Posts tagged ‘johngreen’

May 21st, 2011

Fictional Characters I’d Name My Daughter After

by Madeleine Rex

Isn’t this a fantastic topic? I’ve robbed it from Audrey. I have definitely spent time contemplating this. After all, I’m a girl – it’s natural to daydream about baby names. Even more importantly, I’m a reader – so it’s natural to adore fictional characters to the point of ridiculousness. Hence, this post.

Fictional Characters I’d Name My Daughter After:

Anne
Anne Shirley from the Anne of Green Gables series. I actually plan on naming a girl after her. I absolutely love everything about her and love everything about the series and love everything about the people and have I mentioned I love her? See? I adore her to the point that I’ll throw punctuation and sentence structure right out the window. This is serious stuff.

Macy
Macy from The Truth About Forever. If I were being more literal here, all the names would be from books written in the 1800s. I love the old-fashioned ones. However, Macy is one of the more modern names that I really like. It’s unique and has a short-and-sweet quality to it that appeals to me. Plus, The Truth About Forever is an irresistible book.

Lina
Another name I absolutely want to use for a child someday! It’s short for Caroline, and I first came across it when attempting to read Shirley by Charlotte Bronte. I’ve loved the two other books I’ve read of Charlotte’s, but I couldn’t seem to get through this one. All the same, great and unusual name!

Margo
Margo from Paper Towns by John Green. Need I say more? Isn’t the name “John Green” synonymous with “never-ending amounts of awesomeness” by now? What? No? That’s not in your thesaurus? Well, they’re synonymous in my scrambled brain, and Margo is awesome by association. Plus, it’s a neat name.

Astrid
Astrid, the wild flapper from Bright Young Things. There’s also a girl named Astrid on one of my favorite TV shows, “Fringe,” and they’re both inspiring, entertaining, and absolutely lovable.

Honorable Mentions (the following are great characters but have names I’m not crazy about): Andi (Revolution), Alex (Revolution), Rhine (Wither), Francesca (Saving Francesca), Frankie (The Disreputable History of Frankie Landau-Banks), and Mia (If I Stay/Where She Went).

I would certainly read any posts similar to this one, should any of you decide to write one! If you do, let me know in the comments, and I’ll take a look. Happy Apocalypse!

January 21st, 2011

The Disreputable History of Frankie Landau-Banks by E. Lockhart; Review

by Madeleine Rex

Title: The Disreputable History of Frankie Landau-Banks

Author: E. (Emily) Lockhart

Published: March 25th, 2008

Number of Pages: 352

Rating: 4/5

Quote:

She might, in fact, go crazy, as has happened to a lot of people who break the rules. Not the people who play at rebellion but really only solidify their already dominant positions in society but those who take some larger action that disrupts the social order. Who try to push through the doors that are usually closed to them. They do sometimes go crazy, these people, because the world is telling them not to want the things they want. It can seem saner to give up – but then ones goes insane from giving up.

Synopsis:

Frankie Landau-Banks at age 14:
Debate Club.
Her father’s “bunny rabbit.”
A mildly geeky girl attending a highly competitive boarding school.

Frankie Landau-Banks at age 15:
A knockout figure.
A sharp tongue.
A chip on her shoulder.
And a gorgeous new senior boyfriend: the supremely goofy, word-obsessed Matthew Livingston.

Frankie Laundau-Banks.
No longer the kind of girl to take “no” for an answer.
Especially when “no” means she’s excluded from her boyfriend’s all-male secret society.
Not when her ex boyfriend shows up in the strangest of places.
Not when she knows she’s smarter than any of them.
When she knows Matthew’s lying to her.
And when there are so many, many pranks to be done.

Frankie Landau-Banks, at age 16:
Possibly a criminal mastermind.

This is the story of how she got that way.[From Jacket]

Review:

This book is everything I’ve come not to expect from the average YA book.

Now, that’s not to say that I don’t absolutely love some of those “average YA books,” but I certainly appreciate the fact that The Disreputable History of Frankie Landau-Banks pushes the boundaries of what some people might deem acceptable. It refuses on all levels to be normal.

I loved it. In fact, I love it for some of the very reason that I didn’t give it five stars.

Frankie Landau-Banks is the perfect sort of main character for readers like myself, readers whose eyes are always peeled and on the look-out for clever, entertaining, even brilliant teen protagonists. My mind immediately jumps to John Green’s characters, but Frankie fits this description perfectly. The beautifully ironic thing is that it’s typically those character’s brilliance and cleverness that leads to whatever trouble they eventually find themselves in. Frankie is no exception, and The Disreputable History is her journey toward that trouble.

