The Hobbit

Book #2 (of 2012): The Hobbit
by JRR Tolkien (Fantasy)

This is my second time reading this book (yes only my second!) I first read it when I was twelve and read The Hobbit and the Lord of the Rings Trilogy all in one month in order to be allowed to watch the movies…

I like this book; it’s the easiest of JRR’s books to read in my opinion. This may be because it was originally written to be a children’s book, or it may be because it’s a one-book story instead of a three-book story… either way I find there’s less beating around the bush and more doing in this story.

I love watching Bilbo grow from a timid little hobbit, to running a group of dwarves, it’s quite amusing! And of course this round of reading I couldn’t help but picture Martin Freeman (Dr Watson from BBC’s Sherlock) as Bilbo, and Benedict Cumberbatch (Sherlock Holmes from BBC’s Sherlock) as Smaug the dragon. They’re both going to be brilliant in The Hobbit movie that’s coming out in December. Benedict’s voice is perfect to be the sly dragon and Martin really looks very Hobbitish when you think about it!

I like that this book is an adventure story and a well laid out one. It’s exciting – you want to know what’s going to happen next! To be honest, I prefer the story line and pace of this book to the LOTR books. I love the story of the LOTR books, don’t get me wrong, but the three-book pace makes them a bit of a trial to get through and jumping back and forth from story-line to story-line (in the last two books in particular) means that they’re nothing like easy reading – you have to work at keeping stories and timing straight. The Hobbit is a gentler book with one storyline to keep straight and is fun and well written. I’ve got a thing for kids/teen books so maybe that’s why I like this one so much =D

The descriptions in this book are also very good – lots of descriptions about the Mirkwood forest, Beorn, the trolls, the Hobbit’s hole, the Lonely Mountain and surrounding area etc… it makes it very easy to picture what’s going on which, I believe, helps the reader to get into the story more. In LOTR (from what I remember when last reading the books six years ago) the descriptions are a lot longer and although the imagery is great, it can get boring.

*BASIC summary with SPOILERS*

Bilbo Baggins is a very respectable hobbit living in Hobbiton, who doesn’t have adventures and who associates with al the right people. One day Gandalf, a wizard he remembers from when he visited Hobbiton when Bilbo was a boy, visits Bilbo. He arranges for Bilbo to go on an adventure with thirteen dwarves led by none other than Thorin Oakenshield, to the Lonely Mountain to recover the gold of their forefathers, stolen from them by Smaug the dragon. Mr Baggins takes some convincing but agrees to the journey for the reward of one fourteenth of any profits. Gandalf travels with them a way as they go through to Rivendell, visiting with the Elves, and over the Misty Mountains where they fight the goblins and where Bilbo meets Gollum. In his adventure with Gollum Bilbo also find a magic ring that belonged to Gollum for a while and which allows him to disappear and walk unseen, except in strong daylight where a faint shadow can be seen.  Once he escapes Gollum and finds his friends down in the forest past the mountains, Mr. Baggins, Gandalf and the Dwarves are fenced in by wild wargs and goblins, then to be rescued by the eagles. From there they go to Carrock and stay with Beorn the skin-changer. At the entrance to the Mirkwood forest Gandalf leaves the dwarves and the Hobbit to go on alone. In the forest they deal with disappearing feasts, giant spiders, enchanted streams, and a suspicious Elf king. It is in the forest that Bilbo steps up to the plate and truly begins to prove his worth. Once they escape the make it down to Lake Town where they are hailed with great excitement as warriors who will defeat the dragon and make the rivers run with gold.  They make their way to the Lonely Mountain and mostly thanks to Bilbo find the secret entrance onto the mountain and then Bilbo gets Smaug, the dragon’s attention and eventually irks him into coming out of his cavern and trying to find “the burglar”. Smaug flies off to lake town where he believes the thief (Bilbo) to have come from. At Lake Town Bard, a decedent from the Lord of Dale of old, takes control and begins to organize a fight against the dragon. He ends up killing Smaug and helping to organize the aftermath of the dragon’s attack. The Elfking comes to help with the temporary rebuilding of the town and then the men of Laketown led by Dale and the Elvish company with the Elfking go to see what’s become of the dwarves, Bilbo, and of the dragon’s rumored gold hoard. The title of “King under the Mountain” has gone a bit to Thorin’s head and he has a bit of a hissy fit when Bard and the Elfking ask for what the dragon took from them and added to their stores. Thorin has sent news calling his cousin Dalin to come to his aid but unbeknownst to any of them (except perhaps Gandalf, who it turns out is with the company of Elves and Men come to speak with Thorin at the Lonely Mountain) the goblins with the wargs are coming for revenge against the dwarves. A battle ensues, known later as the battle of the five armies, for Dalin arrives with his dwarf warriors and fights with the Elves, the men of Laketown, and Thorin and company against the goblins and wargs. Beorn comes part way through to aid against the goblins.
In the end, Thorin is mortally wounded but makes peace with Bilbo before dying. Kili and Fili, his nephews and part of the original thirteen dwarves who travelled with Bilbo, also die defending Thorin in battle. Bilbo gets his share of the treasure, as does Bard of Laketown and the Elfking. Gandalf, Beorn, and Bilbo finally head off in the direction of home. After parting with Beorn at Carrock Gandalf and Bilbo make to Rivendell and then on to Hobbiton where they arrive in the middle of an auction. But not just any auction…! It is the auction of the property of the late Bilbo Baggins. The arrival of a quite alive Bilbo Baggins rather upsets this event and he ends up having to buy a number of his own things back from people. After his yearlong departure and abrupt return Bilbo is never quite the same, he is no longer deemed respectable, but “queer”. He is an elf-friend, he entertains dwarves, he writes poetry, and he tells alarming tales of adventures he’s been on. One thing he never tells of though, is his golden ring, his magic ring, his precious…

