Turtles All The Way Down by John Green

Turtles all the Way Down, a novel by John Green, tells the story of a teenage girl named Aza who struggles with obsessive compulsive disorder. After one day becoming involved in the search for a fugitive billionaire Russell Pickett, she is reunited with an old childhood friend: who happens to be the aforementioned billionaire’s son. Despite the search for Pickett taking the spotlight as the guiding force of this powerful novel, the resulting work of fiction depicts a battle with mental illness sharpened by author’s personal struggles with OCD.

As Aza balances her fear of the human microbe, school, a budding relationship, and a criminal hunt, she begins to discover that in her own struggles, she has withdrawn from the world around her. The entire work highlights the value of life, much in the way past John Green novels tend to do. However, Turtles all the Way Down stands out from the rest of Green’s work. It obviously rings with his unique writing style and emotionally moving qualities, but also coursing through the veins of this work is a level of authenticity that makes it relatable to our very human nature.

As a personal fan of John Green, I came across this book expecting it to be incredible. I was not let down in the slightest. I could talk about the character development that enriches the plot of the story. I could talk for hours about how the comic elements of this novel are balanced with sharp, relatable reality in a way that triggers emotion within the darkest recesses of your brain, even as the main character discusses Star Wars fanfiction. I could even talk about how despite the obvious focal point of the novel being a criminal investigation, every other element of the novel becomes a tapestry of woven word and plot, with each string tugging and guiding the next into forming a textile of humor and sadness. But I digress. Simply, this book is a must read anyone who wants to read a funny, emotional, page turner of a novel.

-Mirabella S.

Turtles All The Way Down by John Green is available for checkout from the Mission Viejo Library. It can also be downloaded for free from Overdrive

Looking For Alaska by John Green

lookingforalaska_johngreenI was so excited to get my hands on this book! I had heard such great things about it for a couple of years now, so I couldn’t wait to start reading. However, I was not as thrilled with this book as I had hoped to be. I know this will be controversial because many people loved this book, but I really did not connect with the characters or the story in the way I thought I would.

So here’s a quick summary of the book: *WARNING THIS DOES CONTAIN SPOILERS* Miles, a high school junior, leaves Florida to attend a boarding school in Alabama. There he meets and befriends his roommate “The Colonel” and his friends Takumi and Alaska. As time goes on, Miles falls in love with the spontaneous, rebellious Alaska despite the fact that she has a boyfriend and that people tell him crazy stories about her. Miles becomes caught up in the Colonel’s pranks, games, drinking, and drugs and he realizes that this is the “Great Perhaps” he was searching for. One night towards the end of the book, Miles and Alaska kiss and fall asleep in her room. But a phone call in the middle of the night wakes Alaska and she goes hysterical screaming that she has to leave. So Miles (nicknamed Pudge by the Colonel) help her escape unnoticed by the deacon of the school. The next day they find out that Alaska was killed in a car accident on her way to wherever she was going the night before. Pudge and the Colonel are miserable blaming themselves for her death. Pudge decides to investigate the reason behind her leaving and whether or not her death was an accident or a suicide. The book ends with Pudge forgiving Alaska for dying-suicide or not- and writing a school paper about the “way out of the labyrinth” as Alaska had asked her classmates before her death.

I liked how Green portrayed raw qualities of teenagers rather than the perfect good students in most books. The main character falls in love with an emotionally unstable girl-that’s not something every book does. I still thought it was a good book; there were just some things that bothered me. For instance, I did not like the actual plot of the story because it felt like there was no purpose to the events. Prank after prank you feel, as the reader, that something big is going to happen, but when it happens it doesn’t bring closure, instead it brought disappointment. I also really did not like how the entire second half of the book is Pudge’s depression over losing Alaska and his inability to do anything about it. Only the very end of the book brings closure to the story. And yet still, after finishing the book I felt as though Pudge’s story was insignificant. And maybe that was the point, I can see how Green might have had a greater point that I missed. Regardless I wasn’t the biggest fan of this book. There could have been more to it-more characters, major events, something pleasing to the reader.

