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Teen Review: The Fault in Our Stars by John Green

Samantha – Hi! I’m a 6th grader and really excited to be blogging. I LOVE to read and write so I’m most likely going to have a lot of posts. I’ll give you the most honest reviews possible. I hope you read them!

The Fault in Our Stars by John Green

The Fault in Our Stars by John Green is about cancer. The main character, Hazel, has cancer, her boyfriend has cancer, all of Hazel’s friends have cancer, and, to top it off, Hazel reads a sad story about a girl just like her, with cancer.

Hazel had always known she was going to die, but she didn’t really mind. She always thought that way until one day she met a boy who thought the same way. I guess that you can say this book is a sad romance book about cancer. Well, don’t say that. It’s not true. The Fault in Our Stars is simply a realistic fiction book explaining that there are real kids out there having to suffer from this horrible evil called cancer.

Back to Hazel’s life–the boy she met was named Gus (Augustus). Hazel introduced Gus to the sad cancer story that I mentioned before (An Imperial Affliction), and soon he was curious about the ending just as much as Hazel. I’m sorry; I forgot to tell you why they were curious about the book’s ending. They were curious about it because the story was like a diary, and at the end, the book just stops mid-sentence. It’s almost like the girl writing it disappeared or in this case, died. So, Hazel and Gus set off to Amsterdam to ask the author what happened to everyone at the end of the book. A lot happened in Amsterdam, but I’m going to sum it up by saying that they never got the answers to the book. I really would love to explain the entire book, but you’re going to have to read it yourself to find out what happens next!

I loved this book. It was hard for me to believe that there are kids in hospitals all around the world just waiting to die. I would give this book 5 out of 5 stars because I literally could not put it down; I felt like I was with Hazel going through whatever she was. Please read this book! You won’t regret it!

Also, listen to this song by Flight of the Concords (FOC), “Feel Inside (And Stuff Like That).” It is about sick kids in hospitals like many in this book. FOC wrote the song to raise money for Cure the Kids, a charity in New Zealand. Watch the video (try not to laugh). It starts with them interviewing kids. Then they turn their quotes into a song – the funniest song I’ve ever heard!

Teen Blogger: Wei Interviews Jesse Andrews, author of Me & Earl & the Dying Girl

Hello, my name is Wei. (Before we go further, it’s important for you to know that it’s pronounced like “WAY.” I mean, how awkward would it be if you came up to me & called me “WEE”?) I’m a senior, a vegetarian, I read ALL THE TIME, I can lick my elbow, and I believe I am searching for a “Great Perhaps.”

Wei interviewed author Jesse Andrews at the 2012 Teen Media Awards held on August 2, 2012. Special thanks to Jesse and Wei for a great interview! (Awkward transition at about :40 is totally my fault – corey)

Teen review: Roadside Assistance by Amy Clipston

My name is Jenna. I go to a high school where I’m part of the marching band and the cheerleading squad. I’m pretty busy, but I always find time to read. I’m also very creative and I like doing little crafts out of random things I find.

Roadside Assistance by Amy Clipston

Emily Curtis is a simple tomboy that loves to work on cars, just like her father, who owns his own body shop. But when Emily’s mom dies from cancer, their whole lives are torn apart. The two-person family loses everything; cell phones, the company, and their house.

Emily’s Aunt Darlene offers Emily and her father to come live with her family, and Emily is not excited. Her cousin, Whitney, is the same age as her, and she remembers her to be a rich snob. Emily feels like her life is at an all-time low, and to top it all off, she’s lost her faith in God.

But, the longer Emily stays at her aunt’s house, the more happy she becomes. She meets the boy next door, Zander, who has a mutual interest in cars. They spend almost all of their time together. She meets Chelsea, a girl who quickly becomes her best friend. And she becomes involved in the church, even though she isn’t too positive about her faith just yet.

This novel is a story about Emily finding herself again after the tragedy of losing her mother. Emily also learns that there are people that are going to be there for her, she just has to let them in.

I highly recommend this novel! Every reader will love Emily’s character, and won’t be able to put the book down!


