“The Fault in Our Stars” by John Green

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John Green is one of my favorite YA authors, hands down. When I found out his newest title, “The Fault In Our Stars” had main characters with cancer, I regrettably decided to pass. After all, I cry over commercials on tv. How could I possibly get through a book like this? Fast forward a year and a half, a gifted Kindle and a free sample and I was HOOKED!

The Fault In Our Stars is one of the most beautifully written glimpses into teenage love I have ever read. Green mesmerizes his audience with the heartbreaking tale of sixteen-year-old Hazel Grace Lancaster, a Stage 4 Thyroid cancer patient that is being kept alive by an experimental drug Phalanxifor. She is forced by her parents to attend a support group where she ends up meeting her true love, Augustus “Gus” Waters, through a mutual friend Isaac. Gus, a former basketball star, is missing his right leg from osteosarcoma, in remission, and full of life. As Gus and Hazel Grace start spending time together and bonding over her favorite novel, An Imperial Affliction, a beautiful friendship and potential relationship start to bloom. Hazel is very apprehensive about her feelings for Gus and the pain she will cause him when she loses her ongoing battle to cancer. Gus loves Hazel and doesn’t want their time together to end. As they both take a chance on each other, Gus’s circumstances change and the lovers are split up far earlier than expected.

Through Gus and Hazel’s adventures, an amazingly honest and touching love affair is born. I recommend this to any fan of romance, realistic fiction or John Green. Although I wanted more time with Hazel Grace and Gus, the lasting impression that both characters make is unforgettable.

Check this book out or put it on hold.

—Kelly Handy

“A Monster Calls” by Patrick Ness

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Thirteen-year-old Conor wakes from a nightmare to find a monster waiting for him. The yew tree in his yard has transformed into a wooden man bristling with twigs and branches. The monster says over the coming weeks it will tell Conor three stories and then Conor will tell the monster his own story.

Conor’s life becomes more and more bizarre — he spends his nights listening to the monster’s strange, confusing stories while dealing with a sick mother and a school bully in the daytime. Slowly he begins to understand the meaning behind the monster’s stories and come to terms with the story burning inside him — the story he swore never to tell anyone.

This book is a thing of painful beauty. Jim Kay’s stark black, white and grey images of the monster add to the books atmospheric creepiness and sadness. The story was inspired by the final idea of now-deceased young adult author Siobhan Dowd (author of “Solace of the Road” and other books). The book’s emotional, no-holds-barred examination of grief combines beautifully with its celebration of the power of story.

Check this book out or put it on hold.

–Amanda Coppedge Bosky