Book of the Week: The Fault in Our Stars

Its been FOREVER since I’ve done a Book of the Week post. Its been so long that I cannot even remember what book I did for Book of the Week.

I’m also doing Book of the Week on a Monday instead of a Friday.

The best part? This Book of the Week is COMPLETELY spoiler free!!!

Mostly that’s because I had my very last children’s lit class today. Wednesday I’ll take my final and it’ll be done and over with.

And I’m actually really, order really sad about it. I took it as sort of an extra units, erectile sounds like fun kind of deal. I ended up loving it and I guess its no real surprise that I did. We spent the entire semester talking about folk and fairy tales (which I love, especially when you compare them to updates like Confessions of an Ugly Stepsister and Once Upon a Time), children’s books and young adult literature (we all know how I feel about YA).

So today was the last official day of class and I was feeling a bit bittersweet about it. The best part of the last day of one of the best classes I have ever taken was that we talked about the controversies of young adult literature in the classroom and we watched the video of John Green reading the first chapter of his 2012 novel, The Fault in Our Stars. This book has gotten incredibly recognition, not only as a young adult novel but as a novel in general. I urge you to watch the video below; its long, about thirty minutes but its the first full chapter and it sucks you in.

which brings us to this week’s extremely late but totally needed Book of the Week:

The Fault in Our Stars by John Green

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What can I say about the Fault in Our Stars? Anything that I say is not going to be enough to describe this book. I guess I’ll try anyway because that is what I do. I write. Now I’ve already read this book before. Because we discussed it in class today, I just had to read it again. It was calling ot me.

I sobbed again. Damn you, John Green, and your abilities to make the waterworks come!

The Fault in Our Stars tells the story of Hazel, a sixteen year old girl who is battling cancer…except that she isn’t really battling cancer. She’s going to die, there’s no doubt about it, and the question is only when. She stays at home with her mom and her dad, reading and watching a ton of crappy TV, only going to support group because her mom makes her.

It’s at her support group that she meets Augustus Waters, a cancer survivor, and his friend Isaac, always part of the “club”. And Augustus grabs you, pulls you in, and pulls Hazel along with him. Suddenly, she’s out of bed and with him, watching movies and playing video games and getting so wrapped up in what is going on. He makes her forget that she has to lug around an oxygen tank or that he has an artificial leg or that Isaac has surgery that makes him blind. They do what every teenager, every young adult, every adult wishes for: they fall in love. A real love. So real that Augustus gives up his cancer Wish to go take Hazel to Amsterdam to meet her favorite author of all time.

The Good or The Bad:

I don’t even know why I wrote “or The Bad” up there. There is LITERALLY nothing bad about this book. Nothing. Now I do not have cancer, nor have I ever been sick enough to even comprehend what Hazel or Augustus or Isaac go through. But I have been sixteen…and I’m a girl…and I have been in love. And this is enough to make anyone love this book. If you even have a freakin heart, you’d love this book.

First off, there’s Hazel herself. The way that she handles her cancer is unbelievable. I mean, she’s not a saint and she’s scared and every time she has a hard time breathing, she gets scared. But she handles it. She overcompensates with humor and throws herself into good books and poetry and crappy television and Augustus. I don’t think you could’ve told the story from anyone else’s voice except hers. She sees such beauty and life in Augustus and he sees so much of it in her, and you discover it the same way she does, in the way only a sixteen year old girl would.

And the conversations they have! The way they talk about the world or their cancers or books or whatever. Its incredible. I’m not a strong person. Sometimes I like to think I am but in the face of something like cancer, I don’t know that I could be like them. I dont know that I would be able to compensate with humor and cancer puns. I think I’d crawl under my blanket and shut out the world. Which is essentially what Hazel does until she meets Augustus.

