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eBook Review: The Fault In Our Stars

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The Fault In Our Stars, by John Green

★★★★★

The Fault In Our Stars is a book by John Green.  The book follows Hazel, a current cancer survivor, and her adventure with Augustus Waters, a boy she meets in support group.


Warning!  Spoilers follow here.

The book is written from Hazel’s point of view and starts at a support group meeting.  Hazel has been to support group several times, but this group meeting welcomes newcomer Augustus Waters.  Hazel is immediately infatuated with him and the longer she knows him the more she likes him.  Augustus seems to reciprocate this infatuation and the two strike up a strong friendship almost immediately.  The two share a love of reading and enjoy sharing their views on life.  Hazel is hesitant to pursue a relationship with Augustus because she feels like she is a ticking time bomb that will leave Augustus alone when she inevitably dies from her cancer.  When Augustus offers his Wish (a parody of the Make-A-Wish Foundation) to Hazel as an offer to meet her favorite author, Hazel begins to let herself fall in love with him.  They travel to Amsterdam, where they realize the author is a mean drunk who refuses to talk to them.  Hazel leaves heartbroken but determined to make the rest of her trip with Augustus enjoyable.  Just before they leave to head back to the United States, Augustus admits to Hazel that he is dying.  He was aware of his illness before they left for Amsterdam but didn’t want to dampen the mood.  Hazel realizes that her fear of being a ticking time bomb is now swapped – Augustus is now dying to leave her alone.  Hazel is by his side every waking minute until Augustus finally passes away.  At the funeral, the author from Amsterdam shows up trying to make amends but by this time Hazel has already written him off.  Before the author leaves however, he and Hazel come to an understanding.  The book ends with Hazel finding a letter that Augustus wrote to the author telling him that you can’t avoid getting hurt in life but you can choose who hurts you.  He admits in his letter that he is happy with his choices and hopes Hazel is too.  Hazel agrees.


I finished this book two nights ago and am still processing it.  If you read this book and all you take away is a story about cancer kids, you have missed the point.  If I were ever to attribute the word “masterpiece” to a book, I would certainly consider this one.  It’s a short book about teenagers, but there’s so much more to it – so many more layers.  So many lessons and thoughts.  I loved the twist about the author (not told above), and I think every girl deserves an Augustus Waters.  There are many religious themes to the book and many questions that are not only left unanswered but justly so.  The book does not leave you feeling curious, but rather leaves open-ended questions that you answer for yourself in your own life.  It is delightfully written, and immensely thought-provoking.  You may or may not suffer from an existential crisis after reading it (I definitely did…there was some ugly crying involved).  I would (and have, since finishing it) recommend this to someone else to read.  I’m also looking forward to the movie, although I was unaware of the film before I started reading the book.  I give it a 5.


For Next Time

KK6: Dark Passage, by Ridley Pearson

The five Kingdom Keepers and their core friends have uncovered a startling truth: Maleficent and the Overtakers (Disney villains) are plotting a catastrophic event that could have repercussions far beyond the world of Disney.

Aboard the Disney Cruise Line’s inaugural passage through the new Panama Canal, the Keepers and their holograms uncover a puzzle hidden within the pages of a stolen journal. The point of that puzzle will reveal itself in the caves of Aruba, the zip lines of Costa Rica, and the jungles of Mexico. A destructive force, dormant for decades, is about to be unleashed. The five Kingdom Keepers are to be its first victims.
-bn.com

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eBook Review: Bossypants

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Bossypants, by Tina Fey

★★★★

Bossypants is a book of essays by Tina Fey.  The book is half biography and half host to observations, rants, and recollections of Tina – a television writer, producer, and actor/comedienne.


Tina Fey, probably best known for portrayal of Sarah Palin on SNL or Liz Lemon on 30 Rock, wrote a book of essays detailing several sections of her life from her childhood and respecting her father to motherhood to being in The Biz.  Tina recalls growing up in the ’70s and all the many pop references that come with it.  Her observations are written with adults in mind; a teenager wouldn’t get near the kick out of this book that an adult would.  Tina sheds light on what it’s like behind the scenes of a television series – her chapter on how 30 Rock came to be is the longest in the book and the most informative.  She discusses things that don’t generally come up in everyday conversation, as well as things that everyone respectively experiences but just doesn’t think merits discussion.  Her writing style and casual tone make this book a light and enjoyable read.