I still praise John Green as an author because I loved Paper Towns and The Fault in Our Stars but this is not on my top ten books list unfortunately. Feel free to leave a comment about what you thought of this book!

-Kelsey H

Looking for Alaska is available for check out from the Mission Viejo Public Library, Overdrive, and Axis360

Paper Towns by John Green

papertowns_johngreenMargo Roth Spiegelman is an independent young woman who makes her own rules in the game of life. She goes with her own ideas and does not take orders from anybody, including her parents. She always plays games with people, running away whenever she pleases and leaving clues for people to find her. It is all a part of this little game she plays with everyone she cares about, making them scared as she has fun. She is so determined to live by herself, the way she wants, so when she runs away again, it doesn’t scare her parents. It just annoys them to the point where they don’t care if she comes back. It’s when she goes missing for more than a few days that everyone starts to think she is not coming back. Her old friend from when they were kids, Quentin, tries to get into the life of Margo. He tries to think like she would in order to find her and get her back, before it is too late.

When I first found out about this book, I couldn’t wait to read it. The storyline seemed so interesting to me, that a girl who runs away leaves clues for people to find her. But when I actually started reading it, my high hopes for the book weren’t met. All of the clues Q had to follow to find Margo were very confusing. As the reader, I was very confused and couldn’t figure out how the clues added up to finding her. It was all very complex, and sometimes that’s good when you’re reading a book, to have it be a little confusing to make you think. But this book was so confusing and difficult to read. I wanted to put the book down because it was too hard to think about everything while still trying to enjoy the story. I have heard of other readers loving this book, hanging onto every detail. In the end, it’s just a matter of opinion. Mine may not be the popular opinion, but this is what I thought of it. If you like mystery and adventure, you should definitely try to read this book. While some parts were confusing, some were also pretty funny and meaningful. One of my favorite quotes I will always remember is “she loved mysteries so much she became one”. John Green is a mysterious writer himself, so I do still look forward to reading more of his books in the future.

-Sabrina C., 10th Grade

Paper Towns is available for check out from the Mission Viejo Public Library, Overdrive, and Axis360

Book Review: An Abundance of Katherines by John Green

abundance_of_katherinesAn Abundance of Katherines by John Green is phenomenal book that is about a boy who has only dated girls named Katherine. The book starts with a boy named Colin who is introduced to be a child prodigy. He has just had is heart broken by his nineteenth girlfriend named Katherine. Colin is extremely upset, so his friend Hassan convinces him to go on a road trip.

After convincing both of their parents, they go on the road trip. They stop in a town called Gutshot where they are offered summer jobs and a room to live in. The women who offers them these jobs has a daughter named Lindsey. Meanwhile, Colin is set on the fact of finding an equation that will predict the future of any relationship.

Eventually, Colin finds that he is attracted to Lindsey. However, Lindsey already has a boyfriend. Anyone who has read any John Green books in the past would certainly be interested in this book and it is a wonderful book that I would recommend to everyone.

-Melika R., 9th grade

 

6 Young Adult Books That Would Make Awesome Movies

1. Every Day by David Levithan follows A, a teenager who wakes up each morning to find himself in the body and sharing the mind of another. A common concept throughout this novel is how love has the capacity to “reach beyond” things such as appearance and gender. I love this book and I feel it is one that should be shared outside of the standard YA reader audience.

let_it_snow_cover2. Let It Snow by Maureen Johnson, John Green, and Lauren Myracle is a unique literary compilation written by three accomplished YA authors with similar writing styles and a common sense of humor. It tells the overlapping stories of three different pairs/groups of friends who are brought together by fate on Christmas Day. It’s funny, heartfelt, and really capitalizes on the magic and meaning of the holiday season.

3. Legend by Marie Lu would make an awesome dystopian action film due to its fascinating world building and interesting use of two very different narrators in two very different situations.

