Monday, 28 March 2016

Me and Earl and the Dying Girl by Jesse Andrews Book Review

Me and Earl and the Dying Girl by Jesse Andrews

“Of course it’s girly…My room doesn’t have no James Bond in no…thong”

Greg is just a normal teenager who spends his time making films with his friend and trying to blend in at high school. That is until his old friend, Rachel is diagnosed with leukaemia and his mum forces him to reconnect with her. The book is full of awkward, funny and relatable moments. The plot is based around his relationship with Rachel and how it first started until the present day.

There’s different ways in which books deal with cancer and this has got to be the most honest and refreshing one I’ve read. Greg is forced to hang out with Rachel because she’s dying and in this situation the book goes down a different route than any other YA novel.

Greg as the narrator makes the book funny and interesting as he’s such an awkward character.  He’s so honest throughout the novel which makes the book better as its not cheesy then. He knows that he doesn’t know Rachel well enough, he knows his films suck, he knows his friendship with Earl is based solely on filmmaking and he knows he’s completely out of his element when dealing with Rachel.

There is no deep meaningful message in the book – it’s not a survival story or a story where Greg learns something important in the end. This book avoids death and instead focuses on humour and friendship.

The focus of the book isn’t on Rachel and at the end of the story we know very little about her which is something Greg actually recognizes. The surrounding characters are each given one personality trait which develops in the book so we get to know them. Plus Earl is really funny too.

The book is told in different narrative methods which link to Greg’s filmmaking which is a nice touch.

Also the ending was good. It showed this element of moving on although I do like the movie’s ending.


Monday, 7 March 2016

Rebel of the Sands by Alwyn Hamilton Book Review

Rebel of the Sands by Alwyn Hamilton

“So this really was where the stories came to life. Heroes and monsters come to fight and die for the Rebel Prince”

The novel starts off with Amani joining a shooting contest in order to win money so she can leave her dead end town for a bigger and brighter city.  The story isn’t bad but it just follows a lot of ya novel clichés.

The start of the book was probably the best part. Amani is in the final 3 of the contest when things go down and it’s this chaotic scenario leading to a hasty escape. Trouble follows when an army comes to town looking for a fugitive who is linked to her. Eventually she escapes with the help of Jin, the fugitive.

The book was action packed and the pace was fast making the book easy to read. The writing style is enjoyable and Amani isn’t a ‘perfect’ character which is refreshing. Some of her decisions aren’t ‘good’ and this goes against what we expect from MC however in her situation it’s realistic.

 The book was fun to read but it had so many clichés that after finishing it, the book wasn’t memorable. Clichés include; MC has hidden power, MC has been lied to by love interest, MC has special talents which save her all the time and MC is run out of her home.

Also there’s this repeat of this basic plot used in a lot of YA novel where the first half is spent learning about a rebel group and then journeying to the rebellion base and the second half is the MC joining the rebellion and defeating the villain. The problem with this plot isn’t just that it’s overused; it’s also makes the novel way too rushed as a lot of things are crammed in.

The romance was good. It wasn’t rushed but slowly built up however the first kiss was something out of a cheesy teen movie.   

 The book is probably one of the only books where I want a prequel which involves the trials that the Rebel Prince faced also the history/beliefs in this book are really interesting and I hope it’s expanded in the following books.