I found Mindy’s book, often referenced alongside and compared to this book, more relevant.  There’s nothing wrong with Bossypants – I enjoyed it, but I felt the entire time I was reading it that someone between my age and my mother’s would enjoy and appreciate it more.  I was able to appreciate all of Tina’s comments and observations regarding in-laws and some of her college memories.  The book did not have me rolling in the floor laughing, but rather giving a loud, raucous jolt of laughter every so often.  I really enjoyed being privy to the behind-the-scenes action of 30 Rock, since I love the show so much.  I would not liken Tina’s book to a collection of blog entries like Mindy’s, but rather just what it is – a book of essays.  And that’s okay; it’s still very enjoyable in its own right and I would recommend it to someone if I thought they were either what I consider the appropriate age to be, or was very educated regarding ’70s culture and style.  (I would even add that being a mother would probably increase your chances of enjoying/fully appreciating this book.)  I enjoyed the laid-back style and casual, to-a-friend writing.  I give it 4/5.


For Next Time

KK6: Dark Passage, by Ridley Pearson

The five Kingdom Keepers and their core friends have uncovered a startling truth: Maleficent and the Overtakers (Disney villains) are plotting a catastrophic event that could have repercussions far beyond the world of Disney.

Aboard the Disney Cruise Line’s inaugural passage through the new Panama Canal, the Keepers and their holograms uncover a puzzle hidden within the pages of a stolen journal. The point of that puzzle will reveal itself in the caves of Aruba, the zip lines of Costa Rica, and the jungles of Mexico. A destructive force, dormant for decades, is about to be unleashed. The five Kingdom Keepers are to be its first victims.

-bn.com

eBook Review: Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me? (And Other Concerns)

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Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me? (And Other Concerns), by Mindy Kaling

★★★★

Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me? is a book of essays by Mindy Kaling.  The book plays host to observations, rants, and recollections of Mindy, a script writer and actor/comedian.


Mindy Kaling, a writer for “The Office,” wrote a book of essays detailing her opinions on life, love, fashion, and Larry David.  Mindy recalls several parties she has attended, actors and famous people she has worked with, gigs she took when she was fresh out of college, finally getting hired to write for a television series, and different observations on topics like shopping, eating Indian food, and being a girl.  Her observations are often true-to-life and are also often compared to rom-coms.  Mindy paints not only a classic view of the twentysomething’s life, but also an idyllic picture of what some girls would like their life to be like.  Mindy discusses things that don’t generally come up in everyday conversation, but rather things that are thought of when one is alone in their apartment with time to ponder their life.  Her seldom ranting and general pointing-out of everyday occurrences make her book a joy for anyone to read.


I found Mindy’s book in a list of books that are recommended for someone experiencing a Quarter-Life Crisis.  It was portrayed as a book in the same vein as Tina Fey’s Bossypants, which I have yet to read.  After my local library got the memo that it was 2013 and updated their eBooks, I found Mindy’s book among the most-downloaded titles.  I downloaded the book to my Nook Tablet, and have spent the last three days enjoying it.  The book did not have me rolling in the floor laughing, but rather nodding my head in agreement to many things she pointed out.  Many things she talks about, the topics of her book ranging from being a chubby child at camp to how many pairs of shoes one man should own, are things that we all think about and just never really discuss with anyone.  The book reads very much like Sex and the City to me – just a book of different stories or observations that one can either live vicariously through or relate to.  When I was describing the book to my mother, I told her it was as if Mindy had kept a blog her entire life and just picked the best posts to compile a book out of.  I think this is an accurate description as well.  It’s a lot like reading a book of Tumblr posts, since the topics are so diverse and since Mindy’s sense of humor is like every “Seinfeld” episode: observations about everyday things that no one else deems worthy of conversation.  I enjoyed Mindy’s book and would recommend it to someone else.  I give it 4/5.


For Next Time

White Night, by Jim Butcher

In Chicago, someone has been killing practitioners of magic, those incapable of becoming full-fledged wizards. Shockingly, all the evidence points to Harry Dresden’s half-brother, Thomas, as the murderer. Determined to clear his sibling’s name, Harry uncovers a conspiracy within the White Council of Wizards that threatens not only him, but his nearest and dearest, too…
-bn.com