Book Review: Paper Towns, by John Green

paper_townsPaper Towns has to be my second-favorite book that John Green has written. When I’ve recommended books to friends, I’ve always made sure that my list of recommendations included Paper Towns.

Paper Towns is about a boy named Quentin Jacobsen, primarily known as “Q,” and the elusive enigma named Margo Roth Spiegelman. Though the two were once good friends in their childhood, they’ve become more distant as the years passed and Margo gained popularity.

However, one night, Margo taps at Q’s window dressed like a ninja with a whole night’s worth of plans. It is at this moment when Margo climbs into Q’s window that she climbs right back into his life.

After the night of impromptu adventures, Margo disappears just days before graduation and becomes a mystery to anyone who has known her. When Q hears about her disappearance, he ends up finding clues left specifically for him and follows them in order to find Margo.

It is this adventure that makes Paper Towns another favorite among teen readers and John Green Fans alike. I would absolutely recommend this to anyone who is interested in a book that is about a romance that is not really a romance at all.

-Danielle G., 11th grade

Book Review: The Fault in Our Stars, by John Green

fault_in_our_stars_coverIt was only in December when I started reading again, with The Fault in Our Stars being the third book I read that weekend. I was honestly disappointed in myself because I had chosen to read such a breathtakingly beautiful novel nearly a year after its publication.

The Fault in Our Stars by John Green tells the generic story about a girl who meets a boy who completely turns her life around. However, John Green adds in the fact that the girl, Hazel Grace Lancaster, is barely getting by with the help of a miracle drug that keeps her thyroid cancer at bay. The boy, Augustus Waters, is an osteosarcoma cancer survivor and amputee who completely changes Hazel’s perspective about life and love. It is during a cancer support group meeting when a simple handshake leads to the creation of their masterpiece of a relationship.

John Green, famous also for writing Looking for Alaska, An Abundance of Katherines, and Paper Towns, continues his winning streak by beautifully illustrating the locations most important to both the characters and the reader. Green transports the reader as far as an enigmatic author’s home in Amsterdam, or even as close as Augustus’ garage. He makes the lives of both teenage lovers easily relatable, regardless of the degree and only fuels the reader’s desire to meet Augustus and Hazel in person. What really stands out about this book is the fact that John Green effortlessly tells this tragic story without making it seem so tragic, balancing out the seriousness with comic relief.

In between the laughter and tears, this book was an absolute pleasure to read. I recommend this book to anyone who loves John Green’s work, loves a teenage romance, or may have lost interest in reading. I firmly believe that reading this novel will certainly rekindle one’s love for books.

-Danielle G., 11th grade

Event Recap: Cassandra Clare’s Clockwork Princess Tour

On Friday, March 22, Mission Viejo’s City Hall was taken over by crazed book fans toting around tall stacks of books, sporting Shadowhunter runes, and failing to hide their excitement.

Sarah Rees Brennan, Cassandra Clare, and Maureen Johnson speak to fans in Mission Viejo

Sarah Rees Brennan, Cassandra Clare, and Maureen Johnson speak to fans in Mission Viejo

Authors Cassandra Clare, Maureen Johnson, and Sarah Rees Brennan ran a little late because of the infamous LA traffic, but arrived at the scene with the knowledge that their fans were waiting anxiously. The atmosphere of the room was that of complete awe for Clare’s newly released novel, Clockwork Princess, its book trailer, the trailer for The Mortal Instruments movie, and for the great company of those who love the same story.

The Q&A portion of the event consisted of questions ranging from the creation of Cassandra Clare’s books to the production of the film adaptation of her first novel, City of Bones, releasing in August later this year. Fans were captivated by the stories that Clare told of her childhood. She mentioned that her storytelling past and her first computer at age 12 are what began her book writing career. Clare also discussed her inspiration for the Shadowhunters books: a tattoo artist friend. Clare would hear stories about tattoo symbolism and the people who lived according to them, which sparked her imagination, leading her to the question, “What if there was a race of people whose lives revolved around tattoos and their meanings?” And with that, the Shadowhunters of her novels were born.

Cassandra Clare also gave advice to aspiring writers, saying that there are “many small steps to a large goal.” Also, when asked whether Clare enjoyed “torturing her fans” by destroying their ships, pairings of characters created by the fans, she simply said, “What is the point of a ship if not to sink it?” And with that, the room exploded in uproar and applause.

Clare’s presentation was not one that anyone would regret attending, and being in the company of those who shared the same love only made it a more enjoyable experience. It was an absolute pleasure to have attended, as it was my first author event!

– Danielle G., 11th grade