Saturday 23 August 2014

Review on 'Looking for Alaska'

Miles Halter's life has been unextraordinary, but once he moves to Culver Creek boarding school to seek his "great perhaps" nothing will ever be the same again. When he meets Alaska Young, a smart and attractive girl who lives down the hallway, his life is turned upside down. From going down to the smoking hole to smoke cigarettes to pulling pranks and drinking Strawberry Hill wine in the barn. Miles, or "Pudge" as his new friends have nicknamed him, has a new and exciting life. However, tragedy strikes, and Pudge must pull together with his friends to try to find out what happened and why, and to try to pick up the pieces of his life. 

Once again John Green has managed to break my heart. I really enjoyed this book, although I have to admit not as much as I enjoyed reading The Fault in Our Stars. From reading John's later works first, it is obvious how much his writing has improved over the years, and how he has gone from a good writer to a great one. The book is split into two parts, “before” and “after”. I found this really interesting as this shows that a huge event happens about halfway through the book, and the whole time I was reading the “before” section I was wondering what was going to happen at this point. The first half deals with Pudge's new life at his boarding school, and the adventures that happen with his new friends. I found this similar to books such as the perks of being a wallflower, as Pudge has never smoked or drank alcohol before, but he decides to try it so that he fits in with his new friends. Pudge shows the desperate attempt to try to fit in with his peers that every teenager at a new school goes through, and also the bullying that can and so often occurs. The second half of the book deals with the tragedy that occurs, and how Pudge and his friends deal with it. Everyone deals with grief in different ways, and each character has their own unique way of dealing with what has happened. This half of the book had a completely different tone to the first half, and was a lot darker. However it was not completely doom and gloom, as I found the prank that Pudge and his friends play near the end of the book hilarious. The book covers a number of important themes that many young people go through or think about such as depression and suicide. This book is definitely not a light hearted read, but there is a good mixture of both humour and serious subjects. It may not be as good as The Fault in Our Stars, but it is still worth a read.

Thursday 14 August 2014

Review on 'Jaded'

Sixteen year old Jade Green has lived her whole life in a small knit community called Nirvana, where everyone must go through an eye colour surgery, the colour depending on which career path they choose. However, once Jade's Grandmother dies and leaves behind her diary, Jade learns that not everything is as perfect as it seems. Jade, along with her best friend Tyrian, and Peaches, the commune leaders daughter decide that they must escape to the outside world at all costs. If they are caught, severe consequences wait for them, including having their sight taken from them and being banished to the slave cabins. Will Jade and her friends manage to escape, or will they be doomed to live in a world of deceit and lies forever? 

I thought this was a really unique story line and I loved the idea of the eye colour depending on the career path chosen. I thought Jade was a wonderful character overall, although I did find her to be quite whiny at times, particularly when she wasn't sure about Ty's feelings for her. I also loved her relationship with Peaches and how it develops through the course of the novel. The explanation of how Nirvana came about seemed to be quite vague, and I would personally have liked to have known more details about that. There were a few plot twists in the novel that I really loved, and although there was a bit of foreshadowing going on, I did not pick up on one of the twists until it was revealed. I really loved Tyrian and thought he was a really sweet and kind character. He is the type of character who you instantly fall in love with and wish was real so that you could be friends with him. The characters names are all relevant to their eye colour, which I thought was really clever. It also cuts them off from the outside world, as although some of the names such as Jade and Ruby are actually used in the real world, others, such as Navy and Royal are not. I also found it interesting that outsiders who have come into Nirvana who do not need an eye colour change such as Steel still have their original name changed to be relevant to their eye colour. I'm looking forward to the sequel and finding out what happens to Jade and Peaches, and also if Ty finds a way to join them. If you love The Hunger Games then I definitely recommend this book!