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If You Like “The Fault in Our Stars,” You Should Definitely Read These Titles Too

If You Like “The Fault in Our Stars,” You Should Definitely Read These Titles Too

The Fault In Our Stars is a heart-wrenching young adult novel that centers on Hazel, a teen diagnosed with terminal cancer. Inspired by author John Green’s real life friend who passed away from the same illness, the novel is a compassionate look at incredible teenagers in adult situations. Recently made into a Hollywood film, the book is both humorous and emotional, but will surely leave you hungry for another compelling read. Look no further, as the following ten novels explore similar themes in incredibly different and original worlds.

1. Looking for Alaska by John Green

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    This novel follows a seventeen-year-old student as he embarks on private boarding school in another state. Nicknamed “Pudge,” the protagonist quickly finds himself being hazed at the hands of other students. Soon after, a prank war starts between Pudge and his friends. As Pudge grows into himself with the help of his new friends, he starts to fall for his friend Alaska. As the end of the school year nears, an accident grips the entire student body, forcing Pudge to reevaluate his actions. Also written by John Green, the author of The Fault In Our Stars, Looking For Alaska chronicles one student’s struggle to understand responsibility and the effects of choices as he comes of age.

    2. Paper Towns by John Green

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    Paper Towns

      Also from the author of The Fault In Our Stars, is Paper Towns. This novel follows Q, as he attempts to navigate his final year of high school. Q is soon reunited with a friend from his early years, Margo. Margo convinces Q to help her pull some final pranks on a few classmates. Q agrees, eventually pranking a bully from elementary school. Q and Margo refer to their town as a “paper town,” fake and one-sided, with no weight behind it. The group of friends is shocked when Margo disappears, leading them to fear she is suicidal. The group tries to discover the hiding place or burial site for Margo, forcing them to confront their perceptions of others as thin and one-sided as well. Through heartache and laughs, Paper Towns explores the crucial insight that the person we think someone is, isn’t always accurate.

      3. An Abundance Of Katherines by John Green

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        Colin, the main character in this novel, is eagerly trying to become a genius by seeking his eureka moment. Quickly dumped by his girlfriend Katherine, Colin is encouraged to take a road trip with his friend Hassan to get his mind off the breakup. Colin, having only dated girls named Katherine, seeks to quantify a relationship’s chance at success or failure in a new theorem. Along the way, the two find friends, one of whom Colin starts to fall for. As he struggles to control his feelings, Colin and Hassan grow in ways they never predicted. Also from the author of The Fault in Our Stars, An Abundance Of Katherines shows readers the true unpredictability of human emotions and life. 

        4. Divergent by Veronica Roth

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          Divergent is an action-packed novel, the first in the Divergent trilogy. These books follow 16-year-old Beatrice in post-apocalyptic Chicago. Chicago is now divided into sections, based on emotional qualities. Called factions, groups accept members who are either selfless, peaceful, brave, or intellectual. Beatrice is caught between several factions, but chooses bravery. The teens then leave for their respective factions. Beatrice finds out the brave faction will only admit ten new teens, to be chosen via a series of challenges. Beatrice concerns herself with competing in these challenges, until one is sabotaged to incite a civil war between factions. A quickly paced, explosive novel, Divergent asks readers to challenge their identity and look at others in more than just black and white.

          5. If I Stay by Gayle Forman

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            If I Stay follows Mia, a typical teenage girl who wakes up to a snowy day that has cancelled school. Mia and her family plan what they want to do with their unexpected day off over breakfast. The family playfully finds themselves on the road, when Mia’s world is changed forever. The car crashes, and Mia struggles to absorb her reality. Seeing her family’s bodies, she stumbles on hear own injured form. Mia follows her body as medical professionals rush her into treatment at the hospital. Hearing from doctors that her parents are dead, Mia must make a decision between fighting for a life full of new, heartbreaking challenges, and leaving this world forever. Much like The Fault In Our Stars, If I Stay tackles adult problems in a compelling way and from a teen perspective.

            6. Perks Of Being A Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky

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              This novel follows introverted 15-year-old Charlie. Charlie starts the year absorbed in writing, rarely socializing. Charlie struggles on his own with graphic flashbacks, mental health problems, and has very little confidence. When Charlie meets Patrick and Sam—two students in their final year—Charlie starts to enjoy time with his friends. Charlie struggles with unrequited feelings for Sam, but expands his horizons and tries new things. Charlie ultimately suffers a breakdown, bringing up a long kept secret from his past. Another incredible young adult novel, Perks Of Being A Wallflower explores the very adult challenges that many teens face.

