Sunday Book Club! Paper Towns by John Green

Hello again!
I hope you’ve all been enjoying these Sunday Book Club posts! I would love more of your book suggestions in the Comment section below or via Social Media! Remember you can add me on Twitter/Instagram: @MissAl_Leigh
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Please keep reading to see my thoughts on “Paper Towns” by John Green.

Initial Thoughts:
This book came recommended by one of my college roommates that really likes John Green. I was nervous because he obviously has a reputation for writing Young Adult novels, which I’ve found to be very hit or miss. Also, I knew he was behind “The Fault in Our Stars” & I didn’t want to read a depressing book. However, my friend assured me that “Paper Towns” was different – so off I went.

Plot:
“Paper Towns” is about a teenage boy named Quentin & the wild adventure his life takes him on when he becomes involved with his next door neighbor Margo – who he’s been in love with basically forever. One day Margo disappears & Quentin sets off on a journey to find her following clues he believes she left for him. It’s a coming of age story that teaches us that first impressions can be deceiving & it’s always important to give people a chance to show us who they are. I really can’t say too much more than that without giving everything away.

Characters:
– Margo: About half way through the book, I was over this girl. I had no idea why Quentin was so obsessed with her, I suppose because she was a mystery to him & he was intrigued. Once you get to know her though, she’s such a brat. She’s super selfish and overly dramatic. There were several points where I thought she was going to die & I was totally fine with it. I’m ashamed to say I was like this at one point in my life. Now that I’m “older & wiser”, I have no patience for whiny teenage girls that think everything revolves around them & every bad thing that happens is the end of the world.

Quotes:
– Pg 75: “I shaved this morning for PRECISELY that reason. I was like, ‘Well, you never know when someone is going to clamp down on your calf and try to suck out the snake poison.'” – Margo
The dialogue in this book is spot on. This is just one of many clever lines that I laughed out loud while reading and thought, “That sounds like something I would say!”. Green is known for having a pretty good handle on clever & accurate young people verbiage.

Overall:
Despite this being a “Young Adult” novel, I could definitely relate to the complex themes presented. They reflect what most of us have been through, life & death, falling in & out of love, growing up, friendship, our general connection with others, & how we tie it all together to make a full life.
Random side note, I was frustrated by the discrepancies between Book Margo & Film Margo’s physical description – which I will admit might be a bit unfair especially because I haven’t even seen the film. Book Margo is described as curvy, her friends make comments on it, it’s part of her insecurities. Film Margo is played by Model Cara Delevingne who according to the internet is 5’8 & a size 2. She’s not someone I can see having trouble squeezing into her friends jeans, as Book Margo does. I know that has nothing to do with the book, but it annoyed me as soon as I read her description because Hollywood had the opportunity to use a curvy actress, & didn’t take it. It’s also frustrating because as I mentioned, her size is part of her insecurities, it’s part of her character. I’m not sure how they would have included that in the film.

Rating: B+
While I didn’t enjoy one of the main characters, overall, I enjoyed this book. Green’s style of writing is smart/on point & helped me identify with the characters. I’m not sure this book will be everyone’s cup of tea as it is about high school kids getting into shenanigans, but if you can suspend yourself from your “serious adult business”, you just might enjoy it.

Have you read “Paper Towns” or any other John Green novels? If so, what are your thoughts? Which one is your favorite? Please feel free to share your thoughts & book suggestions with me in the comments below!

The next Sunday Book Club read will be April 3rd & the book is, “The Little Giant of Aberdeen County” by Tiffany Baker.

Book review! Beastly by Alex Flinn

Hi everyone,
Sorry I’ve been gone for so long, I was just in the process of moving from the Bay Area down to Southern California & I’m still somewhat adjusting & settling down so I’ve been REALLY busy. It’s taken me over four days to get this post up because I keep stopping & starting. :/ I’m not sure I want to reveal exactly why I moved down to SoCal for privacy reasons, but I’m sure as time passes I’ll end up talking about some stuff.

Anyways, I’m a HUGE fan of Beauty & the Beast, so any type of re-telling or story that’s vaguely associated with it, is going to grab my attention. That’s exactly what Beastly is! Also, they’ve made this book into a movie that’s yet to be released, although from the previews, it looks a LOT different from the book so that’s going to be annoying. I’ll still probably see the movie anyway just for comparisons sake.

Available for $8.99 at Borders. Pic Credit goes to: lafemmereaders.blogspot.com

Beastly is a modern day re-telling of Beauty & the Beast told from the Beast’s point of view. This book is a Young Adult novel so it’s geared mostly towards pre-teens and teenagers. Despite the fact that, in my opinion, it’s not really meant for someone my age to read – I’m 20 – for the most part I enjoyed this book for a bit of light reading. Haha, saying that makes me feel like Hermione, & if you understand what I’m talking about you totally ROCK! I’m not going to talk about the plot because probably everyone knows the story of Beauty & the Beast & if I get too detailed about the way the book retells the events of the stories then we’ll get into spoiler territory!

Pros/Cons: I liked the way Flinn wrote Kyle (the Beast). I felt like his voice was really honest & typical of a teenage boy. Unfortunately, I felt the complete opposite about the way Linda (Beauty…I liked the use of this symbolic name. Linda in Spanish means beautiful!) was written. Her voice felt very fake & forced. This is ironic to me because the book was written by a woman & usually women are better at tapping into their own gender. I liked how the story was sort of a mix of the original tale, plus the Disney version, & many other aspects from transformation stories. I feel like the author really did her homework when researching fairy tales. Another thing I really liked was the chat room sessions. I thought they were SO clever and a great way to incorporate other transformation tales & subtly encourage readers to read those other stories. I did think the ending of the book was kind of just thrown together/rushed. The rest of the book is paced very well so you aren’t getting too much information all at one time, but for some reason the ending felt like WHAM! BAM! LET’S TIE THIS ALL UP, GOTTA GET THIS BOOK FINISHED!! & yes, the twists are somewhat predictable, but that’s kind of hard to escape with a book that’s retelling an already popular story.

Rating: B+. For me, this book was just okay. You can’t really mess with the perfection that is the original story, so I didn’t anticipate this book being outstanding, but it was fairly decent. I can appreciate the author’s version of the story & the obvious hard work she put into it, but this book isn’t making it on my bookshelf. My bookshelf is home to the “A” grade books such as Wicked by Gregory Maguire, Home, a memoir of Julie Andrews’ early years & Spencerville by Nelson DeMille, just to name a few. I’m glad I read it & I may even go pick up some other books by Flinn, she has several other fairy tale remakes, just to see how she interprets/modernizes those stories. Also, at the end of the book there’s a little author’s note in which she talks about some of the books she read to help research for Beastly & they all sounded pretty interesting, so I’ll probably add those to my list of books to read. All in all, if you’re into fairy tales, go pick up this book & give it a try. It never hurts to read more literature, unless it’s Twilight. In all seriousness, it never hurts to add more literature into your life & we’re all entitled to our likes & dislikes 🙂

Let me know if you’ve read this book, plan on reading it, plan on NEVER reading it & your opinions. Tell me if there’s other books you’d think I’d like based on this review. Thanks for reading, stick around!

Love, Al-Leigh