Review Post: The Perks of Being A Wallflower

The Perks of Being A Wallflower

The Perks of Being A Wallflower
Title : The Perks of Being A Wallflower
Author : Stephen Chbosky
Publisher : MTV Books
Pages : 213 Pages
Year of Publication : 2012 (first published in 1999)
Language : English
Genre(s) : Young Adult, Coming-of-age, Contemporary
Bought from : – ( I got the free e-book ^.^)
Synopsis and Cover Pic : Goodreads
Synopsis :
And while he’s not the biggest geek in the school, he is by no means popular. Shy, introspective, intelligent beyond his year yet socially awkward, he is a wallflower, caught between trying to live his life and trying to run from it.Charlie is attempting to navigate his way through uncharted territory: the world of first dates and mix tapes, family dramas and new friends; the world of sex, drugs, and The Rocky Horror Picture Show, when all one requires is that perfect song on that perfect drive to feel infinite. But he can’t stay on the sidelines forever. Standing on the fringes of life offers a unique perspective. But there comes a time to see what it looks like from the dance floor.

The Perks of Being a Wallflower is a deeply affecting coming-of-age story that will spirit you back to those wild and poignant roller-coaster days known as growing up.

 

 

***

“Do you always think that much, Charlie?”

Here I am now, after a long, long time not updating this lovely place of mine, greeting you with a new book to review, The Perks of Being A Wallflower. Well, not a new piece, but I guess most of people here in Indonesia, especially the teenagers, haven’t read this novel. I really think this is a good novel for teens so it kinda pushes me to ask you, Indonesian teenagers, to read this and meet Charlie.

By the way, I forgot to mention that this book has been adapted into movie, starring Logan Lerman (the most charming man in Hollywood), Emma Watson (an adorable British girl-turned-woman), and Ezra Miller (hooooot!). Some, or perhaps, most of you have watched the movie version and had known the story plot, but I assure you that you need to read the book too! Really!!! Why? I’m gonna tell you!!

Okay, I’m gonna start with the synopsis.

“(To Charlie)He’s a wallflower … You see things. You keep quiet about them. And you understand. “

As you probably already knew, the main character of this story is a 15-year-old boy named Charlie, who just lost his friend, the one and only, who committed suicide and at the same time got in high school with no friends left. Charlie wasn’t really close to anyone outside his family member; the closest one with him is his big bro who’s an excellent baseball player, which brought him to continue his school to Penn State, while his elder sister’s quite hot-blooded but sometimes nice towards him. He with his parents was just like any other kids with their parents, I think. But the most impactful person to him was probably his mother’s late sister, Aunt Helen. Charlie had been so close towards her that he still remembered her in every single thought of his.

“…Even if somebody else has it much worse, that doesn’t really change the fact that you have what you have. Good and bad…I don’t think I have it any better or worse than she does… maybe it’s good to put things in perspective, but sometimes, I think that the only perspective is to really be there…it’s okay to feel things. And be who you are about them.”

And after his friend, Michael, left him to go to another world, Charlie had none to be friend at school. For some times, school days seemed so tough for him. But he never told anyone, not his parents, his sister, even his brother, except his ‘friend’. He wrote a letter to his ‘friend’, containing story of everything happened in his life, thought, feeling, and emotion he had toward people around him, and hope he had for them. He was asked by his therapist to do this due to something ‘disturbing’ from the past that affected him until then, but still unable to be figured out.

But those tough days softened when Charlie could get close with his English teacher, Bill. Charlie enjoyed the class for he had an enjoyment in literature a lot and Bill really was glad with that fact. Bill asked Charlie to read more literatures and write an essay for every book afterwards. Charlie enjoyed it a lot, including the time after class he had with Bill to discuss the book he read. Then more good days came when Charlie got to know Patrick and fell in love with his step sister, Sam, and could get close with both of them.

“Charlie, we accept the love we think we deserve.”

Patrick and Sam were really different with Charlie. Charlie was a vivid thinker, a very sensitive guy, so caring for others’ feeling, and a kind of homie-guy, even his own sister called him freak once. Patrick was quite frantic, so open about what he thought and what he felt, a risk-loving one, a party-guy, and Sam was pretty (according to Charlie), fun, ever known as a ‘blow-girl’ something, but deep inside she had a low self-esteem. Even so, they could hang out together. Patrick and Sam invited Charlie to their life which was containing of party, theater show, Saint-day, and many things, including introducing him to their senior  friends,  Mary Elizabeth (becoming his first girlfriend even though he’s so much in love with Sam), Bob, Craig, and Alice. Charlie finally got to know them deeper.

