Love Quotes

Because capitalizing on love is what February 14th does best! Voila five quotes all about l’amour…

“I have something I need to tell you,” he says. I run my fingers along the tendons in his hands and look back at him. “I might be in love with you.” He smiles a little. “I’m waiting until I’m sure to tell you, though.”
– Veronica Roth, Divergent

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“As he read, I fell in love the way you fall asleep: slowly, and then all at once.”
– John Green, The Fault in Our Stars

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“I am nothing special, of this I am sure. I am a common man with common thoughts and I’ve led a common life. There are no monuments dedicated to me and my name will soon be forgotten, but I’ve loved another with all my heart and soul, and to me, this has always been enough..”
– Nicholas Sparks, The Notebook (Because who does cheesy love stories better than NS? No one. That’s who.)

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“You love me. Real or not real?”
I tell him, “Real.”
– Suzanne Collins, Mockingjay

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“In my arms is a woman who has given me a Skywatcher’s Cloud Chart, a woman who knows all my secrets, a woman who knows just how messed up my mind is, how many pills I’m on, and yet she allows me to hold her anyway. There’s something honest about all this, and I cannot imagine any other woman lying in the middle of a frozen soccer field with me – in the middle of a snowstorm even – impossibly hoping to see a single cloud break free of a nimbostratus.”
– Matthew Quick, The Silver Linings Playbook

Flowers in the Attic/Petals on the Wind

Flowers in the Attic/Petals on the Wind

This article is amazing. It points out in the most beautiful way possible the insanity of V.C. Andrews’ books. It’s also a riot.

Is it wrong that I kind of want to watch the movie? Ah childhood – when reading smut was considered subversive and not just lame. *sigh*

Book Review: The DUFF

Author: Kody Keplinger
Publisher: Little, Brown
Date Published: September 7, 2010
Number of Pages: 280duff

Bianca Piper has no time for high school relationships – as far as she’s concerned love takes at least five years to properly develop. Cynical, sarcastic and too smart for her own good Bianca’s world is turned upside down when the school’s big time player Wesley Rush reveals her status as “the DUFF” (Designated Ugly Fat Friend) within her group of friends. Offended, hurt and already stressed by her parents crumbling marriage and the return of guy who broke her heart, Bianca finds herself drawn to Wesley and his ability to make her forget (if only for a little while) all her problems.

What initially caught my attention with this book was the title, The DUFF: Designated Ugly Fat Friend – it’s pretty funny and clever. That being said I didn’t really know what to expect from the story.

First – the DUFF’s lead Bianca is a bit of a breath of fresh air – she’s cynical, jaded, sarcastic and is (generally) more concerned with her own intelligence than how good she looks. This is not a story about a girl who’s nerdy and through a series of events/adventures grows into a beautiful swan. This is a story about a 16-year-old with major trust issues, who prides herself on her own intelligence and capabilities – which ultimately leads to friction when she becomes determined to deal with some big issues on her own rather than allow herself to depend on friends. In doing so Bianca becomes overwhelmed and turns to the schools resident man-whore Wesley Rush to help her forget her problems.

In a weird way this story is kind of like an unrefined version of Eleanor & Park, or rather it falls along the same lines in that it’s main characters are smart, funny, kids each dealing with their own familial and emotional turmoil. Despite appearing to not care at all about what people think about them both Bianca and Wesley are far more vulnerable and sensitive then they let on. What’s moving about the story is how (slowly and unwittingly) they let down their guards for each other – their relationship develops in a backwards yet organic way. What starts off as a relationship of convenience for Bianca – a means of escape from the collapse of her parents marriage, the return of the guy who broke her heart and Wesley himself opening her eyes to her role as “the D.U.F.F” – develops into so much more as she allows herself to trust Wesley.

At times it’s easy to roll your eyes at the stories obvious trajectory – there’s no surprise here about how the story unfolds, it’s pretty stock. But the two main characters are interesting, more insightful than expected and show a vulnerability that helps give some weight (but not enough) to the story.

It’s strange to think that a character like Bianca could have such low self-esteem but obviously her willingness to engage in a relationship based only on sex with the guy who told her she’s the ugly one amongst her friends suggests she does. A fact that unfortunately is never really addressed in the story. That being said the best moments in the book are those between Bianca and Wesley, mostly because their verbal sparring is full of witty humour, but also the development of their relationship, and that Bianca doesn’t recognize her own feelings reflected in Wesley is written in such a way that it deflects the stories arc in a good way. This unwillingness on Bianca’s part to believe someone like Wesley could reciprocate her feelings helps lead in to Bianca ending things with Wesley (because she’s afraid of being hurt, especially by someone she figures is incapable of caring about anyone) and moving on to a relationship with her longtime crush Toby Tucker.

