Tag Archives: coming of age

Paper Towns – Romantic, mysterious, suspenseful; I love it.

PaperTowns2009_6ATitle: Paper Towns

Author: John Green

Summary: Q has known Margot since they were little kids. She lives right next door to him and they used to be best friends, but things changed over time and they drifted apart a bit. However, just as Q is getting sick of the routine of school, Margot whisks him away on an adventure that involves catfish, spray paint, Nair, and sneaking into Sea World through a snake-infested moat in the middle of the night. The morning after, Q hopes that this means he and Margot can be friends (or maybe even more than friends), but instead of seeing her at school, he discovers that Margot has run away again. He’s discouraged until he notices that Margot has left a series of clues that lead to where she’s run away. He spends the rest of the story trying to piece it together. You’ll have to read the book to find out whether he finds her or not.

Six Word Review: Romantic, mysterious, suspenseful; I love it.

I started reading because: I liked John Green’s other books so I knew it was likely I’d enjoy this one as well.

I would give this book 8/10 stars because the story-line can fall a bit flat in parts. I felt like there needed to be something to spice it up a bit in the middle.

I loved that one of the main messages of the story was that perceptions can be different from realities. I hated that Margot wasn’t in the story more. She was a great character.

If Q was in a HS yearbook, he would be voted Most Likely To: Be Loyal

Anything else we should know? It’s a relatable story that demonstrates that how we think about people isn’t always how they actually are.

Regina, 17, West Seattle



A Separate Peace – struggles of friendship and dealing with emotions.

A_Separate_Peace_coverTitle: A Separate Peace

Author: John Knowles

Summary: This book takes place at a boarding school called Devon during the first few years of World War II. A coming of age novel, the book starts out with Gene coming back to Devon fifteen years after he was a student there. The book focuses on events that happened while he was a student there. Gene quickly becomes friends with Phineas (Finny), a charismatic, charming student who rooms with Gene. Finny and Gene are opposites: Finny is athletic and captivating while Gene is book-smart and quiet. This leads to some resentment of Finny from Gene (without Finny’s knowledge), but they remain good friends. Finny and Gene create the “Super Suicide Society”, which is just a group of people who want to enjoy their time at Devon while doing crazy and fun activities. One of the things that the members of the society do is jump off of a tree branch into a lake. When Finny and Gene jump off of the branch, the branch is jostled and Finny falls and breaks his leg while Gene makes the jump into the lake. Following the incident, Gene is haunted by what happened during the jump, and for the remainder of the book comes to terms with himself and his actions.

Why I Kept Reading: The characters in the book are of similar age to us teenagers. This makes many of the emotions and experiences very relatable. However, the ideas and motifs presented are incredibly dense and thought-worthy. World War II plays an important part during one of the sections of the book, and the experiences that soldiers have during the war is brought up and considered. The setting is your average boarding school, and very realistic. Character development is well thought out and the potential of all the characters is shown.

Overall, I highly recommend this book to anyone who wants something to read and ponder about. This book is a “loss-of-innocence” book, and shows the transition from boyhood to manhood and how maturity grows over time due to events that happen during one’s life. The struggles of friendship, and dealing with emotions also plays a huge part in this book; something that we all can relate to and understand.

–Matthew, Lake City Teen Blogger


To Kill a Mockingbird: Read for school, reread for life

Mockingbird coverTitle: To Kill A Mockingbird

Author: Harper Lee

Summary: A young girl by the name of Scout along with her brother, Jem, and the new boy in the neighborhood, Dill, are growing up during the Great Depression in a racist white community. Scout, Jem, and Dill become fascinated with their neighbor, Boo Radley. He’s lived in the house on their street for years, but they’ve never seen him and as far as they know he’s never left the house. The house is owned by Boo’s brother, Nathan Radley. Scout starts school and then begins to be bullied by the other kids when her dad, a lawyer, decides to take a case defending a black man who is accused of raping a white woman. By the time the outcome of the case is revealed, Scout has learned a lot about people and how important it is to always view things from other people’s perspectives.

Six Word Review: Read for school, reread for life. Continue reading

Will Grayson, Will Grayson: John Green can do no wrong.

WillGraysonTitle: Will Grayson, Will Grayson

Author: John Green and David Levithan

Summary: As the title suggests, this story contains two characters that are both named Will Grayson. One Will Grayson, distinguished by always having his name capitalized, is friends with Tiny Cooper, a very gay and very large football player who lives his life in the spotlight.  Just as every action has an equal and opposite reaction, Tiny’s noticeability is equally as strong as Will’s opposite desire to go unnoticed.  The other will grayson, distinguished by always having his name in lowercase, is gay and disappointed when he discovers that the guy he met online has a crush on his friend Maura, who’s a girl and obviously not his type.  The two Wills meet through an interesting series of events and an equally interesting string of events happens afterwards.

Six Word Review: John Green can do no wrong.

I started reading because: I like all of John Green’s other books so I knew I wouldn’t be disappointed by this one.

I would give this book 10/10 stars because it normalizes gay romantic relationships.  There’s still a tangible prejudice against gay people so I think this book contains a great message for people of all ages.  Plus this book is hilarious as per usual when it comes to John Green.

I loved the character Tiny Cooper.  He’s so unapologetically himself you can’t help but love him.  I hated will’s negative attitude.