And Augustus is amazing. The way he head over heels falls in love with Hazel, and does so much for her. He brings her out of her shell. They deal with their cancers together, and they talk about death and love and they talk about this book. How many teenagers understand books the way Hazel and Augustus do, and talk about them like they do, and are changed by books like they are? I am, I was and this is so much a part of why I love them. Augustus is so sincere in his compliments and his beliefs. He spouts of these tangents on life and his beliefs and not for one moment does he sound pretentious. He gives up his Wish (you know, from Make a Wish foundation) so that he and Hazel can go and meet their favorite author. He LOVES her. She LOVES him. And despite the fact that they’re teenagers, its one of the most believable loves I’ve read in a book.

Because they are so believable. Sometimes I feel like young adult literature lacks real, relatable young adult characters. I need emotion. I need anger and happiness. I need some serious bipolarness. I need a character that both handles and doesn’t handle what life hands me. Hazel, August, Isaac: they are all afraid, they all cry and they all deal with their cancers in different ways. But they’re all strong too, they’re all there for each other.

I won’t go much farther than this. I don’t want to ruin this book for anyone who has not had the chance to read it yet. Everyone should read this book. The more I read young adult literature, good young adult literature, the more I remember that its not just meant for young adults. This book keeps you addicted the entire time and ends in such a horrible, heartbreaking way. And I reread it again tonight and let myself have my heartbroken again.

Damn you, John Green, damn you and your amazing, amazing writing.

The Fault in Our Stars was chosen as Time Magazine’s Best Book of the Year for the year 2012. Not best young adult book, best BOOK. And it definitely deserves that title. Hands down, its the winner, despite the other amazing books that came out this year.

Click the link above to purchase it. You won’t be disappointed.

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Love and the Love Triangle.

Today, buy information pills I’m here to talk to you about love. Yes, visit this site love. I’m talking kisses and hugs, and forever, and all that stuff. Love. True Love.

Now, I’m not going to sit here and claim that I know everything about love, because I definitely do not. I love my boyfriend sooooo much and we have been together for nearly five years. But we learn every day how to make our relationship work and how to make it better. And it’s not easy, but it is most definitely worth it. I will never know 100% about love…or even a 100% about my boyfriend…but that’s the best part, it keeps things new and, like I said, its completely worth it.

But I will say one thing.

True love? Yeah, it doesn’t exist.

Did I break your heart with that one? I hope not. Here’s what I’m saying: I don’t believe in that one true love. I love my boyfriend incredibly much, and one day in the near-ish future, we’re going to get married and its going to be great. But he’s not the only guy I’ve ever had in my life. And let’s get this straight: he’s not perfect. He’s perfect for me, but in no way, is he perfect. And that’s okay. Because neither am I. I am DEFINITELY not perfect.

But I think people tend to get this idea in their heads…and I mean mostly girls. They get this idea in their head of perfect boys, who open doors and talk on the phone all night and go to the store and buy tampons for them and so on and so forth. They expect to find this PERFECT speciman of man and when they don’t, they’re so angry and they say things like “waiting for prince charming” and they pine after fictional characters.

Believe me, I know. I used to be one of those girls. And being like that…it just leads you to disappointment.

You’re probably wondering why I’m on this rant. Its because of this extremely popular trend that has been going on in young literature, one that has been driving me insane…and it’s called the love triangle.

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I am so tired of Team So-and-So. I used to be into that stuff. I still am for the most part. Sure, I wanted Jace over Simon in the Mortal Instruments. Sure, I want Will over Jem in the Infernal Devices. Sure, I wanted Peeta over Gale in Hunger Games. Sure, sure, sure.

But that’s not WHY I read the books. I read the books because Clary is a badass who invents runes and throws herself into every fight even if she’s not prepared for it. I read because Tessa is being chased by a man who keeps creating automatons and she doesn’t even know what she is: a warlock, a Shadowhunter or what. I read Hunger Games because Katniss is a badass with a bow, and she survives the Hunger Games…twice!

