Narration, Authorship, and Memorial in John Green’s “The Fault in Our Stars”

(This post contains spoilers for The Fault in Our Stars… also, I wrote this as part of my application for MFA programs in spring 2017—and it worked!) Upon a first read, John Green’s The Fault in Our Stars (2012) might seem to be chiefly concerned with death. Indeed, the gut-wrenching novel about star-crossed teens is filled with morbidity and mortality—it has to be, for it is about terminal cancer. Hazel Grace Lancaster, bright and practical, knows that sand is falling through the hourglass of her short life. There’s no question that she will die, it’s when she will, likely when the miracle drug trial she is on fails to work or loses funding or she contracts an illness that would fatally cripple her compromised immune system. When Hazel meets Augustus Waters, aka Gus, at a church-basement support group for kids with cancer, she is intrigued by his easygoing-yet-blunt attitude. Gus smashes the defense-mechanism cage where Hazel guards her love and trust captive. Earlier Grace confessed to her mother that, “I’m like. Like. I’m a grenade, Mom. I’m a grenade and at some point I’m going to blow up and I would like to minimize the casualties, okay?” (Green 99). Later, Gus...

Christmas-Themed Chick Lit and Women’s Fiction – Updated 2016

A few years ago, I stumbled down the rabbit hole of a Goodreads list devoted to Christmas-themed Chick Lit Novels. I am a sucker for a good romance, and anything British, so I ordered a good four or five novels from The Book Depository to be sent over here to my American doorstep (Many of those novels were not published in paperback here in the US.) I spent many a magical evening soaking up these whimsical, spirited stories. I especially loved the ones set in small towns or villages. I was going through a pretty rough depression at the time, too, so these comforting reads not only put me in the season but also lifted my mood. They were even better than Love Actually because I could savor them slowly, and there was an almost endless supply. Even after Christmas was over, I kept an eagle eye watching Book Depository for sales on Christmas-themed chick lit and also possible new Christmas chick lit published in 2016. Now here we are, with December right around the corner, and I’ve got the best of the best holiday chick lit novels for you with buying options in the US and international. I write to...

What I Wish Romance Writers Knew About Nerds | Best Nerd Romance

So you’re writing a nerd romance novel. I myself am currently reading a “nerd romance novel” to coincide with February’s Valentine’s Day festivities. I appreciate the obscure pop culture references, and the heroine is pretty adorkable. But I guess I find that both in writing my own new adult romance novel and, well, living life in the mid 2010’s as a geeky gal, there’s a little room for improvement in romance novels with nerdy characters. Here’s my wish list of what writers should know about writing nerdy characters, followed by some recommendations for the best nerd romance novels. Enjoy! (And happy Valentine’s Day.) Nerdy characters can flirt just as well as anyone else I really get annoyed at the whole “Smart characters only talk geek-gibberish and can’t flirt like a normal human being” stereotype that’s out there. So many nerds are good at flirting because they’re good with language and dialogue. And many of them have competed in debate club or Hi-Q, defended theses and dissertations, explained complex Boolean search techniques to others, and gotten into all kinds of heated fangirl and fanboy arguments about whether Snape was truly good or very evil and whether the second Spiderman reboot should be forgotten or praised. Nerds also...

Book Recommendations for “Game of Thrones” Fans

Lost among  political intrigue and (quite literally) backstabbing dynastic wars is the fact that the hit HBO blockbuster drama series is deeply rooted in the fantasy genre. The HBO adaptation of George R. R. Martin’s  can sometimes go episodes before anything epically fantastically magical happens. Then the White Walkers emerge from the biting cold, kill a shit-ton of people, and remind you that the television series is, oh right, still rooted in epic fantasy conventions.  Clearly, though, Game of Thrones has such broad appeal for more than just fantastical elements since the show has definite crossover appeal for non-fantasy viewers and readers. So if you are looking for book recommendations for “Game of Thrones” fans, you’ve come to the right place. The following list offers book recommendations for Game of Thrones fans who might not want to read a fantasy novel by deconstructing some of the series’ appeal. Whether you’re a dire-hard fantasy fan who is sick of the same old “What to read if you like Game of Thrones” book recommendations or you’re a non-fantasy fan looking to gently ease into the genre, this list contains something for everyone.  If You Like Game of Thrones’ Political Conflict and Dynastic Wars… One of the undeniable attractions to the Game of Thrones...

Dumplin’ by Julie Murphy: Not Worth the Hype | Book Review

(Thank you to HarperTeen for giving me a galley of this novel in exchange for an honest review. This did not in any way affect my review.) In Short: Dumplin’ (September 15), Julie Murphy’s follow-up to her debut novel, Side Effects May Vary (2014), offers a painful-yet-vividly visceral look at teenage obesity through the eyes of sixteen-year-old Willowdean “Will” Dickson, who lives in the shadow of her mom, a minor celebrity in the contemporary beauty-pageant arena of Clover City, Texas. Although Will tells her story in reflective narration, often providing glimpses of poignant bravery and astute observations on challenges overweight women face, she cannot overcome quite a few flaws in Murphy’s character development, reliance on stereotypes, and a turgid plot structure. A flat tone and predictable plot that relies on YA tropes are not helped by an unsympathetic, unremarkable, and ultimately unlikable heroine in what should have been a novel that celebrates individuality and originality. Plot Summary: Dumplin’ is narrated by Will, nicknamed “Dumplin’” by her mother, over the course of a few months that present challenges and changes in her life. Will works at a fast food restaurant, her after school and summer job, and is grieving for her...

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Welcome to Broke By Books, a blog by Sarah S. Davis, where the guiding mission is to spread a contagious love for reading through helpful, thought provoking, and enjoyable writing about books. Please join me in growing an inspired, engaged, and fearless reading life.

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