Charissa Hamilton-Gribenas is a Pittsburgher who lost her husband to Hodgkins Lymphoma.  He was only 31, and she realized that there was a need for real stories and support for young adults fighting cancer.  With the help of the Sprout Fund, she was able to publish a book of 15 stories about young adults and their experiences with the disease.

On her blog she describes the beginning of her project:

“In the 3 short years I spent with Rick I learned a lot about cancer, the injustices of our healthcare system, and how few resources are dedicated to addressing the basic needs (and ultimately the survival rates) of young adults diagnosed with cancer in their 20s and 30s. After Rick’s passing I knew that we had worked too hard for too long for me to keep all the little bits of knowledge I had learned to myself. My desire to help young adults with cancer did not end when Rick’s life did, but rather was fueled by it- I knew that now more than ever I needed to dedicate the exhausted and frazzled remains of myself to fighting this fight, and that by doing so I could make something positive come out of this experience. One key lesson that I learned from my husband was that every experience, even the negative ones, had value. They can all teach you something if you let them. This is to be no exception.”

Charissa and the BRICKS books

Her organization and the book are called BRICKS, which stands for Building Resources in Cancer Knowledge & Services.  Free copies can be had just by contacting Charissa.  A recent article in Tonic Magazine describes the kinds of stories that are shared in the book:

“’The Assless’ tells how a young man customized his bicycle to let him ride to and from hospital visits without risking the spread of the disease. ‘Cancer Free, Ohio OR Second String Friends’ tells of a young woman suffering from an ‘old man cancer,’ renal cancer. ‘A Chemo Story’ tells of 20-year-old Luke Ferdinand’s fight against not only non-Hodgkin’s B-cell lymphoma, but also the rigid institution of cancer treatment: ‘As I was not yet 21, I was admitted as a pediatric patient, given a pediatric chemo course on the children’s floor of the hospital and generally treated like, well, a child.’ Ferdinand remembers watching the series finale of Seinfeld at the Ronald McDonald House while everyone around him ‘seemed younger, sicker.'” – Sam Brand

Hamilton-Gribenas has also done Roller Derby and dance party fundraisers, a bike ride and talk with a cancer survivor (Ezra Caldwell–also a contributor to the book), and other events around the city to promote and support the organization.

Poster for the release party by Mike Budai

photos used courtesy of Charissa Hamilton-Gribenas

If you’re fighting a disease (cancer or another health problem), or know someone who has cancer or has fought cancer, this could be a great resource for you.  Click on the links to find out more, or become friends with BRICKS on Facebook..

And you can also check out these books from the library:

Teenage Cancer Journey by Kathleen Gill:

At times both humorous and heart-wrenching, Teenage Cancer Journey describes the author’s personal struggles with philosophical questions (“Why me?”), as well as with practical dilemmas (“Will my wig stay on while I’m riding a roller coaster?”).

Teens with cancer by Gail B. Stewart ; photographs by Carl Franzén. : Four young cancer patients talk about how they were diagnosed with cancer, the support they received, and their chances for recovery.

After ever after by Jordan Sonnenblick : Although Jeff and Tad, encouraged by a new friend, Lindsey, make a deal to help one another overcome aftereffects of their cancer treatments in preparation for eighth-grade graduation, Jeff still craves advice from his older brother Stephen, who is studying drums in Africa.

Notes from the Dog by Gary Paulsen: When Johanna shows up at the beginning of summer to house-sit next door to Finn, he has no idea of the profound effect she will have on his life by the time summer vacation is over.

See Prom Fashions and Help Cancer Research

If you’d like to see — heck, even purchase — the latest prom fashions (including tuxes for you guys) and help cancer research, buy a ticket to Therezia’s show. She’s a page at our branch and it’s her senior project.  It takes place Saturday, April 19 from 12 noon to 3:00 p.m.  at Saint Catherine of Sienna Church, McCann Hall at 1907 Broadway. Tickets are only $10 and  include a really nice lunch and hair styling tips as well. Her profits go to The University of Pittsburgh Cancer Institute.  Call us at 563-2900, leave your number and we’ll have her call you.

                                                   Tina, Teen Librarian – CLP Beechview

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