Last week I finally had the chance the break into some books I've had lying about, more specifically Margaret Atwood's The Year of the Flood and John Green's Looking for Alaska.
'Looking for Alaska' is John Green's debut novel; it tells the story of a teenager called Miles who has a very special hobby, namely studying people's last words. He's spending his first year at Culver Creek, a boarding school in Alabama. There Miles finally makes some friends and gets the chance to start growing as a person. He has some fantastic new experiences, but not everything is sunshine and rainbows. In that same year, a dark event turns Miles' life upside down and leaves him with lots of questions that need answering.
At first 'Looking for Alaska' seems quite amusing and endearing, but soon enough, the plot twist brings the reader to tears. Reading it is fantastic and awful at the same time, because it's so easy to sympathize with the main character and the emotions portrayed are all too recognisable. The final chapter provides a beautiful ending on a slightly brighter note, without losing the ever painful realism.
'The Year of the Flood' tells the story of two very different people, Ren and Toby. They meet each other in the cult of the so-called 'Gardeners', but as a the story progresses, both characters end up in different places. They try to find their own way of dealing with the deadly plague (referred to as 'the waterless flood' by the Gardeners) that strikes the planet.
So far I've read three books by Margaret Atwood and I've enjoyed each thoroughly. Atwood's writing style is quite cynical, but not bitterly so, mainly thanks to her sense of humour, which makes potentially dark scenes slightly brighter. Her inventiveness, both in plot and vocabulary, makes every scene extremely enjoyable to read. Both Ren and Toby make interesting characters and their imperfection adds to the reader's empathy. The storyline is fascinating from beginning to end, it's simply impossible to put this book down.