Book Report - The Casual Vacancy and Paper Towns

Is it too soon for another Book Report post? I have a few posts waiting in the wings, but nothing I could complete in time for today, so, it's more books!! Today we're looking at J.K. Rowling's, A Casual Vacancy, and John Green's, Paper Towns.

First up, The Casual Vacancy by J.K. Rowling.
Councilman, Barry Fairbrother, suddenly drops dead leaving an unexpected empty seat on the English small town of Pagford's parish council...a casual vacancy. With the council divided on a hot topic issue, the race to fill the empty seat on the council soon turns vicious. In a town where everybody knows everybody, tensions reach an all time high when someone, going by the name of "Barry Fairbrother's Ghost", starts leaking the secrets of both council members and candidates. Who is the ghost? Who will win the seat? Which side will have its victory?

As a big Harry Potter fan, I had high hopes for The Casual Vacancy, J.K. Rowling's first book (and first adult one at that) since the Harry Potter series ended. Maybe my hopes were too high, as I was pretty disappointed with this novel. I kept reading, and reading, and reading (it's a 500+ pager) waiting for something to start happening, but nothing ever did. It's a book about small town life, and the idea that you never really know anybody. You may think you know, but you just know the person they decided to present to the outside world. It's an interesting idea, but I kept thinking, this is an author who created this amazing magical world filled with amazingly real and complex characters that captivated the entire world...and she follows it up with this? I know, I'm probably not being fair, so I should say that it is a testament to her as an author that The Casual Vacancy was really well written, fast-paced, and kept me engaged as a reader. However, don't go into it waiting for the "magic" to happen because it doesn't...nothing happens.

Incidentally, HBO just recently made The Casual Vacancy into a three part mini-series. Does it make the premise seem more interesting to you? I'm intrigued, but not sure if I want to invest the time or not. Did you watch this? What did you think?

Next up, John Green's, Paper Towns.
Quentin Jacobsen has spent his entire life admiring from afar, the girl across the street, Margo Roth Spiegelman. Then one night, she unexpectedly climbs through his bedroom window and takes him on an all night adventure of revenge and other high jinks. Quentin arrives at school the next day wondering how things will surely be different between them, only to discover that Margo is missing. Always the mysterious girl, he soon realizes that Margo has left clues to where she is, clues that only he can figure out. Does Margo even want to be found though, and does the straight-laced Quentin have it in him to go after her?

This is the second John Green novel I've read (see my review of The Fault in our Stars here), and I can see why he is such a popular young adult fiction author. He seems to really get teens and all their angst ridden glory. In addition to that, Paper Towns is a pretty decent mystery novel as well. I enjoyed that it was from the teenage male perspective, and the journey and changes that Quentin goes through seemed real and satisfying. If you're looking for books that will engage your teen, explore the tough issues they face, doesn't talk down to them, but are still innocent...than introduce them to John Green.

This one also recently hit the big screen. I definitely plan on checking it out when it comes out on DVD. Did you see it? Did you read the book? How did the two compare?

Of course, I'm sure you're all dying to know what categories these books checked off for the 2015 PopSugar Reading Challenge. Well, The Casual Vacancy checked off "A book based on or turned into a TV show" and Paper Towns checked off "A book set in high school."

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