It’s written in the form of a detached narrative. It’s analytical in a way I’ve never seen in YA literature, and I was pleased by the effect. I felt as though I was reading a very intriguing, in-depth news article. The language was phenomenal. I don’t mean to sound snooty when I say that I have a pretty expansive vocabulary, but I do (for my age, at least). The Disreputable History absolutely refused to stay within the walls of said expansive vocabulary, and for the first time in a while, I had to ask my mother what a word meant every five pages. I loved it!

Though there were moments when the book felt as though it was being told in first person (which astonished me), it was definitely analytical, as I said before. The downside to this was the fact that I never felt as though I was really inside Frankie’s head. I prefer to have unlimited access to a character’s thoughts and psyche. This was the main reason I did not give the book a five star rating.

On the other hand, there are so many things about this book to love. Namely, the characters and their irresistible cleverness.

Frankie is an apparent mastermind from the start. Her intellect and potential leak through every word she says in the first chapter. She was funny, clever, and the perfect, odd-ball combination of insecure and confident. She wasn’t overly sure of her social standing or appearance, and therefore very true to what it is to be a teenaged girl. Yet, she is supremely confident (almost arrogant) when it comes to her ingenuity. She knows she’s smarter and more thoughtful than the average teen – heck, than the average anyone – and it’s that arrogant confidence that leads her down a very fascinating and entertaining path to “doom”.

Though there’s a collection of characters that add humor to every page, there are only two that I believe must make it into the review. Matthew and Alpha. Matthew originally appears to be the fill-in-the-blank perfect guy that the poor, never truly noticed fill-in-the-blank girl has been pining after for months. While Frankie is not just a filled in blank, Matthew isn’t either. He’s clever and loves to think and discuss anything aside from the things Frankie wants to think about and discuss. I liked him for a good while, but I noticed the distance he kept between Frankie and himself long before Frankie did. What irritated me to an even greater degree was his self-assured attitude (which I think took root in his self-doubt, interestingly enough). I don’t want to go too far, so let me leave it with this: Matthew rubbed me the wrong way.

On the other hand, you have Alpha, who was equally irritating but in more preferable ways. I think it was the fact that I knew the surface-Alpha was, well, just that – the surface. I was acutely aware that there was more to him, and that out-of-reach truthof him was tantalizing. I was always dying for something more – more than I ever got, actually. Alpha remains a mystery. He’s so fun to wonder about, though, that I don’t quite mind. He was infinitely more interesting than Matthew.

The characters, the plot, and the thoughtfulness of everything were wonderful individually. You throw them together and you get The Disreputable History of Frankie-Landau Banks, a book that is deliciously clever, thoughtful, and brilliantly constructed.

January 7th, 2011

Let it Snow by John Green; Review

by Madeleine Rex

Title: Let it Snow

Author(s): John Green, Maureen Johnson, and Lauren Myracle

Published: October 2nd, 2008

Number of Pages: 400

Rating: 4/5

Quote:

Instead of a quote here, I’ll include a quote for every story below.

Synopsis:

Sparkling white snowdrifts, beautiful presents wrapped in ribbons, and multicolored lights glittering in the night through the falling snow. A Christmas Eve snowstorm transforms one small town into a romantic haven, the kind you see only in movies. Well, kinda. After all, a cold and wet hike from a stranded train through the middle of nowhere would not normally end with a delicious kiss from a charming stranger. And no one would think that a trip to the Waffle House through four feet of snow would lead to love with an old friend. Or that the way back to true love begins with a painfully early morning shift at Starbucks. Thanks to three of today’s bestselling teen authors John Green, Maureen Johnson, and Lauren Myracle the magic of the holidays shines on these hilarious and charming interconnected tales of love, romance, and breathtaking kisses. [From Goodreads]

Review(s):

The Jubilee Express by Maureen Johnson; Review

Quote:

“Maybe you’ve never fallen into a frozen stream. Here’s what happens.

1. It is cold. So cold that the Department of Temperature Acknowledgment and Regulation in your brain gets the reading and says, “I can’t deal with this. I’m out of here.” It puts up the OUT TO LUNCH sign and passes all responsibility to the…

2. Department of Pain and the Processing Thereof, which gets all this gobbledygook from the temperature department that it can’t understand. “This is so not our job,” it says. So it just starts hitting random buttons, filling you with strange and unpleasant sensations, and calls the…

3. Office of Confusion and Panic, where there is always someone ready to hop on the phone the moment it rings. This office is at least willing to take some action. The Office of Confusion and Panic loves hitting buttons.

I’d never read anything by Maureen Johnson before cracking open Let it Snow on Christmas day, but I’ll definitely do so now!

