I remember when I found this book at the bookstore. I looked at the cover and thought, "What the heck is THAT?!" It seemed like steam or something completely unrelated to looking for something (I didn't read the back cover). But I get it now. It's smoke! ...right? Smoke from a cigarette.
I had very, very high expectations for this book. I mean, it's JOHN GREEN, the author of TFIOS! Bt I guess I should have lowered my expectations since this book was written BEFORE his master piece.
I'll start with the bad stuff. The role-modeling factor was bad. There's smoking, drinking, bad language, reckless driving, etc. I personally did not like the fact that Green made it seem that all teenagers did this stuff (see list in pervious sentence). I wish he tossed in more rule FOLLOWERS instead of rule BREAKERS. Just for variety.
Another thing I didn't like was the plot line. It seemed to be all over the place. Half of the time, I couldn't even figure out the point of it all. I suppose it's about Pudge finding the Great Perhaps, but I don't know. Before seemed to be a lot of development and nonsense fluffy while After was the actually meat of the story. And yet the After was smaller than the Before. Weird.
Now to the positive stuff. The constant countingdown of days because it left the reader wondering what was going to happen. And I really like how the readers can relate with the characters. Sometimes. Like the quote below:
"I hated discussion classes. I hated talking, and I hated listening to everyone else stumble on their words and try to phrase things in the vaguest possible way so they wouldn't sound dumb, and I hated how it was all just a game of trying to figure out what the teacher wanted to hear and then saying it. I'm the teacher, so teach me." -Page 32-33
Besides the obvious fact that Pudge is complaining (which I think annoys everyone because no one wants to hear someone complain all the time), I totally get that. I also wish that all classes would be lecture classes. And that's why I love Green so much.
But, despite all that, I have to knock off a star. It just wasn't amazing like TFIOS.
Rating: 4 stars