Thursday, December 13, 2012

John Green = Love

I cannot believe it took me over a year to read a new John Green book, after reading Paper Towns in December 2010 (read my review or my brother's).  But it did.  I didn't read another of his books until March (or was it April?) 2012, after my brother finished reading his copy of The Fault in Our Stars.  And I read my third John Green novel, An Abundance of Katherines, in October while our power was out, thanks to Hurricane Sandy.  I don't know why I left such big gaps between his novels, especially considering how they are amongst the few contemporary YA books I enjoy.  I tend to avoid contemporary fiction for the most part, for many reasons.  But I really love John Green's novels; they are exceptionally well-written, and they also make you think.

The Fault in Our Stars is probably the best of Green's novels I've read so far.  Centered around the lives of two teenage cancer patients, Hazel and Augustus, this love story not only focuses on the relationship between the two teenagers, but it also delves deeper to make you think about how you view life, death, love, and what you leave behind.  The one thing it doesn't focus on is the cancer itself.  It's always there obviously, but your attention isn't on the disease; it's on the people.  Hazel and Augustus are amazing main characters; they're so real.  They're just two kids trying to live the most normal lives they can.

The writing is also fantastic.  I never felt like the story lagged, nor did it ever get overly dramatic.  It was just so beautifully written.

I'm pretty sure I've seen this book on almost every blogger's Best-of-the-year list, or if they haven't read it, it's on the top of their TBR list.  I was warned ahead of time that this is a crying book, so I'm warning everyone who hasn't read it - Have tissues ready!  A+

While the power was out during Sandy, I was looking for something to read to kill the time, and suddenly remembered that I'd bought another John Green book months before and still hadn't read it.  An Abundance of Katherines was just the right kind of book for a blah day with no heat or power.  It's a cute story about a prodigy, Colin, who only ever dates girls named Katherine, and always gets dumped by girls named Katherine.  So after the nineteenth Katherine dumps him, Colin and his best friend Hassan decide to go on a road trip to distract Colin from his break-up.  While on the road trip, Colin decides to come up with a formula that will apply to all of his previous relationships and will also predict how any future relationships will work out.

Colin and Hasan are great main characters, but Hassan is definitely my favorite.  Colin's desire to avenge dumpees everywhere through his formula, as well as his Katherine backstories, are amusing and fun, but Hassan is just so funny.  He's the ultimate sidekick: always there when you need him, but also never afraid to push his friend's buttons.  The dialogue between these two is what makes this story so enjoyable.

Compared to The Fault in Our Stars and Paper Towns, this book is definitely the most lighthearted of Green's coming-of-age stories.  It's fun and kind of nerdy, and it never even gets close to really being a serious book.  And I think that's what makes it stand out from the other books.  When you consider that TFiOs and PT are both so much more serious in their tone and subject matter, the cheeriness and fun of AAOK is a refreshing change.  A-

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