Indie YA Wolves Book Club

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Saturday, 24 May 2014

No faults found in The Fault In Our Stars!

 “The fault, dear Brutus is not in our stars, But in ourselves, that we are underlings.”
Shakespeare Quotes – Cassius, who is a nobleman, is trying to persuade his friend Brutus that Julius Caesar must be stopped from becoming the monarch of Rome. The theme in this moment examines Brutus’s loyalty to his friend Caesar, and his duty to the republic of Rome. Cassius maintains that all men are equal, and none should be elevated to the title & standing of a ‘God’.

A Promise I will Keep

Before I begin my review of this outstanding piece of young adult literature, I want to make a promise that having been honoured to attend the PRE-SCREENING of the MOVIE!! I will soon be able to rant and rave in a most uncivilised and ridiculously excited manner about the wonderment that awaits you at the cinema! But, sadly, we have been asked to squash all the tears, and love, and always, and okays, down into a cruel bundle of torture labelled ‘discretion.’ Historically, this is not my best quality so I need to shut up right now, and will reveal all nearer the time of the movie’s release. I will say this “Rock on #Littleinfinities & #TFIOS. Awesome day!”

The Fault In Our Stars

Synopsis

“I fell in love the way you fall asleep: slowly, then all at once.”
Despite the tumor-shrinking medical miracle that has bought her a few years, Hazel has never been anything but terminal, her final chapter inscribed upon diagnosis. But when a gorgeous plot twist named Augustus Waters suddenly appears at Cancer Kid Support Group, Hazel’s story is about to be completely rewritten.
Insightful, bold, irreverent, and raw, The Fault in Our Stars is award-winning author John Green’s most ambitious and heartbreaking work yet, brilliantly exploring the funny, thrilling, and tragic business of being alive and in love.
** A thought-provoking love story from the New York Times bestselling author of Looking for AlaskaAn Abundance of KatherinesPaper Towns and – with David Levithan - Will Grayson, Will Grayson.
** John Green has over 1.2 million Twitter followers, and almost 700,000 subscribers to Vlogbrothers, the YouTube channel he created with his brother, Hank.
** The Fault in Our Stars will capture a crossover audience in the same vein as Zadie Smith, David Nicholls’ One Day and Before I Die by Jenny Downham.
** ‘Electric . . . Filled with staccato bursts of humor and tragedy’ – Jodi Picoult
** ‘A novel of life and death and the people caught in between, The Fault in Our Stars is John Green at his best. You laugh, you cry, and then you come back for more’ – Markus Zusak, author of The Book Thief
John Green is an award-winning, New York Times bestselling author whose many accolades include the Printz Medal, a Printz Honor, and the Edgar Award. With his brother, Hank, John is one half of the Vlogbrothers (youtube.com/vlogbrothers), one of the most popular online video projects in the world. You can join John’s 1.2 million followers on Twitter (@realjohngreen) or visit him online at johngreenbooks.com and fishingboatproceeds.tumblr.com. John lives with his wife and son in Indianapolis, Indiana.

My Review

“My thoughts are stars I cannot fathom into constellations.” John Green
The story begins with the infamous words, which I later discovered that John Green had written while working in Starbucks, ‘Late in the winter of my seventeenth year, my mother decided I was depressed.’ You are made aware that Hazel has terminal cancer from the second paragraph in the book, but the book isn’t about cancer, or death, or even depression – it is about life, a celebration of life, spirit, courage and selfless acceptance. Hazel’s fear about what her parents will do with their life after she is gone is a perfect example of that.  This is where her obsession to uncover the ending in the book ‘An Imperial Affliction’ By Peter Van Houten, is rooted.
“As he read, I fell in love the way you fall asleep: slowly, and then all at once.” – Hazel
Hazel’s first meeting with Augustus, the wide-grinned, flirtatious and outrageous starer in the cancer support group, is so well suited to both of their characters. Hazel may be depressed, or not, but she is certainly without self pity, while Augustus, who is in remission from the cancer at this time, is bursting with effervescent life and filled with cheeky, open admiration for her. He immediately becomes a beacon of the unusual and the interesting in Hazel’s understandably restrictive life. I love the metaphor of the cigarette between Augustus’s teeth symbolising that ‘the killing thing is not given the power to do the killing.’ John Green is just so awesome! I apologise for any random outbursts about him, but the book is just so brilliant it’s impossible to keep the admiration inside! Now, where was I? Oh yes, well, after the first meeting, the attraction is inevitable, and the two begin a friendship with chemistry type arrangement, with the primary ingredient being the discussion of the book in which Hazel is yearning to uncover the final conclusion. An Imperial Affliction is actually a ‘fiction’ and does not exist outside of John Green’s imagination, and I don’t mind telling you I had a good look for it after the movie!
an imperial affliction

