The Fault in Our Stars is brilliant young adult novel by John Green. Hazel is not your typical sixteen year old girl. She is dying from thyroid cancer that has now spread to her lungs. Her parents are encouraging her to go out and meet friends and after protesting Hazel finds herself being dropped off at a support group where she meets Augustus. Before long Hazel and Augustus become quite close and decide they must embark on an incredible adventure, even if it could be their last.
This was an amazing read. Green has a nice writing style that is so sophisticated for his genre. It was easy to fall in love with Hazel and Gus who are unique characters. They are incredibly witty and profound as they come to terms with their terminal diseases and the grief they are going to cause. Green did a remarkable job of showing the inner monologue of someone battling cancer. The characters emotions were so realistic that it felt like you were listening to or reading a friend’s diary. You were either laughing out loud or tearing up as you read, so be prepared for a roller coaster of emotions that will have you completely engaged with the book. This is a young adult novel, but any adult would find this book to be a great read and perfect for your next book club.
Seth Grahame-Smith’s novel Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter does an incredible job of combining history and fantasy/horror into one captivating read. The most unique thing about this book is that it is written as if it is an actual biography of Abraham Lincoln. Grahame-Smith went so far as to include journal entries, footnotes, and images all to give the illusion of a non-fictional work. The reader learns about the life of Abraham Lincoln who became our 16th president, the man who ended slavery and a famous vampire hunter.
This novel was a fun read as long as you can separate what you think you know about Lincoln and what you are told by Grahame-Smith. Don’t get me wrong, there are some facts found within the story, but it is most definitely an altered history tale. I also really liked how Lincoln was portrayed as a family man. It was refreshing to see how involved he was with his family, even though he is running a country and killing vampires. There are also great side characters in this story, which I wouldn’t have anticipated since it is written like a biography. Grahame-Smith developed interesting friends for Lincoln as well as an intriguing vampire mythology, all of which keeps the story fresh and engaging.
Marie Lu’s novel Legend is a captivating debut that will grab your attention and not let go till the very end. June is the Republic’s prodigy child, even if she is a bit willful and independent. Day is the Republic’s most sought after criminal, not the most dangerous but definitely the most problematic. When June learns that Day killed her brother her only emotions are anger and the desire for revenge. Thus begins the hunt for Day, but what June doesn’t expect is what she learns from him about her beloved Republic.
This was a fantastic young adult dystopian read, and frankly the closest book that I have found to The Hunger Games. I thought Lu’s writing style of telling the story from both characters’ point of view to be an excellent way to grab the readers attention and to have you cheering for both of the characters. Her style also ensured that her story was rich with details since you are leaning about things from multiple perspectives. Lu captured the military mind so well with her writings about June and likewise the street smarts when writing about Day. You couldn’t help but think these two are a nice balance and could make an excellent team. The characters were both well developed and it was easy to tell who was speaking, even had Lu not changed the color of her text between them. The writing is wonderful but so is the story. We are just beginning to learn about the flawed Republic at the end of the book and I am anxiously awaiting Prodigy (book two due out in January 2013) to find out where the story goes. I think the corruption is going to be much worse than we initially anticipate. Legend is a compelling beginning to what is sure to be an amazing series.