But I feel like a lot more of the girlies out there care about those stories. And it drives me crazy. Because now, if I pick up a book and it starts to involve a love triangle, I’m done. I’m over it. Before, I could handle it. Now, it seems like its a necessary element of young adult literature. You can’t write a young adult book without having the opportunity for Team So-and-So and its annoying!

Because, there is just so much more to a story than two guys pining after a girl, especially when the girl is being all whiny , “I can’t choose.” God, shut up. There’s shit going down and all you can think about is what boy to choose. Maybe you should either choose one and get over it already or let the boys do their job, like demon hunting or whatever, and stop distracting them.

The fact is, this literary “element” (and I put that in quotes because seriously, its a plot device that gets so damn old) is old and tiring but girls (and some boys) continue to fall all over it. Over and over and over and over again.

And then there’s my other problem with love in young adult fiction. It creates unbelievable expectations for what a boyfriend should be like, or what a relationship should be like.

Take example from pictures like this:

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I mean, Jace Wayland is hot, especially when using those blades to kill people and stuff but I love my boyfriend wayyy more

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Sure, except they aren’t real…

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Of course they are. They aren’t real.

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You need to lower your impossible standards because…guess what? They aren’t real.

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Now, don’t get me wrong. Most of you have read my post on my favorite, hottest fictional guys. There are characters that make my blood boil, that I get all hot and bothered for, that say wonderful things that make me sigh.

But they aren’t real! If Jace Wayland existed, I would alternately be extremely attracted to his sexiness and badass Shadowhunter skills and annoyed at how extremely emo and dramatic he is. I would want to punch Peeta in the face, telling him to just have some balls and stand up to me already. I would be annoyed at the Doctor’s inability to understand humanity, because he doesn’t always understand. I would be annoyed at the things they said.

And I know that real love…it’s not like the love that’s in books. You’re not going to have those perfect relationships where its true love and its going to last forever, no matter how impossible it is, no matter the crazy, insane circumstances. You can find love, and it’ll be great, but it’s not fairy tale and it takes work.

Being with Jon taught me that. I was waiting for a fictional boy but I got a real one. And I’ll tell you what? It’s sooooo much better.

And I just feel like girls are holding out for something that doesn’t exist. Girls see faults in boys and either don’t go for them or dump them. And that’s extremely unfair. I mean, I’m not saying stay with a boy if he cheats on you or treats you badly…but we have to accept the imperfections of people.

So I don’t know, I’m over the constant love triangle, the constant need for romance to be the key point in novels. Most of the books I read do have romance in it, but it’s not the whole point and it seems like more and more, that is the point. I get tired of reading books and loving it and then a love triangle gets thrown in and I want to throw the book across the room. (I’m looking at you, Lauren Oliver, you were fine until you introduced the love triangle in Pandemonium).

I’m going all over the place with this post. The point is, the love triangle is getting old. Tragic, over-the-top, ridiculous, unrealistic love doesn’t exist. Edward Cullen, Jacob Black, Jace Wayland, Will Herondale, Simon Lewis, Jem Carstairs, the Salvatore brothers, Tobias, Peeta Mellark, Gale Hawthorne, Finnick Odair, and so on…they aren’t real. They’ll never be real and there isn’t one guy in this world that are like them because they aren’t real.

Boys make mistakes. They say stupid things and they sometimes don’t call and they play too much video games or ignore you in favor of their friends. They forget your birthday or your anniversary. They drive too fast or they drive too slow, they have horrible taste in music. They don’t always say the sweetest, most romantic things. They don’t love you right away. They are imperfect. But so are you, and when you find someone to love, you find someone who puts up with all your imperfections like you put up with theirs.

And I’m hoping that things get better. As much as I enjoy a good love story, I’m hoping we get more books like The Demon King by Cinda Williams Chima, or the Percy Jackson/Heroes of Olympus series or the Tortall books. All of these books have romance…but they aren’t qualified as romance and they’re amazing. They should be our best young adult literature.