An Imperial Affliction is about a girl named Anna who has a rare blood cancer. Set in the lower middle class of a central California town, Anna narrates her life with cancer. Despite her cancer, Anna creates a charity called The Anna Foundation for people with Cancer who want to cure Cholera. The author, Peter Van Houten, is a reclusive, anti-social alcoholic who treats his assistant Lidewij (Along with Hazel and Augustus) disrespectfully to the point where she resigns. At the end, he tells Hazel that the book was based on his daughter, he then tells her that she was a lot like Anna. The book was never truly finished as the girl who narrates it, Anna, dies or becomes too sick to write again. The book, in fact, is truly made up by John Green.
“I’m in love with you,” Augustus
Can you see now, why Hazel Grace Lancaster is so desperate to find out what happens to Anna afterward? Augustus Waters understands and make it his mission to help her find out, after insisting that she reads HIS book ‘The Price of Dawn.’ This book is a whole other story by John Green, and if you wish to learn more about it, and how it is available as a perk for people who donate to the Harry Potter Alliance’s Equality FTW 2013 fundraiser, then go here: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/18514092-the-price-of-dawn
I simply must mention Isaac, a friend who is another sufferer of cancer, this time in his eyes, and who eventually becomes fully blind as a result. He is yet another example of an unselfish, spirited and courageous young person, whose cancer is secondary to the person that he is. All three youngsters are individuals who have cancer, but are not defined by it. I believe that this is the message John Green was trying to put across.
After Hazel suffers a setback and is back in hospital, Augustus’s plans to travel to Amsterdam with her in order to meet Peter Van Houten look like they will never be brought to fruition, but after considerable consideration by loving parents and worried Doctors, the surprise is set up, and accompanied by Hazel’s mother, the three do eventually get there. It is obvious, at this point, that friendship is becoming so much more, and after a horribly disappointing meeting with the ascerbic, disagreeable, drunk, and totally rude Peter Van Houten, they go on a tour of Anne Frank’s house, kiss, and later on share the one and only beautiful time together as lovers.
This is beginning to sound like a synopsis instead of a review, which was not my intention, so I will disconnect from the storyline a little, except to say that Augustus himself now reveals that his cancer has returned, and the rest of the story is how their love grows, and how they deal with the events that have happened to them both so far, and the certainty of loss that is about to happen.
“Some infinities are bigger than other infinities.” Hazel
John Green has a way of putting into words the exact emotions felt by his characters so that the empathy you feel for them becomes very real, and I confess I did shed a tear while reading the book and watching the movie. This tragedy of a perfect love cut short somehow leaves you with a feeling of triumph, and how he has managed to do that is something I would dearly love to emulate! His words exalt life to a higher level, and I for one, will always try to be more grateful for the people I have now, and the time I have with them, and hold them close as something to be cherished and not taken for granted, ever! I’ll leave you with the hope that I have inspired you enough that you will not deny yourself the privilege of reading the book, and watching the movie when it is released; you won’t regret it!
“I’m in love with you, and I’m not in the business of denying myself the simple pleasure of saying true things. I’m in love with you, and I know that love is just a shout into the void, and that oblivion is inevitable, and that we’re all doomed and that there will come a day when all our labor has been returned to dust, and I know the sun will swallow the only earth we’ll ever have, and I am in love with you.” Augustus

Gripping Read!!

Dragonman: Face of the UnknownDragonman: Face of the Unknown by Ted Lazaris
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

This is an edge of the seat story, which begins smack bang in the middle of an apocalyptic event. The end of the world is a topic which has intrigued mankind since the beginning of time, but in this story it is just the beginning; not the final annihilation of humankind. The foreign object hurtling towards the earth is merely the first sting of a battle that will consume the heavens above and the earth below.
The threat introduces the DragonMan; a superhero already living on our planet, with access to different worlds such as ‘Spellville’; and he is not alone with his incredible abilities, of which more are revealed as the story continues. His family, with which he runs the family business ‘Starr Investigations’, are also endowed with their own fascinating skills, which invite further investigations of their own. Other characters from Spellville include ’Plupee’ and ‘Dooley’ who add a little light comedy in the midst of such dark and dangerous occurrences. Another lead character is Nathan, who has no abilities except for his skill with a pen. Luke and Nathan's lives become intertwined in the midst of the first catastrophe, and when Nathan has a series of personal disasters, he seeks out their firm for help. Thus begins a rollercoaster of explosive tragedies, spectacular fantasy, and murder mystery. The Author leads you through each one in a well written, intriguing and captivating way.

In summary I would advise that you set the scene to read this novel. Get your cocoa, your pyjamas, and go to your private place; switch off the tv and ignore the kids for a while, and step into Ted Lazaris complex and fascinating world of the unusual, the bizarre, and the downright terrifying creatures you are about to meet.


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