her like a normal girl. Her father continually calls her selfish. It looks to me like the father needs therapy and not her. Perhaps it’s just my family, but if I was this uncomfortable and hurt by this campaign, my family would stop immediately. Okay. Rant over. Word of warning, this never really gets resolved, but I still loved the book.

Jarratt has crafted such an emotional and amazing book about first love, trauma, insecurities and re-building oneself. I loved it. It was exactly my kind of Contemporary and definitely a re-read. I read it in about two days, because it’s the kind of book you make time for.

Rating: 4.5 Stars

four-half-stars

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Review: The Isobel Journal by Isobel Harrop

Review: The Isobel Journal by Isobel HarropThe Isobel Journal by Isobel Harrop
Published by Hot Key Books on November 7th 2013
Genres: Contemporary, Young Adult
Pages: 208
Format: Paperback
Source: Given From Publisher
Goodreads
four-stars
THE ISOBEL JOURNAL is no ordinary snapshot of a contemporary teenage life. A charming and vivid narrative scrapbook of the eighteen-year-old author's sketches, mini-graphic novels, photographs and captions, it captures her wit, her observations and her creative talent as she takes us through the three central themes in her life: 'Love', 'Friends, Art and Otters' and 'Me'.

*This book was given to me for review purposes by Hot Key Books, this does not affect my review in any way*

The Isobel Journal is a book filled with drawings, captions and photographs by Isobel Harrop, to illustrate her life. I’d never read this kind of journal-style book before, and wasn’t sure what to expect. It’s a style of book that I loved and will search for more of in the future. I was reading it when I was in exam mocks period, and it thoroughly cheered me up and made me forget all the stresses I had going on! There is something about this book that is so endearing and I’ve re-read it many times since my first read. Harrop’s voice is one that any teenager can relate to and enjoy. It’s the kind of book where you can sit down, get comfy, and drink a cup of tea whilst looking at the pretty pictures and funny writing.

The pictures are in the style of a scarp-book drawn by Isobel Harrop with observations about daily life and random comments. I found it so interesting to read about another teenager in this kind of format. It was quirky, refreshing and such fun to read through!

I really loved stepping outside my usual fiction reads and sitting down with this one!

Rating: 4 Stars!

four-stars

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Review: Where She Went by Gayle Forman

Review: Where She Went by Gayle FormanWhere She Went by Gayle Forman
Series: If I Stay #2
Published by Definitions, Random House on April 5th 2011
Genres: Contemporary, Contemporary Romance, Young Adult
Pages: 208
Format: Paperback
Source: Bought
Goodreads
five-stars
It's been three years since Mia walked out of Adam's life.

And three years he's spent wondering why.

When their paths cross again in New York City, Adam and Mia are brought back together for one life-changing night.

Adam finally has the opportunity to ask Mia the questions that have been haunting him. But will a few hours in this magical city be enough to lay their past to rest, for good - or can you really have a second chance at first love?

Where She Went is a powerful Contemporary Romance, and it worked so well because it’s the sequel to If I Stay. In If I Stay, Mia’s entire family are killed in a car crash and she is left in a coma. Mia has an out-of-body experience where she sees everything happening in the hospital around her. This is where I grew to adore Mia and her family, and her relationship with Adam. Therefore, it was a complete and utter devastating surprise when I saw in the blurb of the sequel, that the couple had broken up.

Where She Went wouldn’t have been so compelling if I hadn’t known these characters before and deeply cared about them from the beginning. Except, this book explores a fresh concept. Instead of seeing the world and events through Mia’s eyes, the entire book was in Adam’s perspective, not something I was gung-ho about until I read it, and realised how funny and realistic Adam’s character really is.

Like every other person reading the book, I was rooting for the two to patch up their troubles and get on with life. However, matters were not as simple as that. After the accident, Mia of course has been emotionally scarred, and Adam had some input into that. Forman slowly reveals what happened between the two after the accident and how they both (but especially Mia) held a turmoil of emotion surrounding the accident against each other. Pent-up feelings like resentment, blame, fear–all the nitty-gritty stuff–and let me tell you, Forman was not afraid with a little build-up and then confrontation–something that I loved.

