Category Archives: Grief and Loss

A Good Book with a Bad Cover
by Sophie L. Nagelberg

Green Nails

A review of Green Nails and Other Acts of Rebellion: Life After Loss by Elaine Soloway, due to be published on September 16, 2014

This may sound harsh, upfront, but bear with me because it gets better. I’ll go ahead and say this: based on the cover design or title of this book alone, I never would have picked up a copy of Green Nails and Other Acts of Rebellion (She Writes Press). The pink font, the green smudge of nail polish, and the title in itself — it all feels trite, like something you might pick up in the airport gift shop and toss after the returning flight. I might expect some gossip-ridden drama based loosely on the life of an interchangeable author. We’ve all seen memoirs like this, right? Maybe it’s even thrown into that genre called chic-lit, which is a whole other topic I ought not to get started on. Ugh. Continue reading

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Joining the Cult: Why Not to Fault The Fault in Our Stars
by Julia Fine

The Fault in Our Stars

Upcoming YA book-turned-movie phenomenon The Fault in Our Stars has gained a cult teenage following, and in doing so a major marketing campaign. With ten hours of road trip this weekend, I jumped into the audiobook after long having heard it recommended. I was on my way to (and by the end of the book, from) my 5 year college reunion, which gives you an idea of where I stand on the YA spectrum. (Let me just clarify that it hasn’t actually been 5 years since my college graduationit’s been 4; they reunite us in clusters.)

I have a fairly good track record with recent YA hits, enjoying them more often than not, so I came into this novel with high hopes, but also several reservations. These days, much of what “The Man” is feeding teenagers seems designed to grab mom and dad’s money and leave kids with their first early tingles of sexual awakening, but not much else. With its screaming teenage fans, would this book be another Twilight? Even more daunting was the novel’s subject matter: terminally ill teenagers. Is it appropriate to turn tragedy into a multi-million dollar YA juggernaut? Is using the framework of a tragic love story exploitative?  Is this story of teens facing cancer really John Green’s story to tell?

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