Overall: Nice out of Ten stars. I didn’t cry ;D

DFTBA!
– Becky

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The Fault in Our Stars

Book #1 (of 2012): The Fault in Our Stars
by John Green (Young Adult fiction)

How can John write such fantastically, yet terribly sad books? He must cry writing these, I don’t care that guys want girls to think they don’t cry. A guy would be INHUMAN not to cry reading this book.

My head aches from crying. Normally when I cry reading I just have tears silently streaming down my face, I exaggerate and say I bawled. This book, I don’t need to exaggerate. For the last third of the book I had to put it down every few pages to cry, to crunch my body into a tight little ball and cry and cry. But then I had to pick it up again, you can’t put it down until you’re more composed because the tears, the sadness, they are all part of the experience, part of the book; they add to it, they make it real.

The characters aren’t all depressing though, they’re not what make the book sad. They’re funny, they have brilliant personalities, they have hilarious humours and they’re fun. This is the kind of book where one page you’re bawling and the next you’re laughing through your tears =)

John writes such believable characters with Hazel, Augustus, and Isaac; they’re so human, so humany-wumany. They’re people that I would love to meet, to hang out with, to know. John has written a story about kids with cancer, but never once did I find myself pitying them because of their cancer. I felt bad for them because of the normal events that happened but not once did I think, “Oh poor Hazel, she has cancer”. It’s made them people, not their disease. This is not a book about kids with cancer, this is a book about friendship, about love, about life, oh-and-by-the-way, the main characters have cancer.

I finished the book and turned on my camera to try and record my immediate reaction. I opened my mouth and no sound came out. There is nothing to be said. This is the best book I’ve ever read. I suspect I said something similar about Paper Towns, but you see, I hadn’t read The Fault in Our Stars yet at that point.

I was unsure about buying this book, unsure if it would be a book I’d want to own. I didn’t know the basic plotline, the reason I bought it was because the bookstore near my workplace had signed copies and I wanted one.
I’m really glad I bought that pink J-scribbled book.  I feel like people who haven’t read it are robbing themselves of a wonderful experience, but like Hazel says, “There are books like [The Fault in Our Stars], which you can’t tell people about, books so special and rare and yours that advertising your affection feels like a betrayal.” (TFIOS Page 33) That is why I will impersonally advertise the book, through text on a website, it will keep the special feeling of TFIOS being my book, not to be shared.

