Monday, February 8, 2010

spotlight on my favourites: john green

he's an author, a nerdfighter, the most hilarious video-blogger (i believe vlog is an expression...whatevs) and just a little bit hunky. and he's written some of the best YA books around.

looking for alaska

this was an instant hit with me when i first read it, and re-reading it recently just confirmed my original reaction: smart, funny, moving and (dare i say it?) necessary. here's a book with a loveable hipster doofus main character in miles (aka pudge) who has a pretty serious interest in knowing people's last words. and a cast of characters i wish i had invented (or i wish had been my friends in high school), including the beautiful and fiesty alaska. these kids are awkward (well, miles is) but they are also intelligent, philosophical and wickedly mischievious. split into two sections "before" and "after" you know that something horrible is going to happen, and the "after" section is impeccable and heart-wrenching.

looking for alaska won the 2006 michael l printz award from the american library association and there was the whole hooha about a tiny blow job scene that apparently is going to damage young minds.

an abundance of katherines

i bought this when i was in new york, as at the time it wasn't available in australia. i read it on the flight to san francisco, and it was everything i had hoped. honestly, i thought it would be hard to follow up a book like alaska, but i was happily mistaken.
the main character is colin, a washed-up child prodigy. soon after the book starts, we find colin lying face down in the carpet after vomiting his guts up, just graduated from high school, just been dumped by his girlfriend katherine. remarkable particularly because this is the nineteenth time he has been dumped by a girl called katherine. determined not to let colin be pathetic all summer, his best friend hassan decides that it is road trip time. (i love a book about road trips) a sign promising to show the boys the final resting place of the archduke ferdinand (?!? i know!) leads them to gutshot, tennessee: they meet lindsay (of the beautiful smile), her mother hollis (rich and eccentric) and her friends (colin does not take kindly to lindsay's boyfriend TOC - the other colin). roped into working for hollis, colin spends his spare time drafting his eureka moment! mathematical theorem to predict how every relationship will go.
again, brilliant character and incredible dialogue, including one scene between colin and lindsay that genuinely upset me, in a really amazing way.
paper towns

margo roth speigleman lives across the road from our main character quentin (Q) and since they were kids he has always been just a little bit in love with her. now seniors in high school, the two are hardly what you would call friends. but one night margo comes through Q's bedroom window dressed like a ninja and coaxes Q into a long, crazy night of revenge, adventure of hi-jinks (which may or may not include breaking into sea world, shoving dead fish under an enemy's car seat and removing the eyebrow of a jerk jock). the next day margo has disappeared. Q is determined to solve the clues she's left behind, to find her. again, a brilliant support cast, including a shitload of black santas.

paper towns won the 2009 edgar award for best young adult novel.
will grayson, will grayson

two guys, same name. this novel was written in tandem with david levithan (editorial director at scholastic books in the usa and author of nick and norah's infinite playlist, among many others) and each author created a persona for each will grayson. john's will is unwillingly thrust into the public eye at school by his best friend tiny: a larger-than-life, musical-loving, football-playing gay guy. a nerd-chic girl called jane just might have her sights on will, but he is really really not sure. one night, abandoned by his friends after a fake ID debacle will finds himself in a porn shop where he meets the other will grayson, who was there hoping to meet an internet boyfriend. their stories and lives thus intertwined the book continues: funny, endearing, romantic with great friendships and a brilliant big gay musical. fab.
john lives here :


hey anonymousauruses - give yourselves a name. a nom de plume, a nom de blog. it's more fun that way.