TURTLES ALL THE WAY DOWN – Book Review

Let me get this straight — I’m John Green trash, and I’m not afraid to admit it. The Fault in Our Stars was my favourite book for about two years, so much so that I owned three copies of it and was adamant that I’d get an infinity tattoo once I was old enough. Suffice to say that since then my tastes have changed a little, and I’ve realised that nothing says Basic Bitch like having an infinity tattoo with the word ‘love’ written inside it in cursive script. That’s only second-worst to having the words ‘live, laugh, love’ written on your wrist in indelible ink.

Apologies if you have either tattoo. As long as you’re happy, that’s the main thing.

But because I’m John Green trash, I think it makes it even more acceptable for me to bash his books — in the nicest way possible, of course. Since coming to my senses about The Fault in Our Stars, I’ve realised that all of his books are pretty much slight variations of the same thing: someone who thinks they’re quirky but unmemorable falls for a seemingly unattainable human whose flaws are glamorised, and they both manage to learn some trite lesson about life while also recognising the confronting nature of their own mortality.

It’s been a while since I’ve read John’s other books, but I’m going to recap them all for you anyway. Just incase you haven’t read them, for some miracle.Read More »

Tell Us Something True – book review

Tell Us Something True cover

Seventeen-year-old River doesn’t know what to do with himself when Penny, the girl he adores, breaks up with him. He lives in LA, where nobody walks anywhere, and Penny was his ride; he never bothered getting a license. He’s stuck. He’s desperate. Okay… he’s got to learn to drive.

Bur first, he does the unthinkable — he starts walking. He stumbles upon a support group for teens with various addictions. He fakes his way into the meetings, and begins to connect with the other kids, especially an amazing firl. River wants to tell the truth, but he can’t stop lying, and his tangle of deception may unravel before he learns how to handle the most potent drug of all: true love.Read More »

Will Grayson, Will Grayson – book review

Will Grayson, Will Grayson

Will Grayson, Will Grayson is a hilarious and uplifting book, written by John Green and David Levithan.

Will Grayson meets Will Grayson. One cold night, these two strangers are about to cross paths in the most unlikely of places. From that moment on, their worlds collide and their lives intertwine.

It’s not that far from Evanston to Naperville, but Will Grayson and Will Grayson might as well live on different planets. When fate delivers them to the same place at the same time, the Will Graysons find their lives overlapping and hurtling in a whole new and unexpected direction.

With a push from friends both new and old – including the massive, and massively fabulous, Tiny Cooper, a musical theatre extraordinaire – Will and Will find love where they never expected to find it: through the epic production of history’s most awesome high school musical.

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So I hadn’t read this book until now. I know, I’m a bit late. But that’s only because I have a slight irrational fear of books that are written by more than one writer. That’s crazy though, because I’ve read other books with more than one author and I’ve loved them – Let it Snow and These Broken Stars are a just a couple of examples of this. I suppose it’s not extremely common to have a book co-written and I think it would be hard to do. However, by reading Will Grayson, Will Grayson, you wouldn’t this that was the case. This book flowed so perfectly and I absolutely loved the alternating chapters. I think the idea was that John Green wrote one Will Grayson and David Levithan wrote the other Will Grayson.

Let’s just stick on the topic of alternating chapters and different Will Graysons for a moment. The two different Wills were written completely differently. One was written in your average prose, the other without any capital letters and with dialogue: like this. The writing style of the latter originally threw me off a little. It was very unique, I’ll give it that. However, in the beginning, I wasn’t sure whether I liked it or not. The more I read, the more I realised how much I actually enjoyed reading from that style. There weren’t any unnecessary verbs – verbs… who needs them anyway? – and the lack of capitalisation was something I’ve never come across before.

So I suppose I should at least mention the two Will Graysons. This may be a little confusing because there are two of them, but let’s see how we go. The first Will we come across is funny and loveable and friends with the hilarious and gay Tiny Cooper. His attitude to things were to not care too much and to shut up. He’s an over thinker and likes to keep his distance from most. He’s the type of guy that would rather slink in the shadows of high school than be in the spotlight. I loved his somewhat shy and sweet personality and how he would notice even the smallest things about a particular girl. I know that most guys aren’t like that – heck, I haven’t even come across one guy like the guys John Green writes about – but it’s cute nonetheless. That’s why boys in books will always be better than the ones in real life. *sigh*

The next Will we have is almost completely different to the previous Will. He’s a closet homosexual, dark, brooding and depressed. There’s parts of him that’s cute and soft, but his overwhelming vibe is sad and complicated. And everyone knows that I’m a sucker for the dark and brooding boys. This Will is complicated and hard to predict, and that’s one of the things I liked most about him. However, it did take a little bit of time to get to know him and really understand him. I do think that the writing style with this Will fit his personality perfectly. Remember what I was saying about the lack of capitalisation before and the strange dialogue? That originality matched this Will really well because I felt like Will was a no-nonsense type of guy. And that’s what you’ll get with him; pure honestly, even if it hurts sometimes.