PLOTLINE WITH SPOILERS! DO NOT READ IF YOU HAVE NOT YET READ THE BOOK! SPOILERS ALERT!

Hazel Grace Lancaster is sixteen and has cancer. It means she has to be hooked up to an oxygen tank all the time to keep enough oxygen in her infected lungs. For now she’s stable, cancer is controlled and she can live a more or less normal life. Well, for a cancer-patient. Under the recommendation of her doctor and the insistence of her mother she attends a weekly support group that meets in a nearby church. She has one friend here, Isaac. He only has one eye, the cancer took the other. One day Hazel is again forced to attend support group but comes to find Isaac has brought a friend who is a cancer survivor (although it took one of his legs), Augustus Waters, a long, lean, hott seventeen year old with a smooth sexy voice. After support group they’re introduced and Hazel ends up going to Augustus’ house to watch V for Vendetta, as he thinks she looks like Natalie Portman.  They talk about books, Hazel tells him her favourite is An Imperial Affliction by Peter Van Houten, his favourite book is The Price of Dawn, based off of his favourite video game. He agrees to read her favourite on the condition she read his, which he lends her then and there. They’re both true to their word and end up enjoying each other’s books.
Hazel and Augustus begin dating, Isaac’s cancer returns and he ends up loosing his other eye and being left blind. His girlfriend dumps him before the surgery though, which really, really cuts him up. Hazel and Gus stick by him though and try and help him through.
The two of them both write to Peter Van Houten (the author of An Imperial affliction) about his “unfinished” books and Augustus (who emailed) gets a reply. He decides to use his cancer-Wish to take Hazel to Amsterdam, where they’ve been invited to meet Van Houten where he’s living in seclusion.  It’s all being planned when Hazel has a relapse. Things look pretty bleak but she recovers and they manage to take the trip and go (with Hazel’s mum) to meet the one and only Peter Van Houten, Hazel’s favourite author (who *SPOILER* ends up being an alcoholic jerk). While in Amsterdam Augustus tells Hazel that around the time she had her relapse, he found out his cancer had returned. Everywhere. His whole body was an inflamed mass of cancer. (This is about halfway/two-thirds through the book and, warning, this is where I started to cry. I didn’t stop until the book finished, even a little bit after it finished…)
They return home and gradually Gus’ cancer gets worse and worse. He’s dying and there’s no way around it. Hazel visits everyday, she still loves him, he loves her and he wants to write her a sequel to An Imperial Affliction after Van Houten refuses to explain the unfinished ending to them. He can’t though, he’s too weak. They both agree they want each other to write their eulogy for their funerals.
One evening Augustus calls Hazel and asks her to write a eulogy and meet him at the church where they had the support meetings. She does and finds him and Isaac there. Gus has arranged a prefuneral so he can hear his best friends’ eulogies for him. (This scene is heart-wrenching, the kind of crying where you scrunch your body up trying to make the pain go away as you’re crying in gasping breaths, trying to blink back the tears because you can’t stop reading).
Eight days later, he dies.
His funeral happens, Hazel writes a different eulogy to read, less personal. Then a while later she visits Isaac and they try to distract themselves playing video games. At some point Isaac mentions that Gus was writing something for her and she immediately thinks of the promised An Imperial Affliction sequel. She tries to find it, asks his parents about it, looks in his room, on his computer, doesn’t find anything. His parents eventually find a notebook that was by his hospital bed but the first four pages are torn out and can’t be found. When Hazel’s friend Kaitlyne calls, she suggests that he mailed the to her, or, perhaps, they weren’t for Hazel at all.
With the idea that the pages weren’t for her in mind Hazel contacts Van Houten’s (former) assistant in Amsterdam and she goes to Van Houten’s house and finds, sure enough, Augustus has sent the pages to Van Houten. Van Houten, reads them and says to send them to Hazel.
It’s a eulogy.
Augustus wrote her the eulogy she wanted. The gorgeous heartfelt, personal eulogy from her boyfriend. Gus had mailed it to Van Houten with the hope that he could turn his notes into a well versed eulogy, but he didn’t change anything, he just sent it straight to Hazel and it’s beautiful.

