Friday, May 9, 2014

Pam Neal Talks John Green!

Welcome back to the bookblog, Pam Neal!  Today we are talking about The Fault in our Stars by John Green, a very popular young adult book which is also being made into an upcoming movie.

Kristin:  Hi Pam, tell our readers all about The Fault in our Stars

Pam:  The Fault in our Stars is about two teenagers who meet at a cancer support group and they fall in love.  I think people relate to Hazel Grace and Augustus.  They are teenagers, and even though they have cancer, they are trying to live normal lives.  It’s funny, it’s quirky, it works with the teen population.  It’s just a great book.  It’s well written—it’s John Green and he’s just great.  People just connect with the characters, especially Hazel Grace.

Kristin:  Augustus is such a big personality and he kind of overwhelms Hazel at first, but soon you see that he is totally captivated by her.  They are very real teenagers.

Pam:  Yes, VERY real teenagers and they are just trying to live very normal teenage lives even though they are sick.  I think Hazel Grace has dwelled more on her sickness because her parents do, but Augustus tries to say “Hey, you’ve got to live your normal life, even though you’re sick.”  He’s got such a happy-go-lucky attitude.  You just love them both immediately, and their friend Isaac too.  It was a feel good book, even though it’s not a feel good book.

Kristin:  So Peter Van Houten is the author who Hazel has been totally obsessed with—An Imperial Affliction is a fictional book by a fictional author.  The author is an American living in Amsterdam and Hazel has written to him wanting to know what happened to the characters after the book ended.

Pam:  I think that is just like true readers who get obsessed about a book.  Right now they are 
obsessed with John Green, and they write to John Green.  “Why’d you do this?  Why’d you do that?  What are you going to do next?”  Of course I related to their obsession with Peter Van Houten.

Kristin:  What do you think about the upcoming movie release for The Fault in our Stars?

Pam:  Sometimes I wish they wouldn’t adapt these really good books to movies, because your expectations are high and I hope this movie is good.  They are taking two of the main actors from Divergent, who played brother and sister, and that is going to be a little disconcerting!  Shailene Woodley—I think she can pull off Hazel Grace.

Kristin:  John Green writes such interesting characters.  Is The Fault in our Stars your favorite John Green book?

Pam:  Looking for Alaska is my favorite, because Alaska is a wonderful character.  I also liked An Abundance of Katherines.  I loved The Fault in our Stars, it’s probably up there in my top ten, but Looking for Alaska is my favorite.  I would love for my kids to get to meet John Green.  I met him at a book signing when The Fault in our Stars came out, but all I could talk to him about at the time was Looking for Alaska.  Getting back to The Fault in our Stars, he was inspired by a wonderful girl, Esther Earl.  I read her diary and it was phenomenal.  We have her book here in the library (This Star Won't Go Out.)  He hit a home run with The Fault in our Stars, mainly because it’s just so true to teen life.  He’s young, and the teens connect with him.  Boys and girls alike identify with the characters.  And it takes a turn in there that was totally unexpected.  You laugh, you cry, it brings out all kinds of emotions.  It was a very good book.

Kristin:  Just from seeing John Green speak one time, and seeing him on his vlogs (video blogs), I think he’s sort of socially awkward, and I think a lot of kids identify with that.

Pam:  They do, a lot of readers feel socially awkward.  I mean, I’m socially awkward.

Kristin:  Most of us feel that way.

Pam:  I’m reading a book right now called Popular: Vintage Wisdom for a Modern Geek by Maya Van Wagenen.  Fantastic book, and it’s about a girl who is socially awkward, and she gets an etiquette book from 1951 and follows it.  She talks about the hierarchy of school life and where you fall in the caste system.  The library geeks fall very low in the caste system.  We were laughing about that in book group last night.  The library geeks and all the kids who like the Japanese anime were very low.  But it is a very good book.  It’s hysterical, and it was based on an etiquette book that was really written in 1951.  And of course they kids were saying “Ms Neal, do you remember that book?”  Now that was BEFORE I was born.

Kristin:  Thank you for sharing your thoughts on The Fault in our Stars!

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