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Saturday, May 28, 2016

The Fault in Our Stars

So my brother had to read this book for school and he went to the library to get it. I thought lets take advantage of this and read the book as well. This book was a rollercoaster of emotions with all its philosophy. The Fault in Our Stars by John Green, my second book by this author but let me tell you this: he did it again. He knows how to capture his readers, I give him that. 

Hazel Grace, the girl that doesn't know when she's going to die. She only knows she's sick, she only knows there's one medicine that keeps her alive. But for how long? Augustus Waters, survived it. One leg was all it took to be saved, to be a survivor of the sickness that captures people and doesn't let go that easy. The moment these two collide there's no denying to their attraction. However Hazel feels like she's a time bomb and will explode at any time, Augustus doesn't take any distance. They fight or have been fighting for such a long time in their lives and it brings them closer together. So close that it brings them to Amsterdam. It's only then that life seems to take a turn neither of them expected to happen. 

This is a book where you just need tissues by your side. And I'm not even kidding. John Green does it again and how?! The first book I read by this author was Looking for Alaska and the book absolutely captured me with its emotions as well as it's deep thoughts. The Fault in Our Stars does the same thing to you. It grabs you, it makes you think and it makes you understand.

Hazel Grace, the girl with the respirator at her side is the girl you would want to be in such a hard situation. She's strong and keeps going while there's so much at stake. I absolutely admire her courage. The best thing about this character is that she doesn't think about herself, she doesn't think about how much she's suffering but about who she's leaving behind if she is going to die. She believes that there will come a day, soon, where she's going to explode and will hurt everyone around her. This is what I was keen on most with this character, she thinks about everyone but herself, while she's the one that's going to die.

As for Augustus Waters, he's the most goofy person of them all. He's funny and can exaggerate, he's amazing. He survived his sickness and now tries to enjoy each and every moment of his life. And it's a life he wants to share with Hazel. I think that's really something beautiful in this book and with this character because in real life it's not that easy to just bind yourself to someone. He goes for it, for the full 100% and that's the thing I admired with him. He's there if anyone needs him, he'll find a way to brings a smile on the other character's face. 

Another character that I absolutely want to discuss is Isaac. I often wished that he was in the story a lot more. The plot focuses more on Hazel Grace and Augustus and less on the other friendships that are around. I understand why the focus on those two is more important but I was just such a fan of Isaac. How he dealt with everything. Hazel is sick, Augustus survived and Isaac is half a fighter, half a survivor. The parts where we did get to see him he was either being brave or being heartbroken and I absolutely wished there was more to see than we already have seen in the book. 

The plot was, in my point of view, similar to the movie which I've seen. I remember telling myself I was never going to read the book after I saw the movie. I was so emotional after the movie, I absolutely didn't want to go through it again with the book. I guess something went wrong there because I did read the book. 

I don't know if I regret reading the book. Part of me regrets it because I'm again stunned and emotional but that's also the good part about a book. This one, and the other book by John Green, never ceases to capture me with its realistic elements and its high level of emotions. I knew how things were going to go because of the movie but I was still so surprised. I never thought the book would capture me as much as it did. Sure I did love the movie, but the book made me live in it and that's a whole new different level of love.

The best part about the book in comparison to the movie are its philosophical elements: the poems, the citations. Looking for Alaska had the same thing, questions and statements that made you think and form your own idea of the labyrinth we call life and now the author makes us do it again but with death as a subject. All this comes together with such a high level of emotions that come to you at such a speed it's insane. All this makes the perfect formula for a book that both makes you think and makes you enjoy it. 

I don't think it's really necessary to go over the plot because I'm pretty certain we all know the hype its plot. But I do want to underscore again that it still amazed me, even if I saw the movie first (which I did). I was still so into the book and I absolutely enjoyed each moment the characters had together. Let me say it like this: the last 20 pages of the book, gave me the same emotions as the last 20 minutes of the movie. This means that I needed a box of Kleenex by my side and had to look away after a couple of minutes or pages because I couldn't do it anymore. The book is going to tear you apart, there's no denying it. It is going to hurt you but then again it's a privilege to get hurt by it. The pain you feel while reading it, comes so close to the pain in real life, it's just so spectacular to have this in a book. And since it does tear you apart, it must mean this book is amazing to some extend, otherwise you wouldn't have felt like this.