“I just think it’s bad when a boy looks at a girl and thinks that they way he sees the girl is better than the girl actually is. And I think it’s bad when the most honest way a boy can look at a girl is through a camera. It’s very hard for me to see Sam feel better about herself just because an older boy sees her that way.”

But the thing about Charlie was he kept everything he thought and felt inside himself. And like I said before, he’s a vivid thinker, so vivid that he never actually did things. Almost everything he wanted to do only ended up in his brain. He was too selfless and too sensitive of other people’s feeling that he did not want to tell them what he’s feeling only not to ruin their mood, to hurt their heart. That is why Bill once asked him to ‘participate in life’. That is why Sam told him not to ‘just sit there and … do things’.

Then I feel like hugging Charlie. If he were my brother or friend, I would.

And when I knew what’s going on with him and Aunt Helen back when he was very little, I felt really sad… Actually I have already known from watching the movie, but Charlie told me explicitly what’s happening and it made my heart more…broken? I really can’t comprehend. So terrible =(

“I’m not the way I am because of what I dreamt and remembered about my aunt Helen. That’s what I figured out when things got quiet. And I think that’s very important to know…I know what happened was important and I needed to remember it… I guess we are who we are for a lot of reasons. And maybe we’ll never know most of them. But even if we don’t have the power to choose where we come from, we can still choose where we go from there. We can still do things. And we can try to feel okay about them.”

I don’t know but I really got hooked. The glossaries were just simple and easily understood and the plot itself only had a few twists (and only one significant twist at the end of story) but I was really impressed with Charlie. How complicated his life became, due to his too-much ponderings. How he was able to press his needs and wants for the sake of others. How hard he tried to understand everyone and their motives. How brave he was to fight for his friends. How thoughtful he was. How wise actually he was for his age. And he was only 15.

I wondered how my 15-year-old me had been seven years ago.

But well, Charlie was too self-pushing, right?

I hope all teenagers read this; everything that is parts of teens’ life are summed up well here, dilemma, family problem, sex, drugs, risk-taking moments, love, school. I myself wish I had read this novel back then so that I would not only think about love so shallow, or see myself superior over my friends, and ponder more, think more, care more like Charlie. And for those who have teenage sisters and brothers, especially who loves reading, this book is a recommended gift for them.

“The good news is that I read the book, and because of its fantasy nature, I could pretend that I was in the book. That way I could participate and still read.”

In fact, I am disappointed with my review about this book. I feel like I could not represent what’s on my mind really well. Charlie!!!!! By the way, by reading this novel, I finally figured out why Charlie’s called ‘a wallflower’. Well, the movie explained it but I just couldn’t get it. Perhaps I can through the book for it gave me a greater picture of Charlie’s experience.

One statement that I like from this book  :

“I feel infinite”  

And I do now =)

PS : Though the movie version wasn’t adapting this book fully, I still love it! it’s recommended too for teenagers!!
Rating : 5/5

Review Post: The Fault in Our Stars

The Fault in Our Stars

The Fault in Our Stars
Title : The Fault in Our Stars
Author : John Green
Publisher : Dutton Books
Pages : 318 Pages
Year of Publication : 2012
Language : English
Genre(s) : Young Adult,Romance, 
Bought from : – ( I got the free e-book ^.^)
Synopsis and Cover Pic : Goodreads
Synopsis :
Despite the tumor-shrinking medical miracle that has bought her a few years, Hazel has never been anything but terminal, her final chapter inscribed upon diagnosis. But when a gorgeous plot twist named Augustus Waters suddenly appears at Cancer Kid Support Group, Hazel’s story is about to be completely rewritten.
 

 

***
It’s been a long time since my last review!!It took me long, really long just to finish one book. I made myself read more than 2 books, either fiction or nonfiction, at the same time so that I could go after my reading target this year and also reading target in some challenges I’ve been joining. It was not as easy as deciding which books to buy first, given some pocket money I was received. The time is enough, I think, but the one who uses it did not use it well. I always postponed my plan to continue reading and yeah, no wonder I haven’t finished , like, four books since March. =(And this is it, out of 6 I finally finished two and The Fault in Our Stars is one of the two. I have been really curious with this novel ever since I read the review about this book as well as John Green’s name as the author of this story. I have been interested in his other masterpiece after reading Paper Town so I thought I would like to give this book a try.

