What is described as a book about the unlikely event in which two teenage boys both named Will Grayson meet on a Chicago street corner one cold night, ends up being an enchanting read in the hands of the masterful John Green and David Levithan. These powerhouse YA authors create a wonderfully funny, uplifting, and earnest coming-of-age story about friendship, love, and one epic musical. Written in alternating chapters between the Wills, the voices of the characters are distinct but the plot never feels choppy. I don’t expect anything less from these great writers and you shouldn’t either. Read it.
Not in any particular order.
Add yours in the comments!
|1. Captain Frederick Wentworth
Persuasion by Jane Austen
|2. Derek Stone
Bibliophile Mystery Series by Kate Carlisle
|3. Hercule Poirot
Poirot Mysteries by Agatha Christie
|4. Étienne St. Clair
Anna and the French Kiss by Stephanie Perkins
|5. Carter Maguire
Vision in White by Nora Roberts
|6. Augustus Waters
The Fault in Our Stars by John Green
|7. Percy Jackson
Percy Jackson & the Olympians series &
The Heroes of Olympus series by Rick Riordan
|8. Sirius Black
Harry Potter series by J.K. Rowling
|9. Will Parry
His Dark Material series by Philip Pullman
|10. Max Watson
The Start of Me and You by Emery Lord
|11. Jeremy Laidley
Rather series by C.A. Belmond
|12. George Knightley
Emma by Jane Austen
|13. Dickon Sowerby
The Secret Garden by Frances Hodgson Burnett
|14. Dr. John Dolittle
The Voyages of Dr. Dolittle by Hugh Lofting
|15. Tristran Thorn
Stardust by Neil Gaiman
*Warning: this review contains substantial spoilers which were necessary to convey my thoughts.*
This book starts out promisingly with a girl and a guy going on a road trip. It gets a little ridiculous when they steal a motorcycle and then several cars without much consequence but, with a little suspension of disbelief, remains a cute little love story. However, about halfway through the book, you find out that both the main characters have cancer. Wait, what? That’s when you realize that you are reading a flagrant rip-off of “The Fault in Our Stars.” Even the characters are the same. The girl loves reading and meets her favorite author at some point during the trip. The guy is a charismatic goofball who everyone can’t help but love. Mr. Patterson, I’m disappointed. You have a gazillion other books, many of which are successful and original. I don’t think you really needed to try to muscle in on the John Green bandwagon and yet here I am reading your less-than-stellar version of it. Same storyline, none of the emotional depth.
From the back of the book: “Is it okay to hate a dead kid? Even if I loved him once? Even if he was my best friend? Is it okay to hate him for being dead?” Vera Dietz’s best friend, Charlie, died and now he is haunting her. A thousand ghost Charlies show up in her car, in the bathroom and at the pizza place where she works. Vera is damaged and trying to get by without being noticed too much. Beneath good writing and captivating narrative, Ms. King’s novel is about growing up and how to forgive. Her writing is in the same vein as John Green. It feels authentic and her story deals with real issues. I liked the pacing and overall emotional weight of the story. I recommend this to most everyone as a good coming-of-age story and especially John Green fans.
Review: Even though this is the third John Green novel I’ve read, I’m still amazed at how real his writing feels. It has an integrity to it that, so far as I know, is uniquely his. Emotional without being sappy; profound without being superior. “Looking for Alaska” is no different. The characters were flawed and believable. The story was engaging, sometimes funny and sometimes sad. Mr. Green certainly knows his way around a coming-of-age story.
Reprint of my review in honor of the movie release this Friday!
Review: Charming. Painful. Romantic. Real. Heart-wrenching. Smiles. Tears. So. Very. Good.