Overall: Ten out of Ten. So sad, and I wish Gus hadn’t had to die, but he did or the story would have been all wrong. It’s beautiful. John Green, I salute you.

DFTBA
– Becky

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The Three Elizabeths

Book #10: The Three Elizabeths
By J.M. Page (fiction)

See what a terrible person I am? Almost two weeks ago I told you that I would write up another post immediately, and yet here I am just writing it now… naughty, naughty… =D

This is a book I have reread at whim since I was about ten. I loved it then and I love it now. It never gets old and it’s still just as cute at eighteen as it was when I was ten.

I love Elizabeth, the oldest of the “sisters”/cousins and how she bosses the younger two around (much like I do my siblings). Elspeth, the bookworm who loves English and history like me. Beth, the youngest, naughty and curious…

I was last worked on this on November 23… So I’m not gonna finish this post, just know that this is a great children’s book, it’s got a good story line, very sweet. Not intense or anything, but sweet, first love, new families, happy endings =) Good stuff… 8 out of 10 stars.

C’EST FINI!!

I have made one of my new year’s resolutions to read 30 books in 2012. This one doesn’t count =D

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Two Tickets to the Christmas Ball

Book #9: Two Tickets to the Christmas Ball
by Donita K. Paul (Fantasy/Romance/Christmas/Inspriational)

I read this book the day after the last review I wrote, I just never wrote a review for it so…here’s a really brief one, again. Sorry!

This book is written by, again, one of my favourite authors, Donita K. Paul! =) My mum was picking up Dragons on the Valley from the library for me and saw this book and thought i might like it so she picked it up too! This one doesn’t take place in a fantastical world, it takes place in earth, but that being said, it is fantasy, there are wizards and disappearing/reappearing locations and stuff, but it’s fun, good characters.

This book is also filled with Christian stuff, much more openly than the full-on fantasy books that Donita writes. Cora (main female character) is a relatively new christian and Simon (main male character) and his sister Sandy come from a Christian family. Simon’s family encourage Cora as she grows in her faith and Simon chats with his pastor who gives him advice and jokes around (nice guy, not a main character though).

I really liked the characters, they were likeable and they were real, like they weren’t fake people or unrealistic people. They got angry, they misunderstood each other, they were nice, they worked overtime, they were paranoid, they had messed up family lives, they doubted themselves, they were real. Cora and Simon were good characters, nice people, cute couple, but Simon’s special needs sister, Sandy, was the one who made the book for me. She was adorable =) She said what she thought and noticed things others missed. She was the best, very loveable.

Okay I’m stealing an unspoiler-filled summary from Donita K. Paul’s website because I don’t feel like writing my own on right now.

“In a sleepy, snow-covered city, Cora Crowder is busy preparing for the holiday season. Searching for a perfect gift, a fortuitous trip to Warner, Werner, and Wizbotterdad’s (a most unusual bookshop) leads to an unexpected encounter with co-worker Simon Derrick. And the surprise discovery of a ticket for a truly one-of-a-kind Christmas Ball.

Every year, the matchmaking booksellers of the Sage Street bookshop host an enchanting, old-fashioned Christmas Ball for the romantic matches they’ve decided to bring together.

This year, will Simon and Cora discover a perfect chemistry in their opposite personalities and shared faith? Or will the matchmakers’ best laid plans end up ruining everything this holiday?”

Overall:  8 out of 10 stars. It was a really sweet book and I quite enjoyed it, but I don’t think I would buy it.

I’m going to write another review immediately so that that book doesn’t get forgotten like this one almost was. Okay, doodle-loo!
– Becky

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Dragons of the Valley

Book #8: Dragons of the Valley
By Donita K. Paul (Fantasy)

This book is the second in the Dragons of Chiril series by Donita K. Paul (who, like I said in The Vanishing Sculptor, the first in this series, is one of my favourite authors). I finished reading this book like a week ago, I just kept forgetting to review, so hopefully I’ll remember how much I loved it!

Once again at the end of the book I was left glad that this is not the last book in the series, there’s only one more though… very sad.