The secondary relationship with Toby is no doubt necessary to help highlight how much of a better match Wesley is (and also a subtle way of noting that what you want and what you need are usually two very different things.) That being said Toby is so lame. I couldn’t help but find it strange that Bianca – who’s so tough and knows herself so well would like such a do-gooder.

The circumstances that lead to Bianca and Wesley’s relationship are issues that for many are easy to identify with – having your heart-broken, dealing with divorce, alcoholism – however in some ways it feels like Keplinger throws out a lot of different problems with the hope that one sticks. Since all of these issues way heavy on Bianca and are all traumatic in their own right none of them are ever truly explored as fully as they could have been. They have the tendency to come off a bit superficial because we never really see Bianca deal with them head-on. Especially when it comes to her father’s drinking. Possibly the most shocking and devastating moment in the book is when Bianca is confronted with her father’s abusive drunken behaviour (in front of Wesley) the situation quickly escalates to a point that would be traumatizing for any child. Yet the entire situation is easily forgiven and forgotten.

What’s missing most from this story is weight, real substance. It’s there in peaks and valleys but not consistent enough to really make the story shine. Though most of the major issues Bianca is dealing are either solved or in the process of being mended the lack of exploration as to how they affect her are never truly revealed. We know at first she’s using Wesley to help gloss over these issues but it would’ve been nice if as their relationship grew there was a little more discussion between the two characters about how their problems could be solved.

Overall Kody Keplinger’s The DUFF is an entertaining story with two interesting and charismatic characters. Though the story never really manages to delve past the superficial elements of its characters problems it does touch on sensitive issues that are easy to identify and empathize with.

Book Review: Paper Towns

“What a treacherous thing to believe that a person is more than a person.”

“What a treacherous thing to believe that a person is more than a person.”

Author: John Green
Publisher: Dutton Books
Date Published: 2008
Number of Pages: 305

Quentin Jacobson has been in love with the enigmatic yet untouchable Margo Roth Spiegelman as long as he can remember, so when dressed as a ninja she breaks into his bedroom and convinces him to join her on a revenge themed adventure he finds he can’t refuse her. But when day breaks Margo has completely disappeared,  with no signs as to where she’s gone. That is until Quentin realizes she’s left behind clues for him.  As Q discovers clue after clue, he realizes the closer he gets to finding Margo the less he really knows about her.

As I’m certain it is evident by now that I’m kind of in love with John Green’s novels, Paper Towns is the third of his quartet that I’ve read and (no surprise here) I adore it. Funny and endearing, it is the quintessential coming of age story with a great cast of characters and quite frankly one of the most likeable leads ever.

The plot is both familiar and unique; Quentin’s longing for Margo Roth Spiegelman is a common plot line in a JG novel (boy loves girl, girl seems unattainable – don’t get me wrong, this never gets old in my world but it’s definitely a recurring theme.) However what makes this story so different is that Quentin never really tries to win over Margo. He resigns himself to the idea that she will always be untouchable. But he does allow himself to be swept up in her tide and to be influenced by her sense of adventure.

Paper Towns  is really a quest story – Quentin, seemingly the only person who’s Paper Towns Pinactually concerned for MRS’ safety and mental well-being quickly becomes consumed by the idea of finding Margo, of cracking the code behind the clues she’s left behind and hopefully finding her before it’s too late. As he moves from clue to clue and realizes how little he truly knows about the girl he’s seemingly loved his entire life Q manages to learn more about himself and about what he wants in life. Most importantly as the story progresses Quentin’s maturity and intelligence allow him to see that despite Margo’s assessment of him he is in fact confident and heroic because he, unlike her, has never felt the need to perform to please others. That’s a pretty strong message to put out there.

If I’m being honest, I did find it rather morbid that throughout a large portion of the book Margo’s fate – whether she’s dead or alive, the question of whether Q is searching for Margo herself or just her body – remains ambiguous. The sinister possibility about Margo’s fate does however add urgency and a sense of suspense that help with the pace of the novel.