I always loved Adam, and even though he’s more troubled and lonely in this book, I felt closer to him. I related to him, and his character was so complex as Forman peeled back the layers one by one. Mia is more distant, but she expresses her emotions and her fury at Adam, and the accident. Even though I wasn’t inside her head, I didn’t need to be.

If I Stay could have been left a stand-alone and I’m sure people choose not to read the sequel. In fact, I walked around for a couple of days before realising there even was a sequel, just assuming Mia and Adam were living happily-ever-after. However, I’m incredibly glad Forman decided to write a follow-up, because it gave the characters more authenticity and rawness that I have honestly never read before. I clearly need to read more of this type of book because I thoroughly enjoyed it.

I urge you to go away and read If I Stay and then embark on Where She Went. It’s perfect for Contemporary Romance lovers who don’t mind getting into gritty and realistic (but incredibly loveable) characters and emotional scenes.

5 Stars–I loved it because it’s incredibly character based and even though the plot was interesting, I was compelled by the depth of characters.

five-stars

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Review: If I Stay by Gayle Forman

Review: If I Stay by Gayle FormanIf I Stay by Gayle Forman
Published by Black Swan on Arpil 2nd 2009
Genres: Contemporary, Contemporary Romance, Young Adult
Pages: 201
Format: Paperback
Source: Bought, Library
Goodreads
five-stars
In a single moment, everything changes. Seventeen-year-old Mia has no memory of the accident; she can only recall riding along the snow-wet Oregon road with her family. Then, in a blink, she finds herself watching as her own damaged body is taken from the wreck...

A sophisticated, layered, and heart-achingly beautiful story about the power of family and friends, the choices we all make, and the ultimate choice Mia commands.
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If I Stay is one emotional book. Anyone who’s had experience with grief can relate to the premise (which is pretty much EVERYONE). Forman explores the boundaries between life and death, and the idea of having the choice whether to live or die. Mia is in a car accident with her parents and younger brother, and when her family are killed, Mia stays in a coma. We’re shown Mia’s perspective outside of her comatose body, as she watches events unfold around her and flashbacks are blended seamlessly to show her former life. She has a captivating dilemma of whether it’s worth living. Her family is dead, and she would spend the rest of her life grieving and living without her family. But of course she has hundreds of life prospects to look forward to, as she’s only 17.

From page one, Mia was a character I understood and liked. Maybe it’s because of her sarcastic and dark humor, or the way her character was presented, but she seemed like someone I could be best friends with. Forman has a way of pulling at the heart-strings in a particular way, I never sobbed my heart out, but her writing made me grieve for my own losses and I  teared up a few times. Her family situation was adorable; she had a boyfriend, a best friend, and an amazing talent at cello. There was no huge drama-llama, everything was so incredibly normal. This made the situation easy to relate to and powerful, because it reminds one that life is short and unpredictable.

I love romance in books, and it did play a part in If I Stay. Adam is probably one of the most realistic book boyfriends, and I love him for it. He’s the lead singer and guitarist in a rock band, but it wasn’t as cliche as it sounds. Forman didn’t make him a rock star to make us love him (okay maybe a little bit), but it was also really integral to the story. Music played an important role in the storyline, as it’s how Adam and Mia meet. It was something they were so passionate about and it  worked really well.

I’m not wasn’t a huge fan of contemporary, and honestly the genre has annoyed me at times. However, If I Stay has opened my eyes to the genre and made me see it in a completely different light. I loved the characters in this book, I loved the story line and the events. I’m so glad I picked it up, and will not sigh heavily when thinking about reading a Contemporary. Because if I read another Contemporary that I loved as much as this, I shall be very happpy.

five-stars

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Review: Geek Girl by Holly Smale (Geek Girl #1)

Review: Geek Girl by Holly Smale (Geek Girl #1)Geek Girl by Holly Smale
Series: Geek Girl #1
Published by HarperCollins Children's Books on 28th February 2013
Genres: Contemporary, Young Adult
Pages: 356
Format: Paperback
Source: Bought
Goodreads
five-stars
She knows that a cat has 32 muscles in each ear, a "jiffy" lasts 1/100th of a second, and the average person laughs 15 times per day. What she isn't quite so sure about is why nobody at school seems to like her very much. So when she's spotted by a top model agent, Harriet grabs the chance to reinvent herself. Even if it means stealing her Best Friend's dream, incurring the wrath of her arch enemy Alexa, and repeatedly humiliating herself in front of the impossibly handsome supermodel Nick. Even if it means lying to the people she loves.

