Monday, 3 June 2013

Umbrella Collective: Looking For A Book Review

You might have noticed that we skipped an Umbrella Collective post last Tuesday- this was mostly my fault for being a big fat fail who is incapable of picking up a book sometimes. Sorry.



We decided a little while a go that a book club sort of post might be a good idea- and after a lot of umm-ing and ahh-ing, we settled on Laura's suggestion of  John Green's Looking For Alaska.



Now I've read Paper Towns, and (like the world and his dog) I sobbed over The Fault In Our Stars whilst revising for my exams this time last year, so I kind of knew what to expect from a John Green novel. And I liked it. 

Sort of.

Don't get me wrong- it's a good book, and I'm sure lots of people will love it. It definitely had amazing moments, but I will freely admit that had I not been reading it to write this post, there is no way in hell I would have finished the book, or even got to the middle of it. I'm actually writing this before I've read the last few pages, and I'm not massively compelled to carry on, to be honest.

 For me, the first half was far too similar to Paper Towns for me to actually enjoy it. I actually also think that my taste in books is slightly more adult than the audience John Green is aiming at- this is not be being snobbish, or criticising people who do like this book by the way, I just personally prefer something a bit more than this, and I've never been too fussed about High School settings (other than Harry Potter, obvs).

Nonetheless, it is not a bad book. The chapters begin "156 days before" or "seven days after", and as the book is very chronological, we don't find out what they are before or after until It happens- and I will admit that when It happened, I was very shocked and compelled to keep reading for a while. However, unlike the characters, I wasn't too fussed about why It happened. 

The characters are good, but I didn't warm to any of them- not in a Great Gatsby, "you're supposed to dislike this character" sort of way, more in a way that I just really couldn't relate to them- unlike Hazel, in The Fault in Our Stars who I loved and could see pieces of myself in. Again, I found Miles to be a bit too much like Q from Paper Towns, and Alaska to be a bit too much like Margo. I'm also not a big fan of the use of lots of nicknames- I find it makes me confused as to who a person actually is. Which I suppose could well be the point behind it, I don't know.

However, when I discovered that Heidegger said that the last second of a man's life had as much significance as all that went before it, I did think "Ooh I bet Miles would love that". So there definitely is character development within the book, and you do "get to know" them- but I actually don't know any of the characters well enough to imagine what they'd be doing after the book finished.

Overall, I'm not really convinced by this book. As I said, I'm sure many people would love it- I just didn't. I won't be rushing to read it again (and I did rush to read The Fault in Our Stars a second time), but at the same time I wouldn't not recommend it. It's a good book- it just depends on what you want out of a book, and if that's intellectualism, or something which really makes you think, then I wouldn't suggest this. However, if you're looking for something light and quick to read, which is a bit of fun but not all sweetness and light, then this would definitely be a good bet.

I'd probably give it a 6.5 out of 10.

 Make sure you check out RhiannonAmy, and Laura's reviews- I'm really intrigued to see what they think about it.

10 comments:

  1. Really intriguing review! I think I know what you mean about "intellectualism" and it's definitely not snobbery. I recently read a book I found really underwhelming and I was left craving something with more depth and meaning. Sometimes I want something "light" considering my job but there's such a thing as too light! I'll have a wee read of the other reviews :) xx

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    1. Thanks Kirsty! I'm glad you know what I meant, I felt bad writing that bit but it is true. There definitely is such a thing as too light- I need something to make me think to keep me reading!! xx

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  2. I found the same. I don't love young adult novels for this is one of the standouts along with The Fault In Our Stars for me.

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    1. I agree- John Green is good, this just wasn't my favourite of his! xx

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  3. Ooh, interesting review! I definitely relate to you with the whole "intellectualism" thing. While I can read Harry Potter again and again, even from a young age I was left feeling disenchanted with your typical high-school setting type book, or romantic chick lit novel. One that I would highly recommend, however is The Perks of Being a Wallflower. It's has a deeper meaning than most, is written in a very clever way, and just makes you feel so many emotions! It's truly unbelievable!

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    1. I'm so glad you understood what I meant Sunae! I liked high school books when I was very young, as they seemed cool and glamorous, but as soon as I hit secondary school myself, I lost interest! I'll definitely have a look at The Perks of Being A Wallflower, I've heard good things! xx

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  4. Great review! I actually have this half read on my Kindle, but never finished it as I just couldn't get into it xx

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    1. I don't think I'd have finished this if I didn't have to for this review- I can totally see why you can't get into it! xx

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  5. Awesome review! That's Paper Planes added to my list too now. I have to agree that school setting get kinda of annoying or I find anyway. There is more places to set a story in then just books x

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    1. Paper Towns is very good, but quite similar to this. Definitely, I can understand people using it as it's a familiar setting, but there are so many other places to write about! xx

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