As the story unfolds and more and more is revealed about the real Margo Roth Spigelman Green provides insight into the mind of a lonely and unhappy girl, who from the outside seems to lead the most charmed life – she’s the most popular girl in school, everyone wants to be her, yet she feels lost and alone. Margo’s unhappiness manifests in this need to be found. A desire for someone to follow the clues she leaves behind in order to learn who she really is. This of course is misconstrued as an attention grab – and I guess in a way it is. But not for the reasons others assume. At first I was kind of over Margo – I didn’t understand why she needed so much more attention when she was already pretty much the center of everyone’s universe. But as I thought more and more about it I came to understand that Margo was more complex than that. She may have been the most popular girl in school but that was all people were really seeing. No one really took the time to know her. That would be pretty lonely. That being said I found myself having a bit of a love/hate relationship with MRS. Her numerous complexities are often at odds with each other and well, she’s kind of self-involved.

On the other hand I absolutely adored Quentin. He’s funny, charming, a bit self-deprecating, a good friend and just unbelievably likeable – especially when I compare him to Colin in An Abundance of Katherines (who in retrospect I kind of don’t like, I mean he absolutely pales in comparison to Quentin and there’s just no comparing him to Augustus Waters – who’s name alone makes me swoon.)

The story is broken up into four acts – the final act, which will from here on out be known as The Road Trip – was epic. It was absolutely everything you would want a road trip with friends to be (minus the cow debacle). Green is the master of great chemistry amongst characters and Paper Towns really highlights this particular talent. The relationship between Quentin, Ben and Radar is identifiable; you can easily name one friend who reminds you of one of these characters. It’s real and honest, their banter is kind of everything. The Road Trip is by far the highlight of the entire book, which is saying something since the overall story is excellent.

This is a quest that is entirely worth taking part in if not for the humour (Margo’s fish message “MS’s love For you: it Sleeps With the Fishes”, the confederate flag t-shirt for Radar) and the overall chemistry between the characters – but especially the enigmatic Margo and Quentin – who it turns out is a bit of an enigma himself…wrapped in a paradox.

This is a story I’d love to see on film, I can’t even begin to imagine who I’d want to play any of these characters but I can’t help but feel that it would be awesome.

Overall Paper Towns is as entertaining as it is touching. And I think thus far my second favourite of John Green’s novels because who am I kidding? Nothing is going to beat The Fault in Our Stars but Paper Towns is definitely a story I would and will happily re-read.

Book Review: An Abundance of Katherines

Author: John Green
Publisher: Puffin Books Publishing
Date Published: September 21, 2006
Number of Pages: 256

“Books are the ultimate Dumpees: put them down and they’ll wait for you forever; pay attention to them and they always love you back.” John Green

“Books are the ultimate Dumpees: put them down and they’ll wait for you forever; pay attention to them and they always love you back.”
John Green

Ever since reading John Green’s The Fault in our Stars I’ve become, well a little obsessed with him. Unhealthy? Yes. Worth it? I think so.  So for my first John Green follow-up I chose An Abundance of Katherines. I was inspired to read it after having seen it repeatedly listed on several different blogs and lists of best/important YA novels.

Child prodigy/not genius Colin Singleton is great at languages, he has an impeccable memory, the ability to anagram just about anything and a real knack when it comes to being dumped by girls named Katherine a feat he has achieved 19 times. His most recent dumping by Katherine XIX leaves him both heartbroken and destitute. Convinced by his overweight slacker best (and only) friend to head out on the open road, Colin finds himself in Gutshot, Tennessee where he sets out to prove a mathematical theory – one that can accurately predict who will be dumper and dumpee – thus thrusting him into the realm of genius and hopefully helping him win back K19.

The story in and of itself is a great twist on both the road trip to self-discovery theme and the breakup theme in that our protagonist, Colin is automatically made interesting by his child prodigy status, further adding to the interest is the fact that he
1. Has an obsession with the name Katherine (which no one seemed to find particular disturbing which in turn made me find it disturbing)
2. Has been dumped by 19 girls with that name

Instantly you want to know more about Colin and why Katherines keep dumping him. And without spoiling anything let me say Green is one of those authors who delivers on his promise when it comes to answers. You literally get the reason why every Katherine with a K dumped our man Colin. It’s really quite satisfying.

As important as the overall story is to a novel I always find myself focusing the most on the characters.

