TGIF: Book Olympics

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TGIF at GReads is a fun feature for answering a book-blogging question posed by Ginger.

This week the question is: Book Olympics: In the spirit of the Olympics, which books would you give the gold, silver, and bronze medals to? It can be from any genre, new or old.

Today’s Category: Tearjerkers

The Bronze goes to:

Okay for Now by Gary D. Schmidt– For making me cry, then laugh, all while driving, making me look like a crazy lady.

The Silver goes to:

The Knife of Never Letting Go by Patrick Ness– One word: Manchee.

The Gold goes to:

The Fault in Our Stars by John Green– Pretty sure I woke up the day after finishing this with a crying hangover.  You know, puffy eyes and a slight headache.  Many tears were shed.

What are your picks for the Book Olympics?  Alternately, what is your favorite Olympic sport to watch?  (I’ll admit that I am crazy-in-love with synchronized diving, beach volleyball, and, of course, gymnastics.)

The Fault in Our Stars- John Green

Hazel Lancaster has terminal cancer.  At her cancer support group, she meets a very attractive cancer survivor, Augustus “Gus” Waters, and the two connect over An Imperial Affliction, an atypical cancer kid novel which ends in the middle of a sentence.  Hazel and Augustus go on a journey to Amsterdam to meet the author of said novel and somewhere along the way they fall in love.

This was a very emotional read for me.  Everyone has read this book and most have loved it, but I really didn’t know why.  I totally get it now.  It is near impossible to disconnect the emotional and personal experience of this book and approach this rationally.  I cried my way through the last half of this book (I cry at everything, though, so if you are more stalwart you may cry less) and kind of got worked up in contemplating my own mortality and the mortality of the people I love.

I am a big fan of John Green and this book is no exception.  He creates really wonderful characters who face a tragic situation with intelligence and humor.  Hazel and Augustus bring such intensity to their living, feeling, and loving.  It is the intensity of emotion of the teenage experience heightened by their closeness to death and disease.  And I loved how they seemed like actual real kids dealing with a disease.  Normalcy is what they crave and Hazel and Augustus are able to discover normal teenage love with one another.  It was also interesting to see them having to deal with the big questions of life and death– Where do we go when we die?  How do we leave our mark on the world?  How will we be remembered when we are gone?  It certainly left me questioning my own life and relevance.

I think what makes this book so special is the fact that it speaks to one’s personal encounters with death, dying, and disease.  I think that really determines whether you love it or not.  Throughout my reading I thought of the sick kids I was friends with as a child and wondered how their sickness had shaped our relationships.  I thought of the people I know who are dealing with cancer.  I thought about a close friend whose husband died unexpectedly a couple years ago.  I thought about the funerals I’ve been to and the funerals I will some day go to.

The Fault in Our Stars is a beautiful book and I hope that you will read it for yourself and come away as emotionally invested as I did.

In My Mailbox (2)

In My Mailbox is a weekly feature hosted by The Story Siren for us to share the books that have come our way recently.

I never amass books in the quantities some of ya’ll (Texas flair) do, but I did have some library holds come in this week, which is super awesome.  So here’s what I’ve got on deck…

The Library:

The Fault in Our Stars cover

The Fault in Our Stars by John Green– I waited two whole months to get this one.  And it was worth the wait!!  I’ll post my thoughts tomorrow.

After the Snow cover

After the Snow by S.D. Crockett– I haven’t seen much about this book, other than a lot of “it was weird and I loved/hated it” on Goodreads.  This has left me curious to find out for myself.

The Way We Fall cover

The Way We Fall by Megan Crewe– I am fascinated by representations of disease in popular culture.  So yeah, this caught my attention because it is about an epidemic.

What’s made it’s way to your TBR pile in the last couple weeks?