Posted by melydia on November 16, 2012
An Abundance of Katherines by John Green (unabridged audiobook read by Jeff Woodman; 7 hours on 6 discs): I came into this expecting to love it, as I have loved every other John Green book I’ve read. And I did, though there were parts that hit uncomfortably close to home. Colin is a prodigy – that is, he learns and retains information extremely well and quickly. He is not necessarily, he maintains, a genius (someone who comes up with truly original ideas). When the 19th Katherine in a row dumps him right after high school graduation, his hilarious friend Hassan takes him on a road trip that ultimately lands them in Gutshot, Tennessee. I picked out the love interest in about three nanoseconds, which was kind of annoying, but the characters themselves were so much fun it didn’t really matter. I fell a little bit in love with Hassan, but that seems par for the course with me and Green’s secondary characters. This book says a lot about self-centeredness and being special, lessons I took a long time to learn. In short, I wish I’d read this, like, fifteen years ago. Too bad Green is almost my same age, and probably hadn’t learned these lessons yet fifteen years ago either. Oh well. I’ll get a TARDIS and remedy this at some point, I’m sure.
Also posted on BookCrossing.
Posted by melydia on June 15, 2012
The Fault in Our Stars by John Green (unabridged audiobook read by Kate Rudd; 7hr 19min on 6 discs): I never expected to laugh so much during a story about teens with cancer. Our narrator, Hazel, is on oxygen all the time due to the fluid in her lungs, and her condition is undeniably terminal. One day at support group she meets the charming Augustus Waters; this is the tale of their relationship. And it is absolutely amazing, a story I treasured every instant of. Did I cry? Of course I cried. But I also left feeling so grateful to have known these characters for that brief time. This is also one of those books with a lot of reread value: lots of foreshadowing and symbolism that I look forward to spotting the second time around. Highly recommended.
Posted by melydia on December 15, 2010
Paper Towns by John Green: Margo Roth Spiegelman is larger than life. Tales of her exploits are nothing short of epic, and one night she grabs her neighbor and schoolmate Quentin Jacobsen for one last spree before she disappears from town. Following vague clues left behind, finding Margo becomes an obsession for Quentin that leads him to abandoned buildings, Walt Whitman, and – of course – paper towns. The whole thing culminates in an epic road trip where every noteworthy event that’s ever happened on any roadtrip anywhere happens on this one. Green has somehow managed to distill pure adolescence into prose, filling his narratives with believable characters who have believable feelings and say believable (and often very, very funny) things. Granted, these kids are more like I was in college than high school, but I can still relate. The story is similar in tone to Looking For Alaska, where you have a fairly ordinary teenage boy fascinated with a beautiful, inscrutable, unattainable girl. However, I think I might like this one just a teensy bit more, because Quentin’s philosophical ponderings about how well one can know another person really resonated with me. It’s bittersweet, and once again a book I wish I could have read when I was that age, if only so I could have played Metaphysical I Spy with my friends.
Posted by melydia on August 18, 2010
Looking for Alaska by John Green: Miles is the new kid at Culver Creek boarding school where he meets the alluring, mysterious, and infuriating Alaska Young and instantly falls for her. The story follows his junior year, with each chapter titled “[such-and-such] Days Before.” This is actually a good technique, because it prepares the reader for The Pivotal Event. I actually predicted it during the second chapter, but knowing what was coming did not detract from its impact. And even with the sad bits, I thoroughly enjoyed this book. Miles and his friends drink, swear, smoke, have sex, and pull pranks – in other words, they’re real teenagers. I loved them all, but had a bit of a crush on The Colonel. Part of me wishes I’d read this when I was a teenager (though of course it wasn’t written yet), but the rest of me is glad I got to read it at all. I’m so glad a friend of mine recommended Green (read: shoved the book into my hands). I’ll definitely be seeking out his other works. His characters are so funny, likable, and most importantly real that I just don’t want to let them go, and I’m always ready to meet more of them.
Also posted on BookCrossing.
Posted by melydia on March 2, 2010
Will Grayson, Will Grayson by John Green and David Levithan: The paths of two teenagers, both named Will Grayson, cross one fateful night. Their stories are told in alternating chapters, and their personalities (and writing styles) are different enough that it’s easy to keep track of who’s narrating. But despite the title and narrators, this book is in many ways more about the larger-than-life Tiny Cooper and his struggles with identity, love, and musical theater. I loved and empathized with all the characters. I was at times horrified and delighted at the various twists and turns in the plot, always wanting more more more. And this is one book I wish came with a soundtrack so I can actually hear all the songs in Tiny Dancer/Hold Me Closer. In short, I was completely and utterly sucked in. This was my gym book – that is, the book that lived in my gym bag to be read while on the exercise bike – and I found that I didn’t want to get off the bike when my thirty minutes were up. Now that, my friend, is the mark of an engrossing book. I’ve already added pretty much the entire combined catalogs of Green and Levithan to my wish list, and I hope fervently that they write another book together. Highly recommended.
Also posted on BookCrossing.