I normally try to space out my reading of high-profile authors, but chose to follow up Suzanne Collins with John Green for 2 reasons: 1) I have wanted to read a John Green book for a while now, because he is such a huge author currently in the YA field 2) After reading Mockingjay, I wanted to read something lighter, and so I compromised with my first stipulation by reading a light John Green book. I had wanted to read The Fault in our Stars, but after seeing the movie first, I new it would be heavy. With this review, I've decided to go more in-depth. My review of Mockingjay brief, because had I let myself go, I would have dissected like an alien life form:
One thing that struck me immediately with this book, was that it was told in the third person. Many popular YA novels thick with quirky narrators and teenage angst opt for the first person view. I appreciated the extra effort. What I did not like so much towards the beginning, was all of the "telling" mostly used to describe character's habits. It felt like my hand was being held too much. The first third had some other troubles such as the narrator giving an opinion out of nowhere, clichéd dialogue and Colin being overly judgmental. Then the last third of the book seemed to get lazy with description, and throw in adverbs. The one thing that annoyed me that isn't a common issue, was the use of the word "fug," and more so its overuse. Until it was explained, the word seemed like a childish way to get around using cuss words. Dialogue does not need cussing to make it impactful, but this turned out to be more of a homage. Now that I have covered my issues, on to the story.
What carried most of this book was Colin's personality, and just listening to him. Otherwise, not much else had me craving to see what would happen next. One of the strongest problems was the large cast of characters, that are all given limited time and limited personalities so that they seem like filler between Colin's breakthroughs. Most of the other dynamic elements seemed to just fall in place, and Colin merely coexisted with them. His relationship with Hasan and their bickering was also a highlight of the book, but their language made every other character seem too bland. I loved hearing from them so much, and following Colin's train of thought, that it seemed every other aspect was just a nuisance of Green to write.
I had to admire John Green for the work he put into writing this, such as the cliffnote on remembering the number sequence of pi. He put a lot of love into the little details, that made this book seem real, but almost so real that they seem like they were outright conceived outside of the novel. I think the main issue of this book was spending too much effort on certain aspects that most of the story could not match that level of passion. It was an uneven trip.
I do not think it was the strongest John Green book to have started off with, but with the few characters he played with, I could see all of the passion and precision he puts into his work. It is hard not to love a book where you can see the author put so much work into. Shelf.