I have to admit that for about half of the book I couldn’t decide if I liked Colin or not. He’s kind of annoying, which I mean he knows, so the fact that he can acknowledge his own faults makes him respectable if not necessarily likeable. But as the story progressed and more of Colin’s life is revealed it becomes easier and easier to feel a certain kindness towards him. It’s not easy being an outsider. Colin is also made infinitely more enjoyable by the awesomeness of his best friend Hassan.

Hassan and Colin’s friendship was so genuine, enjoyable, and funny. The fact that Colin and Hassan don’t even need to speak to communicate with one another was such a great representation of that kind of friendship, you know the one where you speak in half sentences or without actual words and your friend still knows what you mean?  For example a conversation between my ‘hetero life mate’ (as I like to call her) and I can sound something like this:
Her: Can you grab the thingy, in the thingy with the do-dad by the whatdyacall it?
Me: The spatula? Sure.
Her: Thanks.
Everyone else: That wasn’t even English.

My point being that in general the use of humour throughout this book is so natural and realistic. And at times will actually make you laugh out loud. So extra points for that. 

Lindsey Lee Wells vs. K-19

Another thing that made me decide I did in fact like Colin Singleton was that despite his obsession with Katherines he willingly admitted – at least to himself – off the bat that Lindsey Lee Wells was kind of a big deal. Of course it annoyed me that he continued pining over K-19 (yes, yes I’m heartless I know, but he really was a sitzpinkler which for anyone wondering is a German turn of phrase for a person who sits to pee, but is used derogatorily in reference to someone being a big giant pansy.) LLW vs. K-19 reminded me of Betty and Veronica, in that you become increasingly frustrated with Colin, who is clearly the Archie character here in that he knows that Betty is fun and sweet and cool yet he continues to go after the hot but infinitely evil Veronica. The more you got to know LLW and the more you learn about K-19 and her relationship with Colin the choice becomes a no brainer, because let’s face K-19 was a bit of an…unlikeable lady, if you get my drift.

LLW however was fascinating, she was at once cool and collected, smart and tough and incredibly vulnerable. When she opens up to Colin about her “non-cool years” and her boyfriend’s, the aptly named The Other Colin or TOC, past treatment of her (the Alpo can on Valentine’s day, I think my heart may have shattered in that moment) and how she dedicated herself to becoming his girlfriend to prove I don’t know what, it was sad and strangely empowering in an almost vengeful way (“Now he’s dating that dog” Jesus girl…that’s cold.) LLW was so complete as a character a big part of me would like to read a book about her. Also, I’m beginning to wonder if the triple name for a female character is a John Green-ism (Hazel Grace Lancaster, Lindsey Lee Wells).

As the summer progresses and Colin et al interview the towns folks, discover the big secret LLW’s mums been keeping, take on a feral hog, angry hornets, and TOC (that fight scene was kind of crazy, I mean who the heck is TOC? The Incredible Hulk?) Lindsey and Colin slowly fall for each other, Hassan stops being lazy and starts to experience life and Colin makes a huge discovery. There’s a lot of growth in this book, in ways it’s quite subtle, but it’s definitely there. And its reveal is incredibly rewarding because you don’t realize how invested you’ve become in the characters until the very end.

The ending by the way kind of reminded me of the end of The Perks of Being a Wallflower not in the whole devastating secret is revealed way but more so the fact that Colin begins to accept life as it is.

In a way John Green’s books remind me of those by John Irving (The World According to Garp, A Prayer for Owen Meany) in that in a Young Adult book world filled with doomed supernatural romances, crazy dictators and the children/teenagers who must work to overthrow them etc., Green writes really normal stories. This is not meant as a criticism, in fact, what makes me liken him to John Irving (one of my favourite authors) is that he has this uncanny ability to take completely normal characters, living completely normal lives and somehow make them extraordinary. Granted in the case of AAoK Colin is a child prodigy, but Green uses Colin’s intellect as a crutch, it hinders Colin in everyday life, it alienates him from his peers and ultimately leaves him lonely and needy. All feelings most of us can identify with. Also despite the breakup sorrow Green goes light on the “teenage angst” angle, instead he creates characters that demonstrate maturity and depth through understanding, humour and the connections they make with others.

An Abundance of Katherines is both a complex and simple story, it deals with relationships, friendship and growing up in a way that’s both clever and easy to identify with. The characters are unique without being unattainable, people you could see yourself hanging out with – I highly recommend it.

Next up on the reading list: The Silent Wife by A.S.A. Harrison – this ones not a YA novel, but it has been likened to Gone Girl, so we’ll see how that goes. As for the continuation of my John Green obsession: Paper Towns. Exciting, I know.