But the more I think about this book, the more I realise it isn’t really about the Wills. It’s actually all about Tiny Cooper. It’s often said that Tiny is the world’s largest gay person, but I think something is more true. He is a guy with the biggest personality and biggest heart in the whole world. He is honestly the sweetest character I’ve read about and I loved everything about him. However, he is very stereotypical and cliché, so some people may not like him because of that. I just thought he was hilarious and I loved him. I loved his passion for theatre, how much he cared about his friends and also his perseverance. He poured his heart into everything he did and that was really lovely to see.

I think my favourite thing about this book is the amount of humour it has in it. I was literally laughing out loud every couple of pages. Tiny is the funniest person ever and his production was one of the best things I’ve ever read. I really have to read Hold Me Closer – the companion novel to this book (and Tiny’s actual production) – now! I also really loved it when the two different lives of the Wills collided. They met in the most unexpected place and it was amazing to see how their lives become intertwined. How they reacted because of the differences in their personalities was also really fun to see.

I’d give Will Grayson, Will Grayson by John Green and David Levithan a score of 9 out of 10. Have you read this book or Hold Me Closer? What did you think of either of them? Should I read other books by David Levithan? Let’s talk!

Let it Snow – book review

Let it Snow

Let it Snow is three wonderful intertwining stories about Christmas love, written by Maureen Johnson, John Green and Lauren Myracle.

It’s Christmas Eve and a snowstorm transforms the small Gracetown into a romantic haven. A cold and wet hike from a stranded train ends with a kiss from a charming stranger. An adventure through the snow to the Waffle House leads to love with an old friend. A way back to true love begins with a painfully early shift at Starbucks. All three interconnecting stories show the magic of Christmas, tales of love, romance and many breathtaking kisses.

I loved reading Let it Snow. It was a fun book and left me feeling really happy. When I think back on it, I probably should have read this book around Christmas time, because it’s set around Christmas in a small wintery town. However if I read this book at Christmas, it’d be the middle of summer in my part of the world. But maybe reading it at a particular time of the year doesn’t matter. Although this would be the perfect book to read in the middle of winter when it’s raining outside and you’re curled up in front of a fireplace with some hot chocolate. All three authors create such realistic descriptions. Even lying in my bed reading late at night I could feel the bitterness of the winter wind biting through my duvet. The descriptions were beautiful and each author made me feel like I belonged in Gracetown. I was pleased to see each story sort of intertwine with the others. This book was broken into three different short stories written from different points of view of people in Gracetown that Christmas. Each story was fun and enjoyable to read. I felt connected with the characters in each of the stories. I couldn’t pick which was my favourite story out of the three because they were all so unique and really amusing!
The first of the three stories is called The Jubilee Express and is written by Maureen Johnson. In this story, we meet a girl named Jubilee who’s plans of a perfect Christmas with her perfect boyfriend Noah shatter around her when her parents are sent to jail for a shopping riot. As a result, Jubilee is made to take a train to Florida to spend Christmas with her grandparents. But a sudden storm leaves the train stranded in the small village of Gracetown. Rather than stay on the train with a group of annoying cheerleaders, she decides to go to the town’s Waffle House where she meets a guy named Stuart. Stuart kindly allows Jubilee to stay at his home until the train is free to start travelling again once the storm passes. As well as opening his home up to her, he might open up his heart as well…
The second of the stories is A Cheertastic Christmas Miracle by John Green. This story revolves around a group of friends on a mission. Tobin, JP and the Duke decide to brave the snow in an adventure to the Waffle House in search of cheerleaders, games of Twister and deliciously crispy hash browns. What isn’t expected is finding love that’s right in front of you.
The final of the stories is The Patron of Pigsby and is written by Lauren Myracle. This story is all about change, second chances and Starbucks, with a side of adorably cute teacup pigs.
One of the main things I loved about this book was having each story interlinked and how the authors found ways to connect all three stories. I really enjoyed meeting characters and having them pop up again in one of the other short stories. Each of the stories had me smiling and laughing along with the characters. I’d give Let it Snow by Maureen Johnson, John Green and Lauren Myracle a score of 9 out of 10. I definitely recommend picking up this book to read on a cold winter’s day in the company of a blanket and a hot chocolate!

Paper Towns – book review

Paper Towns by John Green

Paper Towns is a beautifully written and absorbing book, written by John Green.