If Tiny Cooper was in a high school yearbook, he would be voted Most Likely To: Change The World.

Anything else we should know?  Neutral Milk Hotel, a band mentioned in the book, is a real band and their music is good, I recommend listening to them.

— Regina, 17, West Seattle


The Perks of Being a Wallflower – Starts heavy but ends with hope.

perks of being a wallflowerTitle: The Perks Of Being A Wallflower

Author: Stephen Chbosky

Summary: You’ve probably seen the movie, so you maybe already know the plot. But, if you haven’t, The Perks Of Being A Wallflower is a story about high schooler and wallflower Charlie. He’s shy, he loves English, and he is still grieving the loss of his friend from grade school who committed suicide. As he navigates high school, he is introduced to Patrick, a slacker senior who’s gay, and Patrick’s step-sister Sam, also a senior, who is gorgeous and happens to become Charlie’s crush. Meeting these two is just one of the many turning points for Charlie.

Six Word Review: Starts heavy but ends with hope.

I started reading because: After reading the first page I was hooked. Charlie has such a genuine voice. It’s compelling.

I would give this book 9/10 stars because it’s very relatable.

I loved that the novel was told in the format of letters written by Charlie. It gave it a pure and honest feel and it made Charlie seem more real because you could imagine him writing the words as you read his letters. I hated how emotional the novel was at times. It’s a pretty heavy read so it can make you pretty blue. That’s the point of books, but it doesn’t make the occasional feeling of sadness any less gross-feeling.

If the lead character Charlie was in a high school yearbook, he would be voted Most Likely To: Write A Novel.

Anything else we should know? I know most people have only seen the movie, but I would really like to encourage you to read the book even if you don’t feel like it’s your thing. The novel has a lot more to offer than the movie. There are extra parts and new insights to be gained from reading it.

–Regina, 18, West Seattle


My favorite book by John Green – An Abundance of Katherines


Title: An Abundance of Katherines

Author: John Green

Summary: Colin Singleton was proclaimed a prodigy at a young age. That’s a lot to live up to. While he tries to piece together what he’s going to do with his life, he attends high school and has curiously only dated girls named Katherine. The novel consists of Colin and his friend Hassan’s summer adventures before the first year of college, as well as flashbacks to Colin’s experiences with several of the Katherines. In order to get Colin’s mind off of his most recent Katherine break up, Hassan encourages Colin to come on a road trip with him. The pair doesn’t have any place in particular in mind, but they end up in a small southern town called Gutshot, Tennessee. Colin and Hassan’s search for what to do with their lives ensues.

Six Word Review: My favorite book by John Green.

I started reading because: I like John Green’s work.

I would give this book 9/10 stars because it’s humorous, it’s relatable, it’s intelligent, and it’s fun to read.

I loved that Colin’s last name was Singleton. He has always been the dumpee instead of the dumper so it’s only fitting that his last name be Singleton.

I hated… I don’t know if I really hated any part of this book. Like I said, it’s my favorite by John Green.

Anything else we should know? There are also some really cool footnotes and if you’re into math there are some graphs and other mathematical equations. Don’t be annoyed if you’re not into math though because I’m not really either but John Green introduces the math rarely and in such a funny way that you barely even notice it’s real math. You don’t even have to do any work. No solving for x or cosine or anything, I promise.

–Regina, 17, West Seattle



Teen Reviewed: Paper Towns

PaperTowns2009_6APaper Towns by John Green is the story of Quentin, who has always loved his next door neighbor Margo since they were both young children.  As they grew up, Quentin and Margo took different paths never quite coming into a close relationship.  Unexpectedly Margo turns up at Quentin’s room in the middle of the night dressed as a ninja in search of an adventure.  And Quentin accepts, and soon realizes he doesn’t quite understand who Margo is.  But when Margo disappears soon after that night, Quentin will have to get to know her a lot better in order to find her.

This book is one of my favorite John Green novels (but since i have said this about all his books I have read so far, that does not make it so much of a surprise).  I really liked how he took the concept of the two characters from Looking for Alaska, and incorporated them into an entirely different scenario.  The characters are incredibly relatable, perfectly capturing the awkward social life of the average teenager. Its mix of comedy and mystery also made it a very interesting book to read.

Another thing I enjoyed in this book is how John was able to incorporate poetry into the story and analyze it so you can feel intimately closer to Margo and her struggles with everyday life. Because of the poetry you can visually imagine what it would be like to be Margo, even though you haven’t had a proper conversation with her in the book.  It’s this which demonstrates how John can easily convey an idea to the reader without using dialogue or the person’s presence.

Though I did love this book, it has a few faults.  Now I really liked Myles and Alaska from Looking For Alaska so I did not have an issue with Quentin and Margo being essentially the same people.  I do feel however that John Green could have done so much by changing up his main characters and their personalities.  But that does go without saying that if John knows how to write about these kinds of characters, I would rather read about them then become severely disappointed by characters that are not well written.

I recommend this book for ages 13+ for drinking, violence, and some descriptive material.
Happy Reading 🙂

–Ailsa, Ballard Teen Blogger


Check out Sophie’s review of Paper Towns, here.

Back in September, we blogged about good reads for John Green lovers.  Here’s the list: Your Next 5 Books for a John Green fan!