Category Archives: YA/Teen

Emma Maree Reviews: Heart-Shaped Bruise

Book: Heart-Shaped Bruise by Tanya Byrne

Genre: Fiction/Young Adult/Psychological/Crime Fiction

They say I’m evil. The police. The newspapers. The girls from school who shake their heads on the six o’clock news and say they always knew there was something not quite right about me. And everyone believes it. Including you. But you don’t know. You don’t know who I used to be.

Who I could have been.

Awaiting trial at Archway Young Offenders Institution, Emily Koll is going to tell her side of the story for the first time.

“Heart-Shaped Bruise” is the diary of young criminal Emily Koll, written from her prison — a young offender’s institute in England.

This book has some balls: we’ve got a hard-to-categorise story (is it crime? mystery? psychological? contemporary?) with a hard-to-like protagonist who’s in jail for something horrible. It’s a daring book, and I love it.

I was worried that I wouldn’t be able to relate to Emily, who’s bitter about her imprisonment, difficult to talk to, and cold to her fellow inmates. But how can I not like a girl who talks about her grief like this:

“It was like a blackness that crept into the corners of my life until everything was grey and dirty. My insides felt burned out, like if you cut me open, all you would find would be smoke. No heart. No bones. There was nothing left, just the anger.”

I spent my time reading it and highlighting lines that resonated: Yes, Emily, I know that blackness. I know your pain. Your betrayal. Your black, unstoppable fury. If I’m being honest, I think it’s difficult to be a woman and not know exactly how she feels. She makes it so easy to understand her story.

Even though what Emily does might be unimaginable to some of us, the pain she goes through to reach that breaking point is something most of us can relate to.

If you’ve ever tried to write an unlikable character, it’s worth picking up this book as an example of how to do it right without losing your character’s edge.

Emma Maree Reviews: The Knife of Never Letting Go

Book: The Knife of Never Letting Go by Patrick Ness

Series: Chaos Walking, Book 1

Genre: Fiction/Young Adult/Sci Fi/Dystopian

Prentisstown isn’t like other towns. Everyone can hear everyone else’s thoughts in an overwhelming, never-ending stream of Noise. Just a month away from the birthday that will make him a man, Todd and his dog, Manchee — whose thoughts Todd can hear too, whether he wants to or not — stumble upon an area of complete silence. They find that in a town where privacy is impossible, something terrible has been hidden — a secret so awful that Todd and Manchee must run for their lives.

But how do you escape when your pursuers can hear your every thought?

If you’re a reader: prepare to have your heartstrings torn apart. This is a fast-paced story, with a vivid dystopian world, plenty of action and dangling plot reveals galore to keep you reading even when you want to give Todd a good kick in the shins.

“You’re tearing me *apart*, Patrick Ness!”

If you’re a writer: prepare to have your heartstrings torn apart, and your writer-brain given a good education. Want to know how to make a difficult-to-like (ignorant, bull-headed prejudiced, angry) character loveable? Want to know how to write a convincing male character, from teenage mood swings to some words being misspelled cuz he ain’t had much of an educayshun? Want to know how to reveal information slowly without frustrating your readers? Step right up and get reading.

There are so many secrets in this story that you want to find out the answer to. You know the secrets are there because Todd is constantly doubting and second-guessing his info and other characters are fighting not to spill the beans.

So Ness keeps feeding you important information, big shocking reveals, while putting obstacles in the way to stop you finding out the whole picture all at once. For instance: in a world where everyone can hear your thoughts, knowing too much is a liability so a lot of info is kept from Todd so that it can’t be overheard.  And a lot of the important  info is in a book Todd carries everywhere, but he’s illiterate and too proud and defensive to admit he can’t read it.

Patrick has an impressively strong grasp of how to withhold information without it feeling forced or unrealistic, and how to ‘drip-feed’ important information to the readers without overwhelming them.

Either way: This is an interesting and dark dystopian that breaks out of the genre box and takes a lot of risks. While these risks (the misspelled narration, the constant dangling of plot info in front of your face) might lose it a few fans, it’ll earn Patrick Ness many, many more.

I’ll definitely be picking up the sequel, though after the emotional throat-punch that was this book I might have to take a break in-between.