              7. The Giver by Lois Lowry

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                The Giver is a novel told from the point of view of an eleven year old boy. Named Jonas, this child lives in a futuristic society that has eliminated all hatred, anger, pain and unhappiness. All decisions are made by the state, and each citizen must take an aptitude test at age twelve to determine their career training. Jonas is chosen for a rare honor, when he is selected to be the next “receiver.” Jonas’s new training teaches him that society must keep all the horrible memories in order to retain the lessons learned there, without sharing them with the community at large. Jonas starts receiving these memories from the “giver.” Jonas begins learning the extremes of human existence, and realizes his society lacks real joy, excitement, and inspiration. Jonas learns that the society euthanizes individuals when telling the public they are released outside the society. Jonas devises a plan to bring the truths he has learned to the public, in hopes of saving them from a half-lived existence. While The Giver takes place in a different world than The Fault In Our Stars, the book still explores themes dealing with integrity and responsibility as Jonas transitions to adulthood.

                8. Before I Fall by Lauren Oliver

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                  Sam is a popular, queen-bee type teenage girl, who is killed in a car accident at the beginning of the book. Despite the graphic events, Sam wakes up, as if her death was a dream. Sam soon discovers however, that today is the day of her car crash. Sam continues to wake up after her death, reliving the same day again and again. Stuck in the same routine, Sam is forced to grow as a person and consider others’ perspectives before she can be set free. Confronting our selfishness, Before I Fall is a poignant, hard-hitting young adult novel.

                  9. Cut by Patricia McCorkick

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                    Cut centers on the life of Callie, a quiet, lonely fifteen–year–old. Callie struggles with self harm, feeling stressed by her family and personal struggles. Callie is eventually admitted to a mental health facility, where she must confront her reasons for self harm and move beyond the fears that hold her back. A telling look at mental health problems among teens, Cut is an ultimately comforting and optimistic novel.

                    10. The Boy In The Striped Pajamas by John Boyne

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                      The Boy In The Striped Pajamas takes place in 1943 Germany, through the eyes of a child named Bruno. Bruno’s father is given a new position, uprooting the family. The family moves into a smaller house, one neighbored by a prison like compound Bruno is forbidden from exploring. Eventually, Bruno meets a child who lives on the other side of the fence. Sheltered from reality, Bruno’s innocent view of a concentration camp is a truly unique perspective on history. A heart wrenching, original look at history, The Boy In The Striped Pajamas challenges readers and ultimately highlights the importance of empathy.

                      Featured photo credit: Ginny via flickr.com

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                      Alicia Prince

                      A writer, filmmaker, and artist who shares about lifestyle tips and inspirations on Lifehack.

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                      Last Updated on July 23, 2019

                      13 Tips to Face Your Fears, Grow with Them and Enjoy the Ride

                      13 Tips to Face Your Fears, Grow with Them and Enjoy the Ride

                      Fear. I spend my life talking about fear — fighting fears, fixing fears and understanding fears. And yet I doubt I get 10 calls a year from people saying “Mandie, can you help me fix my fear?”

                      Why is this so critically important to you?

                      The realization for me is that fear is not the fundamental driving force in your life, it’s what regardless of whether I’m talking to a doctor, a teacher, a CEO’s, a senior citizens or teenager – every single one of those conversations has a direct correlation with your world.

                      Fear can range from the overwhelming desire to look away or stop in your tracks to literally fleeing your country and the life you knew. In this article, I will share with you 13 tips to face your fears and enjoy the ride.

                      1. Know That Fear Is Real, but Can Be Overcome

                      Right now around the world, people are facing fear — real fear. Fear that I pray my children and I will never experience. Does that lessen my fears or your fears in your relativity safe 21st century life?

                      When I look at the world we all live in, I find that fear, like so many other emotions, can mean so many different things to so many different people:

                      • The child who has to be physically dragged to their first day of school.
                      • The man facing the judge.
                      • The woman with her hand poised over the buttons over her phone because she has to walk down a dark corridor late at night alone.
                      • The man as the surgeon says “count backwards from 10 Mr. Smith.”
                      • The woman that’s told “We are sorry, we can’t help you.”
                      • The man that faces the empty circle of a gun and prays for his very existence.

