Book Review: Paper Towns, by John Green

paper_townsIn continuing my mission to read every John Green novel known to man, I invested my time in Paper Towns.  This book follows the life of high school senior Quentin Jacobsen and his mission to find his first love, Margo, after she mysteriously disappears.  Margo is adventurous and exciting, and acts as a nice foil to Quentin’s shy and reserved personality.

As cheesy as this plotline sounds, Paper Towns was actually an interesting story filled with mystery, comedy, and a break-in to Sea World.  While the ending is somewhat disappointing and frustrating, everything leading up to it is exciting and enlightening.  This story is humorous, yet has dark undertones as it reveals faults in humanity and society.

What I learned through reading this book is that Green is an expert at creating relatable teenaged characters.  In Paper Towns, the main characters are worried about their future, but also concerned with living in the moment.  As we all know, these two tasks can be very difficult to balance.  In Paper Towns, Quentin teaches the readers how to balance the two, and how this combination of enjoying adventure and preparing for the future helps us to discover ourselves and what we want out of life.

-Amanda D., 11th grade

Book Review: An Abundance of Katherines, by John Green

abundance_of_katherinesAn Abundance of Katherines is a young adult fiction novel written by one of my favorite authors of all time… John Green.  It follows the life of Colin Singleton, a child prodigy who has been dumped 19 times… all by girls named Katherine.  After graduating from high school, Colin and his best friend Hassan decide to take a spontaneous road trip to help Colin get over his recent breakup.

Now, if you have read Green’s more popular works like Looking For Alaska or The Fault in our Stars, you may be worried that this book will also be slightly depressing.  That’s what I thought anyway.  Therefore, I was pleasantly surprised when I discovered that this book was simply a funny coming of age novel and not a depressing romance.

Don’t get me wrong, I love The Fault in our Stars and Looking for Alaska, but An Abundance of Katherines was a nice break from Green’s more dramatic novels.  Colin’s sarcasm and lack of social skills add to the book’s lighthearted nature, while at the same time help to deliver a clear and fascinating message.  (I won’t spoil that message for you because it’s pretty much the whole point of the book.)

Overall, I thoroughly enjoyed this book and I recommend it to anyone interested in coming of age novels, or anyone who wants a book that is able to cheer them up in one page.

-Amanda D., 11th grade

Book Review: Where the Red Fern Grows, by Wilson Rawls

red_fernThis book by Wilson Rawls is about a boy named Billy Colman with his two excellent coon hunting hounds, Little Ann and Old Dan. Billy gets his dogs from a magazine order, and saves enough money by determination and hard work. He always receives tips on hunting from his grandpa. On their first hunt in the river bottoms, the dogs beg for help occasionally. Then Old Dan finds the raccoon scent and heads off with Little Ann at his side. The raccoon pulls a simple trick by swimming across the river. Two hours later the pups has treed their first coon in the tallest sycamore tree in the bottoms. Finally after many hour of chopping the tree, the sycamore falls, and the hounds race off to find and kill the coon.

Near the end of the book, Billy enters a competition for hunting. Billy, his grandpa, and his dad goes to the contest. Before hunting, the judges held a beauty contest, and Billy enters Little Ann. He quickly grooms Little Ann and brings her to the tables. Little Ann wins the beauty contest. At the end of the hunting competition, Billy’s dogs win the contest. But– spoiler alert: there’s a sad ending for these dogs!

This terrific book is truly amazing. I think that the book is great for animal lovers. My opinion about the book is that the story is truly amazing and I bet everyone who reads this story will love it.

-Samantha S., 7th grade