Tag Archives: John Green

Let it Snow by John Green, Maureen Johnson, Lauren Myracle

let it snowI can’t speak for all of y’all, but I know that this has been one heck of a stressful year for me.  Anxiety + Pandemic + Civil Unrest = Woof…..  And as much as I like to learn from things that I read, I also appreciate and even *need* a good “fluff” read now and again.  I fully intended to read Let It Snow when it first came out, but I somehow kept putting off (for 12 years?!?) because there was always seemed to be something else more pressing, it wasn’t the right season, it wasn’t available when I was ready to read it, etc.  Well, let’s just say I am glad the stars finally aligned and got me to a place where I got back to it.  Not only was I seeing “Christmas in July” posts everywhere, but I also saw that this book was immediately available as an audiobook on OverDrive AND that it has apparently been adapted for Netflix. Though I have been having a heck of a time either finding the time or concentrating well enough to actually sit down and read for the last four months or so, I still have plenty of dishes and laundry to keep up with, so audiobooks work really well for me.  And *this* audiobook?  Well, my only complaint is that it was three short stories and, therefore, ended far too quickly!

Not only are John Green, Maureen Johnson, and Lauren Myracle all well known in the realm of YA fiction (and were all especially popular at the time when this book was first published), but their writing styles mesh incredibly well.  Even better?  Their stories overlap, which helped because I was so sad to think I had to leave Jubilee and Stuart behind when the first of the short stories ended.  Some people will probably find these stories to be a little too treacly sweet, but there is plenty of humor and mischief thrown in for good measure.  And whether you’re more interested in a story of a girl whose Christmas was ruined when her parents got arrested in an ornament/Christmas village riot, the guys who risked it all to bring a Twister game to the cheerleaders trapped at the Waffle House during a blizzard, or the Starbucks barista whose friendship depends on procuring a teacup piglet, I think there’s a little something fun in each of the stories.

Happy Reading!

Turtles All the Way Down by John Green

turtles-all-the-way-downSome people seem to think that money can buy happiness, but I’d be willing to bet that Davis Pickett isn’t among them.  Not only could money never replace Davis’ mother, but the existence of his father’s fortune actually complicated all of his relationships.  His father was distant, always consumed with work, and Davis was never sure whether potential friends actually liked him or his money.  Being rich, as it turns out, had made him very lonely.  And then, to top it all off, his father disappeared the night before a police raid on his home related to a fraud and bribery investigation.  All sorts of old “friends” came out of the woodwork in hopes that they could collect a reward for information leading to the capture of the fugitive billionaire.  And though Aza technically ended up at Davis’ home as a result of her friend Daisy’s plan to try and capitalize on the reward, a spark of their earlier friendship remained and quickly rekindled. 

The two had met years before at a summer camp Aza called Sad Camp, since they both had a parent who had died, but Aza was sure that Davis wouldn’t remember her.  As it turned out, though, he remembered all sorts of details about her — like the fact that she suffered from anxiety-induced thought spirals, had a perpetual injury on the pad of her middle finger [because of a compulsion caused by her thought spirals], and loved Dr. Pepper.  Perhaps that spark was more than just friendship?!?

I will never cease to be amazed by how well John Green captures the essence of being a young adult.  He not only captures the unique blend of abstract thinking, idealism, and self-discovery that keep me coming back to YA, but he accurately depicts the mental health struggles, like depression and anxiety, many young adults face.  “True terror isn’t being scared; it’s not having a choice in the matter.”  His characters are relatable without being too cliche.  If you have enjoyed John Green’s other books, you will likely enjoy this one too.  And, if you have never read anything by John Green, what are you waiting for?!?

Happy Reading!

The Fault in Our Stars by John Green

It’s hard to believe that this book [which opens with a terminally ill teenager who is about to attend a cancer support group meeting] could possibly be funny, but it really was.  Many parts of it, anyway.  It doesn’t matter that Hazel’s cancel spread from her thyroid to her lungs and that she now requires an oxygen tank to breathe — she is still a sarcastic and snarky teen girl.  And regardless of the fact that his leg had to be amputated because of osteosarcoma [bone cancer], Gus is a positive-thinking and energetic guy.  Some parts of the story were more philosophical, and some parts were devastatingly heartbreaking, but there was enough humor to keep things from getting too depressing.

What I appreciated most about this novel was the presence of a true love story.  Lots of times, novels will contain only the fairy tale version of love — one person rescues another person from a miserable life and they both live happily ever after.  I don’t exactly think it’s much of a spoiler to say that “happily ever after” was never really considered an option for Hazel and Gus.  Needless to say, though, readers will not soon forget this story and will almost surely walk away with a new appreciation for the miracles of life and love.

