Book Review: Will Grayson, Will Grayson by John Green & David Levithan

Two boys named Will Grayson. One story about love.

See, I’m no John Green fan. I’ll come right out and say it: I dislike the topics he writes about. Don’t say I never tried – I’ve read Paper Towns, An Abundance of Katherines and attempted The Fault in Our Stars. The last didn’t turn out well because I got annoyed at the main character about two pages in, and ragequitted when she kept whining about the world and her life.

But this isn’t about my inability to stomach John Green even though I’m of the opinion that his writing’s hella pretentious. This is about Will Grayson, Will Grayson, a novel that manages to transcend my dislike for one of its two authors by 1) having absurdly good characters 2) having David Levithan on board WHOM I LOVE 3) somehow avoiding Green’s pitfall of the edgy, whiny, teenage protagonist.

In fact, point 3 may just be the most important of all. I’ll get to that.

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Book Review: The Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky

“And in that moment, I swear we were infinite.”

Before I actually sat down to read this book, I’d never understood what this quote meant. But now I get it, or at least I hope I do. The Perks of Being a Wallflower is more than just the book that used to be cool and is just mainstream ‘hipster’ now. It’s more than teenage angst, more than coming-of-age.

It’s a book about the freedom of being able to grow up. (Note: this review contains no spoilers.)

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Book Review: Aristotle & Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe by Benjamin Alire Saenz

A beautiful cover for a beautiful book.

Aristotle Mendoza stands on the edge of adolescence and manhood. He lives in his own ecotone in El Paso, Texas. His father is distant, his mother loving, his sisters far away. His older brother is in prison. Aristotle ‘Ari’ Mendoza is an angry child. Angry and lonely with a whole universe inside him.

Dante Quintana shines like anything. Brilliant and eccentric, he wears his heart on his proverbial sleeve. Passionate, honest, and boyish even after he graduates from boyhood – Dante is everything Ari does not think he could ever be. Dante is funny. Everyone likes Dante.

One day, Dante teaches Ari how to swim.

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Book Review: The Song of Achilles by Madeline Miller

Otherwise known as the latest addition to my pile of “maybe I should have gone in without expectations” books.

The Song of Achilles is a book that doesn’t so much belong to Achilles himself as to his best friend and chosen companion, Patroclus. It tells the story of Patroclus’ past with the great hero: from their tight friendship as young boys to their falling in love, culminating in the Trojan War which serves as a dramatic breakup for the two.

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Book Review: A Wild Sheep Chase by Haruki Murakami

Best described as ‘indescribable’.

My first experience with Murakami began with hearing of Kafka on the Shore many years ago. I’d always been meaning to read his works – many friends spoke favorably of him – but never got around to it. Finally, one of them lent me A Wild Sheep Chase, and here I am attempting to make enough sense of the story to coherently write a short piece on the meaning behind it.

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