Emma Maree Reviews: Smoulder


smoulder coverBook:
Smoulder by Brenna Yovanoff

Genre: Fiction/Young Adult/Dark Fantasy

Being the youngest daughter of the Devil has never been easy. Daphne’s father has no time for her, her mother no interest, and her status in the upper echelon separates her from the working-class demons that populate Lucifer’s metropolis. When her brother and only confidante goes missing, life in the restrictive city of Pandemonium becomes intolerable. Now, in an attempt to find him, Daphne sets out for Earth – and finds it larger and more chaotic than she imagined: a dazzling expanse of noise, dirt and random violence. Despite her bewilderment, she navigates the mortal world with growing fascination, gaining an ally when she saves a dying boy from her father’s minions. For Truman Flynn, the last year has been one long downward spiral, but when Daphne arrives just in time to save his life, he finds himself unexpectedly glad to have another chance. Together, Daphne and Truman go in search of her brother, braving the hazards of Las Vegas and the perils of first love, even as it becomes increasingly clear that her brother might have had a secret and compelling reason for leaving. Lucifer’s agents aren’t the only creatures on the prowl, and Daphne soon finds herself the target of a plan to rid the world of demons for good. Now she must evade a demon-eating monster, rescue her brother from an angelic zealot, and save the boy she loves from his greatest enemy – himself.

Known in the US as ‘The Space Between’, Smoulder is The Replacement author Brenna Yovanoff’s second novel. I picked it up after reading this great review by my critique partner, and I wasn’t disappointed

In Smoulder, Hell goes up in flames every night when the furnace at the heart of the city opens. Everything is made to withstand the fire: metal gardens filed with iron flowers, museums with blast-proof vault doors to protect Earth items, and the nearly indestructible demons themselves.

The story had me hooked from the very first chapter, where we meet Lilith: bold, defiant, and unapologetically female, the Prologue shows her rejection by Adam and her exit from Eden, to the night-time beach where she first meets Lucifer. Chapter 1 cuts us to the future, where we meet Daphne: one of Lilith’s many daughters, with the metal teeth and Lucifer’s blood in her veins.

Daphne and Truman are chalk and cheese: Daphne’s detached and withdrawn, reacting very little to some of the horrific things she witnesses. Truman is a damaged, self-destructive young guy, but he’s powerfully open in his reactions. I absolutely love how Yovanoff brought this suicidal, alcoholic chain-smoker to life without watering down his issues.

And there are plenty of other interesting characters hiding in Smoulder’s world: a soul-collecting demon with a red mohawk, the suave and charming Lord of the Flies Beelzebub, and the angelic servant and demon killer Dark Dreadful — a monstrous woman built to kill the almost unkillable.

This was a unique, dark read with an expertly crafted world. If you like dark, fast-paced YA be sure to pick it up.

 

Emma Maree Reviews: Divergent

Book: Divergent by Veronica Roth

Series: The Divergent Trilogy

Genre: Fiction/Young Adult/Sci-Fi/Dystopian

In Beatrice Prior’s dystopian Chicago, society is divided into five factions, each dedicated to the cultivation of a particular virtue—Candor (the honest), Abnegation (the selfless), Dauntless (the brave), Amity (the peaceful), and Erudite (the intelligent). On an appointed day of every year, all sixteen-year-olds must select the faction to which they will devote the rest of their lives. For Beatrice, the decision is between staying with her family and being who she really is—she can’t have both. So she makes a choice that surprises everyone, including herself.

During the highly competitive initiation that follows, Beatrice renames herself Tris and struggles to determine who her friends really are—and where, exactly, a romance with a sometimes fascinating, sometimes infuriating boy fits into the life she’s chosen. But Tris also has a secret, one she’s kept hidden from everyone because she’s been warned it can mean death. And as she discovers a growing conflict that threatens to unravel her seemingly perfect society, she also learns that her secret might help her save those she loves . . . or it might destroy her.

Divergent is set in a world where Society has divided into five factions in order to avoid war in the future. This is a bit of a love-it-or-hate-it concept, and I’m on the side of the room that loves it and the way it slightly echoes Harry Potter houses.

I particularly loved that Dauntless, the daredevil faction designed to protect the city from an unknown enemy, is visibly falling apart and straying from its roots. It did push past believability at times, though. Jumping from a moving train across a drop that actually kills a new initiate on your first day felt unrealistic. Punching each other into unconsciousness to prove you’re brave felt unrealistic. Blatantly ignoring a murder felt unrealistic.

A possibly fatal jump (with a net at a bottom) and computer simulations forcing you to face your fear made sense. They tested initiate’s nerve while still being in a controlled environments for trainees. But if you’re taking actions that are going to kill your new members, your system is broken.

It takes a lot for me to actually stop and say ‘this feels unrealistic’. It means the world-building isn’t holding up enough for me to believe life could be this bad, and it makes it harder to relate to the world and the characters. It didn’t stop me from enjoying the book, but it frustrated me.

The story is loaded with action and adventure, and the main character Tris is a really awesome, strong young woman whose struggles and conflicting thoughts are clearly shown as she tries to adapt to a very different new life.

The smart ways Tris dealt with people being harsh and cruel towards her was brilliant, and she’s refreshingly different from other YA protagonists in that she can be self-centred, manipulative, and cold. To the point where her viciousness towards a genuinely nice, but troubled character made me want to put down the book.

But on the flip side, there were so many things I loved. The book is very ‘clean’ – it’s hugely violent, and filled with action and romantic tension, but there’s no swearing or sex. I think this might be due to the author’s religion, hinted to be Christian in the acknowledgement, but the book has only minimal subtext and I really like how well the book managed to stay within the lines.

The romance is sweet and slow-moving, with no love triangle in sight, and the plot had more than enough twists and turns to keep me on the edge of my seat.

Despite all the conflicting feelings I had about the story, I was hooked from start to finish. I love the action, the adventure, and the world enough that I can look past my issues. It’s far too easy to overthink a story when you get that wrapped up in it, I think.

I’d recommend this book to any fans of YA dystopian fiction who like the concept of the world being split into factions, and who enjoy action-packed plots like The Hunger Games and City of Bones. I’m looking forward to picking up the second book in this trilogy, Insurgent, which comes out this year.

Emma Maree Reviews: The Fault In Our Stars

Book: The Fault In Our Stars by John Green

Genre: Fiction/Young Adult/Contemporary/Romance

Diagnosed with Stage IV thyroid cancer at 12, Hazel was prepared to die until, at 14, a medical miracle shrunk the tumours in her lungs… for now. Two years post-miracle, sixteen-year-old Hazel is post-everything else, too post-high school, post-friends and post-normalcy. And even though she could live for a long time (whatever that means) Hazel lives tethered to an oxygen tank, the tumours tenuously kept at bay with a constant chemical assault. Enter Augustus Waters. A match made at cancer kid support group, Augustus is gorgeous, in remission, and shockingly, to her interested in Hazel. Being with Augustus is both an unexpected destination and a long-needed journey, pushing Hazel to re-examine how sickness and health, life and death, will define her and the legacy that everyone leaves behind.

“The Fault In Our Stars” released at the end of December in the UK to a bit of a kerfuffle – all pre-orders were supposed to be signed, but Amazon UK ignored the large number of pre-orders received and left it until the last minute to order all their required copies. As a result, instead of receiving the pre-signed copies, they received and sent out a rushed print to cover their requested numbers.

For the thousands of fans waiting for a signed copy, who received a blank one, this was disappointing stuff. I received an unsigned one and ended up buying a signed replacement from The Book Depository, who happily kept customers up to date on their inventory of signed stock. They really showed Amazon how good customer service should be done.

But all this kerfuffle didn’t stop me reading and enjoying the book. It’s a curious mix – a light, comedic story about a serious situation. One of the cover quotes mentions it jumping from comedy to tragedy, which is a fair description – it does it seamlessly, though, moving from light to dark beautifully.

If you’re not a fan of ‘cancer books’, don’t be turned off – while cancer is a big focus, it’s all kept at light-hearted as possible, and John Green’s signature style makes it all feel so real and so important. The kids are wise and funny, and I think that’s part of the reason his books are so popular. He doesn’t talk down to kids, instead, his kids talk ‘up’ – they say and think the things we wish we could put into words.

Looking for Alaska is still my favourite of John Green’s books, and it’s the one I would recommend to new readers – but if you’ve ever read his stuff, The Fault in Our Stars will not let you down. Set some time aside to read it — you can go through it in an evening if you have the time, but god forbid anyone interrupts you, it knocks you straight out of the story and makes it difficult to get back into it. The characters will stay with you, and it’ll keep tugging at your heart-strings long after you’ve closed the book.

Emma Maree Reviews “Shatter Me”

Juliette hasn’t touched anyone in exactly 264 days.

The last time she did, it was an accident, but The Reestablishment locked her up for murder. No one knows why Juliette’s touch is fatal. As long as she doesn’t hurt anyone else, no one really cares. The world is too busy crumbling to pieces to pay attention to a 17-year-old girl. Diseases are destroying the population, food is hard to find, birds don’t fly anymore, and the clouds are the wrong color.

The Reestablishment said their way was the only way to fix things, so they threw Juliette in a cell. Now so many people are dead that the survivors are whispering war– and The Reestablishment has changed its mind. Maybe Juliette is more than a tortured soul stuffed into a poisonous body. Maybe she’s exactly what they need right now.

Juliette has to make a choice: Be a weapon. Or be a warrior.

In a word, Tahereh Mafi‘s debut novel “Shatter Me” is fast-paced. This is a book that, once started, you’ll struggle to put down. The only other book to have that affect on me this year was “The Hunger Games”, so the speedy plotting is a skill. The story doesn’t stop for breathing, zipping from action to romantic tension then straight back to action without stopping for breath. I loved it.

But keeping things lean and speedy comes at a cost – there’s very little setting description, making the dystopian future of the story hard to visualise. Characters are described sparingly, and given very little time to shine. Villan Warner is a brilliantly-written bad guy, who you can sympathise with and understand, but love interest Adam comes off as a bit two-dimensional at times.

The only thing Mafi doesn’t skimp on is the metaphors. They’re everywhere, and I really liked some of the clever turns of phrases.

“I spent my life folded between the pages of books.
In the absence of human relationships I formed bonds with paper characters. I lived love and loss through stories threaded in history; I experienced adolescence by association. My world is one interwoven web of words, stringing limb to limb, bone to sinew, thoughts and images all together. I am a being comprised of letters, a character created by sentences, a figment of imagination formed through fiction.”

 

“Killing time isn’t as difficult as it sounds.
I can shoot a hundred numbers through the chest and watch them bleed decimal points in the palm of my hand. I can rip the numbers off a clock and watch the hour hands tick tick tick their final tock just before I fall asleep. I can suffocate seconds just by holding my breath. I’ve been murdering minutes for hours and no one seems to mind.”

If beautiful writing and an unputdownable story are what you’re needing in your life,  “Shatter Me” will provide all of that and more – but if you want to get lost in a fictional world and its characters, you might be disappointed. Nonetheless, I loved the story and will happily pick up its sequel when it hits the shelves – I want to see more of Warner, and hopefully a bit more worldbuilding. I’m also a little curious how the X-Men similarities will be handled in future books.

Genre: YA Dystopian/Romance
Publisher:
HarperCollins
Buy It:
Amazon UK | Amazon US | Book Depository

Emma Maree Reviews: “The Daughter of Smoke and Bone”

“Once upon a time, an angel and a devil fell in love. It did not end well.”

This is one of those books that’s hard to sum up in a review because I am ridiculously in love with it. Laini Taylor takes the old story of an angel falling in love with a devil and makes it new and original. It’s not the only cliche she freshens up either – Taylor takes heroines with a secret, angels fighting demons, magic boy-meets-girl, and turns it into a vivid fantasy series.

But that’s not where I got hooked – it was the opening scene that got its claws into me. In a beautifully described, snowy Prague our protagonist Karou wearily shrugs off a man jumping out at her from the shadows. The man is her ex, Kaz, and he’s got a surprise in store to try a win her back… a surprise involving his appearance on stage during her life drawing class.

It’s just hilarious, watching Karou trying to deal with the whole class seeing her ex naked–and the humor doesn’t end there, with Karou returning to the shop of the demon she works for and wryly recalling the ram-headed demon’s last attempt at a sex ed talk.

And this is all before the real story begins:

Around the world, black handprints are appearing on doorways, scorched there by winged strangers who have crept through a slit in the sky.

In a dark and dusty shop, a devil’s supply of human teeth grows dangerously low.

And in the tangled lanes of Prague, a young art student is about to be caught up in a brutal otherworldly war.

Meet Karou. She fills her sketchbooks with monsters that may or may not be real; she’s prone to disappearing on mysterious “errands”; she speaks many languages—not all of them human; and her bright blue hair actually grows out of her head that color. Who is she? That is the question that haunts her, and she’s about to find out.

When one of the strangers—beautiful, haunted Akiva—fixes his fire-colored eyes on her in an alley in Marrakesh, the result is blood and starlight, secrets unveiled, and a star-crossed love whose roots drink deep of a violent past. But will Karou live to regret learning the truth about herself? – Goodreads

Author Laini Taylor

“The Daughter of Smoke and Bone” really shines at dropping hints for you to piece together – by the end of the story, all the little details slot into place and you see how Laini planned everything perfectly from the start.

The book is split into three parts – part 1 lets you fall in love with Karou and her life as an errand girl for a shop full of loveable demons, part 2 introduces a flame-eyed angel Karou can’t keep herself away from, and part 3 is full of surprises and secrets.

It’s coming out this week in the UK, and I cannot recommend it enough. It’s a captivating, stay-up-all-night-to-finish it fantasy story that takes everything cliche and tired and makes it shine. I can’t wait for UK readers to get their hands on this – and I can’t wait for the sequel!

“The Daughter of Smoke and Bone” is released on September 29th!

Thanks to Hodder & Stoughton for providing a copy of the work for this review. This review is based on the ARC, and may not represent the final content.

Emma Maree Reviews: “Boys Don’t Cry” by Malorie Blackman

Choosing character names is a struggle for me, but it’s clear author Malorie Blackman has some naming skills. The two main characters of her latest novel “Boys Don’t Cry” are Dante, whose story revolves around being left holding his newborn baby after his girlfriend skips town, has a younger brother named Adam, an openly gay black teenager that Dante’s friends hate.

Dante and Adam. Those are fantastic names. The Christian origin, the dichotomy of it – Adam being the son of God, residing in Heaven, Dante being a famous bard who went down into the depths of Hell in search of his love. Religion isn’t mentioned in the book, but the symbolism here – the opposite meanings – rings true. Dante and Adam are close as brothers, especially when they’re in the house around each other, but they disagree on a lot of things and argue often.

But this story is about a lot more than the two brothers. When Dante is sitting waiting for his A-Level result, his ex-girlfriend appears at the door with a baby she claims is his. Then she disappears, leaving him holding the baby and facing the fact that he might be about to lose everything – a promising university education, his social life, and his current girlfriend Colette.

Told from a rare single father point of view, Dante has to figure out how to be a dad – from changing nappies to worrying about whether it is really his kid. His dad helps him out using his own experience as a single parent – but the help is in true-to-life ‘dad’ form, with lots of grumbling about what a bloody idiot he is for getting into this mess in the first place.

I wasn’t sure if I’d enjoy this story, but Dante’s strong voice pulled me into the story. He’s very British, and very honest and real – he sounds like a typical English teen guy, it’s great. It’s also a very honest story – it doesn’t skim over any of the harsh realities of being a teen parent. Dante’s friends stop calling round to visit, his girlfriend doesn’t want anything to do with him, his guy friends mock him when they’re not busy taunting his brother.

Author Malorie Blackman

The story unfolds at a quick pace, with chapters from Dante’s point of view showing the child-rearing side of life, and Adam’s chapters showing some of the darker sides of Dante’s circle of friends. By the end of the story, the viciousness of Dante’s friends shows its true colours and has horrible consequences.

The ending left me wanting more – it was realistically done, but I really wanted karma to be served. I also wish they’d mentioned the families skin colour more – the only obvious mention about Dante being black was towards the end. You could argue that this is clever – the ambiguous cover and narrative mean any young guy can relate to the story – but personally I wish this was stated clearly and proudly from the start.

It’s been a long time since I read Malorie Blackman (as a kid I poured over stories like “Hacker” and “Pig-Heart Boy” in my Primary School library), and I’m glad to see she’s as brilliant a writer as ever.

Maybe I should get around to finally giving her “Noughts & Crosses” series a look…

A review copy of this book was provided by Random House.

Emma Maree Reviews: “Passion”

Lauren Kate’s “Fallen” series is one of the most popular reviewed series here on the blog. Thanks to Random House, I got hold of an early copy of the latest book in the series, “Passion”, for review.

“Every single lifetime, I’ll choose you. Just as you have chosen me. Forever.”