This book might tear you to pieces but it also gives you the real facts about life and about how everybody goes through things that are this hard. After reading this book, I understood things better and I could give my own interpretation to the questions that were asked subtle and between the lines. The Fault in Our Stars gives you a good perspective on life and death.  

One remark I do want to make is that often I had the feeling that Hazel Grace was a little bit annoying. She became so mad some times and I understood her frustrations but I also didn't like her tone. I don't know if it's just me or not but sometimes it bothered me a little bit that she reacted the way she did. But it won't stop me from recommending this book! Oh and I also wanted to mention that I'm glad he had detail for Amsterdam. I adore it when authors take time to describe the atmosphere and environment of the city it takes place. So well done John Green!   

John Green did it again, after Looking for Alaska, he brought me another spectacular book that also had detail for real-life philosophical and deep questions. Next to poems and citations of books I'm also happy to say that this book really got me into the story and made me feel all the suffering and heartbreak that someone else in the book might have. It didn't only make me feel the sadness and heartache, it also made me fall in love with the wonders of life and made me laugh because of Augustus his goofy and insane self. I guess it's clear that even if you did see the movie, the book can still be so inspirational and so surprising that you should read it anyway. John Green, even after the second book I read by you, you still know how to amaze me with your writing skills. I'm a major fan!

“As he read, I fell in love the way you fall asleep: slowly, and then all at once.” 

Friday, May 27, 2016

Maybe Someday

For my birthday I received my first ever Coho-read! There have passed a lot of books by this author on my dash on Goodreads but I never got to buying one but then I received one from my parents (thanks again!). I wanted to read it instantly but was reading other books and had to wait until now... Let me present you: Maybe Someday by Colleen Hoover. And can I also already say that this book... was amazing? Because damn, it really was!

Sydney lives the life. She studies what she wants, she has an amazing best friend and a very hot boyfriend. For short: she's living a perfect life where she can be who she wants to be and do what she wants to do. Yet things change when Sydney finds certain things out. Things weren't as right as she thought they were and it took Ridge to point it out. 
Ridge is one of her neighbors that plays amazing music but currently is in a writers block. It took him months to get something on paper and finally the day had arrived. Because of Sydney he could start writing again and also together they make fantastic music. He helps her out, she helps him out. That's how it works and it creates a beautiful friendship... where soon the lines become blurry.

This book was one of the best books I've read in a while. Maybe because I haven't read in a while. I'm sure you've noticed that I'm not around a lot on the blog but it's the end of the school year! I need to study a lot, probably just as you guys. So forgive me that I haven't posted a lot lately but I'll make up for it soon! 

Back to business! Maybe we should start with how I thought about the characters. First of Sydney. She's amazing. This character is so full of emotions and full of life that it's impossible not to connect with her. She has her ups and downs but that's the same in real life and Colleen Hoover made it so realistic with this character. First she had a good time in her life but it takes Ridge to point out the flaws. And that's the moment you really see what can happen in those moments. Sydney does break down and feels lonely but soon picks up her life again. The strength in this character is so inspirational. It's not the only time we'll see her strength. That's the thing I loved most about Sydney.

She's also not the girl that lets herself being played. Not when she knows something is wrong. She does go find the problem and she handles it. Another thing where we can learn from her. Although she often had some moments of weaknesses she always fought against it and I adored that in her. She's also one of those understanding characters that would rather spare people from all the suffering she's been through. And believe me she has had a lot of obstacles through her life. Colleen Hoover really portrays this and those are also the things that drew me to this character.

