The Fault in Our Stars By John Green

Title: The Fault in Our Stars

Author: John Green

Publisher: Penguin

First Published: 2012

Blurb:

Diagnosed with Stage IV thyroid cancer at 13, Hazel was prepared to die until, at 14, a medical miracle shrunk the tumours in her lungs… for now.

Two years post-miracle, sixteen-year-old Hazel is post-everything else, too; post-high school, post-friends and post-normalcy. And even though she could live for a long time (whatever that means), Hazel lives tethered to an oxygen tank, the tumours tenuously kept at bay with a constant chemical assault.

Enter Augustus Waters. A match made at cancer kid support group, Augustus is gorgeous, in remission, and shockingly to her, interested in Hazel. Being with Augustus is both an unexpected destination and a long-needed journey, pushing Hazel to re-examine how sickness and health, life and death, will define her and the legacy that everyone leaves behind. (From Goodreads.com, 20th May 2013)

Review:

This is a book that I have heard so many good things about and eventually bought it and read it as soon as my exams were over. This was also my first John Green book to read and wanted to know what the fuss was about. I was scared that the hype, the numerous awards and all the gushing over his books would put my expectations up too high. Luckily I was not disappointed. In fact I was very impressed!

John Green has taken the topic of childhood/teenage cancer and made it a book that is witty, surprising, funny and heart-wrenching.

Hazel is a intelligent young adult with wisdom far beyond her years, partially because she is terminally ill, partially because she is a young collage student. She still shows her immaturity throughout this book which makes this more real, makes the character more true.

Coerced into attending a support group by her mother Hazel meets Augustus Waters, a cheeky guy whom takes life as it comes. Soon the two enter an adventure of life, an adventure of death, an adventure to understanding endings.

There is not much I can say about this novel without giving anything away. But of any fictional books I have read about cancer, this is the best. This takes an issues and brings the real problem of the wanting of ‘normalcy’ to the forefront. When you meet someone who helps you get that, who sees you and not your illness you are yourself again. This is expressed wonderfully through the ‘witty banter’ of Augustus and Hazel.

A book you must add to your collection if you have not done so already. Listen to the masses of positive reviews. Take the time to read about Hazel and Augustus and join them on their journey.

5 out of 5!

Life Sentences By Laura Lippman

This is a novel I found in the ‘reduced section’ several years ago and has sat on my shelve for several years since. I had never heard of Laura Lippman, and only picked this novel up because of the low price and I’ll admit it, I liked the cover, though now I have seen that this style of cover – the jar and butterfly.

Life Sentences focuses on Cassandra. An award winning author for her memoirs but has failed at her recent attempt at fiction. She now must rectify this and begins on a journey into the mystery of an old classmate – Callie – who had been incarcerated for the murder of her son. This investigation leads Cassandra on a journey into the past in which she learns more about herself than anything else.

Looking on Amazon.co.uk I found very discouraging reviews of this novel, but I think part of this may be due to the to the difference in style for Laura Lippman’s other books, though I have not read these, it is the sense I get from the fore mentioned reviews.

At the beginning I felt there was a lot of promise for this novel but the further through I got the more I felt it detracted from the overall premise defined at the beginning. The changing of perspectives were distracting and confusing and didn’t add to the plot overall. I find novels that do this interesting as long as only a maximum of three perspectives are used – unless these changes are made clear by headings – else it gets too confusing.

The writing was very good, as were the ideas, but due to the issues I had I managed to read the novel and miss entirely the point at which Cassandra find out how flawed her memories were and now have to go back and re-read parts to work this out.

The characters were well written and you can tell that Laura Lippman had thought about them to a great extent and created profiles which went into great depth about their histories and their personalities.

I can only give this novel 2.5 out of 5. I feel bad doing so as I enjoyed the book but the confusion and distraction from the overall plot really affects my overall opinion of the novel.