Book Review: Dead Ever After

Author: Charlaine Harris

Publisher: Ace Books

Date Published: May 7, 2013

Series? Yes

Number of pages: 338

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“It’s always possible for human beings to spoil their own peace of mind”
― Charlaine Harris, Dead Ever After

Dead Ever After the final book in Charlaine Harris’ uber popular Southern Vampire Mysteries series (also known as the Sookie Stackhouse novels) takes up where we last left telepathic barmaid Sookie Stackhouse – having just used her super powerful magical fairy artifact the Cluviel Dor to save her boss Sam’s life (thus effectively destroying her relationship with vampire Eric Northman.)  On top of simultaneously dealing with the demise of her relationship with the reigning sheriff of Area 5 and Sam’s difficulties in adjusting to being brought back to life, Sookie’s former coworker/friend (and attempted murderess) Arlene returns to Merlottes to ask for her job back.  After Sookie denies her request Arlene turns up dead and Sookie quickly becomes the prime suspect.

The above only just skims the storyline in this series finale, the book is overflowing with additional stories that – granted – all connect but there are so many and so much to remember from the past twelve books it becomes both difficult and tedious trying to keep up with what’s going on. Basically everyone Sookie’s ever pissed off has banded together to end her once and for all. Okay maybe not everyone but hyperbole seems the only way to go with this review so bear with me.

The book is chock full of returning characters, some enjoyable (Mr. Cataliades and his half demon niece Diantha and were-tiger Quinn to name a few) some inane and annoying (*cough Amelia cough*) and some so uninspiring you barely remember who they are if you remember them at all. The book is also chock full of a lot of nothing. Most of the story is Sookie lamenting over the lazy ending of her relationship with Eric and Sam’s distancing himself from her and his overall weirdness towards the woman who restored him to life. And rather than use a brain cell and think “Hmm my super scary, totally powerful and really pissed off vampire ex-boyfriend probably threatened my boss in some manner because I used a super magical artifact to save his life rather than release my boyfriend from 200 years of servitude and effectively becoming a high-class courtesan to the vampire Queen of Oklahoma” she just flounces around the place bein’ all confused ya’ll.

While all of this is happening there also remains the fact that Sookie has been framed for a murder she didn’t commit and the fact that someone is once again out to get her. The girl cannot catch a break.

Add in deals with the devil, a vengeful father who figures if he murders his daughters friend he can control her and the world’s lamest and biggest copout ever of a TWELVE BOOK LONG LOVE TRIANGLE and it’s quite easy to see that there’s a reason Charlaine Harris didn’t go on tour to promote this final book and that is, to be quite blunt, because it sucked. I’m sorry but there’s just no beating around the proverbial bush here. This final book is quite possibly the worst of the series, perhaps only trumped, or better yet tied with the series’ penultimate book Deadlocked which really should have been indication enough that this series had totally and completely jumped the shark.

Now for those who may stumble across this little ol’ blog of mine and be in the midst of reading this series *SPOILER ALERT* am I the only one truly offended that Harris would stick Sookie with Sam in the end? After years of continuously saying no and picking any other man over him what on earth would make his character even want her anymore? She picked dead guys (albeit super-hot ones) but regardless dead supernatural beings known for their blood thirsty ways over him. And whilst constantly turning him down and whatnot she continuously ran interference in his relationships. She was kind of a jerk. And that’s coming from someone who genuinely likes the character of Sookie with all her Southern sass and unexpected bravado. But seriously how freaking desperate is Sam?

Furthermore, is this not the world’s biggest copout? The way this series ends brings back memories of my unbelievable annoyance over the fact that Harry was the seventh unexpected horcrux – in the words of my four year old niece, like for serious? The entire point of the series was that Sookie finally found a world in which she belonged when the vamps came out of the closet, in Bill and then in Eric she found peace of mind – literally. And she just turns around at the end of everything and says “Oh Sam it was you all along.” Lame…lame, lame, lame, laaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaame. Did I mention I think this is lame?

In the end Sookie overcomes the bad guys and walks off into the sunset with her copout boyfriend – but goes so far to acknowledge that she doesn’t really know if there’s anywhere for things between her and Sam to go but you know, whatevs.  Way to back pedal there Sookie.

