The Fault in Our Stars by John Green

Summary: Despite the tumor-shrinking medical miracle that has bought her a few years, Hazel has never been anything but terminal, her final chapter inscribed upon diagnosis. But when a gorgeous plot twist named Augustus Waters suddenly appears at Cancer Kid Support Group, Hazel's story is about to be completely rewritten.

Review: So this is actually a reread for me; I read it for the first time last year, while I was taking a blog break. My first impression, those many moons ago, was that it was just ok, but I admitted that I did get emotionally invested enough to cry.

This reading was a little different, maybe because I was enough removed to observe more. I didn't cry this time around (a point of pride, perhaps?), but I did appreciate the wit more. (Side note: I've watched so many vlogbrothers videos in the last year that the first couple pages were narrated in my head by John Green himself. Which I found to be hilarious.)

I liked everything better pre-Amsterdam, which makes sense because everything after Amsterdam is a huge downer.

Also, I understand that "Okay, okay" is like their Thing, or something, but pointing out that something is poignant doesn't really make it so. Maybe it just bothers me because the first I ever even heard about this "Okay" thing was in the comments of a Lizzie Bennet Diaries video, and I resented the fact that what sounded to me like perfectly normal dialogue that I myself have used HUNDREDS of times in my life is all of a sudden some special reference just for Special John Green Fans. Like, ok, nerdfighters are great and stuff, but now you OWN the word "Okay"? Seriously? So then I read the book to find out what all the fuss is about, and as explained by the book, it's pretty much a huge letdown. Because they just say "Okay" to each other all the time. That's literally all there is to it.

ANYWAY, another thing I liked was how Augustus talks about Hazel looking like Natalie Portman, because the movie just came out (I haven't seen it yet, but I hear it's good) and Shailene Woodley, who plays Hazel, totally does look like Natalie Portman. Good casting, guys. Way to go.

So all that being said, if you like sad books about kids who have cancer and fall in love, or if you like clever, snappy dialogue and don't mind sad books about kids who have cancer and fall in love, you should give it a read.

Goodreads Shelves: addictive, bechdel-test, funny, i-have-the-ebook, is-a-movie, is-this-a-kissing-book, my-kind-of-woman, thought-provoking



Losing Logan by Sherry D. Ficklin

Summary: What if the one thing you never meant to hold on to, is the one thing you can’t let go of?

Normally finding a hot guy in her bedroom wouldn't irritate Zoe so badly, but finding her childhood friend Logan there is a big problem. Mostly because he’s dead.

As the only person he can make contact with, he talks Zoe into helping him put together the pieces surrounding his mysterious death so he can move on.

Thrust into his world of ultra popular rich kids, Zoe is out of her element and caught in the cross-hairs of Logan’s suspicious ex-girlfriend and the friends he left behind, each of whom had a reason to want him dead. The deeper they dig to find the truth, the closer Zoe gets to a killer who would do anything to protect his secrets. And that’s just the start of her problems because Zoe is falling for a dead guy.

Review: Ok first let me just say, I liked it. I did. I read it in like a day and a half, and it was a fun read and stuff. And I was proud of myself for figuring out who the murderer was long before the characters in the novel did.

However, if you want to read a review about the good things in this book, you can go do that somewhere else.

Because I have to get a few things off my chest.

So... she decides to join the popular group, and then she just... does? Just like that? Admittedly, going out with the (as far as I can tell) Alpha Male helps. But then all of a sudden the girls just all want her to be their leader? No infighting or jostling for position as the new Queen Bee?

And another thing. How is it that she talks so much about how flip she is, how sarcastic and mean, but then it's so easy to stop being that way once Logan tells her to? Being sarcastic is a habit; I know from personal experience. And that kind of habit is hard to break. I wish I'd seen her make more of an effort and slip up more. Plus, her new boyfriend Bruno TELLS her not to change that part of herself, but she does anyway? And she tells him she won't change, but then is nothing but nice to all of his friends? Also, Zoe! You can be sarcastic and snarky while still being nice! Use your powers for good! Don't be a Stepford just because you're trying to make friends!

And... I guess Logan accepts that he was an a-hole before he died? Why does he never push back and place some of the blame on Zoe for their friendship falling apart? I kept wanting him to yell back and explain it from his side, which was that when Zoe came back from (ugh, something. I read the book a while ago and the details are getting fuzzy) during the summer, she was mean to his new friends and didn't even want to give them a chance. It takes two to drift apart, sweetheart.

Also, I'm sorry, but I found the ghost premise (once it was "explained") to be fairly ridiculous.

That all being said, I think I did in fact like it. Promise.

Goodreads Shelves: addictive, bechdel-test, fluffy, is-or-would-be-a-good-movie, is-this-a-kissing-book, my-kind-of-woman



Guest Review: Book of a Thousand Days by Shannon Hale

This review is brought to you by my amazing sister, Kelli. You can find her on her blog and on Goodreads.

Summary: Based on a classic Grimm’s fairy tale, this is the story told by Dashti, a maid from the steppes of a medieval land, who sacrifices her freedom to accompany her mistress into exile.

Imprisoned in a remote tower after Lady Saren refuses to marry the man her father has chosen, the maid and the lady have almost nothing in common. But the loyalty that grows between the two, the man they love in different ways for different reasons, and the lies they tell because of and in spite of each other, combine to evoke the deepest bonds, transcend the loneliest landscapes, and erupt in a conclusion so romantic, so clever, and so right that no reader will be left dry-eyed.

Review: I finally found a Shannon Hale story I can recommend to friends.  I didn't get what the big deal was with Princess Academy.  Goose Girl and Enna Burning were pleasant enough at times but left me overall underwhelmed.  But Book of a Thousand Days was enchanting.  Part of it was listening to the audiobook and hearing the songs, but the narration really drew me in.  I generally dislike first person narration, but the journal format worked perfectly.  The growth of the friendship between Dashti and Lady Saren is well-paced and believable.  As is the romance, despite the love triangle.  One I will definitely encourage my daughter to read, if I ever manage to have a girl-child.

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