“But in fact, depression is not a side effect of cancer. Depression is a side effect of dying.”

First, before I jumped to conclusion, let me share a glance of the story to you. Situations happened in this novel was seen and told through the eye of Hazel Grace,a 16-year-old girl who has a thyroid cancer in her lung. She was unpleasantly and skeptically living her life, befriending but her parents and reading books and novels, repeating her favorite novels, An Imperial Affliction by Peter Van Houten, whom she considered her third friend. Her mother couldn’t bear seeing her like this made her join a Support Group, a group consist of some kids and teens with cancer that met up every week and share their (cancer) fighting story to each others. Hazel did not think this was her thing but she didn’t want to make her mom more difficult so she came every week, without sharing a single story but a single sentence ‘I had a thyroid cancer’ kinda. The only person she could connect with there was Isaac, a 17-year-old boy with an eye cancer. There’s not much talking between them (yet) but their eyes usually met whenever they thought something was too much. And things changed in Hazel’s life, too, because of Isaac (in my opinion lol); once, he brought his friend, Augustus Waters, to the Support Group. He had an appendiceal cancer, making him lose one of his legs, thus, making him wear a prost. From the description Hazel poured, Augustus was really hot. He was so attractive with his crooked smile and muscular body. That’s why Hazel was fascinated, and became more fascinated when he showed much interest in her.

“Sometimes, you read a book and it fills you with this weird evangelical zeal, and you become convinced that the shattered world will never be put back together unless and until all living humans read the book.”

Augustus, or Gus, said she’s so cool, looking like Natalie Portman in V for Vendetta, repeating it like more than twice. Gus so bluntly said that he liked her and wanted to go steady with her. Any girls and women will be like melting as well as feeling confused at the same time, encountering a boy like this. And since then, they became close. Hazel shared her favorite book to him, An Imperial Affliction while Gus told her to read The Prince of Dawn series, asked her to come to his place to play the game version also, with Isaac. Hazel also told him how she really wanted to know the ending of AIA which was left unfinished, how many times she sent letters to Van Houten without ever being replied even once. Gus, who happened to be interested in that book upon reading it, sent an e-mail to Van Houten and got replied. Despite her jealousy, it encouraged Hazel to send Van Houten an e-mail, asking about the ending of the novel. And finally, she got his reply! But unfortunately, the e-mail said that he couldn’t tell her the ending unless they met each other directly, meaning Hazel should go to Amsterdam.

“I’m in love with you, and I’m not in the business of denying myself the simple pleasure of saying true things. I’m in love with you, and I know that love is just a shout into the void, and that oblivion is inevitable, and that we’re all doomed and that there will come a day when all our labor has been returned to dust, and I know the sun will swallow the only earth we’ll ever have, and I am in love with you.”

But things got rough all of sudden. Hazel, who was always thoughtful about how her parents and Gus would keep up living once she’s gone, got recurrence and forced her to attend the hospital. But after this, things got sweeter. After she’s back home, she developed more intimate relationship with Gus and told him that the only way she could find out about the ending of AIA was by going to Amsterdam and meeting Van Houten. In short, with a funding support from an organization concerning themselves in kids and teens with cancer, they’re able to go to Amsterdam and meet Van Houten. Sadly, he wasn’t as cool as what Hazel had extracted from his novel. She couldn’t get to know the ending she was dying to, but she really did not want to pass the chance to be with Gus so she decided to forget about Van Houten and the ending-she-was-damn-curious-about, and had fun with Gus in Amsterdam, including making love hehehihi. The nice thing doesn’t last forever, fella. I really didn’t figure it out before. Yes, it’s soooo improbably unpredictable.

“Oh, I wouldn’t mind, Hazel Grace. It would be a privilege to have my heart broken by you.”