This book seemed to focus more on Bealomondore, the artist from the last book, than on Tipper, the heroine from the last book but book were a main part. In this book I found that I liked Bealomondore much more! But I suppose that is the point after all…he’s matures more in this book and grows more courageous. He even takes up a sword to defend his country!

At one point, *careful spoilers!*, I began to get worried that Paladin and Tipper weren’t going to get together, but Bealomondore and Tipper instead! Thankfully that didn’t happen, because as I thought at the time, Tipper is an emerlindian (tall and slim) while Bealomondore is a tumanhofer (short and stout). It wasn’t going to be a good relationship… Thankfully it never happened and all my worry was for nothing!

This book, like all of Donita’s books that I’ve read, has a Christian subplot. This one is very much about fighting evil and becoming who we are meant to be in Christ whether we feel comfortable with it in the beginning or not. It shows that as we step into who God made us to be and begin to follow his plan for our lives, our lives will improve and we will be more at peace with him, and as we interact with others.

**SPOILERS** (Okay now, if you’re still reading this, it’s time for me to spoil the whole book for you, beginning to end!)

The book starts off with Bealomondore at night in the main hall of the Palace (exactly where we left off in the last book, but night time) with a kimen trying to convince himself not to steal the statue the kimen has told him to take. It is one of the three statues, the trio of elements, that the artist Verrin Schope carved and were crucial to the last story. The kimen eventually convinces Bealomondore and he takes the statue in question and goes off with Maxon (the kimen) with the statue in a hollow (their like Mary Poppins’ carpet bag). Maxon take shimt o meet some other kimens at an inn and Bealomondore is drugged by the nice friendly kimens.
Meanwhile basically the same thing has occurred to Tipper except that her kimen friend is Taeda Bel, a family friend and she’s been given the statue by her father to take away with Taeda Bel as her guide. So basically not the same thing as Bealomondore then… whatever.
Tipper is head-over-heels for Paladin who (besides  being a flirt) doesn’t seem overly interested in her. As she is thinking about him she looses sight of Taeda Bel and is captured by unknown enemies. Now lets hurry through the rest. When the two statues are discoved to be missing there’s chaos at the palace. Verrin Schope starts disappearing and reappearing again (startling his wife considerably) and in the end Wizard Fenworth takes the last statue and “whirls” (teleport basically) away with it. Bealomondore recovers in the kimens’ forest home (which, similar Lothlorien in Lord of the Rings, you cannot know how you got into it. They however have never thought of blindfolds like the wise elves…Bealomondore does not hesitate to suggest them). Maxon takes him to his village but on the way they find Tipper (who was taken by rompas, supposedly to the kimen village, but Rompas, not being the brightest, lost her). She’s unconcious due to a reaction with a forest plant. Eventually Maxon and Bealomondore get her to the kimen village and she recovers and Fenworth whirls into Bealomondore’s temporary house with Libretowitt. They realign the statues and then discuss what to do.  The kimens report seeing strange soldiers around the country and especially a strange creature, like none of the high or low races, called The Grawl. I don’t feel like writing a really detailed summary right now (and the details are starting to get foggy) but basically Bealomondore becomes a knight due to a magic sword Fenworth gives him that trains him as he uses it, Tipper becomes a background character, Fenworth and his buddy-kimen Holee whirl away to the wrong places accidently. Tipper, Bealomondore, Witt, Holee, Maxon, Taeda Bell, and Fenworth are trying to get to the town Vererin Schope and Lady peg are in, they get…waylaid…Fenworth whirls back to where the others are, sees the Grawl and scares him. They make it to the town they were trying to get to, Bealomondore goes to fight in the battle against the bad soldiers the kimens saw, Tipper and Lady Peg reopen their house as a war hospital. Fenworth, Witt, and Holee go to the valley of the dragons and begin to build a safe shrine for the statues and the dragons help. The Grawl has made it his goal to kill Fenworth so he gets some schoergats (dragon hunting creatures, one of the low races, sort of) to come get the dragons while he gets the wizard. The King starts accepting Paladin’s advice and they start winning some battles (after loosing many), Paladin come to the valley of the dragons with Bealomondore and some soldiers. They are in the valley when the Grawl and the Schoergats come and attack, they win. The king is killed in battle making Tipper the queen (the crown moves strangely in Chiril, goign to the second generation, Tipper, not her mother). Paladin and Bealomondore go off to finish winnipeg all the battles, Tipper goes home. Fenworth finishes the shrine and opens it to the public. Tupper is still madly in love with prince Jayrus/Paladin from home and one day, after all the battles are won.  One day Paladin come to visit Tipper and proposes. Now THEY’RE ENGAGED!!!! SQUEE!!!! And ya. That summary got really boring and vague at the end there but honestly, it’s a really good book. I wanna read the third one NOW! =D

