Posts Tagged ‘John Green’

Book Club Pick: November 2017

Turtles_All_The_Way_Down

Book Details:

Title: Turtles All the Way Down

Author: John Green

Series: Stand alone novel

Country: United States of America

Publisher: Dutton Books, Penguin Random House

First Published: 2017

Pages: 286

Publisher’s Description:

Sixteen-year-old Aza never intended to pursue the mystery of fugitive billionaire Russell Pickett, but there’s a hundred-thousand-dollar reward at stake and her Best and Most Fearless Friend, Daisy, is eager to investigate. So together they navigate the short distance and broad divides that separate them from Russell Pickett’s son, Davis.

Aza is trying. She is trying to be a good daughter, a good friend, a good student and maybe even a good detective, while also living with the ever-tightening spiral of her own thoughts.

Review:

Turtles All the Way Down is John Green’s first YA novel since his bestseller The Fault in our Stars in 2012.

The novel is narrated by sixteen-year-old Indianapolis teenager Aza Holmes. Aza suffers from anxiety and obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD). She is supported by her high school Maths teacher mother, her therapist Dr. Karen Singh, and her sci-fi obsessed best friend Daisy Ramirez (who writes Star Wars fan fiction).

GreetingsIndianapolis

As the novel opens the big news story in Aza’s town is the disappearance of Russell Pickett, a billionaire who went missing the night before police raided his home in connection with bribery and fraud charges. There is a $100,000 reward for information.

Daisy convinces Aza that they should investigate and get the reward. Aza knows Pickett’s eldest son Davis. In fifth and sixth grade the pair attended Camp Spero, a summer camp for grieving children. Aza had lost her father and Davis his mother.

Pickett was the absent father even when he was around. He planned to bequeath his estate to his pet Tuatara.

Tuatara

Tuatara – native to New Zealand (shout out to my home country!)

While the novel pays some attention to the mystery of Russell Pickett’s disappearance the focus is on Aza’s mental health issues. John Green himself suffers from OCD. The term obsessive compulsive disorder is never used; rather Green explores the condition describing it from Aza’s prospective.

Turtles All the Way Down is an intelligent, sometimes witty, sometimes depressing, and sometimes hopeful exploration of the mental health problems that many young people today sadly struggle with.

Links:

John Green Official Website

John Green on Facebook

John Green on Twitter

John Green on Instagram

Vlogbrothers YouTube Channel (with brother Hank Green)

 

Source: I borrowed this book from my public library.

 

Click here for my review of John’s Green’s The Fault in Our Stars

Click here for my review of John Green’s Paper Towns

Click here for my review of John Green’s Let it Snow: Three Holiday Romances (with Maureen Johnson & Lauren Myracle)

Book Club Pick: October 2017

TheFaultInOurStarsCover

Title: The Fault in Our Stars

Author: John Green

Series: Stand alone novel

Country: United States of America

Publisher: Dutton Books, Penguin Group

First Published: 2012

Pages: 313

Publisher’s Description:

Despite the tumour-shrinking medical miracle that has brought 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, irreverant, and raw, The Fault in Our Stars brilliantly explores the funny, thrilling, and tragic business of being alive and in love.

Review:

John Green’s latest novel Turtles All The Way Down is due out this month. So for this month’s book club pick I selected his previous published novel The Fault in Our Stars.

Turtles_All_The_Way_Down

 

The narrator of The Fault in Our Stars is sixteen-year-old Hazel Grace Lancaster, who has lung cancer.

At her mother’s request Hazel attends a cancer support group for young adults in a local church. She only attends to please her mother. That is until she meets seventeen-year-old Augustus Waters, a cancer survivor whose osteosarcoma has caused him to lose his right leg.

Augustus is at the meeting to support his friend Isaac, who is mentally preparing himself for his upcoming surgery to have his remaining eye removed due to cancer.

Hazel and Augustus strike up bond. Hazel accompanies Augustus to his place to watch V for Vendetta (2005), so Hazel can see her doppelgänger Natalie Portman. They also exchange their favourite books. Augustus gives Hazel The Price of Dawn based on his favourite video game and Hazel gives him An Imperial Infliction.

An Imperial Infliction by Peter Van Houten is a novel that follows a teenage girl Anna who has a rare blood cancer. Augustus is frustrated that the novel ends mid sentence without a satisfactory conclusion. This ending suggests that Anna got too sick to finish or passed away before completing the story.

Hazel has written many letters to Van Houten via his publisher but she has never received a response. Van Houten has not published since and the left the States for the Netherlands.

Augustus contacts Van Houten’s assistant and she puts them in touch with Van Houten and they correspond by email. Van Houten explains he can only answer Hazel’s questions in person.

Augustus uses his wish from the The Genie Foundation and surprises Hazel with a trip to Amsterdam to meet the reclusive author. The trip unfortunately does not go to plan.

The novel is witty and as one would expect from a novel about cancer it is heartbreaking.

