The Fault in Our Stars-John Green

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The Fault in Our Stars tells the story of Hazel Lancaster and Augustus (Gus) Waters, teenagers who have been diagnosed with cancer.  They meet at a cancer support group and fall in love. Hazel and Gus take a trip to Amsterdam to meet Peter Van Houten, the author of An Imperial Affliction, a book about a girl with cancer.  The book ends with a cliffhanger and Hazel really wants to talk to Van Houten and find out what happens to the characters.  The visit with Van Houten doesn’t quite go as expected, but Hazel and Gus really connect on this trip.

Admittedly it took me a while to get around to reading The Fault in Our Stars; the release date was 2012.  I am glad I read the book.  The story is engaging, interesting and well-written.  Books about people, especially children, with cancer are usually sad, and there are sad elements to The Fault in Our Stars.  However, the story doesn’t focus on the sadness.  The story is about the love been Hazel and Gus, not cancer.  Their cancer diagnosis is important to the story of course, but this is part of a bigger picture. The ideas that you should realize life isn’t always fair, do your best, and take one day at a time are the main points of the story, and the message is a positive one.

The interaction between Hazel and Gus, and how they relate to their families, is well done.  Hazel is feisty and strong-willed, and Gus is thoughtful, although he is strong-willed also.  Hazel and Gus complement each other.  Their families are understandably struggling with their children’s cancer diagnosis but they are supportive, although they are a bit controlling at times also.  Van Houten is a jerk, but he redeems himself later by visiting Hazel, apologizing and talking to her about his book.

The Fault in Our Stars is worth reading.  I would recommend this book.

Feast of the Mother

In Feast of the Mother, Kaspian, a member of the ruling family of Rubin, is accused of a murder he didn’t commit.  Young witch Brygida takes on her responsibility as the Reaper of Death and takes steps to bring the real killer to justice.  While in the process of fulfilling her duty, Brygida begins to discover the world beyond the community of witches she lives with and develops feelings for Kaspian.

This is an engaging book by co-authors Miranda Honfleur and Nicolette Andrews. The writing is very good, and the storyline and setting are imaginative.  The cover is beautiful too.  I like Brygida’s interaction with Kaspian, Ewa and Liliana. The story is based on Polish mythology and folklore, and the setting is Eastern Europe before Medieval times.  I have always been interested in Eastern Europe and I love myths and fairy tales.   The theme is essentially someone in distress being saved by a hero.  The difference is instead of the hero being male and the person in distress being female, the roles are reversed.  I enjoy books with strong female characters.  The idea of an all-female community independent from mainstream society is interesting.

The only drawback is the unfamiliar Eastern European words, but this didn’t stop me from enjoying the story.  I would recommend Feast of the Mother, and I want to read the rest of the series when I am able.