As a reader, I am easily drawn to teen characters because they remind me so much of myself when I was younger. The stubbornness which can either bring out the best or the worst in you, the innocence that shows your naivety, and the courage that comes from a young spirit that knows very little fear or none at all.
I recently read two compelling young adult novels. One is “Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children” by Ransom Riggs and the other one is “The Fault in Our Stars” by John Green. The former is magical and quite disturbing while the latter is realistic and surprisingly humorous albeit dealing with a serious topic. I was pleasantly surprised to find out that these two authors have been best friends for a long time! Talk about kindred spirits! Now I’m more excited to share with you these two remarkable books!
The Story of the Peculiar Children
In “Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children”, author Ransom Riggs created a world where children with special abilities were kept safe in another part of the world. This is the story of 16-year-old Jacob and his search for the real cause of his grandfather’s death. His pursuit led him to an abandoned orphanage on a Welsh island where a door to another realm is found. Here he discovered children with extraordinary abilities. It was then when he realized that the childhood stories that his grandfather told him were all true. The disturbing part of this book was the vintage photographs of the children. It really gave the necessary plausible factor of the enigmatic orphanage.
With elements of fantasy, mystery, and adventure combined, readers will be engaged in this eerie world of the uncanny. A sequel is currently in the pipeline and the movie adaptation of this book will be shown in 2013 with Tim Burton directing it and Jane Goldman writing the screenplay.
Love and Death with a Dash of Humor
Award-winning author John Green tackled tragedy with a touch of comedy in “The Fault in Our Stars”. Everything about this novel was bold, raw, and intense. The story is about Hazel, a 16-year-old thyroid cancer patient whose life was only extended through the help of an “experimental drug”. Since the drug was still on its testing phase, her recovery was uncertain and a relapse was likely to happen anytime.
When her parents saw that she was suffering from depression, they forced her to attend a cancer support group where she met Augustus. Gus was on remission although his leg had to be amputated due to Osteosarcoma, a type of bone cancer. Drowning in uncertainty, these two brave souls tried to keep themselves afloat with the only lifesaver they know—their love for each other. To give you a preview of how beautifully written this novel was, let me share with you this quote.
“I can’t talk about our love story, so I will talk about math. I am not a mathematician, but I know this: There are infinite numbers between 0 and 1. There’s .1 and .12 and .112 and an infinite collection of others. Of course, there is a bigger infinite set of numbers between 0 and 2, or between 0 and a million. Some infinities are bigger than other infinities. A writer we used to like taught us that. There are days, many of them, when I resent the size of my unbounded set. I want more numbers than I’m likely to get, and God, I want more numbers for Augustus Waters than he got. But, Gus, my love, I cannot tell you how thankful I am for our little infinity. I wouldn’t trade it for the world. You gave me a forever within the numbered days, and I’m grateful.”
Hazel, from John Green’s “The Fault in Our Stars”
I’ve never been moved by a quote I read in a book in a long while. I had to stop and read this over and over again to savor the poignant words of a lover fighting for whatever time she had left with her beloved. But this is not your typical Romeo and Juliet story. It’s a story of survival and courage in a battle where no one knows who will emerge victorious. Aside from the prolific dialogues, humor was another gem I found in this novel. I’ve never read a tragedy blend so well with the brilliant sarcasm and comical wit of the characters. Just when I was almost moved to tears, one character blurts out something funny that would throw me completely off guard. Reading this novel was quite an emotional ride and I loved every part of it.
So, what are you waiting for?! Hit the shelves and reward yourself with these two great books!