As Harriet veers from one couture disaster to the next with the help of her overly enthusiastic father and her uber-geeky stalker, Toby, she begins to realise that the world of fashion doesn't seem to like her any more than the real world did.

And as her old life starts to fall apart, the question is: will Harriet be able to transform herself before she ruins everything?
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Geek Girl is an incredibly fun and feel-good book. It follows Harriet Manners’ shenanigans and mistakes in the model world. Harriet is impossible to dislike, she funny, quirky and (obviously) geeky, I had such a good time reading about her. I was ‘late to the party’ reading this, hearing rave reviews, but I never got the chance to pick it up. Well I finally did and I read it so quickly, it’s really easy to read and if you’re looking for something light—it’s perfect. Sometimes I get bogged down in Urban Fantasy, YA and Paranormal books, and I need a refresher, this was just what I was looking for. Also, the good thing about getting to a book late, is that you don’t have to wait for the sequel for as long. Model Misfit (Geek Girl #2) is set for release near the end of September. YAY!

There is a slight romance undercurrent that gave this book another intriguing layer, but it’s not the main focus. There are also friendship woes and bullying incidents. Harriet is a major geek with only one friend, so it was surprising when she got picked up by a model agency. When I was reading this, I thought it was very unrealistic, until I read Holly Smale’s bio and realised that that had actually happened to her!

Geek Girl is littered with geeky facts, and pop culture references like Lord of the Rings, which made me smile. It’s inventive and completely different to any Contemporary YA I have ever read before—it’s like a chick flick and reminded me of The Princess Diaries, where a young girls life changes over night and suddenly they’re the next big thing. Throughout the novel, Harriet never forgets who she is, or loses herself, in fact she downright protests being a model in the beginning—as she was actually thinking about being a palaeontologist.

I loved her relationship with her dad and her step-mother, it was amusing and surprising. Her step-mother was really practical and her dad was so funny, it really added something to the storyline and characters. I also love the cover! It’s so fun and adorable, it looks brilliant on my shelf!

Overall, Geek Girl is a must-read and I thoroughly enjoyed it, it was the perfect read for a lazy Sunday and it left me smiling after I’d read it.

Rating: 5 Stars

five-stars

This Northern Sky

Review: This Northern Sky by Julia Green

This Northern Sky by Julia Green
Published by Bloomsbury, Bloomsbury Children's on July 4th 2013
Genres: Contemporary, Young Adult
Pages: 230
Format: Paperback
Source: Given From Publisher
three-stars

  • Source: Bloomsbury–thank you very much, this in no way affected my honest review!
  • Goodreads
  • Amazon UK
  • Kate’s parents are taking her on holiday with them to a cottage on a remote island in the Hebrides. Kate can’t imagine anything more boring. But underneath her sulkiness, Kate is scared. Her parents have been fighting and she knows that for her parents this holiday is make or break. Once at the cottage, Kate escapes – outside, anywhere. And there she meets the warmth of the islanders, who are prepared to accept her and to listen to her. And possibly fall in love with her . . 

I was expecting a sweet YA chick lit when I picked this up, and I think the synopsis is very misleading. It says ‘And there she meets the islanders, who are prepared to accept her and listen to her. And possibly fall in love with her.’ Emphasis on the word Possibly, because actually, it’s quite clear 1/3 of the way through, that’s never going to happen. They love her, but nobody falls in love with her, which I was disappointed with. However, this is a YA novel, and the focus wasn’t particularly on Kate’s love life, but making new friends and noticing her parents that are growing apart. It was also very nice to read some UKYA!

