YA Fiction

All These Things I’ve Done, by Gabrielle Zevin

Actual Rating: 2.5 stars

“I did learn something about insanity while I was down there. People go crazy, not because they are crazy, but because it’s the best available option at the time.”

When I had first read the synopsis for this book, I was thrilled and super excited. Let’s just say I was very disappointed at the end result.

The first problem was the world-building. In the summary, there is so much build-up of the mafia and crime in their city, but none of this was actually shown. There was no explanation of why chocolate and coffee were banned, and also no explanation of why they were banned instead of alcohol, which I found thoroughly crazy. This world could have been really interesting, if it made sense. The lack of explanation is essentially what made the world “lame”.

The writing surprised me; usually when you read a science-fiction or a fantasy novel, you would expect somewhat deep and lyrical writing, but All These Things was very straightforward and to-the-point. I can’t say I enjoyed this, but it was a little easier to understand, I suppose.

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Books, YA Fiction

Paper Towns, by John Green

Rating:

“The town was paper, but the memories were not.”

Who is the real Margo?

Quentin Jacobsen has spent a lifetime loving the magnificently adventurous Margo Roth Spiegelman from afar. So when she cracks open a window and climbs into his life—dressed like a ninja and summoning him for an ingenious campaign of revenge—he follows. After their all-nighter ends, and a new day breaks, Q arrives at school to discover that Margo, always an enigma, has now become a mystery. But Q soon learns that there are clues—and they’re for him. Urged down a disconnected path, the closer he gets, the less Q sees the girl he thought he knew…

Paper Towns was on my reading list since forever, and I am pretty proud of myself for finally reading it. I was actually planning on reading later on, but due to temptation, and the movie coming up in June, I decided to go for it earlier.

I personally have mixed feelings about this one. While John Green does create the same characters in each of his books(the nerdy main character, the gorgeous, smart, damaged heroine, the goofy best friend, etc.), he somehow manages to captivate me every time.

The first part of the book drew me in quickly; it was funny, exciting, and Margo seemed like the best thing that ever happened. The second part, ehh, not so much. Most of it consisted of Quentin trying to gather information to find Margo, and it was somewhat interesting, but never managed to entertain me entirely. I haven’t read much realistic fiction these days, so the writing certainly wasn’t lyrical, but I enjoyed the straightforwardness nonetheless. The musings of the main character(there’s got to be some musings, it’s John Green), weren’t as convoluted and overdone as I expected them to be(courtesy of TFIOS), so they were made much more relatable and teenager-like.

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Books

This Shattered World, by Amie Kaufman and Meagan Spooner

Rating: 4.75 Stars

Those of you who expected more sci-fi out of These Broken Stars, you won’t be disappointed.

Wow. I loved TBS, but this book might be even better. Wonderfully written, Kaufman and Spooner managed to captivate me again.

This Shattered World Starts off 8 months after the Icarus crash, with Jubliee Chase, a strong, fierce captain whose ruthless reputation makes her a target for Flynn Cormac, the leader of the rebels and younger brother of the martyr who started the the rebellion. Both our narrators/main characters are deep, complex characters, and the narration doesn’t suffer from both the narrators sounding the same, something common with dual perspectives.

One issue I had with These Broken Stars was the lack of sci-fi elements and surplus of exposition. Once you read this book, you’ll realize that while TBS was amazing, it doesn’t focus on the actualenemy, whereas TSW falls right into the action, with the rebellion, war, and enemy.

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Books, YA Fiction

Shiver, by Maggie Steifvater

6068551Actual Rating: 3.5 stars

“I’d found heaven and grabbed it as tightly as I could, but it was unraveling, an insubstantial thread sliding between my fingers, too fine to hold.”

Blurb: For years, Grace has watched the wolves in the woods behind her house. One yellow-eyed wolf—her wolf—is a chilling presence she can’t seem to live without.

Meanwhile, Sam has lived two lives: In winter, the frozen woods, the protection of the pack, and the silent company of a fearless girl. In summer, a few precious months of being human… until the cold makes him shift back again.

Now, Grace meets a yellow-eyed boy whose familiarity takes her breath away. It’s her wolf. It has to be. But as winter nears, Sam must fight to stay human—or risk losing himself, and Grace, forever.

I am a bit mixed about this one. While I didn’t enjoy the characters and romance as much as I wanted to, the story and ending somewhat satisfied me.

The story as a whole was kind of entertaining and well-developed. I haven’t read a lot of werewolf stories, but I’ve always been interested and I like this take on them. The writing was actually very beautiful, but this kind of writing was almost every sentence of the book, and it was difficult to keep up with it, since it was made instantly boring and tedious.

Wonderful, another set of characters that managed to disappoint. No, they don’t disappoint me, they baffle me!

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Books

Denton Little’s Deathdate, by Lance Rubin

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Rating: 3.25 Stars

Denton Little’s Deathdate is a book I’m feeling conflicted about. At times it was quirky, funny, and sweet, but other other times I was sitting there, wondering what was going on. Overall, it was an interesting read, and hopefully I’ll be able to explain the reason for my odd rating.

Denton Little’s Deathdate is about a world identical ours in almost every single way, except that every person knows the day they’ll die, thanks to science. Our story follows Denton, who’s deathdate is tomorrow, and today is the day of his funeral, because in this world, funerals are attended by the soon-to-be-deceased. However, Denton gets approached by a man who warns him to stay away from suspicious government figures, and now he has too little time to figure out the answers.

Overall, this was a quick and light read, which is astonishing, considering this book’s main concept is death. Denton is a quirky, funny, and likable main character, who definitely enhanced the story. The rest of the characters, especially Paolo, Denton’s best friend, were likable and nice as well.

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Original Post

Archetype Adventure: A Guide to Archetypes in Literature

While reading, many of you may of noticed that very similar characters and situations appear in completely different books. It could be the classic battle-between-good-and-evil scene, the over-enthusiastic, boy-crazy best friend, or similar situations with father-son conflict. Regardless, whether you are consciously aware of it or not, there are specific character types, or archetypes, found in every book.

This concept of similar characters has been intriguing me for years, so I did some research on it. Turns out, this guy named Joseph Campbell studied thousands of myths from different cultures in 1949, and published his findings in a book titled, “The Hero With a Thousand Faces.” It talked about the typical hero’s journey, as does the Ted-Ed video above.

If you don’t have time to watch the video, the essential gist of it was that the journey of a hero follows a typical pattern, even heroes of today’s literature, like the Hunger Games. Explaining it would be quite tedious, so here is a wonderful graphic explaining the journey, along with an example of one hero’s journey, Luke Skywalker from Star Wars. (Click on the image to make it bigger)

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