The title of the novel is inspired by a line from William Shakespeare’s Julius Caesar, in which Cassius says to Brutus “The fault, dear Brutus is not in our stars, But in ourselves, that we are underlings.” (I, ii, 140-141). Similarly the title An Imperial Infliction comes from a poem by Emily Dickinson.

20th Century Fox optioned the rights to the novel upon its release and a film adaptation directed by Josh Boone, starring Shailene Woodley, Ansel Elgort, Nat Wolff, Laura Dern and Willem Dafoe, was released in 2014.

Links:

John Green Official Website

John Green on Facebook

John Green on Twitter

John Green on Instagram

Vlogbrothers YouTube Channel (with brother Hank Green)

 

Source: I borrowed this book from my public library.

 

Click here for my review of John Green’s Paper Towns

Click here for my review of John Green’s Let it Snow: Three Holiday Romances (with Maureen Johnson & Lauren Myracle)

 

Book Club Pick: December 2016

Let it Snow

Book Details:

Title: Let it Snow

Author: Maureen Johnson, John Green, Lauren Myracle

Series: Stand alone compilation novel

Country: United States of America

Publisher: Penguin Books

First Published: 2008

Pages: 354

Publisher’s Description:

The worst blizzard for fifty years. Three wintry love stories. One magical night.

It’s Christmas Eve and Gracetown has been buried by snow. But the weather is more than just an inconvenience. When one girl unexpectedly steps off a stranded train, she sets off a series of life-changing events.

Soon fourteen pumped-up cheerleaders will descend on the local Waffle House, the Duke’s DVD night will be rudely interrupted for a Twister mission, and a lovesick barista will determine the fate of a single teacup pig . . .

As the three stories collide, strangers will cross paths and romance blossoms with heart-warming consequences.

Review:

It’s December and the festive season is upon us! As I live in New Zealand I have never experienced a White Christmas, so this month I selected a book set over the holiday season in the Northern Hemisphere. Let it Snow features three holiday romances by three authors – The Jubilee Express by Maureen Johnson, A Cheertastic Christmas Miracle by John Green, and The Patron Saint of Pigs by Lauren Myracle.

The three short stories are stand alone by they intertwine with each other with setting and characters appearing throughout all three stories.

A few characters from the previous story appear in the next story but it is not until the end until the all meet up.

In Maureen Johnson’s The Jubilee Express, sixteen-year-old Jubilee meets Stuart when her train breaks down during a snow storm in the town of Gracetown on Christmas Eve, the setting for all three stories. Stuart invites Jubilee back to his family home and tries to convince Jubilee that she needs a boyfriend who will treat her better.

John Green’s A Cheertastic Christmas Miracle follows Tobin and his friends Duke (a tomboy) and JP as they make their way through the snow with a game of Twister to meet 14 stranded cheerleaders at a Korean Waffle House.

The Patron Saint of Pigs by Lauren Myracle is about Addie, who has just broken up with her boyfriend and her search for a teacup piglet. This story finishes with the main characters of all three stories meeting up.

Wherever you are have a safe and happy holiday season!

Let it snow

 

Links:

Maureen Johnson

Maureen Johnson Official Website

Maureen Johnson on Facebook

Maureen Johnson on Twitter

Maureen Johnson on Instagram

John Green

John Green Official Website

John Green on Facebook

John Green on Twitter

John Green on Instagram

Vlogbrothers YouTube Channel (with brother Hank Green)

Lauren Myracle

Lauren Myracle Official Website

Lauren Myracle on Twitter

Lauren Myracle on Instagram

 

Source: I borrowed a copy of this book from my public library

Paper Towns

Paper Towns

Paper Towns, directed by Jake Schreier (Robot & Frank), follows the massive success of last year’s adaptation of John Green’s The Fault in Our Stars. The novel Paper Towns was my June 2015 Book Club Pick. You can read my full review here.

Nat Wolff (who played the supporting role of best friend Isaac in The Fault in Our Stars) is brilliant as Quentin “Q” Jacobsen, the average and some what nerdy American teen, who has been infatuated with Margo Roth Spiegelman (portrayed by model turned actress Cara Delevingne) since she moved in across the road when he was a child.

Margo (Cara Delevingne) and Quentin (Nat Wolff)

Margo (Cara Delevingne) and Quentin (Nat Wolff)

This is Delevingne’s first lead role since her debut role in the 2012 film Anna Karenina. I will say it, Delevingne is not what I imagined when I read the book and some fans of the novel will not be able to get pass that. While Delevingne does not quite nail the part she is able to capture some of the essence of the alluring and mysterious teen. There is definitely more to her than her famous eyebrows.

The true chemistry is between Quentin and his equally geeky best buds Ben (Austin Abrams) and Radar (Justice Smith). Smith plays Radar straight with deadpan humour and is a good foil to Abrams who at times overplays the goofy loud mouthed vulgar teen. The trio are likeable characters and their onscreen chemistry is part of what makes the film a pleasure to watch.