Because I’m really tired of the negative views toward young adult literature.

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YA For NJ: Authors Stepping Up to Help Out

If it weren’t enough that reading is so much fun and teaches me and makes me happy and so on and so forth, sildenafil it gives back.

There are a billion authors out there that give back. J.K. Rowling fell on the list of Forbes richest because of the amazing amount of money that she spends on charities. Meg Cabot donates all proceeds from her book Ransom my Heart (written as her fictional character Mia Thermopolis) to Greenpeace. John Green has openly donated to plenty of projects. Authors are fantastic.

And here’s just one more reason to remember how amazing authors are.

It’s called YA For NJ.

And its simple: its a bunch of young adult authors (mostly those east coast ones) teaming up together to raise money for Hurricane Sandy relief. Many of the authors doing this live on the east coast and experienced Hurricane Sandy personally and want to give back to their own backyards.

So there is an ebay page set up (click it right here)

You can bid on several different things in order to raise money for the relief fund: autographed books, visit this autographed arcs (books that aren’t published yet), autographed collection of books, school visits, panel events, manuscript and query letter critiques, dedications in future books, your name in future books, and so on.

And there are a TON of authors doing it. Libba Bray (a signed copy of the Diviners and autographed copies of her Gemma Doyle trilogy). Jen Calonita. Sarah Dessen. Jerry Spinelli. James Patterson. Elizabeth Scott. Melissa da la Cruz. Holly Black. Carol Snow. Kieran Scott. Lauren Oliver.

The list goes on and on and on. A ton of really great authors.

So its amazing opportunity. You can have a chance to own an autographed copy of an author you love or you could get to have a skype chat with them, or have your writing critiqued.

And all of the money earned goes to help people in need. Its wonderful.

So go out there and bid on stuff. I have my eye out on that Gemma Doyle trilogy…I worship Libba Bray…and help out, you know? Our biggest weapon is our brain…and some of the best weapons in the world are books (thank you, doctor who) and lets use them, in any way we can to help out.

I urge you to check out the ebay page and make some bids, or check out their faecbook page for more information.

And may I say…young adult literature, just another reason it rocks :)

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Stop Picking on YA Literature!

Today in my children’s literature class, ailment we had a lecture on young adult literature.

And it was really super interesting.

We all know how much I love YA literature. This is beyond obvious.

So the class today was really informative and one that I definitely am glad that I didn’t miss.

I mean, what is ed did you know that S.E. Hinton was sixteen when she wrote The Outsiders? Now, I’m not a #1 fan of the Outsiders but that is seriously badass. As an aspiring writer, I must admit that I am quite impressed.

But it really got me thinking about young adult literature in general. I remember when I was younger and there wasn’t much of a young adult section in the bookstore. I remember having to special order books because bookstores would never have them.

But now that’s definitely changed. Young adult literature has exploded in the last ten years. Exploded.

And let’s think about that for a moment. Kids and teenagers are reading more than ever. I think a lot of it stems from Harry Potter. Harry Potter opened up a lot-it opened up the doors to new ideas and it opened up the doors of a new approach on writing and reading. J.K.R. showed that kids and teens WILL read and they’ll read long books too (I mean, Order of the Phoenix is HUGE!)

And think of everything that has come since then: The Hunger Games, Percy Jackson, Mortal Instruments, Twilight series, the Fallen series, the Gemma Doyle series, the Inheritance series, etc. There are authors like Meg Cabot, Sarah Dessen, John Green, Maureen Johnson, Jay Asher, Deb Caletti and so on and so on.

Young adult literature is HUGE!

And it helps so much that so many of the movies that have been hitting the theaters in the past few years have been coming from popular YA novels (notice that I said popular, not good. Though I think most of these are good).

Harry Potter.

Twilight.

Percy Jackson.

Perks of Being a Wallflower.

City of Bones.

Hunger Games.

