Tag Archives: love

How to Save a Life by Sara Zarr

How to Save a Life by Sara Zarr

‘No one measures a life in weeks and days. You measure life in years and by the things that happen to you.’

Jill’s father has just died and she feels lost, no longer herself without her best friend; then her mother informs her she’s going to adopt a baby…

Mandy is 17 and pregnant. She’s run away from home, and the only thing she wants is to make sure her baby doesn’t have life like hers.

‘I don’t want this to be a baby from fear and sadness. I want this to be a baby from cornfields and Ferris wheels and stars.’

I was expecting this to be a cheesy predictable ‘family’ story. Well, it’s fairly predictable, but not cheesy, and definitely deeper and more significant than I had imagined. I can see this being a book that ends up on a school reading list. It touches on some key subjects: death, loss, grief, abuse, adoption and teenage pregnancy – all of which are important topics that teenagers should be exposed to in the literary world. The fact that it’s modern and relatable is always a bonus for reluctant readers.

‘Mandy smiles at me and touches her belly. “Thanks”. Her eyes are ice blue, light and clear, the kind of eyes you see on certain sheepdogs. Her smile makes me uncomfortable.’

I had no idea that I would be so unnerved by the character of Mandy, presumably it was Sara Zarr’s intention to give her this psychopathic air about her, and there are significant facts about her past that – without explicitly stating in the novel – perhaps give us an insight as to why she’s become the sort of person she has. The ending is no surprise, but Zarr’s writing is engaging and her characters (perhaps with the occasional exception of Mandy) are relatable. I would definitely recommend it, especially to read during winter given the lovely book cover. 🙂

Suitable for age 14+

Love From,

Original Book Girl

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The Fault in Our Stars by John Green

The Fault in Our Stars by John Green

‘It seemed like forever ago, like we’ve had this brief but still infinite forever. Some infinities are bigger than other infinities.’

As a big fan of John Green’s novels, it might seem strange that I haven’t reviewed any his books on my blog, yet.

In fact, after I read The Fault in Our Stars, I was so blown away that I never quite knew how I could review such a fantastic novel, and I didn’t feel quite right discussing his previous work before I talked about my all-time favourite. I continued to put off writing this review in the hopes that I could find the perfect way to describe the book, but the fact is, you can’t describe it, you can only read it and fall in love with it the way I and millions of others did.

‘But it is the nature of stars to cross, and never was Shakespeare more wrong than when he has Cassius note, ‘The fault, dear Brutus, is not in our stars / But in ourselves.’

Hazel is a 16 year-old terminal cancer patient whose parents force her to attend a support group to get her out of the house, and socialise with other children her age. There she meets 17 year-old Augustus Waters, an amputee in remission from osteosarcoma – they become friends, and she introduces him to her favourite book: An Imperial Affliction. The book is about a girl with cancer who lives an interesting life, that is until the book ends mid-sentence. Hazel has tried countless times to contact the author but to no avail. However, Augustus has a plan…

‘Tell me my copy is missing the last twenty pages or something.

Hazel Grace, tell me I have not reached the end of this book.

OH MY GOD DO THEY GET MARRIED OR NOT OH MY GOD WHAT IS THIS”’

I loved the plot-line with the unfinished novel, which ultimately creates a brilliant – although somewhat painful – adventure for the teens. The descriptions of Holland are enchanting, and coming from someone who lived there for 3 years, they are also fairly accurate, and for me felt wonderfully familiar.

‘”Do you see that?” I did. There were elm trees everywhere along the canals, and these seeds were blowing out of them. But they didn’t look like seeds. They looked for all the world like miniaturized rose petals drained of their color. These pale petals were gathering in the wind like flocking birds – thousands of them like a spring snowstorm.’

This story may be about children with cancer, but really, it’s not at all: it’s about life. Hazel is a normal teenage girl and Augustus is a normal teenage boy; they just happen to suffer a lot more than most. The characters that John Green creates are so unbearably realistic, and feel so real, that when the book ends you will just be sitting there, wondering what on earth just happened to you.

‘I fell in love the way you fall asleep: slowly, then all at once.’

Ultimately this is a funny, painful, realistic and altogether wonderful book, John Green has truly outdone himself. His style is so unique, it isn’t really comparable to any other YA authors. However, it stands strong alongside my other all-time favourite YA book(s), The Chaos Walking Trilogy. I absolutely cannot wait to see what he brings out next.