Paper_Towns_01

Radar (Justice Smith), Quentin (Nat Wolff), Ben (Austin Abrams)

Quentin (Nat Wolff), Ben (Austin Abrams), Radar (Justice Smith)

The script is penned by Scott Neustadter and Michael H. Weber, who co-wrote The Fault in Our Stars (they also wrote 500 Days of Summer together). They have done a good job being faithful to the spirit of the novel. A lot of the dialogue is taken directly from the book.

Obviously for timing reasons there are few minor incidents have to be cut or changed for the film.

The incident from the book where Quentin and Margo break into theme park SeaWorld is cut from the film due to the controversy that has surrounded SeaWorld in the recent years. The duo instead end their night at Orlando’s SunTrust building, which actually works better for the story.

Also in film Radar’s girlfriend Angela (Jaz Sinclair) joins the boys and Margo’s friend Lacey (Halston Sage) on their road trip in their search of Margo. The decision to add a second female character to the road trip is probably to make up for Margo’s absence for much of the film, bar a few dream sequences. Sage brings a depth to her character and shows that Lacey is more than just the popular pretty high school teen.

Without spoiling the ending I did I feel the film had a more optimistic and feel good ending than the book.

Ben (Austin Abrams), Angela (Jaz Sinclair), Lacey (Halston Sage), Radar (Justice Smith), Quentin (Nat Wolff)

Road trip: Ben (Austin Abrams), Angela (Jaz Sinclair), Lacey (Halston Sage), Radar (Justice Smith), Quentin (Nat Wolff)

Best buds: Radar (Justice Smith), Quentin (Nat Wolff), Ben (Austin Abrams)

Best buds: Radar (Justice Smith), Quentin (Nat Wolff), Ben (Austin Abrams)

A word to parents and those concerned about adult content. There is some rear nudity when Margo and Quentin spring her ex-boyfriend Jase (Griffin Freeman) fleeing Becca’s house (The Fosters’ Caitlin Carver). Quentin and his high school nemesis Chuck (RJ Shearer) both have scenes shirtless and in their boxers. Ben and Radar also appear shirtless.

There is also underage drinking at unsupervised house party and some sexual references / language.

Overall fans of the book will enjoy this adaptation otherwise to newcomers it is a sweet, feel-good, coming-of-age part high school road trip movie.

Book Club Pick: June 2015

Paper-towns

Book Details:

Title: Paper Towns

Author: John Green

Series: Stand alone novel

Country: United States of America

Publisher: Dutton Children’s Books

First Published: 2008

Pages: 353

 

Review:

The prologue to the novel opens with our protagonist Quentin “Q” Jacobsen recalling an incident from when he was nine-years-old; when he and his neighbour and childhood friend Margo Roth Spiegelman found the body of Robert Joyner, who had committed suicide.

The novel flashes forward, Quentin is now a senior in high school and like many childhood friends he and Margo have drifted apart. It is a month before his graduation, when in the middle of the night, Margo shows up at his bedroom window with a plan to seek revenge on those she feels have wronged her.

After their night of revenge on classmates who have wronged them the duo break into theme park SeaWorld.

The next day at school Quentin wonders if he and Margo will reconnect. Margo does not come to school that day or the next. After three days her parents file a police report. As Quentin was the last person to see Margo he is questioned by police.

Quentin learns that Margo has run away multiple times before and that her parents now seem to be beyond caring – her mother plans to change the locks. The police point out she is not a minor and that she left on her on accord.

When looking at Margo’s window Quentin notices a poster of musician Woody Guthrie taped to back of her window shade. Quentin enlists the help of his best friends Ben and Radar and they bribe Margo’s younger sister to let them search her room. This search leads them to Guthrie’s song ‘Walt Wiltman’s Niece’, which leads them to a collection of Wiltman’s poetry with lines highlighted.

He believes that Margo has left these cryptic clues for him to find her. With the help of Radar, Ben and his girlfriend Lacey, the four set off on a road trip in search of Margo Roth Spiegelman.

Paper Towns has been adapted into a film starring Nat Wolff and Cara Delevingne. It has a June to August release. Click here for worldwide release dates.

PaperTownsPoster   PaperTownsTrio

Before reading the novel I was unaware of the term ‘Paper Towns’ and found it interesting to learn about Paper Towns along with the characters and have done more research on the subject since finishing the book.

There are incidents of excessive underage drinking, sex and nudity. These incidents are not glorified but rather a portrayal of teenage life. I would recommend Paper Towns for junior high school age students and older.

 

Links:

John Green Official Website

John Green on Facebook

John Green on Twitter

John Green on Instagram

Vlogbrothers YouTube Channel (with brother Hank Green)

Paper Towns Film Official Website

Paper Towns Film on Facebook

Paper Towns Film on Twitter

Paper Towns Film on Instagram

 

Source: I purchased a copy of this book.