4. Encouraged by a friend, I read Wings (the first book in the Wings series) by Aprilynne Pike a few summers ago hoping for a quick read. The book hugely exceeded my expectations and I ended up getting the rest of the series the next day. Wings follows Laurel, a seemingly normal teenage girl, as she discovers the truth of her past, her ancestry, and herself. She soon finds herself in a world of faeries, human-like beings that couldn’t be less human. They are, ultimately, plants instead of animals. I think that it would be awesome to be able to see this supernatural world in a more visual way.

will_grayson_cover5. Will Grayson, Will Grayson by John Green and David Levithan is an captivating and inspiring story about two very different teenagers with the same name that are brought together by fate. This book contains everything–from humor; to support of the LGBT community; to friendship; to love; to a Tiny Cooper musical. This is a truly amazing book and I believe it would make a great movie.

6. I’m not exactly sure of the status of the film rights for I’d Tell You I Love You But Then I’d Have To Kill You (the first book in the Gallagher Girls Series) by Ally Carter. I have heard that they were purchased and sold and bought and expired. I have seen conflicting information, but last I heard, Tonik Productions had undertaken the project. If this is true, I am excited to see their final project. If it’s not, I am disappointed that they overlooked such an amazing opportunity. This series is a compilation of the journal entries of Cammie Morgan, a student at a clandestine spy-training academy disguised as an pristigious prep school for “exceptional young women”. If you haven’t read it, I encourage you to do so, but don’t judge the series by its first book. 😉

What books do you wish to see on the big screen?

-Danielle K., 9th grade

Book vs. Movie: The Fault in Our Stars

fault_bookvsmovieJust as a header- If you haven’t read and seen The Fault in Our Stars, this review might spoil a few things.

The Fault in Our Stars by John Green is an amazing book, teaching us many life lessons that we should keep with us forever. Be grateful for what you have; both of the main characters, Hazel Grace and Augustus Waters, have cancer. Cancer is a life-threatening disease, which for some reason always touches the human heart in a way that is indescribable. Hazel Grace and Augustus Waters go on an amazing ride, a rollercoaster that only goes up. As readers, we get to experience their amazing journey along side of them, staying with them when they fall in love. Every book has its tragedies, and so does this one. This book is quite a memory; it makes you feel as if this was your life. I will never forget this book.

Recently, a movie interpretation of this book was made, and it kept quite close to the actual book’s plot. Although the movie missed some aspects of the novel, it skipped ones that were really not that important to the progression of the story. The movie lacked the story of Augustus Waters’ ex-girlfriend, who also died from cancer. In the novel, Hazel finds out, but doesn’t do much of it aside from visiting the web page of his girlfriend, and seeing how and by who she was missed. However, this is one minor detail that needn’t be included in the story. On the other hand, the movie was surprisingly similar to the novel. The film kept in mind the novel’s little details, so much so that they even had a bright green sports car as Monica’s car just as in the novel.

In general, The Fault in Our Stars by John Green is a masterpiece that has simply been put into words and onto sheets and sheets of paper.

-Nirmeet B., 10th grade

Book Review: Paper Towns, by John Green

paper_towns“At some point, you gotta stop looking up at the sky, or one of these days you’ll look back down and see that you floated away, too.”

Paper Towns is one of John Green’s lesser known novels, but I think it’s one of his best. A novel about an awkward boy who is in love with a girl far out of his league, its very similar to Looking for Alaska. Accompanied by his two best friends, the main character, “Q” embarks on a journey to find his lifelong crush, Margot Roth Speigelman after she runs away from home for the fifth time. The characters are quirky and lovable and each one has a unique personality and sense of humor to contribute to the plot.

“That’s always seemed so ridiculous to me, that people want to be around someone because they’re pretty. It’s like picking your breakfast cereals based on color instead of taste.”

Quirky and filled with light humor, Paper Towns is not only a story about love and adventure but is a fun and entertaining novel that will make you laugh with every page.

-Sara S., 10th grade