Quentin Jacobson has spent his whole life loving the adventurous and sometimes puzzling Margo Roth Spiegelman from a distance. When Margo jumps back into Q’s life – through a window and dressed like a ninja with a clever idea for revenge – he follows.

But after their all-nighter, Q arrives at school to find that he doesn’t actually know Margo like he thought he did. She had always been an enigma, but now she was a complete mystery. Soon Q realises that there are clues meant for him to find. He is urged to follow this disconnected path but the closer he gets, the less Q sees of the girl he thought he knew…

I really enjoyed reading Paper Towns and my favourite thing about it would definitely be the characters. I’ve fallen in love with every book I’ve read by John Green because the characters seem so real and are relatable. I love how John creates characters that are intricate delicately woven together. No characters are one-dimensional and they all have their faults and their differences. I was intrigued in the plot and I was so curious as to what was going to happen. I didn’t love the storyline, but that was okay because the characters complimented the plot and they fit perfectly together. The writing was really amusing and I loved the conversations the characters had. Like in the other books by John Green, this story was full of metaphors and I loved the beautiful and poetic descriptions throughout the pages.
I’m going to start off by talking about Margo. I didn’t really know where I stood with her. She could either be nice, completely rude or make you want to run and hide. Sometimes it was all three at once. At the start of the book, I liked her. She seemed like a fun person to be around, if not a little crazy. I enjoyed seeing her interact with Q and I loved their conversations. One of my favourite parts of the book was when she and Q were out at night. That part of the book was really thrilling to read and I couldn’t take my eyes off the pages. It was fascinating to see how far Q would go to impress this girl. I’m not completely sure why he liked her so much, but I guess that’s like life. Sometimes you can’t choose who you fall in love with; love chooses you.
Q was a really interesting character to read about. I loved the way he thought about things and his determination was one of my favourite things about him. Although he could come across as a bit of a scaredy-cat sometimes, he’s willing to do anything for his friends and to impress Margo. I really liked Q’s personality and the way him and his friends talked to each other. They conversations they had were hilarious and I laughed out loud on numerous occasions while reading. I completely loved all of the other characters in the book, no matter how minor they were. Each character seemed vibrant and alive, which is what made this book really stand out for me.
The middle part of the book didn’t fascinate me, but I was definitely interested in what was going to happen in the end. The thing I liked about the middle section of this book was finding the clues. I can’t really say any more than that without spoiling it, but it was interesting to see what clues and hints were left behind. I got a little tired of the prom talk after a while and I became impatient towards the end. Surprisingly, I really liked the ending. I expected it to be much more momentous than it was, but I loved it anyway. I was holding out for the big finish and although I felt a little let down, the ending this book has is very reflective of life. Some parts of out lives don’t have definite endings and with the ending of Paper Towns, it gives us space to wonder about the future of these characters. And I have to say, I loved the metaphors at the end of the book and I really want to play Metaphysical Eye-Spy now!
This book is so real and so relatable. I completely love John’s writing and fall in love with the characters he writes. I loved the journeys these characters went on, both physically and emotionally. This book gets you to think about the idea of a person, compared to the person they really are, because it’s unfair to presume things of someone when you don’t truly understand who they are. I really enjoyed reading Paper Towns by John Green and I’d give it a score of 8 out of 10. If you loved Looking for Alaska and An Abundance of Katherines, I definitely recommend this book!

This Star Won’t Go Out – book review

This Star Won't Go Out - Esther Earl

This Star Won’t Go Out is the heartwarming book about the life of a teenage girl named Esther Earl and her battle with thyroid cancer that inspired thousands with her perseverance, love and vibrant personality.

This book is a collection of journal entries, fiction, letters and sketches by Esther Grace Earl, who passed away in 2010 at the age of 16. In addition, essays and photographs by her family and friends to help tell Esther’s story, along with an introduction by award-winning author John Green.

