“The Fault in Our Stars”—A Book RAVE!

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“Sometimes, you read a book and it fills you with this weird evangelical zeal, and you become convinced that the shattered world will never be put back together unless and until all living humans read the book.” –Hazel Graze, a character in The Fault in Our Stars

^ That is exactly the way I feel about The Fault in Our Stars by John Green. I just got finished REreading this book, yet again, and let me tell you…it only gets better.

Ever since I discovered the book Looking for Alaska in an Adolescent Literature course I took while attending college at LSU (Louisiana State University), I have been obsessed with anything written by John Green. Seriously, the man is a snarky nerd god! I am also still quite convinced that he should leave his wife and kid for me…just sayin’.

Up until The Fault in Our Stars came out a little over a year ago, Paper Towns was my favorite novel by John Green, but it can’t even hold a candle to his most recent literary marvel. I seriously don’t know how he does it, but he can take the crappiest subject in the world (childhood cancer) and somehow make you laugh about it…and not in an “I’m a horrible person because I’m laughing about adolescents having cancer” kind of way.

In The Fault in Our Stars, we follow sixteen-year-old Hazel (or Hazel Grace as Augustus Waters likes to refer to her), as she trudges on through life with the knowledge that she has terminal cancer, and will die soon…the successful “miracle” experimental medication she is on is basically just giving her a few more years until she “bites it.”

Having already gotten her GED, Hazel has become a complete shut-in, only venturing out a few hours a week to attend college classes at the local community college. But her mom is convinced that Hazel needs to get out more and live what life she has left to the fullest. It’s because of this that Hazel is forced to attend a youth Support Group in the basement of a church, which the Support Group leader refers to as “the heart of Jesus.”

It is in Support Group that Hazel meets Augustus. She is immediately taken by his good looks, and quickly becomes smitten with his snark and charm…the fact that he only has one “real” leg (the other taken by Osteosarcoma, doesn’t bother her at all—I mean, she has to wheel around an oxygen tank everywhere because her lungs suck at being lungs, thanks to the cancer nodes residing in them). But the fact that these kids have—or have had—cancer doesn’t mean that their since of humor is gone:

“We are literally in the heart of Jesus,” he said. “I thought we were in a church basement, but we are literally in the heart of Jesus.”

“Someone should tell Jesus,” I said. “I mean, it’s gotta be dangerous, storing children with cancer in your heart.”

 

It is with such wit that the book continues. Like, seriously, it will have you laughing out loud just about every other page (again, I reiterate the fact that John Green is a nerd god). And the book isn’t all puppies and unicorns farting rainbows—it actually does illuminate the crappiness of their circumstances. These kids do get extremely pissed about having cancer—and not just about how their cancer effects them, but their family and loved ones as well. They have horrible thoughts and meltdowns and tantrums, just like anybody would:

“There is only one thing in this world shittier than biting it from cancer when you’re sixteen, and that’s having a kid who bites it from cancer.”

“I told Augustus the broad outline of my miracle: diagnosed with Stage IV thyroid cancer when I was thirteen. (I didn’t tell him that the diagnosis came three months after I got my first period. Like: Congratulations! You’re a woman. Now die.)It was, we were told, incurable.”

Just trust me when I say that you ABSOLUTELY cannot miss reading this book. For reals, your life will not be complete until you do. So do it, do it now!

This book, hands down, gets twenty-eight out of five stars!

 

“Okay?”

“Okay.”

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“Death and the Girl Next Door”—A Book Review

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Death and the Girl Next Door by Darynda Jones was a surprisingly entertaining read.

The plot is pretty much ridiculous, but the writing is very smart. The wit and humor in this book had me laughing out loud on nearly every page.

Lorelei’s parents disappeared ten years ago, and she has been living with her grandparents ever since, in the small town of Riley’s Switch, New Mexico. With her (also incredibly short) best friends, Brooklyn and Glitch, life isn’t completely horrible. At least her band of misfits keep her entertained.

Oh yeah, and Lorelei sometimes has visions when she touches someone. While at their favorite coffee shop hangout one day, Lorelei accidentally touches a stranger’s arm on the way to the bathroom and has the most bizarre vision ever—one that involves said gorgeous stranger battling a beast-monster.