But I will not tell you! Please, read it yourself =3 Though unpredictable, it did not surprise me. Perhaps because this is about cancer so, yeah, there is not much those unexpected things. And I really wished I would have cried so many tears reading this but in fact I didn’t. I don’t know if it’s because I read this in a very distant time that sometimes I forgot how the story had gone, or because I really could not feel the sadness Hazel felt, or it’s just the story that wasn’t really that sad at all. But I did feel touched when it came to Hazel’s parents. Well, you should read it yourself hehe. By the way, most of the narration and dialogue are quotable. They were so beautifully chained to each other =). Anyway, the main character, Hazel Grace, was just so mature for her age. There was no scene that she didn’t talk like a philosopher, a skeptic philosopher for exact. And I think she’s what differed TFIOS with other YA novels whose main character has a cancer; while most of typical stories offer an optimistic character with a great struggle, Hazel’s just so skeptic and perceivably effortless to live her life. She tended to ask ‘why’ to almost everything in her life, but she never questioned why she should be having the cancer. And Augustus, well, I don’t know what to say about him. Compared to Hazel, Gus was more optimistic and willing to leave his trace on others, though he knew he might hurt or even get hurt. He wanted to live his life being useful to other people, showing much love to them, especially Hazel. He was just so damn blunt! I wonder if there is a man or woman able to be so honest about his/her feeling towards the one he/she loves. How he was willing to sacrifice so much for Hazel was just so adorable.

“Do the thing you’re good at. Not many people are lucky enough to be so good at something.”

For teenagers, I think they should read this, especially the teen girls. Hazel is a character that they could learn from; such a skeptic yet brave and loving girl, and instead of crying over her ‘untied’ relationship with Gus, she could cope with her life and found things she could hold onto, things that could help her remember Gus. Even the love story offered is not the cheesy type. I myself learn to be honest with my feeling to people I love, though it may not be so good for me. And that everything has a risk, even in loving itself. But the return of it is great also, so don’t be afraid to love and just take whatever the risk might be. And parents are everything. Hehe.

“You don’t get to choose if you get hurt in this world, old man, but you do have some say in who hurts you. I like my choices. I hope she likes hers.”  

Rating : 4/5

Review Post: The Birth of Phoenix

The Birth of Phoenix

The Birth of Phoenix
Title : The Birth of Phoenix  (Phoenix Chronicles, #1)
Author : Candice Snow
Publisher : Create Space
Pages : 298 Pages
Year of Publication : 2013
Language : English
Genre(s) : Young Adult, Science-Fiction, Dystopian, Post-Apocalyptic
Bought from : – ( I got the e-book free from the author ^.^)
Synopsis and Cover Pic : Goodreads
Synopsis :
Florence Nightingale lived the perfect life. She had loyal friends, loving parents, and comfortable living conditions in one of Brooklyn’s better apartment complexes. Then the Half War—a violent fight between races—broke out and her life was changed forever. Forced to leave her home in New York, Florence flees to North Carolina where she is reluctantly taken in by a mysterious rural community called the Colony. Ruled by a self-appointed King and Queen, the Colony is divided from within. Women are raffled off at the age of sixteen, breaking the law means certain death, and under no circumstances are races to be mixed.But Florence has never been one to follow rules. It isn’t long before she has secured a home for herself in the Cabin where servants are raised. Secluded just outside the confinements of the Colony, the Cabin allows Florence to mature in a peaceful environment. Here she establishes lasting friendships, bitter rivalries, and her first love.When her father is publicly executed for a crime he didn’t commit, Florence focuses her attention on rebelling against the monarchy and uprooting the truth behind the Colony’s darkest secrets. The only problem is that her marriage raffle is looming near, and the more Florence uncovers about the Colony—including the death of her father—the more it endangers both her safety and her sanity.

***
It’s been two weeks since I finished reading this novel. I am sorry for updating so late. Gonna try harder to be disciplined hihi.

“The phoenix flower was his greatest botany experiment. It was designed to enrich the soil of war torn earth, and can only germinate when in contact with fire. He named it after my nickname. I didn’t want him to, but my father used to call me his little phoenix because my unruly red hair reminded him of fire.” 

A young, free-spirited girl, Florence Nightingale, ran away from the riotous Brooklyn along with her father and her best friend, Sabrina, to small and isolated place, The Colony, only to find herself more trapped there with all the unreasonable rules and conditions to live. Besides the rules ‘not to steal, not to kill, not to commit adultery, The Colony, in my opinion, was a hell for a woman, or a man, or lovers! There were fewer women than men, which made women so precious that the only way to get them married was through raffle. Men, as long as they’re single, no matter how old they were, could join them. The women were enlisted in their 16th birthday. But the marriage could only occur among white-skinned people, whom I presume in this story was the Caucasian (because there was a dialogue that showed how Sabrina perceived her late Japanese friend as different). The black-skinned people were considered a disease, an abnormality, a curse. That’s why they were also treated so inhumanely, viewed as a low-class citizen there that only deserved a job as slaves.