Other than that, This Northern Sky by Julia Green was rather enjoyable, and quite a small, easy read. It didn’t take me long to finish, because this isn’t an action book or anything, it’s a quick contemporary.

A lot of teenagers could relate to This Northern Sky because Kate faces her parents rocky relationship, and turns to the solitude of the island to keep her centred. There were many questions asked wondering if Kate was to blame herself or if things were different, could her parents still love each other? I really liked the idea of leaving everything behind and finding new friends, and there was a quote in it that was my favourite, and very true:

‘You have to think about why people move over here,’ Isla says. ‘Quite often they’re running away from something. People who aren’t so good at getting on with others, they don’t understand how a real community works.’ She laughs. ‘They forget that they bring themselves with them, where ever they run.’

This was not the deepest or grittiest of books, for me. However it’s a great book for teenagers with divorced/divorcing parents to relate to, and quite a touching novel in that respect.

The ending was nice, and left me satisfied, but it didn’t leave me with a huge imprint. Overall, I’m going to give it 3 Stars.

three-stars

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ARC Review: Friday Brown by Vikki Wakefield

Friday Brown by Vikki Wakefield
Published by Text on 4th July 2013
Genres: Contemporary, Young Adult
Pages: 288
Format: ARC
Source: Given From Publisher
four-stars

Goodreads, Amazon UK, Amazon.com 

Friday Brown was saved by Silence. Brought up travelling the endless roads of the Australian wilds, Friday’s past was shaped by stories, told dreamily by her mother around glowing campfires and on the edge of endless plains. But her mother’s death left Friday lost, and running from a family curse that may or may not be real. Desperate and alone in the middle of a strange city, a voiceless boy with white-blond hair and silver eyes appeared from nowhere, stole her heart and took her home. Friday is welcomed by a strange gang of lost kids and runaways. Led by the beautiful but fearsome Arden, the group live an underground life in the city, begging, stealing and performing to keep themselves alive. But when Silence returns to the house covered in someone else’s blood and terrified, the gang escape to an outback ghost town, leaving everything behind. Murungal Creek is abandoned, desolate and full of empty promises. Life in Arden’s gang starts to unravel, and the anger, lies and deceit that have been hidden for so long start to float to the surface. Having been swept along by the currents of life for as long as she can remember, Friday suddenly finds herself struggling to stay afloat, and alive. As devastation threatens, Friday must face up to her past, and fight, for the first time in her life. From the winner of the Adelaide Festival Award for Literature, 2012, Friday Brown is a remarkable story, described by the Weekend Australian as a story with ‘characters so palpable you can imagine passing them in the street.’

I’ve heard so many amazing reviews about Friday Brown from Jack at The Book Stop and Ruby at Feed Me Books Now, but I started reading it tentatively, because I didn’t want to get my hopes up. That wasn’t a problem because I really enjoyed it. A big thanks to Stephanie Speight at Text Publishing for sending a copy from…Australia!! That’s crazy, thanks again. This in no way affected my honest review.

I am a stickler for interesting characters, and there were plenty in Friday Brown. Friday was vulnerable and compassionate, but a little lost after her mother died. She was used to being on the move, never staying in one place and having the luxury of many fresh starts. After her mother died though, she had to stay with her Granddad, something that felt isolating, so she leaves and joins a group of runaway teenagers.

Friday’s relationship with Armen was ever-changing and reflected on both characters personalities and pasts. Armen was so captivating, she had an energy that made people want to be her, and Friday instantly feels drawn to her.

Everyone in this book had a story and an intriguing past, which made the characters deeper. Not all past’s were revealed, some left mysterious and that left things for the readers imagination. I liked the subtlety, it wasn’t shoved in my face, and sometimes that’s better than being told everything, because it keeps the reader guessing. I finished it on Wednesday, and I’m still thinking about the events and the characters.

Silence was a heartbreaking and amazing character, he feared being forgotten if he died, of never leaving an imprint on the world. He felt so inconsequential, especially when no one in his life has ever given him the right attention. He was just a runaway kid.

I enjoyed this book for the writing style and the characters, not so much the storyline. It’s very slow going until the climax—which is shocking and upsetting. It was like freezing water slapping me around the face. It really hit me. In addition, the prose was beautiful, sometimes I just got lost in the words. A lot of writing was on grief and death, which I could very much identify with.

