Tag: John Green

Mar 24

Looking for Alaska by John Green

Young Adult Fiction 27

Greetings, Bookworms!

I turned 31 this weekend. The fact does not thrill me. In order to combat the “I’m getting old” blues, I thought it would be a good time to write about some YA fiction I read recently. My body may be aging but my mind can remain immature indefinitely, right? I ADORED The Fault in Our Stars (my review), but when I went on to read An Abundance of Katherines (my review) I got all cranky and decided to take a break from John Green. Now that a reasonable amount of time has passed, I thought it would be safe to give Green another shot and read Looking for Alaska.

lookingforalaskaMiles is a typical tall, lanky, invisible teenage boy living in Florida. Because his social prospects are so grim, he decides to pursue attending boarding school at his father’s alma mater in Alabama for the remainder of his high school career.

Shortly after his arrival on campus, Miles discovers what he’s been missing. He is quickly dubbed “Pudge” (ironically of course) by his roommate “The Colonel,” and accepted into his crew of misfits. Cigarettes, booze, and the quintessential “manic pixie girl” give Pudge the high school experience he never would have had at home.

Alaska Young is beautiful, smart, and fascinating. She is also moody, mysterious, and self destructive. OBVIOUSLY Miles falls head over heels for her. He’s drawn deeply into her world… And then? Nothing is ever the same.

You know what, Bookworms? I really liked this book. Part teen angst, part cautionary tale,  Looking for Alaska satisfied my hankering for some Young Adult drama. Were there occasions when my old-ness resulted in rolling my eyes at the kids in this book? Definitely. Did it feel even remotely like MY high school experience? No. Although… That’s probably not the worst thing, because, well, there was a lot in this book that I’m glad I didn’t have to live through. In any case, I definitely give Looking for Alaska the green light for the next time you’re looking for a YA fix.

So tell me, Bookworms. Do you feel your age? Sometimes I feel like an old soul, and other times I’m pretty sure I’m still about 14. Anybody else got that age confusion thing going on?

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Feb 01

Complaints and Compliments on An Abundance of Katherines by John Green

Coming of Age, Humor, Romance, Young Adult Fiction 31

Happy Friday, Bookworms!

A few weeks back I wrote about how much I loved The Fault in Our Stars so I decided to pick up another John Green novel. I settled on An Abundance of Katherines for a couple of reasons. First, it was the only John Green book available from the library for my kindle. Second, I’m very self involved. Fun fact! Did you know “Katie” is short for “Kathryn?” I know you’re shocked. Kathryn with a “y” and Katie with an “ie”?! I know. Sadly, I had no part in naming myself, so I couldn’t prevent this travesty. However. Since the main character in this book had a fixation with “Katherines” I thought I’d get a little ego boost for my awesomeness of name. Sadly, this was not to be…

AbundanceKatherines

Complaint #1: Early in the book our “hero” Colin explains that he only likes K-A-T-H-E-R-I-N-E-S. No Katies, Kates, Kathryns, Catherines, Kathys, Kats, or Katrinas will do. This revelation started Colin and I off on the wrong foot, and I’m afraid we never got quite onto the right one. Colin is a “prodigy.” He’s got a super sharp brain and he is fluent in 11 languages. Now, I really like nerds. I like awkward folks. I root for the underdog. But…

Complaint #2: Colin is not likable AT ALL. He’s a smug little jerk. He’s whiny and his teen angst lacks the charm of, say, a Charlie from The Perks of Being a Wallflower type character. Maybe I’m just jealous. I’m sure that plays a part in my distaste. I would love to be brilliant, but I know deep down that at best I’m an A minus student. I knew kids who memorized digits of pi for fun, but I liked them better than I liked Colin. I suppose they were more humble because they weren’t brought up as prodigies? Who knows. And why isn’t Colin seeing a therapist? I mean, really? The kid is obsessed with girls named Katherine. That isn’t healthy. Which brings me to…

Complaint #3: How did Colin get 17 (yeah, he dated one Katherine twice) girls to agree to go out with him? I was a much more likable child/adolescent/teen! He got more dates than I did in high school, and THAT IS NOT FAIR! Ugh.

Complaint #4: Colin and his buddy said “fug” all the time. Now, I’m not one to go around dropping F-bombs like they’re hot, but it annoyed me. I know, I KNOW it was in homage to Norman Mailer, but still. If you want to say the F-word, just say it. If you want to avoid saying it, come up with a more amusing alternative. I enjoy “frick” or “flim-flamming” myself. “Fizzing Whizbees” anyone?

jobs

Colin is obsessed with his “Eureka” moment in which he can move from being a prodigy to being a genius. Not everyone can be a genius, Colin, but everyone needs a doctor. That’s a noble profession. GO SAVE LIVES!

I know, I’m being hard on this book. It’s just tough to appreciate something when you spend most of your time wanting to shake some sense into the main character. I hate to be totally negative on a Friday, so I’ll discuss a few of the things I liked.

Compliment #1: Colin’s BFF Hassaan was pretty cool. What’s not to like about a Muslim kid who embraces his chubby physique and has an unhealthy obsession with Judge Judy?! 

Compliment #2: Even though the premise of Colin and Hassaan ending up in Gutshot, Tennessee was ludicrous, I liked the idea of a small town kept afloat by a tampon string factory. And the lengths the factory would go to in order to keep supporting their retirees.

Compliment #3: Lindsey hangs out with old people. I like that John Green makes it seem cool to chill with the old folks. Everyone, go call a grandparent right now! (If you’re lacking in the grandparent department, send a greeting card to Great Aunt Shirley or something. It’s good karma.)

Compliment #4: The title of this book gets “27 Jennifers” by Mike Doughty stuck in my head, and you just don’t hear that song enough these days.

judge judy

She’s got to self promote. Syndication deals aren’t what they used to be.

Have any of you bookworms read much John Green? Do you think I should give him another shot or cut my losses? If you have no opinions on John Green, you certainly have an opinion on the color green. Tell me about that. (The correct opinion on the color green is that it is the AWESOMEST COLOR IN THE RAINBOW. I’m open to your varying levels of incorrectness, however.)

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