Suitable for age 14+

Love From,

Original Book Girl

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The Man Who Forgot His Wife by John O’Farrell

The Man Who Forgot His Wife by John O’Farrell

If you liked the light-hearted, funny yet poignant writing style of David Nicholls’ ‘One Day’, then you are sure to like Farrell’s witty yet emotional journey of ‘The Man Who Forgot His Wife’.

One day, Jack Vaughan suffers a psychogenic fugue; all his personal memories have been wiped, apparently due to ‘stress’. As it turns out, Jack is in the middle of divorcing his wife, a wife he has no knowledge of even having! He sets about trying to work out what went so wrong in his marriage, and blindly wondering if he can salvage his old life.

‘Hang on, you haven’t explained anything… Where are we? Who is that beautiful woman?’
‘That, Vaughan, was the house you lived in for twenty years, and that was Madeline. That was the woman you’re about to divorce.’

This was a very funny and entertaining read. Not ground-breaking by any means, but definitely worth reading on your day off. 
It’s one of those interesting concepts everyone likes to ponder on occasion. What if you did forget your wife, your children and your life completely? What if you met the woman you were in the middle of divorcing only to fall in love all over again?

The story is brutally honest, and doesn’t sugarcoat love and marriage by any means, but it’s engrossing, sometimes laugh-out-loud, and definitely a book I would recommend for someone looking for a ‘holiday read’. 

Love From

Original Book Girl

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Why We Broke Up by Daniel Handler

Why We Broke Up by Daniel Handler

Why We Broke Up is a book I had been eager to read long before its publication date. Written by Daniel Handler (otherwise known as Lemony Snicket, well known for his fantastic ‘Unfortunate Events’ books), and being discussed as a new alternative for fans of John Green, I decided that this was a story I was not going to miss.

Why We Broke Up – Illustrations by Maira Kalman

What first caught my eye – the fantastic illustrations by Maira Kalman. It’s so rare to find an illustrated teenage/young adult book these days, and in this case, it really gave that little something extra to the story. They were wonderful, touching, and felt very personal.

‘When I look at this ripped in half, I think of the travesty of what you did and the travesty of how I didn’t care at the time.’

The story could be described simply as just one long letter. Min is writing to her ex-boyfriend Ed explaining why they broke up, delving back in to their past to discover what really happened. There are sections where Min loses her train of thought, becomes a little rambling and goes off on a tangent, but that’s partly what makes this story so wonderfully realistic.

‘This is what I stole. Here’s it back. I thought, my goddamn ex-love, that it was cute that you carried this around to help you map out your thinking. Cute in your pocket all the time. I’m not a cuckoo, either. I’m a fool is what.’

The concept, and the story in fact, is straightforward and simple. It is this simplicity and normality that makes this book what it is: oh so relatable. Handler writes Min in such a way, that she could be relatable to anyone, male or female, young or old. Her highs are your highs, her optimism is your optimism, her faults are your faults. Thy hit the nail on the head when they wrote on the back cover “Min and Ed’s story of heartbreak may remind you of your own”, it will indeed.

‘I’m telling you why we broke up, Ed. I’m writing this letter, the whole truth of why it happened. And the truth is that I goddamn loved you so much.’

Why We Broke Up – Illustrations by Maira Kalman

Despite having a nice proof copy of this book, I went out and bought myself a lovely hardback version. Those illustrations are worth it, and the story too. Plus, it looks great on the bookshelf! 🙂

Suitable for age 14+

Love From 

Original Book Girl

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Delirium by Lauren Oliver

Delirium by Lauren Oliver

‘Sometimes I feel like if you just watch things, just sit still and let the world exist in front of you – sometimes I swear that just for a second time freezes and the world pauses in its tilt. Just for a second. And if you somehow found a way to live in that second, then you would live forever.’

Imagine that love is a disease, and it must be cured by all costs. The disease turns you crazy, you can expect a rapid heartbeat, a flurry of overwhelming emotions, the inability to think rationally, and often the patient would rather die than be healed of this terrible ailment.

I thought the concept was very imaginative; using love as the main problem in society brings a slightly new twist to what is becoming a fairly common dystopian scenario – there’s a government trying to control the population by taking away individuality. Well, we’ve seen this many times before, and in many new YA dystopian novels, but that didn’t stop me from enjoying Delirium. I wasn’t quite as gripped as I was with something like The Hunger Games or Divergent for example, but I do like Lauren Oliver’s writing, and I was a fan of her previous book Before I Fall.
I will be reading Pandemonium (the second in this trilogy) when I get the chance, although I think these constant YA trilogies will very soon wear me out!

If dystopian futures are your bag, then you may want to give Delirium a try.

Love From,

Original Book Girl

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