Though the story was a bit cliche and predictable, I found myself totally invested in it and just as anxious and full of anticipation as the main character. Actually, due to the predictability, I was probably filled with more anticipation than Jubilee (who, as she would want me to tell you, is not a stripper).

The story reminded me quite a lot of Sarah Dessen’s The Truth About Forever, primarily because the boys are very similar. Jubilee begins her journey totally in love with the focused, popular, and busy boyfriend, Noah, only to meet a stranger who later proves to be a very nice fellow. She also meets a handful of people along the way who are intriguing and likable, namely the heartsick and polite Jeb. (Heartsick and polite? Goodness – what a bad description. Just, um, read the story.)

In the end, “The Jubilee Express” is enticing, cute, and though cliche, very very likable. I was so excited for things to wrap up at the end just the way I wanted them to.

A Cheertastic Christmas Miracle by John Green; Review

Quote:

When I caught up to them, all of out hoods where scrunched shut against the oncoming wind as we walked up the street parallel to Sunrise. We had to shout to be heard, and the Duke said, “I’m glad you’re here,” and I shouted back, “Thanks,” and she shouted, “Honestly, hash browns mean nothing without you.”

I laughed and pointed out that “Hash Browns Mean Nothing Without You” was a pretty good name for a band.

“Or a song,” the Duke said, and then she started singing all glam rock, a glove up to her face holding and imaginary mic as she rocked out an a cappella power ballad. “Oh, I deep fried for you / But now I weep ‘n’ cry for you / Oh, babe, this meal was made for two / And these hash browns mean nothing, oh these hash browns mean nothing, yeah these HASH BROWNS MEAN NOTHING’ without you.”

First of all, JOHN GREEN!

Ahem.

Anyway… this was by far my favorite of the three stories in the book! While the others were just as cute and enjoyable, there’s this certain feel to John Green’s writing and a sort of irresistible cleverness to his characters that is definitely present in this short story.

An interesting thing about this one, however, is that I didn’t realize how much I loved it until I finished. I was so engrossed while reading that there was no possible way I’d be able to determine what my own feelings were – I was too preoccupied with feeling exactly what the characters felt.

Another remarkable aspect of the story was the fully developed arc. I’m always impressed when people manage this in short stories, as I can’t write anything short and decent to save my life! Tobin learns to open up and take a chance if only to enjoy a “happy middle.”

“A Cheertastic Christmas Miracle” is a hilarious, topsy-turvy adventure in which, as a reader, I literally got to cheer. The characters and the relationship between friends that develops into something more is precisely what every reader wants. I wish I could have spent more time with JP, Tobin, and especially the Duke!

The Patron Saint of Pigs by Lauren Myracle; Review

Quote:

“Tell us your good news,” I said.

“My news is about Gabriel,” Tegan said. She smiled. “He’s coming home tomorrow! …

“I have his bed all set up,” Tegan said. “I have a special Piglet stuffed animal to make him feel comfortable, and I have a ten-pack of grape Dubble Bubble.”

“Ah, yes, because Gabriel loves grape Dubble Bubble,” Dorrie said.

“Do pigs eat gum?” I said.

“They don’t eat it, they chew it,” Tegan said.

I wasn’t surprised when this story came along, as it was developing behind the scenes in the others as well. I knew from the moment we learned what Jeb was after in “The Jubilee Express” that I wanted to see him to the end of his journey, and in a way, that’s what this story is all about.

Though we’re introduced to this through Jeb, the POV character is Addie, Jeb’s ex-girlfriend. Reluctantly-ex-girlfriend, I suppose.

My main issue with this story was Addie – she certainly comes off as selfish and undeserving of Jeb (who is clearly awesome from the moment we meet him) – but that’s the whole point. “The Patron Saint of Pigs” might be a bit ridiculous and light-hearted, but it deals with an important problem – What do you do when you know you’re wrong and need to change? Change isn’t easy. It’s not fun. Some people believe it’s as impossible as purple cheeseburgers (although I haven’t heard that exact comparison before). This book is about Addie’s epiphany (Epiphany = Whoa. I’m a jerk.) and her struggle to evolve into a better version of herself.

This story was a little over-the-top for me, but I absolutely loved that it was one of growth and confronting yourself, and it was also super fun to run into characters from the other stories. This is the one that wraps the collection up and gave me a feeling of closure.

Throw all of that together, and Let it Snow is a funny, dramatic, enjoyable collection of stories about people confronting various bits and pieces of themselves and taking worthwhile chances. I’d definitely recommend it!

P.S. Don’t forget to join Google Friend Connect! (Sorry, but I’m only human, and I have my obsessions.)