Friday Brown took me out of my comfort zone and gave me deep, meaningful characters, with beautiful writing.

Rating: 4 Stars

 

Other reviews:

Ruby at Feed Me Books Now Rating: 5 stars

Jack at The Book Stop Rating: 5 stars

Georgia at Books and Writers JNR Rating: 4.5 stars

Maya at What Should I Read Next Rating: 5 stars (She’s also holding an ARC giveaway of Friday Brown, click on the link!)

four-stars

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Review: The Fault In Our Stars by John Green

The Fault in our Stars by John Green
Published by Penguin on January 12 2012
Genres: Contemporary, Contemporary Romance, Young Adult
Pages: 368
Format: eBook
Source: Bought
five-stars

The Fault in Our Stars The Fault in Our StarsJohn Green; Dutton Juvenile 2012WorldCatLibraryThingGoogle BooksBookFinder

Hardcover: 368 pages

Published: January 12th 2012

Diagnosed with Stage IV thyroid cancer at 13, Hazel was prepared to die until, at 14, a medical miracle shrunk the tumours in her lungs… for now. 

Two years post-miracle, sixteen-year-old Hazel is post-everything else, too; post-high school, post-friends and post-normalcy. And even though she could live for a long time (whatever that means), Hazel lives tethered to an oxygen tank, the tumours tenuously kept at bay with a constant chemical assault. 

Enter Augustus Waters. A match made at cancer kid support group, Augustus is gorgeous, in remission, and shockingly to her, interested in Hazel. Being with Augustus is both an unexpected destination and a long-needed journey, pushing Hazel to re-examine how sickness and health, life and death, will define her and the legacy that everyone leaves behind.

 

Hazel Grace was diagnosed with stage four thyroid cancer at the age of thirteen—there is no stage five. She immediately quit school and prepared for the worst, but with the help of a miracle drug, she’s been kept alive living with the unpredictable nature of cancer. At her cancer support group she meets Augustus, who is in remission, with the cancer already having taken one of his legs.

This book is incredibly emotional to read. I, like most people, have been deeply affected by cancer and found The Fault In Our Stars to be accurate and undeniably true. It’s not the typical cancer book—which I usually avoid like the plague—it’s witty, funny and gut-wrenching.

All of Green’s books are YA and he’s said in various interviews that writing adult fiction does not appeal to him at all, and he doesn’t ever want to write it. He worked as a student chaplain in a children’s hospital and that’s when he though of the idea for The Fault In Our Stars. This is probably why his characters are so bright and their situation thought-provoking, because John has met people in similar situations and didn’t under-estimate the teenager characters. For a man in his 40’s, he writes ‘teenager’s’ POV very well, as they’re not actually completely ‘normal’ teenagers, they’ve had to face a lot worse than most people face in a lifetime. Therefore, when people say the teenagers are not realistic enough, or are too insightful—of course Hazel and Augustus are not ‘normal’ teenagers, they undoubtedly have a different perspective on certain aspects in life.

I was completely out of my comfort zone by picking this book up, because when I read YA, it’s usually paranormal and I’m very selective about that. However, once I started reading it was very hard to stop, I’m a slow reader, and I read this in two sit-downs. I do not think it’s over-rated in the slightest, John Green’s writing is funny and astute. It expresses tragedy and humour at the same time without being disrespectful. John Green captivated me and made me contemplate certain matters and empathise with every single character.

Hazel was intelligent and fairly ordinary, which was what made her a realistic and likeable character, because it symbolises the fickle nature of life and the fact that cancer can affect anyone. Like most readers, she had a favourite book–An Imperial Affliction and this later became a large aspect in the book that helped her relationship with Augustus grow. Their relationship was authentic and nicely paced throughout, building on a series of events that made them become closer and understand themselves better, whilst at the same time trying to understand their views on life better.

This book made me cry and laugh-out-loud, it was a truly enjoyable read and I hope to devour more of John Green’s books in the future.

Rating: 5 Stars

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