Review: The Fault in Our Stars

Before I begin this review, let me just say this: my summary is not that long because 1) I feel like everyone already knows the basic plot of this book, 2) I don’t want to give it away, and 3) I’m so busy with school right now that I don’t have as much time to devote to my blog as I would like.  With that said, let’s talk about this book!

The Fault in Our Stars by John Green
Dutton Books (Penguin Group Inc.), 2012

Summary:
Sixteen-year-old Hazel Grace Lancaster has terminal cancer.  When she meets Augustus Waters at Cancer Kid Support Group, her life takes a turn that she never expected.

My Thoughts:
I cannot adequately express how much I loved this book.  It is such a beautiful story that moves you to laughter in one moment and to tears in the next.

Hazel and Augustus have such a fun back-and-forth.  They are both honest characters who know how to laugh at their situation in life.  They are candid characters who don’t sugar coat the truth, which makes them such lovable characters.  I enjoyed their sarcastic, dry humor, their witty banter, and their realistic perspective on the future.

Amidst the humor, there is a sadness that looms over the book.  It is such a sweet book, but it has a realistic feel throughout.  It is such a tragic thing to be a young teenager and to know that your chances of living a full, long life aren’t looking so good.  You feel the pain that they feel, and it tears at your heart.

Thus, the book is equal parts funny and tragic.  Definitely a must-read.

This book is full of wonderful quotes that will stick with you long after you have turned the final page.  For example, Hazel is very guarded- she doesn’t want to let other people in.  This is not a selfish thing, either.  She is not protecting herself, but rather, she is protecting the people who want to know her.  The way she explains it is heartbreaking: “I’m a grenade and at some point I’m going to blow up and I would like to minimize the casualties, okay?” (99). I mean, how sad is that?

Other quotes that stuck with me:

“That’s the thing about pain. It demands to be felt” (63).

“You are so busy being you that you have no idea how utterly unprecedented you are” (123).

“I fell in love the way you fall asleep: slowly, and then all at once” (125).

“My thoughts are stars I can’t fathom into constellations” (311).

This is a poignant, beautifully-written book that tugs on all the emotions.  Although it breaks your heart, it leaves you with the sense that you have just read something important.

If I haven’t convinced you to read this book yet, then go watch John Green read the first two chapters of TFIOS.  Click here and here.  As he is the author, John Green breaths life into the book as he reads the first two chapters.  It should give you a good feel for the tone of the book and Hazel’s personality.

Rating: 5 stars

 

Review: Crossed

Crossed by Ally Condie
Dutton Books (Penguin Group), 2011

Because this is book two in the Matched Trilogy, I am not giving a summary.  It starts where the last book ended.

My Thoughts:

Sadly, I did not enjoy this book.  I really wanted to like it because the first book was interesting, but this one failed to pull me in.  It was boring and seemed pointless.  The characters are uninteresting.  Here is what I especially didn’t like:

First, the book is constantly switching the point of view from which the story is told.  The perspective literally changes every chapter between Ky and Cassia.  This was very confusing for me.  I would never know who was the narrator, and I couldn’t get used to it.  It was disorienting for me because I could never get comfortable with the POV.  It would have been easier to follow if the narrator took over for several chapters before switching, but this is not how the book was laid out.

Second, I just can’t get on board with the whole poem theme in these books.  I know they are the driving force of Cassia’s desire to break free of the Society, but I just find them cheesy and many times, I found myself skipping over the poems in the book.

Third, I want to share an overall thought I have on this series.  Technically, both Ky and Xander were “matches” for Cassia.  Therefore, whoever she chooses at the end of the series, will be only because the Society initially Matched them.  Thus, I would like to see her pick neither Ky nor Xander, but rather to meet someone new and choose him.  Only then, will the Society not have a hand in choosing her Match.  But, we all know that won’t happen; of course she will choose either Ky or Xander.

With all that said,  I do not plan to read the third and final book in this trilogy.  I may skim through it, but I doubt that you will see a review on my blog.  If you like dystopian novels and have read Matched, and are not swayed by my review, then I would recommend that you read it.  You might enjoy it; after all, we all have different opinions.

Rating: 1 star

This is book two in the Matched Trilogy Series.  Click here to read my review of book one, Matched.

Did you enjoy this book?  What did I miss?

Review: Divergent

Divergent by Veronica Roth
Katherine Tegen Books (HarperCollins Publishers), 2011

Summary:
Beatrice Prior lives in a society made up of five factions, which each value a different virtue.  The five factions include Abnegation (the selfless), Amity (the peaceful), Candor (the honest), Erudite (the intelligent), and Dauntless (the brave).  Beatrice has just turned 16, and it is time for her to choose the faction which she will commit to for the rest of her life.  Will she stay in Abnegation with her family, or choose a life somewhere else?

My Thoughts:
After receiving inconclusive results for her aptitude test, Beatrice finds out that she is Divergent.  Rather than revealing what faction she is most suited for, her aptitude test shows an alarming outcome.  Beatrice must never tell anyone she is Divergent because it is very dangerous.

After Beatrice receives this news, she is obviously confused and conflicted.  After the Choosing Ceremony, she goes through initiation in the faction she chose, during which most of the book takes place.

Beatrice struggles to perform well during initiation, but she makes progress throughout the process.  Because she is Divergent, she is in danger, but I noticed that it seemed to help her.  She performs better than others because she thinks differently.  She has different solutions to the problems she faces.  So, her secret is not a hindrance (well, it is because it’s a secret), but it is an advantage.

The story takes place in the context of the five factions.  There is unrest between the factions that has increased over time.  Throughout the book, there is a subtle hint that revolution is imminent.  The conflict between the factions is something that is seen throughout the book, until it comes to a point where it can no longer be avoided.

Overall, I preferred Divergent over Matched.  They are both YA dystopian novels, but this one had more depth, in my opinion.  My only complaint is that the wording was confusing at times, and I would be lost for a few moments.  I don’t know if it was just me, or if everyone felt that confusion from time to time.

Also, I was confused by what being Divergent really means.  My understanding of Divergent is that you don’t fit into any one faction because you are too strong-willed.  With that in mind, shouldn’t there be several thousand people who are classified as Divergent?  Or are the majority of people in this society weak-willed?  If so, I find it sad to think most people in this society are too weak-willed to think independently, and are easily manipulated into thinking the way the society wants them to think.

Rating: 3 stars

Divergent is the first book in the Divergent Trilogy.

What did you think of Divergent? Good or bad?