It’s as though at the last minute Charlaine Harris just decided she was over it. A little forewarning would’ve been nice lady. Perhaps a small book tour where she said ‘Hey dear reader beware, I may not have had the lady balls to make a choice between our resident vampire lovers so I you know just let Sookie settle.” And yes I realize that this particular approach I’m suggesting would not have been smart for the whole book selling process but seriously between her editors, agents, publisher and family did no one think to point out the obvious? That this decision would be pissing people off for years to come? This is like when Joey and Rachel started dating after she gave birth to Ross’s baby. I mean come on! We knew that wasn’t going to work out and I’m sorry but in the fictional world of Sookie Stackhouse there is just no way in my personal fantasy of this series that her and Sam make it for the long haul.

In closing Dead Ever After has to be one of the most disappointing finales to a series I’ve ever had the misfortune of putting myself through. Disappointing, lackluster and lame is how I’d best describe this series finale. I say read up until the sixth book and then just watch the show, because I think we can all agree that it doesn’t matter what’s going on in the show as long as Alexander Skarsgard is on the screen. Preferably with limited clothes.

Book Review: The Fault in Our Stars

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Author: John Green

Publisher: Dutton Books

Date published: January 10, 2012

Number of pages: 313

What’s it about?

Hazel Grace Lancaster, a terminally ill cancer patient is coerced by her mother into attending a support group for youth where she meets and eventually falls in love with cancer survivor Augustus Waters.

I actually had to read this book twice before I could sit down and write about it. Not because it’s bad (because it most definitely isn’t bad, unless we’re using the Ebonics form of ‘bad’ which then suggests something is in fact good in which case this book is incredibly bad.) I fell in love with this story and both Hazel and Augustus so deeply that I didn’t think I could actually put into words how I was feeling. It’s a difficult book to define, part philosophical journey, part tragic romance yet filled with unbelievable hilarity The Fault in Our Stars is a book you can read over and over again – and never get bored of.

Part of what is so striking about The Fault in our Stars is how well Green portrays teenage angst – and how he does so with unbelievable humour and warmth. Augustus’ obsession with having a meaningful life – being a hero, combined with his astonishing sense of ennui (the existentially fraught free throws) kind of sums up being a teenager. And yet because both characters have had to face their own mortality – their maturity, the level of intelligence and wit these characters display allows them to acknowledge their suffering without allowing it to control them.

But let’s just talk about Augustus Waters for a minute. First of all Augustus Waters – why is that one of the greatest literary names ever? Furthermore, he’s kind of totally swoon-worthy. Self-assured, intelligent, thoughtful, kind and funny, Gus is a nice change of pace from all the bad-boys-with-a-heart-of-gold-that-they-have-to-hide-because-they-need-to-be-tough that seem to currently permeate YA novels (Jace Wayland, Will Herondale, Patch in the Hush Hush series, Four – not that they’re not swoon-worthy in their own right.) It’s just that Gus is normal yet extraordinary.  Everything he does is just a little amazing because of how he does it; he displays a sense of selflessness that’s not generally expected of 17-year-old boys. This quality isn’t something that only comes out with Hazel; his entire relationship with Isaac demonstrates Gus’ kindness and understanding (not to mention his slightly perverse sense of humour.) The ‘night of the broken trophy’s’ as Hazel calls it and the egging of Isaac’s ex-girlfriends house (done while at the height of Gus’ illness) are just some of the examples that come to mind.

There’s also the fact that despite the serious disappointment that Van Houten proves to be, Gus continues to write to him, asking for help with his eulogy for Hazel and demanding he answer her questions – further demonstrating the extraordinary thoughtfulness and love Gus possesses.

What really grabs you with this story is how bittersweet it is – you always know it will end sadly, the entire book kind of prepares you for it.  But Green takes you on this journey, he leads you through the process of dealing with mortality and the inevitable and he does it in a way that is neither condescending nor pathetic. You watch these characters as they live their lives with the burden of cancer and marvel at the humanness, the fight, the hope and despair – that Green creates, all done with so much flair and humour – real humour – not forced, it’s all so natural. The conversations between Hazel and Augustus are believable – you could imagine having those same conversations with your own friends. The progression of their relationship and the feelings of fear and frustration Hazel feels, Gus’ persistence in pursuing her and the inevitable heartbreak that comes with his death – make this story seem so much bigger than your average YA novel but quite frankly, that’s what makes this book so charming and real. It’s the underlying sadness coupled with the distinct voices Green saddles his characters with that makes The Fault in Our Stars such a standout story.