Saturday, May 24, 2014

Book Review: The Fault in Our Stars

Title: The Fault in Our Stars
Author: John Green
Publisher: Dutton Books
Rating: 5

Synopsis (via Goodreads): 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.

Review: This book was shoved in my face by my dear friend Kayleigh, (who I've mentioned several times on this blog before). She had nothing but good things to say about TFiOS and any book that she highly recommends, I read. I trust her when it comes to books, and anything really. (:

One thing she told me before reading the book was that I was going to cry. She was disappointed when I didn't. Actually, she kind of yelled at me for it. If the movie is as good as the book, I'm sure I'll be a blubbering baby. But, the book is always better than the movie.

It's hard for me to describe The Fault in Our Stars. It was so beautifully written that I surprised myself by not crying. I loved Hazel, I loved Augustus, I loved the plot - I just loved the book. It's one of those that I would love to reread again and again. I just hope the movie doesn't screw it all up.

Because I can't review this book without giving the whole thing away (the ending was my favorite part!) I decided I might as well include the movie trailer. If you hadn't read the book yet, you better get yourself a copy before you see the movie. Without further ado, the TFiOS movie trailer.

Wednesday, May 7, 2014

Book Review: White Lines

Title: White Lines
Author: Jennifer Banash
Publisher: Putnam Juvenile
Rating: 4

Synopsis (via Goodreads): A gritty, atmospheric coming of age tale set in 1980s New York City. Seventeen-year-old Cat is living every teenager’s dream: she has her own apartment on the Lower East Side and at night she’s club kid royalty, guarding the velvet rope at some of the hottest clubs in the city. The night with its crazy, frenetic, high-inducing energy—the pulsing beat of the music, the radiant, joyful people and those seductive white lines that can ease all pain—is when Cat truly lives. But her daytime, when real life occurs, is more nightmare than dream. Having spent years suffering her mother’s emotional and physical abuse, and abandoned by her father, Cat is terrified and alone—unable to connect to anyone or anything. But when someone comes along who makes her want to truly live, she’ll need to summon the courage to confront her demons and take control of a life already spinning dangerously out of control. Both poignant and raw, White Lines is a gripping tale and the reader won’t want to look away.

Review: I won this ARC from Jennifer Banash herself before it was released last April, but it's been on my bookshelf ever since. (This has become a blogger problem for me; I will get a book to review, but I won't review it right away. This is something I hope to fix by the end of 2014). I decided I needed something to read during my long drive to and from Florida over spring break and White Lines was the lucky one of the bunch. 

To be honest, I had no idea that this story was set in the 1980s. It felt more futuristic than "historical," but I enjoyed the club setting nonetheless. I haven't read a book involving clubs and the night scene before White Lines, but Cat's story is fresh, raw, and unique. Jennifer Banash wrote about touchy topics that most young adult authors tend to avoid such as drugs and childhood abuse. 

I found the story to be dull up until page 92. Cat had been introduced, the reader got a look at the club she worked at, she took some random drugs a client gave her and wound up passing out in the club bathroom. Cool, right? All I could say was, "Really?" After her near-death experience, I found myself getting more comfortable in Cat's shoes. The story got really exciting once Alexa was introduced. 

Alexa was Cat's high school's princess. She was popular, she was spoiled, she had a group of minions that followed her wherever she went - but she was getting tired of it. Alexa decided that Cat would be her ticket out of the royalty lifestyle by showing her a glimpse of the nightlife. Like Cat, I was hesitant to warm up to Alexa because of her social status, but by the end of White Lines, she had become one of my favorite characters. She helped Cat see that it's possible to change your lifestyle under any circumstances if you're unhappy. 

Cat was a strong, main character who could take care of herself after all she had been through in her childhood. Along the way, she lost sight of who she was and who she could be, but that could also be a side effect from all the drugs. I admired her strength because she faced her fears and acknowledged she had an addiction and needed help. 

The ending was a nice closure for Cat's story. It's a perfect standalone with a new, spunky setting and raw material that will leave the reader wanting more after every page they turn. Once I got into it, I couldn't put it down. I highly recommend reading White Lines for a fresh story line that's on the other side of the young adult spectrum (especially if you need a break from reading the cookie-cutter high school romance young adult novels. I sure did). (: