Thursday, March 28, 2013

Spring Break 2013

So, this spring break, like the ones I have had for the past six years, I have spent it here, at home, in freezing Naperville. But no matter; it's been pretty fun!

My family celebrated my dad's birthday on Sunday; it was a quiet affair, but it was exactly what he wanted and that's what's most important!

BREAKING NEWS:  My family also renewed Netflix on Sunday night after a year long wait. So happy!!! I can watch all the Sherlock, Doctor Who, and Supernatural I WANT.

On Tuesday, I went with a group of friends into Chicago to complete a project for AP Euro at the Art Institute and went shopping afterwards. We took the train in and went alone so we felt very grown up! I can't wait for more trips into the city like that with my friends this summer.  

Yesterday, I went with a group of friends to our downtown area to go to lunch at a local pizza place and it was nice to catch up. It's the same group of girls that I eat lunch with, so it was fun to eat outside of school for a change! Plus, I just got my license, so it's really easy to drive myself around everywhere!

And today, I went with my mom, sister, and some family friends of ours to a new "classy bowling alley" called Pinstripes. I haven't been bowling in a few years, so it was a ton of fun and I came in the high-scoring rank of fourth place! But, I had fun and I plan on going back there in the future.

I plan on catching up on some homework for the rest of break and spending Easter with family friends. Then it's back to school with private lessons, homework, an argumentative speech for English, Sophomore Swim class, musical rehearsals (I'm Mrs. Paroo in our school's production of The Music Man!), and hopefully, sleep.

Enjoy your spring breaks and have a fun Easter!

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

The Fault In Our Stars Book Review

As you might have noticed  in one of my last posts from February (Interval),  I read The Fault In Our Stars by John Green. And it totally lived up to its hype; a beautiful but heartbreaking story of teenage angst, first loves, celebrity encounters, and surviving day to day life, but the odds have been raised when it also happens to be a cancer book.  

The book opens where we meet sixteen year old Hazel Grace Lancaster, the sarcastic yet extremely likable narrator, who is diagnosed with terminal thyroid cancer and metastatic cells in her lungs, causing it to be difficult for her to breathe and she has to carry around an oxygen tank and breath through a cannula. Diagnosed as "depressed" by one of her many unhelpful doctors, she goes to a cancer support group every week run by the ever-optimistic cancer survivor Patrick, and that's where she meets him. 

Augustus Waters: Seventeen years old, a a basketball star, handsome, and extremely brilliant and witty. Also a survivor of osteosarcoma (bone cancer), and he has a prosthetic leg with a barely there limp. He takes an immediate liking to Hazel and the two of them connect over their overbearing parents, Cancer Perks, and a novel akin to any bestseller on the New York Times's list,  An Imperial Affliction, their bible of sorts. Within weeks of initial meeting, they experience the painful thing it is to have a best friend you fall in love with and lose them and meet some interesting people along the way that help them re-evaluate their perceptions of the time left they have on Earth, true love, and eternal remembrance.  

I read this book after hearing my friend Ashly rave about it and the author John Green continually. I bought it on a Saturday afternoon, went home, and sat in my room until I finished it that Saturday night. I laughed so hard I couldn't breathe, had my mind blown by passages, and cried without regret three times. I re-read it the following day.  

What touched and amazed me about this book was that I was able to connect so well with the characters, despite their life situations being so different than mine. I could feel for them in their angst, upset, and heartbreak because those are all emotions I have experienced before and they are emotions I am sure all teenagers have and will experience. I had these moments while I was reading where I could say that I had been there before and I could feel how all these different factors affected Hazel and Augustus similar to me. 

John Green is a true genius to hit home on topics that are usually not poked fun at and he gives them a macabre, yet witty twist. His voice is overwhelming to come through passages of emotions and hilarity and, to quote, "He writes for youth, rather than to them". His ideas on the universe, loss, love, and humiliating situations are genius and on point. His characters make The Fault In Our Stars shine with an edgy, devastating personality and comedic brilliance. And it was Augustus and Hazel's relationship and how it was portrayed that reminded me of what I want for the future: someone who will love me for who I am unconditionally and help me in my troubled times. And I will love them back for those things too and a hundred times over.  

I would suggest this book to anyone. Everyone can be reminded of these important things and how it is to truly feel once in a while.