Happy Reading!

Will Grayson, Will Grayson by John Green and David Levithan

Despite the fact that they share a name, the two Will Graysons are VERY different.

The Will Grayson we begin with is best friends with a guy named Tiny Cooper. Will points out the misnomer by stating that Tiny is “the world’s largest person who is really, really gay, and also the world’s gayest person who is really, really large.” Tiny is always falling in love with some new boy, and Will is always there to pick up the pieces. Will doesn’t have much drama in his own life because he lives by two rules — don’t care too much, and shut up.  The problem is, though, that it’s a little tough to stick to those rules all the time.

The OTHER Will Grayson is a loner.  He has no friends, unless you count a girl named Maura who believes him to be gay but would probably want to date him if she found out otherwise.  Will finds Maura completely obnoxious and would love to tell her he likes guys, but he is afraid that he would become her “gay pet.”  Will also makes the comment that he’s “not that gay,” and elaborates with the declaration, “I f#@king hate Madonna.”

So.  Yeah.  Through some very random circumstances, the two Will Graysons end up meeting at a place called Frenchy’s.  While they are both more than a little weirded-out to discover that they share the same name, it’s enough to get them talking a little bit about what got them there.  And, because they are hanging out talking, the second Will Grayson has the opportunity to meet Tiny Cooper.

This is one of those stories that I could never do justice in a review simply because there is too much going on and I don’t want to spoil any of the plot.  There are a couple of things I have to say, though, to at least try:

  1. This story is amazing for how it really gets to the heart of the way that teens look at life.  To a teenager, every little thing really IS that important when it is happening.  Life changes so quickly for teens that living in the moment and being all-wrapped-up in that moment just feels so right!
  2. This book is able to cover a lot of “heavy” topics while being absolutely hilarious.  I started trying to keep track of the “best” parts I should play back for my husband (since I was listening to the audiobook), but I had to admit defeat and just beg him to read or listen to this story for himself.

And now, dear readers, I implore you to read this book for your selves!  I am certain that someone, somewhere will try to have this book banned for foul language, for references to teen drinking, and/or for containing homosexual characters.  But, I think that is all the more reason to read this one now!  Be ready to defend this book because it’s a fun/engaging read that will also speak to a wide variety of teens.

Happy Reading!

Paper Towns by John Green

Simply put, this book is the love-child of Looking for Alaska and An Abundance of Katherines!  Quentin (“Q”) and Margo Roth Spiegelman were inseperable friends as children — so much so that they even shared the trauma of discovering a dead body in the local park.  Now that they are teens, Q is off the social radar while Margo has attained über popularity.  One night, near the end of their senior year, though, Margo reappears in his life — or, more specifically, in his bedroom window.  Clad entirely in black [complete with black face paint] Margo enlists Q’s help in pulling off an elaborate, all-night, 11-step prank that takes place all over town. Q feels like he and Margo have finally reconnected, and he may even have a chance with this girl of his dreams… but she disappears the very next day.  Everyone else is sure that Margo will turn up like every other time she has run away, but Q is afraid that something terrible may have become of her.  When Q discovers the first in a series of clues from Margo, he decides that he has been called upon to discover where she is — and the road trip of a lifetime ensues.  Often hilarious, and sometimes rife with anxiety, this book had me putting everything else on hold until the very last page…

Happy Reading!

For Fans of An Abundance of Katherines

Thanks to Fuse #8 [the blog of a NYC librarian], I now have an awesome link for readers who were intrigued by Collin’s ability to anagram words! If you want to see what else the letters of your name can spell, or if you want to memorize some fun anagrams with which you can impress your friends, check out the Internet Anagram Server.

By the way — my name can be rearranged to say more than 40,000 phrases, including HEROICS, SIR, IS NORM or CROSS SHIRE OR MINI. Hahaha… I can only imagine how much of my time this website will waste!

Happy Reading!

An Abundance of Katherines by John Green

This book is all about a former child prodigy, Collin Singleton, who wishes he could be a genius. When Collin is dumped by his NINETEENTH girlfriend named Katherine, his friend Hasan decides that a road trip is the cure for a broken heart. Once on the road, the duo find themselves in Gutshot, TN — which couldn’t be more different from their hometown of Chicago, IL. After a head injury, Collin has a “Eureka!” moment, in which he decides that there must be a mathematical equation to graph the course of a relationship. With a little help from Hasan and their new friend, Lindsay, Collin works on perfecting his equation and figuring out the confusion of his love life. Humor keeps this book light and entertaining, despite Collin’s constant heartache. This would make a great post-breakup pick-me-up book, but it can be a fun anytime read too.

Happy Reading!