September 2, 2015

book review // the fault in our stars by john green

Author: John Green
Author website:
Genre: Young Adult
Published in: 2012
Publisher: A Penguin Random House Company
Pages: 313
Version: Paperback
Type: Standalone
Age Group: 15+

Despite the tumor-shrinking medical miracle that has bought her a few years, Hazel has never been anything but terminal, her final chapter inscribed upon diagnosis. But when a gorgeous plot twist named Augustus Waters suddenly appears at Cancer Kid Support Group, Hazel's story is about to be completely rewritten.

I picked up The Fault In Our Stars at my local Sam's Club when my mom was taking a little bit longer than expected to get groceries. I knew that there was a lot of hype about the book and that I had been invited to go and watch the movie several times with friends (I always read the book first, so I declined as I hadn't read it yet), so I expected good things from the book. And, in part, I wasn't mistaken. John Green is a phenomenal writer with words that flow from the page and never look even the slightest out of place. His style is so unique, and, now that I've read his book, I can already tell that the YA fiction world has been changed forever. It isn't like I think YA will completely change and life as we know it will stop, but I think YA authors definitely have expectations to live up to after John Green's most popular book was published.

That being said, content-wise it was one of the most depressive books I have ever read. I mean, it deals with adolescent cancer and that isn't anything to joke about. Obviously it wasn't going to be a typical happy-go-lucky, everyone-gets-a-happy-ending type novel, and I knew that going into it. But honestly, this novel just shows you the depravity of man and life without Jesus. Hazel and Gus have nothing to live for (their going to soon die anyways, right?) and it is shown through their conversations about life after death (Hazel doesn't believe in it and Gus believes in not God but a Something).

To live without hope, to continue day after day with the thought of death... I honestly cannot even imagine. But I do know that the Lord gives hope to all, and I have never wanted to share the Gospel more than while reading that book (and to fictional characters!).

I do not think I would recommend this novel to anyone, though. It is an excellently written novel and the story is amazing, but there was too much language and sex-talk for my taste. I thought the novel could have done well without it, but maybe the author thought that teens wouldn't read it without the added dirt.


Sex & Nudity
There are several talks about sex or private body parts. Hazel and Gus discuss Gus's virginity and how he has no chance of "being lucky" due to the fact that he only has one real leg. Gus and Hazel make out in Anne Frank's home and then go back to their hotel and have sex. There are many  references to sex throughout the novel.

Violence & Gore
Gus, Hazel, Isaac play a violent video game. Gus vomits on himself near the end of the book.

There is a lot of profanity throughout this book. Uses of da**, he**, bit**, bull****, sh**, bast***. A few uses of replacements for the f-word. There are uses of "rude" words such as pi**. Several uses of taking the Lord's name in vain. Name-calling is prominent in this book.

Alcohol, Drugs, & Smoking
Gus and Hazel consume alcohol underage. Gus almost always has an unlit cigarette in his mouth and tells people it is because it represents him not allowing the thing that has the power to kill him to kill him. Medical drugs are talked about.

Frightening & Intense Scenes
There are several intense scenes that depict Hazel and Gus in pain from cancer. 

3 stars

Have you read The Fault In Our Stars before? 
What did you think?
What is your favorite YA novel?

August 31, 2015

monthly recap // august 2015

Oh, my dear August, you were a crazy month for me. You were filled to the brim with new people, new jobs, and new situations that I was solely supposed to handle on my own (because apparently being 18 means I'm an adult and I have to do adult things). You brought me deep into my comfort zone and then ripped me as far away as you possibly could, and I can already tell that September will be more of the same comfort zone ripping. But I love you, August. You were good to me.


I nailed down my book outline.
After months and months and months (and quite a few tears) of planning, preparing, brain storming, dreaming, and imagining, I can finally say that I now know what my book is about. I know the direction I need to go and I know how the plot will play out. I cannot reveal anything now (I want to have a solid synopsis first) but I am so excited to have a somewhat plan!
I applied for a job.
Oh yes. With adulthood just starting for me and bills beginning to acquire I thought it was high time I at least filled out a couple of applications. I work for my parents right now but having an extra part-time job would definitely help me out. Finding time for a job, however, will be more difficult than even the interview process (and anyone who knows me personally knows that I despise interviews). I would appreciate prayers as I navigate the waters of employment!
My family travelled to Idaho.
Most of my mom's family is in Idaho. We haven't gone back there very often due to circumstances, but we decided to go for a week this past month. Idaho was absolutely beautiful and one of the most breath-taking pieces of land I have ever seen (it also helped inspire several parts of my book!).

Here are just a few of the photos I was able to take with my iPhone. Isn't it gorgeous?

I started college.
I've been dual-enrolled since 10th grade so thankfully that has put me at the end of my sophomore year of college at the start, but I officially am a college student now! It's a bittersweet thing... In part, I'm sad because it is the closing of a season that was very sweet, but on the other hand it is exciting to be embarking on a new adventure! I am majoring in English to hopefully help my writing skills and to put me on the path to success as an editor.
I started this blog!
I cannot forget the fact that I took a plunge into the dark abyss of this blogging world this past month. Already I have made wonderful friends, connected with like-minded people, and have been able to learn from other bloggers who are just like me. It is such an amazing community and I can't wait to be a part of it!

How was August for you?

August 27, 2015

courage, dear heart // an introduction of sorts

"Courage, dear heart."
- C. S. Lewis

I was born at a very young age (ha.), and it was around that same time that I discovered that I had a wild imagination. I remember running around our tree-infested-but-not-quite-wooded backyard with my younger siblings when we were elementary-aged pretending to be knights and princesses and dragons and wizards. When the rainy summers hit and we were confined to the walls of our house, I spent the evenings flipping through as many books as I could and reenacting scenes for my family. 

One day, while completing an English assignment (I was home schooled so my mother was my teacher), I realized that somebody had to imagine the books I had been reading. I grabbed as many sheets of paper as I could and began penning down the very short story that would be titled Pat and Leather, a heartfelt and moving story that would be sure to leave the family in blissful tears about a pair of shoes and their adventure in the school locker room (that story has since been shelved until further notice).

After that, you couldn't pry the pen and paper from me until my eyelids were too tired to stay open to see the pages. And since then I've wanted to do nothing else with my life besides write and be a writer. I'm a deep thinker by nature and a deep feeler by heart, so crafting words into intricate images is something I've always felt passionate about. Feeling, and not just seeing, is what I want my readers to experience and strive to convey that in my books and throughout this blog.

I'm now an 18-year-old home school graduate and college student, but that hasn't changed the way I view books. I still dream about the day I will hold my book in my hands and crack open the spine. I still imagine new stories and concepts on a daily basis, penning them down on loose pieces of paper or my favorite Moleskine notebook. It's been quite the adventure, coming from a story about two shoes to telling stories that go deeper than the average third graders mind, but it's been beautiful.

I hope you will join me.