Overall: 7.5 our of 10. I like the last book better, and I expect to like the next book better too. Middle books are always hard, inbetween.

Should be back soon, I’ve finished another book I need to review!
– Becky

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The Vagabond Wind

Book #7: The Vagabond Wind
By Emily Strempler (my good ol’buddy, ol’pal!)

I can’t give you a summary and I can’t really review this book because it’s unpublished and I can’t give away SPOILERS but it is a good book abut pirates and stuff.

Basically, this is proof I’ve actually read SOMETHING in the past two months… so ya. Proof, BAM!

I’m reading the sequel to “The Vanishing Sculptor”/”The Dragons of Chiril” right now, so a review for that will come soon!

Talk to ya’ll later!

– Becky

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Paper Towns

Book #6: Paper Towns
by John Green (Young Adult)

I want to review this book, I really do, I just, words, where are they? I’m in tears. It was sad! I didn’t think it would be sad. But I cried, I love books that make me cry. My heart hurts. I have an ache inside. My eyelashes are still wet, but I must write this while I still remember the shining glory, the fantastic sad ache I feel and why I feel it. So here it goes. Paper Towns.

This is the first John Green book I have ever read. I am a subscriber to John’s youtube channel that he runs with his brother Hank, vlogbrothers. I’ve had the book out of the library since August 3 and I had made it to page 62 as of August 18. Now this is odd, because normally I am a very fast reader. On the 18th I decided to restart and try to get back into it. I couldn’t. But tonight…tonight was different. At 8:25 I sat down to read and at 11:49 I was finished and in tears but had also painted my nails blue. (Don’t worry I didn’t get any on the book!).

This book is written in three parts and the first part was what I was dragging my feet through. I don’t know why but I couldn’t get into it. Once I hit part two tonight though, any thought of procrastination was gone. I was gonna finish this book and I was gonna finish it in one sitting. And that wasn’t because I mentally said “I can do this” it was because mentally I was saying “You need another coat on your nails? Forget it, finish the chapter! Oh you just did? Well finish the next chapter then! Screw your nails…” (I did a four coat nail painting job with my brain screaming that at me, congratulate me now if you will)

The characters are, they’re just so real. You can imagine them as real people, living real lives. They’re not romantic characters, in the sense of being unrealistically good or bad, they’re not a perfect ideal, they’re people, flesh and blood people. Not paper people.

The ending (which I will spoil after warning you in caps later) is brilliant. So sad, so heart wrenchingly sad, but perfect. It is just what you would expect after getting to know the characters, but that doesn’t make it any easier to see in print. Print makes things so much more final. You knew it would happen, you hoped it wouldn’t, but you saw it written there and John Green just killed all hope of the ending you wanted but knew would never come. But you don’t mind. In fact now you’re remembering that you saved a book store gift card for eight months until you had the perfect book to buy and you’re pretty sure that this sad story is going to be on your shelf before long with your name written inside the cover. It will be yours. Your paper book about paper towns and paper people because you can feel the pain that is written in that last chapter, and you want to keep it, and savour it, and have it on your shelf when you need to remember that not everything ends the way you wanted, but that doesn’t mean it’s not good.

My eyelashes are dry now, so I will attempt to summarize this story. If you are going to read this book please don’t read my spoiler-ridden dry summary. I don’t want to destroy this beautiful piece of literature for you.

