Looking for Alaska

looking-for-alaskssaPudge is a teenager with a not-so-interesting life prior to attending this boarding school in Alabama. Soon he was surrounded by teenagers who take on life passionately, recklessly, and fearlessly. Pudge made friends, whom he went on adventures and pulled ridiculous pranks with. And there was this girl, Alaska. She was mysterious and energetic, like a hurricane. Unexpectedly, Pudge found much of his life at his new school evolving around Alaska—her hilarious ideas, moodiness, and sometimes wild behaviors.

Through the twists and turns of Pudge and his friends’ time together, Looking for Alaska takes the readers on a somewhat confusing roller coaster ride. I found myself thinking “What’s going on??” a few times during the book. It’s a page-turner that you cannot put down until the mystery is solved at the end with the climax.

“You spend your whole life stuck in the labyrinth, thinking about how you’ll escape it one day, and how awesome it will be, and imagining that future keeps you going, but you never do it. You just use the future to escape the present.”

Alaska’s goal was to find a way out of the labyrinth of life. Sounds a bit ambitious for a teenager, doesn’t it? But she’s got a point here. Too many people are living for the future. Teenagers dream the day they are away from home in college; college students can’t wait to be done with school work for good; and working people live for the weekends. Everybody knows to enjoy the present, but it’s also so easy to begin thinking about how great an alternative situation would be when you get there one day. But the future, not to sound morbid, might never come for all you know. Have dreams, but don’t let them become merely hiding places from the present you are in now.

“That is the fear: I have lost something important, and I cannot find it, and I need it. It is fear like if someone lost his glasses and went to the glasses store and they told him that the world had run out of glasses and he would just have to do without.”

An ordinary teenager coming from a regular family, Pudge never thought that one day he would be robbed of something so precious to him and left struggling to piece his life back together. It’s such a frightening thought: something extremely important to you is irrevocably lost. And the worst part is, you never thought you would one day lose it. But life throws you curve balls sometimes. This might be the moment when Pudge grew up: realizing that, unlike glasses, there are things in life that he will lose and have to live without. Continue reading


Will Grayson, Will Grayson

WillGraysonWill Grayson, Will Grayson tells a story of two teenagers with the same name living very different lives until their paths cross at an unlikely intersection. The alternating chapters tell the same story from two perspectives. It’s a story about young people finding love and themselves. In that sense you can say it’s a typical Young Adult fiction. The plot is unpredictable and the characters are hilarious—worth the read!

Tiny reminds of Cameron from Modern Family. Dramatic, sensitive, funny, with a huge personality, and full of love. I love the friendship of Tiny and Will from Chicago. Tiny has countless ex-boyfriends while Will can’t wrap his head around interacting with one girl. Yet they both love each other simply because they are best friends.

Will from Ohio reminds me of Holden from The Catcher in the Rye. They both sound like brats that complain about every little detail in their life. They are insecure yet somewhat self-righteous, pretending to be nonchalant to hide their depression. But when he meets someone like Tiny, Will discovers more of his inner softness than he’d probably like to admit.

“But with tiny it isn’t fake at all. it’s like he’s being tickled by life.”

Tickled by life. What an adorable expression! It sums up Tiny in a nutshell. An overweight gay teenager who wouldn’t stop rambling about his love life, Tiny doesn’t have the easiest life in high school. Yet he’s always beaming with confidence, invigorating his surroundings with his cheerfulness, and trying to change the world at least a little bit by putting on a musical about love. Continue reading

The Fault in Our Stars

I’ve been waiting for until I’ve seen the film to write the book review. Finally did!

I love that the title of the book comes from a Shakespearean quote. John Green’s straightforward humor makes me chuckle and shudder a little bit at the same time. I believe that staying strong and optimistic is for the best. That’s why a little part of me collapsed when the cheerful and vigorous Augustus, lost all control and dignity, cursed his life helplessly and desperately in the parking lot.

This is not just a love story. It challenges the concept of being alive as well as the society’s glorfication of fighting a battle with cancer. My heart felt like a suddenly deflated balloon when Hazel said to Augustus, “Even cancer isn’t a bad guy really: Cancer just wants to be alive.” So whose fault is it? It’s got to be somebody’s, right? Peter Van Houten, the harsh man who mostly only said horrifying and disturbing things, wasright when he said, “…Never was Shakespeare more wrong than when he had Cassius note, ‘The fault, dear Brutus, is not in our stars/But in ourselves.’” Sometimes there is no bad guy but fate. This realization makes you feel utterly powerless, but eventually it makes you strong because you realize that there’s really no other choice. We are all dealt a random hand of cards. The only option is to play the best game.

“You don’t get to choose if you get hurt in this world…but you do have some say in who hurts you. I like my choices.”

I pictured Augustus, half-conscious and having the last bit of life squeezed out of him, scribbling down his final thoughts in his eulogy for Hazel. Although heart-wrenching, it’s comforting to know that he was content with the final chapter of his life. He was right. No one can walk the earth without getting hurt. Sometimes it’s worth it because it makes you feel alive. I guess that’s what we should aim for—to make decisions so we can eventually say, “I like my choices.” Continue reading