And to top of the weird vision, her classmate since kindergarten, Cameron, has taken to stalking her. Like really stalking her, lurking outside of her house all night and whatnot. And when the gorgeous new stranger shows up at their school as a new student, it appears that Cameron has a bone to pick with him. The new guy, Jared, is interested in Lorelei and Cameron is determined not to let him get anywhere near her.

Sounds like your typical teenage love triangle novel right? Wrong.

Turns out Jared is some kind of Reaper and comes to Earth to collect souls…or something like that. And Cameron is some kind of not-quite-entirely-human being, hell bent on not letting Jared take Lorelei.

Like I said, the plot isn’t really all that great, but the fun and quippy dialogue more than makes up for it. It at least amused me enough to want to read the sequel. All in all, I give this book three out of five stars.

 

Here is a steamy scene to tantalize your taste buds:

 “And Jared’s hand on my back pulled me closer, molded me to him. The kiss deepened. He slid his tongue along my mouth, and I parted my lips to let him enter. When his tongue slipped inside, a tingling sensation raced through me. It pooled deep in my abdomen, liquid and hot.

He pulled me tighter and walked me back to a wall, pushed me against it and pressed into me. His body, solid and strong, felt like molten steel against mine. His lungs labored as he explored my mouth with his tongue. I savored his taste, sweet like candy.

Bracing one hand against the wall, he tore away from the kiss. But he didn’t let me go. Instead, he placed his forehead on the wall beside me, panting, his muscles constricted as if in pain. “I’m sorry,” he said, his voice husky and soft.”

“Stupid Earl” –A Play by Sarah Hebert

Stupid Earl

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Here is a play I wrote for my first Drama class at LSU. Now, plays aren’t really my thing (I prefer books and movies), but this play got rave reviews from my peers. 

 

We had to pick a famous painting a create a play around it. I chose “American Gothic”, painted by Grant Wood. Here is what I came up with…enjoy 🙂

“13 Little Blue Envelopes” –A Book Review

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13 Little Blue Envelopes by Maureen Johnson is a sensational summer read! This quirky novel is sure to bring out the adventurous side in everyone.

One day Ginny, a New Jersey native, gets a letter from her Aunt Peg (who died three months ago) containing $1,000 and instructions for her to buy a backpack and a plane ticket to London, then go to a Chinese restaurant in New York to pick up envelope 2.

The instructions for what to bring along to the UK are as follows:

Rule #1: You may bring only what fits in your backpack. Don’t try to fake it out with a purse or a carry-on.

 Rule #2: You may not bring guidebooks, phrase books, or any kind of foreign language aid. And no journals.

 Rule #3: You cannot bring extra money or credit/debit cards, traveler’s checks, etc. I’ll take care of all that.

Rule #4: No electronic crutches. This means no laptop, no cell phone, no music, and no camera. You can’t call home or communicate with people in the U.S. by Internet or telephone. Postcards and letters are acceptable and encouraged.

Now all Ginny has to do is pick up envelope 2, go to London, and see what kind of adventure her (dead) whirlwind aunt has in store for her over the summer vacation. Of course it was hell trying to convince her parents to let her do this, not to mention that it goes against everything well-organized, practical Ginny stands for. But it’s her aunt, and the promise of these 13 little blue envelopes is the last thing on earth Ginny has of her. Thus, she strikes of for the UK.

The premise of this entire Teen novel is for Ginny to travel around the UK in search of these envelopes that her aunt has left for her. With each new envelope comes a new set of instructions: Places to go, people to find, things to do.

Along her journey, the envelopes send Ginny to England, Scotland, Italy, France, the Netherlands, Denmark, and Greece, giving her whacky activities to complete throughout her voyage.

And of course, Ginny meets a peculiar artist along the way that she can’t stop thinking about, and who appears throughout her expedition. To give you a taste of the adorableness of this book, here is a quote from a letter she sends to her best friend back home.

“Keith was HERE. In PARIS. And HE FOUND ME. I know it sounds impossible, but it’s true, and it’s really not that magical of an explanation. But what matters is that we made out in a graveyard and slept on a park bench.”

This entire novel is not only charming, and adventurous, but it also gives you a window to the soul of a young girl dealing with grief for the first time. I cannot say enough good things about this tale. I give it five stars!

*And it does have an open ending, but thankfully she decided to go ahead and write a sequel. The Last Little Blue Envelope is equally awesome! 🙂