As for Ridge. He also grabbed my attention! Believe me he's not the boy you expected him to be in the first few moments you get to read. He's special and it took me a while to understand. It was as if we were in Sydney's head, finding it out at the same moment. One thing I really appreciated with Ridge was his honesty. He was brutal at times and I often felt the heartbreak other characters have had to endure but his honesty does play to his credit. He's also one of the emotional guys in this book and that's another side of him that I could really appreciate.

Of course there are many more characters that I would want to discuss but if I could only choose one I'd say Warren. The first few times we get in contact in him I was a little doubtful about him. This character does change a lot in this book, he grows to be more mature than he was in the beginning and he also understands, on a whole different level than Sydney does. He's more the observer and then gives his point of view and I did find myself adoring this character. Warren is special, I give him that!

Next to all the things I've already said about him, he's also an amazing friend. There's nothing he wouldn't do for Ridge, Sydney, Maggie and Bridgette. Because of this I often felt like he'd put aside everything and even himself so he could help out his friends or make them happy again. I find that this has also caused me to become crazy about Warren. Yet if it's too much for him, it's too much and he'll tell you. If you like it or not. Special type but such an amazing character, that's how I'd describe Warren in one sentence. 

Those are really the characters I wanted to discuss but I also want to point out the bond between Sydney and Ridge for a few minutes. What I adored about these too was that they fulfilled each other. One was understanding, the other was honesty. They could be open towards each other, something that really caught my attention in the book. It's amazing to see how they can grow so close only by being open to each other, telling what needs to be told. If there'd be one thing I could pick out of the book, then it was this bond. Their truest emotions were just thrown on the table whether the other did or didn't want to know them. Absolutely breathtaking! 

These characters were so realistic and you had a character that reflected a person of real life. There was the understanding one, the mature one, the observer, the person who's always brutally honest, the tough chick, the soft one, the betrayer. It was all there, presented on a golden tray. And each of them had so many different emotions of different times which caused a mass of emotions that tugged at your heart from the start. 

Secondly, some more of the plot. Maybe it's a good idea to already tell you guys that it's a book with double point of view. I'm a big fan of books like that because I love a peek in each head. The plot was also very capturing, with that I mean that it didn't leave me untouched. Colleen Hoover presents you such a reliable book that's so close to the aspects of real life. 

Maybe Someday contains things that are happening right now, somewhere in the world. It contains so many emotions because of all the things that happen. It's not only the "wow, I found a new friend and I'm happy.", no! Sydney has had a hard time because of things that happened. Also Ridge is suffering! Even the other characters, because we do get a glimpse in their life too. It's not only the suffering that counts it's also all the possibilities to get out of the suffering, the holding on to old things from the past, the giving up. It's everything there could, and probably is, out there in the real world. And it doesn't only talk about the current affaires, no we also get a glimpse in their pasts! Things they found hard and we'll see how they have dealt with it, which was a great asset too.

All the emotions that are in this book, and believe me it gives you almost all the emotions there are to feel in a human body, cause so much with the reader. It captures your attention and it'll hold you there until the book is over. I even had to stop reading because I got so emotional from the book, it really grabs you and that's what makes this such a good book. You'll feel everything they feel, even if they don't feel at such a great intensity. There's guilt, betrayal, love, sadness, heartbreaking stuff, there's so much to feel and in the end you'll still feel it (but then with a lot of excitement because this book is the bomb.)

I can truly say that this book, my first ever CoHo-read, was absolutely fantastic. It has a realistic perspective, it doesn't only discuss the current affaires in the characters lives but also the ones from the past, it'll give you amazing and realistic characters which you absolutely can relate to. Above that the plot will grab you and will not let you go, you'll go through so many feelings, so many you maybe need a timeout because you can't do it anymore (that's what I had). You're going to want to throw the book out of the window only to go downstairs and grab it again to know what's going to happen. And if that's not enough then I don't know what will convince you! This is an amazing, emotional, heart throbbing, breathtaking book and is worth all five starts I've given it. 

“Sometimes in life, we need a few bad days in order to keep the good ones in perspective.” 

