The Books That Have Effected Me The Most...

"I am not sure that I can fully explain why books stay with me more than others. I think it has to do with what they say beneath the plot. Not the symbolic meanings, but the messages about life. The ones that I can relate to, and affect me deeply because of my personal connection or because I relate it to someone that I know."

I found this statement by Jasmine in her review post for Looking for Alaska profound and really accurate...it puts my feelings about certain books into words.

The books that affected me the most this year, as in, they still linger in my mind and in my heart and deeply touched me, were The Fault in Our Stars and Champion.

IF YOU HAVEN'T READ The Fault in Our Stars by John Green OR Champion by Marie Lu PLEASE DO NOT CONTINUE READING.

SPOILERS AHEAD.



The Fault in Our Stars:

I thought this book was going to be gushy-lovey and stupid and unrealistic, since it had such a high number of sobby girls hovering around it.

I was extremely wrong.

From start to finish, this book had me hooked and I genuinely CRIED at the end. If you've seen my vlog, you know I'm not lying.

The reasons this book affected me so much:

1. Cancer. Cancer sucks. It's funny because on the day I finished that book, I got into the car after school and my mom told me the good news that a friend of ours who thought she had breast cancer (her sister had died from that) had finally found out that she didn't. Cancer is personal to me because, 3 years ago, my grandpa died suddenly from pancreatic cancer, my dad found out he had cancer my freshman year (he got it removed, but now has skin cancer and still suffers from the effects of treatment), a man in our church we know has cancer (his operation is actually this Tuesday), my freshman year Spanish teacher's sister is suffering from cancer currently, my school's secretary recently had cancer and is now cancer-free, and a teacher at my school just died from cancer a couple weeks ago.

Cancer is quite an epidemic right now, and to read a story about a teenage boy and girl who both have cancer and are terminal due to it is extremely sad AND relatable, since it connects to today's problem. I mean, Augustus lost his leg to his cancer, and then finds out it is back and is terminal- he's going to die. And we already knew from the beginning that Hazel's cancer is terminal and she will die. That's why the ending is so profound. Augustus dies, she finds his final words, and the book ends on a hopeful note, that they both will be at peace: Augustus is at peace, and Hazel will soon join him when her cancer takes her. It's so, so tragic, yet so real.

2. Again, these two are TEENAGERS. MY age. And they both die...and they're so in love, too.

3. I sometimes fear that I will get terribly sick or die suddenly, and won't be able to tell those around me I love them or I'll die and leave behind an un-solved conflict with a loved one. So...this book once again reminded me that life is precious, life is fragile, and life is fleeting. Don't let the sun go down while you're still angry and don't let bad days, bad attitudes, or bad circumstances keep you from saying 'I love you.'



Champion:

I did not expect that ending.

It took a good 10-15 minutes for it to sink in.

Really, it took a couple days for me to process the trilogy in its entirety as it lead up to the conclusion...and then to process the conclusion.

Phenomenal.

Absolutely heart-breaking, breath-taking, memory-making.

Fantastic.

The reasons this book affected me so much:

1. I fell deeply, madly, completely in love with the characters. June and Day are realistic, lovable, relatable characters that have real emotions, thought-processes, and values. They're individual, with two separate lives that converge into one, and then back into two. Their love is real, yet so delicate, and then, tragically, their love is broken. Taken by forgetfulness and illness and circumstance. But what is so beautiful is that, though their love was so flawed, it was yet so strong, because that's what love is: imperfect. Love is an imperfect person loving another imperfect person. As a result, love will be imperfect. But they stuck together, through and through, to the end. And that leads on to Reason 2:

2. Day didn't die. I feel the book would have been LESS sad if Day HAD died. But that's REALITY. REALITY is HEART-BREAKING. Reality is cold, malicious, and hurtful. But it's reality. Reality, in this case, produced an alive Day and an alive June. However, it produced a dead love and dead memories. But...again....while reality delivers this extreme blow, the book ends on the most beautiful, hopeful note possible: June and Day can begin again.

All over again.

Which is why Day's quote about why he made his nickname 'Day' is so profound.

"Each day means a new twenty four hours. Each day means everything is possible again. You live in the moment, you die in the moment, you take it all one day at a time. ... You try to walk in the light."

Prodigy ends with June saying Day is her light.

And in Champion:

“Sometimes, the sun sets earlier. Days don’t last forever, you know. But I’ll fight as hard as I can. I can promise you that.”  

There's always hope. There will be a new beginning. "Each day means everything is possible again." The books all tie strongly together into a glorious masterpiece...a beautiful, beautiful story.

“Then Day reaches out and touches my hand with his. He encloses it in a handshake. And just like that, I am linked with him again, I feel the pulse of our bond and history and love through our hands, like a wave of magic, the return of a long-lost friend. Of something meant to be. The feeling brings tears to my eyes. Perhaps we can take a step forward together.

“Hi,” he says. “I’m Daniel.”
“Hi,” I reply. “I’m June.”  


3. Forgetting...forgetting is scary. I never want to forget anyone...especially the ones I love. Some people I can afford to forget. But others...no. It'd be terrible. There are some people I pray with all of my heart will stay in my life until it's over.

Only time will tell. And time has a way of changing things.

~Amanda

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