Archive for the ‘Dying’ Category

Beautiful, red-headed Rebecca leaves London for the summer with her dad, a disgraced cop, for six weeks to live in the diminishing hamlet of Winterfold.  It was a once prosperous medieval metropolis that has been dropping off into the ocean until only a generous pie serving is left.  Her father licks his wounds and Rebecca becomes more isolated.  Her London boyfriend believes in “love the girl you’re with” and she seems to have no friends with which to text or chat with from home .Enters slithery, pasty, goth Ferelith who lives in the local rectory with a motley crew of addicts.  The reader knows this girl is up to no good..  But lonely Rebecca  is lured into a love/hate friendship that almost costs Rebecca her life.  Juxtapose their story with the clergy from the eighteenth century who was likewise lured into a partnership with a secretive French doctor whose experiments to determine if the recently dead could still communicate could prove life after death.  Interweave the stories once the secret of 1798 is divulged and you have a horror story.  White crow comes from a William James’ work.  Unlike some who reviewed the book, I felt the stories between centuries were justified and artfully concluded.  Abuse of religion for power and science were evident, but didn’t need a heavy hand.

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I love John Green’s foray into uncomfortable situations that prove that everyone is unique and important no matter how they loImageok or the challenges they have.  Hazel, now sixteen and tethered to oxygen, was diagnosed with thyroid cancer at twelve, and though her life could be long, it is forever different.  Each week she meets with a dorky counselor at a church “in Christ’s heart” which signifies the center axis of the cross of the church’s design.  I will end my anti-Christ in YA lit rant here to point out that the irony of these possibly terminal young adults meeting in the “literal heart of Christ” with a counselor who had an easy bout of testicular cancer who was so Pollyann-ish about their lives was pretty funny.  But the irony of this pretty inept counselor was the humor of the reference.  In this novel, getting mad at God would be expected, as a young person facing death is pretty unfair and someone has to shoulder the blame. But even here John gets a bit heavy-handed about the world just happening by accident.  (Right.  And your book was created in a desktop publishing malfunction).   Hazel is funny and intelligent and pretty.  She is going through the motions until Augustus Waters shows up at the cancer kids support group.  A long awaited trip funded by a wish-fulfilling group is just what Hazel and Gus need.  The end is poignant, with all the highs and lows of teenagers just living their short lives the best that they can.

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