Sunday, May 22, 2016

Love, Lucy

A little throwback to my trip to Italia! Usually when I go on a trip to a famous country or city I search for a book that has a plot in that country or city. So my search for a book in Italy began and I found the perfect book: Love and Gelato. It wasn't published until April so I thought, okay things will be on time I don't leave until the end of April... But the book was postponed to May! I had to find another book in Italy and then found this one: Love, Lucy by April Lindner.

Lucy is backpacking through Europe together with a friend. Their last stop? The big Italy! Even though Lucy is liking the trip, she had to give up her true passion to go there. And all this because of her dad who didn't agree with her passions. Going on with her trip Lucy falls in love with cities but falls even harder for Florence. Not only because of the maleficent sights but also because of one person. As the trip comes to an end, Lucy is confused with what she wants and which desires she feels like fulfilling. Will she ever see him again? Will she ever restart with her true passion? And the most important: will she ever make her own decisions?

This book turned out more differently than I thought. With that I mean that there actually was a really small part in Italy but more about that later. First the characters! Lucy created a lot of mystery around her in the first part of the book. Her friend kept talking about what she had to give up for this trip and that's when a reader starts thinking! Who is she really? The first part we only saw a girl eager on adventure and getting lost in new cities. Something I could really relate with and therefore this character was something good in the book. Later in the book we get to know what has happened to her and what she had to let go for a trip in Europe but that doesn't change the character that much. If I had to describe Lucy then I'd say she's a very dependent character. I can't go into much detail but let's say she's not so good at making her own decisions and she gets criticized for that. Because of that we do see how she reacts to it and if she'll grow into this or not.

Another character I'm dying to talk about is Charlene. First of all I'd like to complain about her because she was such a mean person! Absolutely so mean that I wanted to crawl into the plot and strangle her... that says enough doesn't it? However her rudeness could've been because Lucy and she have been looking at each other's faces for far too long. Which I can understand, when I went to Italy and came back I was glad that I could have some time apart and rest out. Whether she changed a bit and I could grow accustomed to her is something I'm going to leave in the dark and let you find out yourself! By the way, a quick note: it's not only Charlene I didn't like... but also Lucy's dad. Please find out for yourself what I'm talking about ;)

The person Lucy meets in Italy is something I'd love to keep a secret. The premise on the back doesn't say a lot about him so I think I shouldn't either. What I do want to tell is that that person is a lot more different that I would have thought and I really enjoyed that person's presence... 

Now the plot! As already mentioned it was a lot more differently than I had expected. Is that in a bad way? I don't really know. Even though it was different, I still enjoyed the book. My original plan was to find a book that was in Italy, this one was only a little part in Italy. That kind of disappointed me. I did see things in Florence, which was a good thing because I relived the atmosphere and I also loved Florence when I was there... but it was so fast paced! And that's really what made me feel more disappointed. So if you read the book to find the atmosphere of Italy, I wouldn't recommend it. It's too short for that.

Other than that the plot did give me a lot of feels and we all know how such books are: amazing! And it did surprise me multiple times which made up for the fact that the book didn't have a lot of Italy in it. The plot will change scènes a lot and with that Lucy will also grow in her behavior which I liked. And we'll know more and more towards the ending of who Lucy really is. With that I mean, we'll get the whole picture and not only a fragment. The ending was something predictable but the way things went is also something that is like a predictable movie and I don't know whether to like or or dislike it so I'll leave that in the middle.

This book was one that I did enjoy, even though it did disappoint me a bit because of the short, fast-paced bit in Italy. The characters were very open and you can easily relate with them, especially if you're someone who loves to get lost in a city and has a true passion for something. The plot has its surprises but it can also be predictable which will either leave you with a good feeling or a mixed feeling. But overall, it was a good book!

" When a person really loves something… or someone… You just have to stand back and let them.”   

