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...

Book Review of “A Study in Charlotte”

In today’s post we look at a book review of , Brittany Cavallaro’s promising debut YA mystery and the first in a trilogy. Recently I updated some things on Goodreads—finished a book, marked it Read, checked out my “2016” shelf to see how many books were on it—and learned something surprising about myself. I discovered that my average rating had dropped to 3.58. So out of 227 books I’ve marked as “Read” since October 2010, four have no star rating because they did not earn even one star, and the remaining 223 were rated a 3.58 on average. Damn. When did I becomes so critical? Probably 2014, the year my read-per-year number jumped to 53 books, up from 22 in 2013 and 15 in 2012. My relationship to reading has changed as the years have passed. When I graduated college in 2011, I was grateful to read just about any book. Similarly, I went through a few years of holding jobs that were less than intellectually stimulating, so I erred on the side of anything I read and remotely liked as a five star or four star read due to pure escapism. But since I started reviewing and writing about books...

Some Writing Advice for YA Authors: Why Your Novel Is A DNF

In fall 2014 I took an elective in Young Adult Literature and Services through my graduate program in library science. My best friend knew I would love this class—because, well, I already loved YA—but he knew I would run into difficulties because, well, I’m super, super picky about all fiction but especially YA. And yet, when that YA novel comes along that so utterly crashes my world and leaves me with a book hangover, that hits on all the feels, I am reminded that YA has the potential to totally disrupt my jaded soul and electrify my desire to live fully and love totally. I am, at heart, a full-blown YA geek, the kind who bulk pre-orders upcoming YA in one fell swoop and then realizes by chance that she already ordered Passenger three times in three separate orders over the span of three months. Yes! It is kind of a gnarly mess, my Amazon “Open Orders” section. But of course, as with any other genre (literary fiction, romance, mystery, etc), the quality swings widely from high to low. When I start feeling particularly bitter I think about how I suspect some YA just gets churned out of the publishing mill because it’s a premise novel—a novel whose...

“Beastly Bones: A Jackaby Novel” by William Ritter | Book Review

(First thank you to the publisher, Algonquin, for providing me with an advanced review copy. This did not in any way affect my review.) In Short: Beastly Bones, Ritter’s follow-up to 2014’s Jackaby is a lively, action-packed, and entertaining mystery-paranormal novel that will find many fans of all ages  who love Sherlock, Doctor Who, Supernatural, and Harry Potter. Plot Summary: The year is 1892, and the place is the New England city of New Fiddleham. Abigail Rook, a young British woman, has been living with her employer, the eccentric R. F. Jackaby, a detective of the paranormal. Abigail acts as Jackaby’s assistant, helping with paperwork and, increasingly, the investigative and deductive process. When the novel opens, Rook and Jackaby are called to the scene of a lady who has purchased shapeshifting cats. Later, the duo learn from assistant police commissioner Marlowe that this woman has been found dead with an unusual puncture mark on her neck similar to one found on a woman who has just died in the nearby village of Gad’s Valley in the countryside. Jackaby and Rook go there to join up with a former member of the police force, Charlie Cane (a werewolf love interest of Abigail’s), who has recently been exiled to...

Greetings Fellow Reader!

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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