The Fault in Our Stars (John Green) is optioned to be a movie, same with Fallen (Lauren Kate), Divergent (Veronica Roth), Thirteen Reasons Why (Jay Asher) and so many more. Delirium and Before I Fall by Lauren Oliver.

Don’t forget that The Vampire Diaries is a ridiculously popular TV series.

I literally could keep going. I won’t though…

There is also the fact that most authors nowadays are on Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, instagram, Youtube and so on. Authors are so accessible nowadays. I’ve been tweeted by Libba Bray, Meg Cabot, Cassandra Clare, Jen Calonita. I’ve had Facebook conversations with Meg Cabot, Jen Calonita and Cinda Williams Chima.

But let’s make this very clear:

Not all of young adult literature is good. In fact, there is a good amount that is fairly bad.

Now, I liked the Twilight series. I kind of liked the Fallen series. They are entertaining and they keep me reading. They are also not the best written books around. There are books like The House of Night series (ugh) and Hush, Hush, Gossip Girl, etc. I can’t sit here and attack these books (I mean, those guys have a publishing deal and I don’t…) but I do think that the bad YA books can be the ones that bring such negative view to the young adult genre.

Because the fact is, there is a lot of fantastic young adult literature. People like John Green, Sarah Dessen, Deb Caletti, Jen Calonita, Jay Asher, Suzanne Collins, Libba Bray, Cassandra Clare, Meg Cabot. These people are genuinely talented writers. They tell great stories.

But there’s more to it than that. They capture the young adult essence. They capture what its like to be a teenager and they capture the sort of things that they’re dealing with, from things like friendships and relationships and family issues to sex and sexuality and drugs and abuse. There are books that touch on so many teen issues and its amazing, especially since they’re usually so on touch with it and since the stories are so good.

Don’t deny it. We all remember the teen years. We all remember how hard they were. They weren’t easy and I don’t care how old you are, you remember how it felt. Why do you think young adult literature is also read by adults too? (Do I qualify as a young adult anymore…)

I also think that young adult literature gets a really bad reputation, because of more than just the good books vs. bad books (Sorry, Twilight, I’m looking at you). I think a lot of parents are really uncomfortable with some of the issues that are brought up in these books.

For instance, sex. There is a lot of sex in young adult novels. I’m not talking Fifty Shades of Grey here (UGH) but they’re teenagers! For the most part, these characters are from the ages of 15 to 19. They’re hormonal and thinking about sex. So of course sex is going to be discussesd, maybe more than that.

To parents, I say this: GET OVER IT. If you have talked to your teen about sex, then you have nothing to worry about. They will make the right decision, either way. If you haven’t talked to them about, then let them read it. You don’t have the cajones to talk to them about it and someone should!

I further think that parents have issue with the portrayal of adults in a lot of these novels. Parents can often times be the bad guy (Mortal Instruments, Delirium), they can be defied or disobeyed (Divergent), or neglectful (Hunger Games) or even addicts (Gemma Doyle). And here’s my answer to that: GET OVER IT. They are parents like that, wehther you like or not. If you’re a good parent, you’re okay. And yeah, parents aren’t perfect and that’s okay too. Maybe they’ll appreciate you more after reading about these parents.

My point is, (and believe me, my point has changed at least four times), young adult literature should be treated the same way as any other literature or form of writing whether it’s children literature or biography or fiction or nonfiction or whatever. Some of it is going to be bad (really, really bad). Some of it is going to be good (really, really good).

But just think of the impact that it can have.

Because of YA, I want to be a writer. Because of YA, I have learned so much about life and I have learned different morals and values. Because of YA, I have learned so much about myself. Because of YA, I am the avid reader that I am. Because of YA, I have this blog.

And come on, young adult literature is awesome. And its there for everyone no matter what age or gender you are. It’s made for PEOPLE.

And if you ever need a recommendation, trust me, I got your back :)

What’s your favorite young adult novel???? As always, share in the comments.

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