Saturday, May 14, 2016

Unraveling You

I know, it's been a very long time since I've written a review! I'm so sorry but I've got a valid reason. Actually I got various valid reasons. First of all I've been to Italy and then I didn't have time to post things and my exams are coming closer. The last reason does bring me here today. The book I'm going to discuss today is also the book that I had to read for my English exams: Unraveling You by Jessica Sorensen

Lyric has everything in life to be happy. She has music to keep her buys, she loves singing, she has friends and she has both her parents. For her new neighbor, Ayden, this is different. He's been going from home to home without any support. He's been through so much, if only he could remember what exactly. His past has been so rough and dark that he doesn't remember anything, his memories are blocked. 

Slowly Ayden starts to feel comfortable around his new family and around the all optimistic Lyric. Together they can go anywhere they want and do anything. And soon the lines between friendship and romance are blurring. That is until Ayden's past decides to pay a visit...

Yes! Another book by Jessica Sorensen. And yes we can say that it's actually very predictable again but it's her writing style. Jessica Sorensen writes almost always about the same: two kids, one boy and one girl. Both of them have had a hard life. And they’re still struggling with it until they find each other and become a strong person again. I guess it’s something you need to love or get addicted to. My first book of Jessica Sorensen just gave me so much that I got addicted to her writing style. So here I am again with one of her books. And believe me it isn’t as predictable as you might think, it’s not even depressive or boring. In fact, this book pretty much surprised me with all its facets.

First off, some more about the characters. Lyric Scott is the first on the list because she really surprised me. All the books that I've read by Jessica Sorensen are about two teens that are both unhappy or have been unhappy. Lyric is different! She's very optimistic, sees the fun in everything and really enjoys life. She's a music addict, sings, plays instruments and even writes her own lyrics. I absolutely loved this character because she was so optimistic about things and really funny!

And then we had our other character since this was the book with two POV's: Ayden Gregory. Of course his name isn't really Gregory because that's the name of his adoption family. The first look we get at Ayden is special. Special in a way that I wasn't prepared for him to be the way he was. I thought he'd try to hide his feelings but we see another Ayden than I thought. This is also the character that changes the most in this book, he starts getting along with Lyric and she won't let him down. Also Ayden is a character that needs music to feel okay or more happy.

The thing with Ayden is that we don't know a lot of him. He's been going from home to home before he got with the Gregory's. Pretty early in the book we also start to discover that he blocked his memories so something traumatic has happened in his life. However this causes us to really be Ayden. It's as if we're in his mind and trying to unlock the memories, the secrets to know what's going on. And just like him we don't know if that's such a good idea to unravel things, we don't know how bad things will be. Yet this was one of the things that I absolutely loved in this book, you weren't reading. It felt like you really were the character. Above that a lot of mystery stays put in this book, often we don't get any wiser with the thoughts that are in his head. We could see it as something literally but also as something metaphorical. It's a real adventure and investigation to the truth!

Some other thing that is worth mentioning while talking about the characters are the parents. Jessica Sorensen surprised me for another time because the parents of these two teenagers are former main characters of other books by her. I haven't read those books yet but I did recognize them and I was so happy about that. Using former characters maybe isn't always a good thing but here it was impressing to see the evolution from them being teenagers to them having teenagers.

I also want to mention that the author has used a lot of music and quotes in her book. Music is also one of the things that is really important in this book. Both characters find a way to relax with music and isn’t that something almost all teenagers in this society can relate with? The author might talk a lot about dark pasts and problems but with each page you read and each book you devour by her, you see that there is a lot of truth in it. You can relate and that is what’s important with a book: often it feels like a mirror and you see your own reflection in the character. So that was also a great asset to the book!

Other themes in this book are obviously friendship and family. Friendship because Lyric and Ayden are good friends and help each other out when need be. Also family because Ayden has got another sister and brother. And this is where everything gets even better... The book has everything, from a very pleasant friendship to a book full of mystery around one character and back to humor. But if this hasn’t convinced you, there’s more. Ayden starts searching for his family and then we find out that something has gone wrong with his brother. Mystery unravels itself more and more only to end this book with a fantastic cliffhanger and one important question: what has happened to Ayden’s brother? This book will not leave you untouched and that’s why I absolutely recommend it.

"You think too much with your heart Lyric, and not with your head."