I’ve got two books for you today. Not new ones. They’ve been around a while. But one is, well, I was going to write that one will be coming out as a movie soon. But a quick look on IMDB tells me I totally missed it, and it was out last summer. So, let’s jump to it.
Paper Towns by John Green (you know, the guy who wrote The Fault in Our Stars). Just as much drama. Not nearly as much death. Quentin has always lived next to Margo, but they haven’t been friends for a long time. Until one night, she shows up at his window and asks him to be her getaway driver for the night (Quentin drives an awesome minivan). The next day, Margo has disappeared. Quentin then becomes obsessed with finding her. He thinks she’s left clues for him to find her. One of those clues is a book of poems by Walt Whitman.
This was the first John Green book I read, so it remains my favorite. Partly because Quentin and his friends are so much fun to read about. Partly because of the lack of death. And the concept of a paper town is a really cool one that has actually come up several times since I’ve read the book.
Second book is one that just has a really cool title: Dr. Bird’s Advice for Sad Poets by Evan Roskos (although, when the book first came out, I thought it was Dr. Bird’s Advice for Sad Pets, which I think would be equally as cool). In this story, James Whitman (named for Walt…trying to live up to his namesake in his own unique way) is dealing with high school, anxiety, depression, abusive parents, a sister who has been outcast, and secrets. How does he deal? By hugging trees (literally) and talking with Dr. Bird, his imaginary pigeon therapist.
This one is on my to-read list. But everything I’ve heard about it has been good. And it was honored as one of the best debut novels in 2014.
Just in case you doubted my ability to tie reading to EVERYTHING we do around here.
This week we’ve done a lot as a community to raise awareness, and money, around all types of cancer. This is a perfect tie-in for John Green’s The Fault in Our Stars. This is a book about Hazel who has terminal cancer. Her mother makes her attend a totally lame cancer support group, which is where she meets Gus, a cancer survivor. Naturally, they fall in love. Naturally, two kids who have/have had cancer falling in love means you will need a hefty dose of tissues while you read this. But it’s a fantastic book. If you’re not already familiar with John Green, you should start reading his stuff NOW. He’s one of the best writers of teen literature out there today. (This is also available in audio.)
In addition, The Fault in Our Stars is being made into a movie. They’ve been filming out in Pittsburgh for a while now. And I think they were in Amsterdam this week or last week. If you’d like to know more about the movie, check out either John Green’s Tumblr, fishingboatproceeds (which I think you should read anyway, because he’s just an interesting and smart person) or check out the Tumblr for the director Josh Boone, joshboonemovies.
Related, you might also like John Green’s YouTube channel with his brother Hank, The Vlog Brothers. These are two seriously smart guys who vlog about everything from building a Lego Millennium Falcon (which many of you have seen in my class), to books, to how the electoral college works. Very, very entertaining! And their motto: Don’t Forget to Be Awesome. How can you not love that!
This would be a perfect choice for Mr. Betteridge’s independent reading assignment.
I could go on about how awesome it is to be back at school, but John Green does it so much better.
Like what he has to say? Check out any of his books from the library!