Luce would die for Daniel. And she has. Over and over again. Throughout time, Luce and Daniel have found each other, only to be painfully torn apart: Luce dead, Daniel left broken and alone. But perhaps it doesn’t need to be that way. . . .

Luce is certain that something—or someone—in a past life can help her in her present one. So she begins the most important journey of this lifetime . . . going back eternities to witness firsthand her romances with Daniel . . . and finally unlock the key to making their love last.

Cam and the legions of angels and Outcasts are desperate to catch Luce, but none are as frantic as Daniel. He chases Luce through their shared pasts, terrified of what might happen ifshe rewrites history.

Because their romance for the ages could go up in flames . . . forever.

Time travel is the latest addition to the “Fallen” series, playing an integral role in “Passion” as Luce hops around time trying to find some of the answers behind her curse. I love time travel, so I enjoyed Lauren Kate’s take on it.

With a unique set of rules preventing interaction with their past selves, both Daniel and Luce visit various different decades, and see their own past selves. The settings and cultures are only visited briefly, but Kate shines at them – showcasing culture and colourful characters, even if each location only features for a small amount of time.

She takes Luce from war-torn, snowy Moscow to 19th-century England; from Tahaiti islanders who mark themselves with elaborate tattoos to a Tibetan palace; even to a Mayan tribe with some terrifying rituals (my favourite scene).

It is important to realise that this book is both prequel and sequel – or else you might have the same niggling annoyances I did. The story arc didn’t seem to develop as much as in earlier books – the plot begins with Luce travelling through time to find answers, and that remains her objective for most of the book without any real detours. I could have definitely used a few more twists, but the last act of the book brought in some strong reveals and foreshadowing for the final book, “Rapture”.

As with “Torment”, there’s steady improvement in the writing – new characters, like the loud-mouthed gargoyle Bill, add some witty lines and a change of pace. The dialogue is sharper with some funny exchanges between Luce and Bill, and Luce takes a lot more control of her situation than we’ve seen her before. The world-building is also clarified – we find out more about the Announcers, shadows that are used to step through time and space, and there are some new rules about time travel and some exciting hints about Luce and Daniel’s curse.

I did miss some of the other characters – especially Cam. Cam’s awesome – but “Passion” does a solid job of filling in the back story and setting the scene for “Rapture”, which looks like an action-packed end to the series.

“Passion” is out on the 23 June. You can read our reviews of Lauren Kate’s other novels by clicking here, and we’ll have some exclusive editing advice from the lady herself on Friday.

You can pre-order it with free shipping almost anywhere in the world from the Book Depository, in Hardback or Paperback.

Disclaimer: A copy of “Passion” was provided for this review by Random House.

Emma Maree Reviews “Looking For Alaska”

Took me a while, but I finally got around to reading John Green’s “Looking For Alaska”. This is a modern classic in Young Adult books, and it broke a lot of barriers regarding sex, drugs and profanity in teen fiction.

Before. Miles “Pudge” Halter is done with his safe life at home. His whole life has been one big non-event, and his obsession with famous last words has only made him crave “the Great Perhaps” even more (François Rabelais, poet). He heads off to the sometimes crazy and anything-but-boring world of Culver Creek Boarding School, and his life becomes the opposite of safe. Because down the hall is Alaska Young. The gorgeous, clever, funny, sexy, self-destructive, screwed up, and utterly fascinating Alaska Young. She is an event unto herself. She pulls Pudge into her world, launches him into the Great Perhaps, and steals his heart. Then. . . .

After. Nothing is ever the same.

Author John Green is brilliant, and this story is tightly written – the boarding school setting is detailed and quirky, the teens all act realistically and each character is memorable and loveable,  and the plot moves at a good pace with short chapters that focus on key moments and end as soon as that moment is done. It’s a short and fast story, with no words wasted.

What really made me love this story, though, is that is focuses on what’s really important.

A lot of stories that involve suicide focus on the grief, the emotional collapse and crumbling relationships that follows it. These are all good things to focus on, but they’re not the main issue.

Why?

That’s the main issue, the big problem, the all-consuming thought that follows suicide. Because you never know all the answers, all their thoughts, the reasons and the events that made it happen. You are left wishing you could see their last few moments, know their thoughts. You’re left piecing together the reasons because they never line up, there’s always missing moments, facts, questions. There’s always a why.

John Green’s “Looking for Alaska” captures this perfectly.