Monthly Archives: July 2015

Book Review: Paper Towns

papertownsTitle: Paper Towns
Author: John Green
Release Date: September 22, 2009
Rating: 4/5

Paper Towns is the young adult novel about Quentin Jacobsen, the boy who has never really taken risks and values his routine. One night, Quentin’s life is changed when Margo Roth Spiegelman comes to his window and convinces him to accompany her on a mission to get revenge on all of the people who have wronged her. Quentin has loved Margo, his next door neighbor, since they were ten years old and throws caution to the wind in order to assist her. After a thrilling night, Quentin is convinced that Margo will leave the crowd of friends that have been a source of her unhappiness and decide to spend the rest of their senior year of high school with him. That is, until Margo does not show up to school the next day. After several days and an appearance by a police detective, Quentin takes the case into his own hands and decides to find Margo. With the help of Quentin’s friends, Ben and Radar, he begins to piece together the clues that Margo left behind. Before he can find Margo, though, he must first discover who Margo Roth Spiegelman really is.

The entire novel is told from Quentin’s point of view and I thought that Quentin was an incredibly likeable character. He is awkward and quirky and it makes him easy to relate to. Quentin’s friend, Radar, is incredibly smart and spends most of his time revising and adding entries onto an online database. I definitely preferred Radar to Quentin’s other friend, Ben, who referred to women as “honeybunny” and was pretty shallow. The dialogue between the three friends was all believable and I preferred their conversations to the ones that Green constructed in Looking for Alaska. I thought that the characters in this novel were much more realistic and much less pretentious than the ones in Looking for Alaska.

Margo Roth Spiegelman is the girl that Quentin is intent on finding and although I thought that he seemed almost unrealistically obsessed with her, at the point of putting his perfectly planned future in danger, I thought she was an interesting character. I think Green used her character in order to make a point of never really knowing a person and how appearances can be deceiving. Although Quentin is trying to physically find Margo throughout the book, he’s also trying to find out what kind of person she is within the clues she has left behind. Margo is a different person to everyone and I thought that the point that Green was trying to make was fascinating. John Green has a tendency to get slightly philosophical in his novels and Paper Towns is no exception. Quentin has several internal philosophical musings throughout the book, but I never thought that they were too much. I enjoyed the themes presented in this novel and thought that the characters made the story even more enjoyable.

I really liked this book. It was a fun young adult novel about finding yourself and learning to search deep to find others. I thought that the ending worked well with the overall story and I would recommend this to anyone looking for a good young adult novel to read. The characters were likeable and if you are a fan of John Green’s writing, you will not be disappointed.

The film adaptation of Paper Towns is scheduled to be released on July 24, 2015.

If you have read Paper Towns, please share your thoughts in the comments. To view Paper Towns on Amazon, click here.

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Book Review: Swerve

51FRirjrxDL._SX329_BO1,204,203,200_Title: Swerve
Author: Vicki Pettersson
Release Date: July 7, 2015
Rating: 3/5

Swerve¬†is the horrifying psychological thriller that ensues after Kristine Rush and her fianc√©, Daniel, stop at an abandoned rest stop in the middle of the desert on their way to his mother’s house for a Fourth of July party. Kristine desperately needs a place to change and although she is leery of the deserted rest stop, she goes in. As she changes, Kristine is ambushed by a man and when she narrowly escapes with her life, she finds that Daniel is missing. When Kristine gets into the car, she discovers that Daniel’s phone has been left behind and a message from her phone illuminates the screen. She realizes that her attacker is communicating with her through Daniel’s phone and if Kristine wants him back alive, she will need to follow all of the attacker’s instructions. Kristine is pushed to her limits as her attacker tests how far she will go to keep Daniel alive. She has twenty four hours to save Daniel and her attacker ensures that each obstacle is more terrifying than the last.

The entire story is told from Kristine’s point of view, as she struggles to complete the tasks that her attacker demands of her. It’s obvious from Kristine’s inner dialogue that she has a dark past, but her past doesn’t become clear until much later in the book. She continuously mentions the Coal Man and thinks back to how she has dealt with a psychopath before, but what she is alluding to isn’t revealed until the end of the novel. After learning about Kristine’s past, I really respected her as a character and continued to root her on. Kristine will stop at nothing to find Daniel and she proves to be resilient in her mission to find him. Her daughter, Abby, is mentioned throughout the book and eventually appears in a few of the later scenes. The love that Kristine has for her daughter is so unconditional and I really enjoyed the scenes that they shared together.

About halfway through the novel, Kristine discovers who her attacker is. I hadn’t been able to guess who the attacker was, and it left me a little shocked. As she interacted with her attacker, his twisted and psychotic thoughts are revealed. The attacker justifies all of his actions and truly believes that he is doing good in the world. In fact, he even tries to blame some of his actions on Kristine. When the attacker shares the a scene with Kristine, it’s cringe worthy and enough to make your skin crawl. I think Pettersson did a great job creating such a frightening villain and his actions kept me on edge until the end of the novel.

One of the main reasons that I did not really enjoy the novel is the amount of gore that it contained. The book is filled with graphic and violent scenes and although the plot was interesting, the violence was too much for me to handle. I also did not really like how the motivation of Kristine’s attacker seemed to change. In the beginning, the attacker tells Kristen that he is doing all of this to see if she cares about people, rather than the possessions she seems to value instead. The motivation then changes and the attacker claims that he kills in the name of evolutionary progress. Although a small disconnect, the inconsistency stuck with me throughout the novel.

Swerve is a psychological thriller that will keep you at the edge of your seat and afraid to turn off the lights. It is definitely a book for those who enjoy the horror genre and not for those who are a bit more sensitive. I am not personally a horror fan, nor do I enjoy copious amounts of gore, so this wasn’t the book for me. However, I appreciated the plot and storyline and thought that it was a very engaging novel. The characters were interesting and if you can handle disturbing, horrifying, and violent scenes, this would be a good novel to read.

If you have read Swerve, please share your thoughts in the comments. To view Swerve on Amazon, click here.

I received a copy of Swerve from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

Just Do It

justdoitI can’t believe it’s July already. Where has the year gone?

I think that everyone can agree that the year 2015 has been progressing at an incredibly fast speed. It feels like only yesterday that I was making my New Year’s Resolutions and now the year is already more than halfway over.

When looking back on the year, it’s easy to regret opportunities missed or not taken and it’s easy to get into a mundane slump of redundancy. It sometimes feels like it’s too late to make the change that you want in your life, or the fear of failure is too great. However, over the past couple of weeks, I’ve done some serious reflection and have decided that there’s no time like the present to take the chances that could lead to something big.

Have you thought about your life goals or your New Year’s Resolutions and realized that you haven’t achieved, or even started, anything on your list? Instead of throwing the ideas away, decide what’s still important to you and just do it. Are you currently in a slump, whether it’s in your personal or professional life? If so, identify your problems and brainstorm solutions. If you constantly feel negative because you are surrounded by negative people, you could attempt to go out and make new friends. If you are stuck in a job that you don’t like, take a chance and pursue a career that you are passionate about.

Life changes, especially big ones, aren’t made overnight. It’s easy to get discouraged that your dreams haven’t become a reality in a short period of time. In order to stay motivated, create smaller, concrete goals that you can achieve along the way to your ultimate goal.

It’s a common belief that as people, we regret the chances we never take. Instead of merely thinking this and acknowledging it, take your dreams and make them a reality. It’s never too late to change your path and establish a life that you want to live.

Seriously. Just do it.

Until next week,

Debbie