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  1. Looking For Alaska by John Green

    Tuesday, 28 January 2014

    Looking For Alaska by John Green


    Before. Miles "Pudge" Halter's whole existence has been one big nonevent, and his obsession with famous last words has only made him crave the "Great Perhaps" (Fran├žois Rabelais, poet) even more. Then he heads off to the sometimes crazy, possibly unstable, and anything-but-boring world of Culver Creek Boarding School, and his life becomes the opposite of safe. Because down the hall is Alaska Young. The gorgeous, clever, funny, sexy, self-destructive, screwed-up, and utterly fascinating Alaska Young, who is an event unto herself. She pulls Pudge into her world, launches him into the Great Perhaps, and steals his heart.

    After. Nothing is ever the same.

    Where you can buy 
    Amazon / Kobo / Nook

    Title: Looking For Alaska
    Publication Date: December 28th 2006
    Published by: Speak

    Review
    I will be honest here, and say at first, I struggled to get into it. John Green has a unique voice when it comes to writing, and I guess, it takes some getting used to. I persevered, and after the first few pages, I was hooked!

    Looking for Alaska is focused on the POV of the protagonist, Miles Halter, who has an obsession with finding the Great Perhaps, and famous last words. The story starts, when Miles is about to head off to a boarding school, Culver Creek and then he meets Alaska Young, and quite predictably, he falls head over heels for her.

    Now, as far as plot goes, there isn't a lot. But to be honest, you can push past that, because this book was probably the most emotional two days of my life. I laughed and I cried many times throughout. I found myself highly identifying with the characters. I always hear people say The Fault in Our Stars made them cry, more than this one, but if I'm totally honest, this book made me cry a lot more!

    I could not recommend this book highly enough! Just grab the tissues.


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  2. Butter by Erin Jade Lange

    Monday, 27 January 2014

    Butter by Erin Jade Lange


    A lonely obese boy everyone calls "Butter" is about to make history. He is going to eat himself to death-live on the Internet-and everyone is invited to watch. When he first makes the announcement online to his classmates, Butter expects pity, insults, and possibly sheer indifference. What he gets are morbid cheerleaders rallying around his deadly plan. Yet as their dark encouragement grows, it begins to feel a lot like popularity. And that feels good. But what happens when Butter reaches his suicide deadline? Can he live with the fallout if he doesn't go through with his plans? 

    With a deft hand, E.J. Lange allows readers to identify with both the bullies and the bullied in this all-consuming look at one teen's battle with himself.

    Review

    I will start off by saying that I had mixed feelings about this book. Butter, the overweight and ostracised protagonist really managed to pull at my heartstrings. The first paragraph, in which we find out that he will eat himself to death live on camera drew me in straight away and made me want to breeze through the book in order to see the end result as quickly as possible.

    Butter is overweight and he knows it. He doesn't seem to care about what people think, more rather continues to indulge in his dangerous lifestyle. Perhaps the most interesting thing about Butter is his talent with the Saxophone and the pure passion the writer manages to convey in him every time he plays. Lonely and desperate, perhaps sick of being an outcast, Butter posts to the Internet that he is to kill himself live on air, by eating himself to death. now this alone, is enough to cause shock and slight revulsion that a 16 year old boy would hold such low regard over his own life and do something to this magnitude, purely to get the attention he so desires.

    As Butters blog grows in popularity, and so does Butter himself, he finds himself ensconced in a "friendship" circle with the popular crowd, who even go so far as to make suggestions on what he can eat, create a bucket list for the poor guy to follow before his final meal and to actively post a password on the site so that concerned people cannot report him.

    Now there were a few issues that I think needed to be addressed. First being the fact that surely some adult would have come across this site/blog and reported it? Or surely enough, had the blog spread about the school like wildfire, a teacher, counselor or even the Professor to whom Butter holds an affinity would have gotten involved. After all we are talking about a kid killing himself live on air. Surely there are deep psychological issues involved here that needed to be addressed.

    I liked the majority of the characters, though I knew straight away that the popular crowd that Butter had become a part of were see through and fake, only caught up in the excitement of Butters pact. His longtime crush, to whom he also talks to on the Internet under a fake alias, seemed to me, a bit up herself. She wasn't the kind hearted person that Butter made her out to be, in fact, to me she seemed quite selfish and judgemental.

    I think the book itself was an original piece of literature, a masterpiece in its own right. It's background message was the difficulty of being a teenager within todays society and just trying to fit in. I found myself really getting involved in the story, despite the dark theme. As Butter hurtled towards his final deadline, I found myself, crying, laughing and actually gasping out loud at moments. I could really feel Butters pain and just wanted to reach through the page and give him a hug. Other times I wanted to scream at him, to tell him that he was naive to think that these people weren't really his friends, and were just interested in the sick deadline and whether he would actually do it.

    I guess reading this book is much like watching a car crash, you're repulsed by what you see, but you can't help but to slow down and watch the scene unfold. This is how the book felt to me. By the end, I was gripping the book, waiting to see if Butter would really die. The only thing I would say is that towards the end, when Butter is in the hospital, I felt that it ended too quickly.

    He is in hospital after an attempted suicide, which in itself would hold serious psychological consequence. For me, things were tied up too easily, there was no real talk of any help for Butter and I felt loosely, that some ends were left untied.

    All in all, I found this book a greatly enjoyable read. Its originality shone through and the beautiful prose of the author only added to the sheer qualiity of the book as a whole. Couldn't recommend it highly enough!



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  3. Gone by Michael Grant

    Thursday, 23 January 2014

    Gone - Michael Grant


    "Suddenly it’s a world without adults and normal has crashed and burned. When life as you know it ends at 15, everything changes.

    In the blink of an eye all the adults disappear in a small town in southern California and no one knows why. Cut off from the outside world, those that are left are trapped, and there’s no help on the way. They must do all they can to survive. Chaos rules the streets. Gangs begin to form. Sides are chosen – strong or weak. Cruel or humane. And then there are those who begin to develop powers . . . It’s Lord of the Flies for the Heroes generation.

    A tour-de-force from global sensation, Michael Grant, Gone is the first book in the series. If there’s one sci-fi/fantasy book for teens you read this year, make it Gone.

     “I love this book” – Stephen King


    Good but not spectacular 

    I actually saw this in my local bookshop a number of times, but it never really caught my fancy. But then I decided to give it a go, and I honestly have mixed opinions. 

    Gone is a sci fi Dystopian Novel in which any adult over the age of fifteen disappears. During the course of the book, the characters have to deal with the rich kids up at Coates, mutated animals, talking coyotes and the mysterious darkness amongst other things such as learning to live in a world without adults.

    I will admit that I found this book to be quite enjoyable, if not a little boring at times. And though it is not great such as other books in it genre, it has its own style that lends itself. To be honest, I didn't really feel like a lot happened. A lot of the book was spent talking about the FAYZ, The Barrier and what the characters were doing. 

    Which brings me onto my next topic - the characters. I didn't really make a connection with any of the characters. They all felt a little underdeveloped and one dimensional to me, but that is not to say that I didn't like them. I just feel that they could have been developed better.

    I wasn't wowed by this book, I didn't get the same sense of excitement for the sequels as I have done for other books, but that is not to say that I will not read the sequels.
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