Sunday 17 February 2013

The Fault in Our Stars by John Green

Title: The Fault in Our Stars
Author: John Green

Publisher: Penguin
Page Count:  313
Publication Date: January 10th 2012
Obtained: From Penguin Publishing House


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.

What I thought:

First I’d like to thank Penguin for sending me this book for review. Now onto the book. I loved this book. I loved the characters and I loved the way they interacted with each other, there was just so much to like about it. I felt like Hazel was a genuine, albeit pretentious, 16 year old girl was trying to live life with terminal lung cancer. However many years that might have been. Things changed when she met Augustus Waters, a cancer survivor, and despite her judgement, decides to get to know him.

Hazel knew that the process of getting emotionally involved with Augustus was an irreversible one and in the end someone would get hurt. This book is sad, but I didn’t cry. The ending was in some way expected and also surprising but I felt like from the start we were being prepared for what was to come. Hazel doesn’t take any sugar-coating from anyone and always demands honesty, not pity. She accepts her condition and wants to die, hurting as few people as possible.

This is easier said than done, of course, and Hazel realises that her efforts are futile and she must live for the day because the next isn’t guaranteed. The Fault in Our Stars wasn’t what I expected it to be. There's love, loss and so much pain but I didn’t feel it was about a girl with cancer. It was a teenage girl who fell in love, read a book and made some friends – she just happened to also have cancer.

Rating: 5/5

Sunday 10 February 2013

Random reads: To the Nines by Meg Cabot

One Christmas when I was thirteen I received a book. This book happened to be part of the Princess Diaries series by Meg Cabot. The person who gave it to me said they’d heard somewhere that it was a good book for people my age. Great, I thought, I love books. Unfortunately this book was the ninth book in a series of ten. Because of the occasion I decided not to make an issue of it, and said thank you.

I like to start a series from the start and I refused to read it at first but it was the only new book I had to read so after a day or two finally gave in and picked it up. I'd guessed that I probably wouldn’t bother with the rest of the series anyway, so why not. Well I was wrong because I actually enjoyed it and couldn’t wait to read the last book. But then I remembered the other eight books that I had skipped and realised I’d have to read those as well. Normally, that wouldn’t have been the kind of series that I’d read and enjoy but I surprised myself and did. I loved reading about Mia's life and seeing what she'd decided to tell us.

I tried reading it again a year or two later but it wasn’t the same. Mia just wasn't as funny as I'd remembered. I think being thirteen made the whole story seem more magical and believable somehow. But I can’t deny that, at the time, it was a great gift.