The discrimination did not stop there; it occurred the white skinned themselves. Where they lived and what occupation they had was decided by a kind of psychometric test or IQ test (can’t make sure). The lowest among them were those who lived in The Third Level. These people working their ass off to watch Creatures work. The higher rank was The Second Level. These people worked as teachers for the society and the highest one, The First Level, was filled by the doctors and also the leaders of The Colony. One mystery that had been in Florence’s mind was if the black-skinned people were not allowed to get married, how could the Colonist leaders keep providing the town with newly born ones for filling the role as future slaves? Living there was like a hell for such a girl. Not to mention Flo should see her father, a biologist (who succeeded to produce a new phoenix), executed for the thing he didn’t do and the situation forced her to be independent. She didn’t live alone, though; she’s taken care in a kind-of-orphanage by Tabby, a black-skinned woman, in The Third Level, along with Sabrina and other black-skinned kids, including Tyresse, her soon-to-be lover. Things even got worse when finally, Flo turned 16, thus forcing her to join the marriage raffle and to forget her true love…

So, I can only explain the summary till this point. I am afraid I will spoil everything if I go further. In addition, the thing about dystopian story is the world-building explanation and how well you get along with it. I am trying to pull you with the world building first, you fall for it? Hehe.

I got the e-book version for free through a dystopian story lover group in Goodreads. They offered a free e-book as an exchange for a review I would make, with deadline of reading and reviewing in 3 weeks. I received this at the end of February, meaning that I failed to keep my promise T.T but I try to still write the review anyway Lol.

“The day you witness wrongdoing and fail to feel compelled to do something to stop it, is the day you’ve lost sight of what life is all about.”

This novel is beyond my expectation; when I began to read this, I kept in mind that The Birth of Phoenix was a masterpiece from a newly debuted author, Candice Snow. I didn’t mean to disgrace her, in fact I usually do that to keep my expectation as low as possible so that I can be more understanding with some perceived decays, like typos, unsmooth character introduction, and, because this book talked about dystopian society, lack of thorough explanation of the world. Those are merely the technical things I consider, not including the personal experience I had with the books, like a chemistry with the characters and other kinds. But I got those two aspects as I was digging more and more hehe. The world building was clear and understandable. The characters, their background and other details, were smoothly introduced and explained through the eye of Flo, because she was the story –teller of all the situations happened inside The Colony. In spite of producing a subjective perspective, but it helped me to know deeper about other characters and how difficult it was to live in the Colony, with all discriminations and hidden mystery.

“I drop to my knees, hanging my head in defeat. My eyes swell with hot, angry tears, but I refuse to let them fall. I refuse to cry. Crying is for the weak.” 

One thing quite discomforting me was Flo being too…emotionally explosive! Too easy for her to get exploded, perhaps there was too much fire inside her heart. She deserved someone soft like Tyresse. And she was too brave. Hmm… Oh, and things got more touching when the story was about to end…

By the way, don’t be too surprised if the economic system inside this novel is quite similar with the one in The Hunger Games’ Seam. As far as I could remember, there was no currency but a barter system to buy something. Tyresse himself reminded me of Peeta, of his cool-headedness and soft nature. But the similarity stops there. And I don’t mean to compare one another =)

In short, I RECOMMEND this for you! But I think it’s still difficult to find this book in Indonesia. I am currently looking for the sequel, Baptism of Fire. Huff… Okay, bookers! Have a nice day! ~~~ 

“Compassion has lead to many lives saved. Hatred has lead to many lives destroyed. But apathy… apathy lacks the passion of both hate and compassion. It is a void that is not easily escaped. Once you fall into its depths, it is extremely difficult to arise as anything more than a shell of a human being… It is a desire to do nothing, feel nothing, be nothing. It is numbness, simply put. And numbness towards life, Miss Aiden, is very dangerous.”

PS : An interesting quote I found in this novel
The one thing that everyone knows about sheep is that they are the dumbest animals on the face of the earth. They get confused on where to find their water even though their trough has been in the same spot their entire lives, they trust you wholeheartedly as long as you have food, but most of all, they go anywhere the herd is going … even if the herd is headed for the side of a cliff.
Funny but deep. Lol
By the way, I think I didn’t write too detailed. I lost my mood, it’s too loooong. I should have reviewed this long time ago =((. But still, this review is reliable haha.
Rating : 4/5