**SPOILERS** (It’s so much better than this summary can try to prove!)

The prologue starts with Quentin (Q) remembering when he was nine years old and when he and his neighbour playdate Margo Roth Spiegelman found a dead man in the park near their house. Kid-Margo does some investigating and finds that the man killed himself after a divorce. She pops up at Q’s window in the middle of the night to tell him about it and wonders aloud if maybe all the strings inside of him broke…
Back to real time, Q and  Margo are in senior year of high school and no longer friends. Margo is “cool” and Q hangs out with the “band nerds”. One night Q turns around from his computer to see Margo Roth Spiegelman opening in his window in black clothes and facepaint. She convinces him to come on a mission with her. She has eleven things to do during the night and needs Q to be her getaway man/driver. Reluctantly he allows himself to be convinced and agrees. Thus begins the most exciting night of his life as of yet. The eleven things are completed along with breaking and entering (though not together), and vandalizing. Q keeps needing to be reconvinced but he’s been in love with Margo since they were kids so he does it. They end up having a ton of fun and when they’re done and finally go home, Q wonders if maybe things will change and Margo will start hanging out with him now that she’s ditched all her old friends (those eleven things…ya). Things do change, but not the way Q imagined. Margo doesn’t come to school the next day, which isn’t that unusual, but it turns out she’s run away. Q learns from her parents that she usually leave clues behind for them to find and try to track her down with, so he starts hunting. He finds a poster, a record, does research, finds a poetry book, finds a note, hunts through numerous pseudovisions and eventually ends up pintpointing Margo’s location 23 days after her disappearance, on the day of his graduation. Some things are important, so he, and his buddies Radar and Ben, and Ben’s girlfriend Lacey (One of Margo’s ex-friends) take off in Q’s grad gift, a minivan, to find Margo Roth Spiegelman. They have 21 hours and 45 minutes until she moves on and they have to drive a distance that should take 23 hours and 9 minutes. So they start driving. By timing out 6 minute pit stops, urinating in beer bottles, and avoiding cow-blocks (as in like cows, that are road-blocks…) they manage to make it to the “paper town” that Margo has lead them to, Agloe. Once there they find the general store and spot Margo’s car parked nearby. They find her inside the building writing in a notebook. She’s quite surprised to see them all and not very pleased either. They’re all surprised, Margo is acting like she doesn’t know what the clues were. After the other three storm out Q starts talking to her and realizes that that she didn’t leave the clues on purpose. She starts getting really upset and so does he but he manages to explain how they tracked her down and Margo admits that honestly, they just really scared her. Lacey and Margo make up and are friends again but Q wants to know what Margo’s going do now. Turns out she’s headed for New York. She has planned and planned her whole trip, she planned to do it later but got some news that spurred the “eleven things night” with Q and then decided to leave town right away without warning anyone. Margo takes out the black notebook that she’s carried around since about fourth grade and begins to tell Q of the story she wrote in it and the plans she made in it writing over the story. Q convinces Margo to start caring about the people she’s left behind, especially her younger sister so she phones home and lets her family know where she is for the first time in 23 days. Q and Margo dig a grave for the Little Margo and Little Quentin of her story and bury the notebook. Q tries to convince Margo to come back home, Margo tries to convince him to come to New York. Both come to realize that now is when their paths separate (gosh I’m writing the driest summary ever and I’m still tearing up again…). They promise to stay in contact this time as Margo goes her way, and because I can’t do it justice I’ll just quote you the last paragraph (written from Q’s perspective) and be done with it:
“I feel her hands on my back. And it is dark as I kiss her, but I have my eyes open and so does Margo. She is close enough to me that I can see her, because even now there is the outward sign of invisible light, even at night in this parking lot on the outskirts of Algoe. After we kiss, our foreheads touch as we stare at each other. Yes, I can see her almost perfectly in this cracked darkness” (Page 305)

Overall: 10 out of 10 stars. I think this is my all time favourite book. Better than LOTR and that’s saying something…

My eyelashes are dry again. I’m going to go get my book store gift card ready for tomorrow’s venture.
– Becky

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Filed under Book Review, Fiction, Young Adult