I really enjoyed reading this book much more than I ever thought I would. I’d heard a bit about Esther Earl from watching some Vlogbrothers videos on Youtube, which are made by John and Hank Green, but I knew little about her life and who she really was. I knew she had been friends with John Green and many other nerdfighters. Because I considered myself semi-nerdfighter before reading this book, I knew picking it up was a must. I knew from just reading the introduction, which was written by John Green, that this was going to be both an incredibly heartwarming book, as well as a heartbreaking one. I found myself crying at the end of the introduction, so I suspected there would be many more tears to come. And surprisingly, laughs.
This book is mainly written by Esther, with words from her parents, siblings and friends. Just from reading her words, I knew that Esther was a bright, cheerful person with a vibrant personality. Now I know why she has inspired so many people. Esther was full of life and love, and she shared that with everyone around her. She taught me the important things in life; the things that I think get overlooked because of unimportant problems in our lives. Things like money and having the best of everything isn’t really that important. I know the saying “money doesn’t make you happy”, and I regret to say that I used to think otherwise. I believed that money does many you happy because you can do the things that make you happy, like travel and experience new things. But Esther helped me understand how to really be happy.  Esther said to “Just be happy, and if you can’t be happy, do things that make you happy. Or do nothing with the people that make you happy.” I really realized throughout the course of reading this book that without my family and my friends, nothing would be able to make me happy. Happiness demands to be shared – “And I realize now that that was . . . that’s the best way to love someone. Hold them close, know that you’re loved, let it wash over you”.
Another thing I know is that there are lots of people in this world who think that all cancer books are the same – depressing and clichéd. Well, I’m sorry to break it to you, but that is most definitely not the case. This is not a book about cancer. This is a book about a girl and her life, who just also happens to have cancer. Cancer isn’t defining. Although I don’t think I really have the right to say what Esther would and wouldn’t have liked, I’m pretty sure she wouldn’t want to be remembered as the girl who died of cancer. I think she would want to be remembered for the loving, inclusive person she was. Her story has touched so many people, me included. After reading her story, I’ve started listening to Wizard bands such as Harry and the Potters and Draco and the Malfoys. I’ve heard her laughs preserved in her Youtube videos. Most of all, I’ve learnt to cherish doing the things that make me happy and being around the people that make me happy. Happiness is all we have, in the end. Whatever you believe in, whether we go to a heaven or are reincarnated after this life, right now we are all alive, and that’s such a wonderful thing to be.
When it came to the end of Esther’s life, yes, I was sad. I’m not going to pretend that this book was all happy. It was heartbreaking as well. I don’t understand why good people have to die. I don’t understand why people are forced to move on before their time. The question I asked myself at the end of this book was; Why Esther? Out of all the people in the world – billions and billions – why did such a kind, loving girl have to die? I know we don’t get a say in this. All of our lives will inevitably end. But as much as I would rather Esther live and another person take her place, deciding who lives and who dies would turn anyone into a monster. But it just made me so angry. I understand, but that doesn’t mean I have to be okay with it.
I definitely recommend reading this book. If you’ve seen my other book reviews, you’ll know that I usually give the book a score out of ten. But I think by doing that, it would be disrespectful to Esther’s life. This isn’t just a story – this is real. This is a person’s life. All I can say is that I enjoyed it immensely and I think everyone would find this book beautiful and inspiring.

The Fault in Our Stars – book review

The Fault in Our Stars

The Fault in Our Stars is a beautiful, touching story by John Green.

16 year-old Hazel Grace is suffering from terminal cancer. Despite cancer treatment giving her a few more years to live, Hazel has Stage 4 cancer. She goes to a Cancer Support Group and things are pretty much the same every week. Except for when Augustus Waters appears at the Cancer Kids support group. Hazel’s life is about to be changed forever…

The Fault in Our Stars is a story of how funny, thrilling and tragic falling in love can be.

I can’t possibly begin to explain how much I loved reading The Fault in Our Stars. When I first picked it up, I was wondering what this book would be all about. Was it going to be one of those typical ‘cancer books’? Would I just feel depressed reading it? No, and no! I really enjoyed reading this book! Firstly, the characters were just so believable and everything they did felt so real. Hazel Grace was such an inspirational person. Although she is a girl who has cancer, she just seems so full of life. Her loving family surrounds her and she lives every day to the fullest. Hazel doesn’t count the days, she makes the days count. But then her life turns upside down when she meets Augustus. Augustus is a gorgeous, witty and just a wonderful person. He had a type of Cancer that has an 80% survival rate, and after talking to Hazel, the pair become the friends. And that develops into something much more in the course of the book. I enjoyed every minute Augustus and Hazel were together. I loved watching them fall in love like regular, happy teenagers. But they’ve both been through so much and that makes them realise how strong and determined they are. This book made me laugh so much! John Green is such an amazing, clever writer and although I haven’t read any of his other books, I’m definitely going to. But as much as this book made me laugh, it also made me cry. I tear up even thinking about how heart breaking the ending was. But it’s kind of a good sad. It makes me realise how lucky I am to be healthy and although the ending was sad, it reminded me of all the happy moments in the book – which there were a lot of! I loved reading The Fault in Our Stars. I am already planning on reading it again! I completely, absolutely, positively loved The Fault in Our Stars by John Green and I’d give it a score of 9.5 out of 10.             ‘Okay?’ ‘Okay.’