                      These and a million more (Portrayed in every kind of movie, book or song you could imagine) are what make us human. We face fear and somehow move forward or are stopped in our tracks.

                      Like the rabbit in the headlights of the car that veers off through the field away from the tyres of the car, or stays still praying for salvation. Like someone will save them. Sound familiar?

                      Fear is huge. Fear is everywhere and yet fear can be overcome, controlled and can even be a power for good.

                      2. Accept Your Fear

                      Firstly, if you aren’t facing the barrel of the gun, atrocities that make the news or impeding death, that’s a good start. However, it doesn’t mean your fear is any less real.

                      We are quick to say “I can’t moan, my life is not as bad as X.” While in theory, that’s honorable your appreciation of Mr. or Mrs. X’s horrific life won’t change anything directly. So accept your fear is relative to you.

                      And here’s what can be done.

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                      3. Get Some Perspective

                      I found myself asking anyone that would answer “what is your worst fear”. The answer that intrigued me the most came from my daughter (15 years old and she usually has a copy of Fight the Fear – my book – in her school bag so she can help someone else be as positive and confident as her. No matter what life throws up.)

                      And her fear, surprised me — heights. I pointed out that we live in a sprawling bungalow (one storey) and the highest she goes is two storeys’ at school! She laughed but added, fear isn’t like that Mum. I know it’s not a real fear, but it’s like when you stand on a chair and feel unsafe.

                      That girl will go far. Because she truly gets fear.

                      We know something is scary and yet we still do it. Why? Because we have a perspective to the fear. When you lose perspective, it can feel too big, and too scary.

                      So look around you to get some perspective on your fear:

                      • Are you really at risk?
                      • Will this kill you?
                      • Which leads us on to..
                      • If the worst was to happen, what would it be?

                      4. Hold a Hand

                      As a coach, it is my job to hold someone’s metaphorical hand and help them face a fear.

                      Like the child petrified of the thunder storm, or the teen that can’t get back in a car again after failing their test, your job as a parent is to reassure, encourage, enable and motivate someone to face something that ideally they never would choose to again.

                      We know many of our fears aren’t real. However, it is only when someone guides us with love, respect, lack of judgement and safety are we able to get through fear. And trust me, you can get through your fears. I’ve seen it so many times.

                      Ask yourself:

                      • If the worst were to happen, what would that be?
                      • Could that really happen?
                      • If the worst did happen, how would you recover?
                      • If the worst were to happen, what would you need to do next?

                      By seeing fear as not the end destination but part of being human, you can see through its wily evil ways and move forward.

                      5. Know Whose Hand You Hold, Either Physically or Emotionally

                      This helps with fears for the rest of your life.

                      Think of someone you can always rely on (and ideally you won’t just answer yourself because that adds a lot of pressure to your existence!) And you will find that you’ve already found a way to get through fear.

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                      The beauty of this is that it means that fear becomes part of life not something to be feared and shied away from.

                      It means you know you can turn to your friend, partner, colleague, parent, sibling and say “Right, I need to deal with this, and I’m going to need you to help me.”

                      For one moment, think about it from the other person’s view point. When we get to help other people, we feel valued, loved, respected and lots of other positive emotions and we get a good dose of positive chemicals setting off in our bodies too.

                      Your fear, and your determination to fight it, helped someone else too. Now that’s cool right?

                      6. Understand That There Are Some Things Fear Will Never Touch

                      I like to find role models in life — people who have faced heroism, history changing moments, war, atrocities, miracles, life saving inventions.

                      Not everyone was looking for greatness, however, they all found it. And one of my favourite books to date is written about Alistair Urquhart, the forgotten highlander. If this doesn’t get turned into a film in the future, then no man’s story is likely to.

                      Alistair went through the most horrific experiences in World War II. If you think of one of the awful things that happened back then in our world, Alistair went through at least 3 of them! Asked afterwards, how did you cope? He talked about how whatever they did to his body, no matter how they starved, tortured, threatened or mocked him, they couldn’t have his mind. In his mind, he was free.

                      Of all the people’s voices I’ve heard in my head over the years, this is one of those statements that reminds me anything is possible if you have faith and hope.

                      Look for the things in life that fear can’t touch. They will create confidence and faith for the future, whatever you face. And they will give you a sense of why being you is awesome.

                      Of all the billions of people on this planet, no one will have an answer identical to yours!

                      7. Process Your Fears to Carry on with Life

                      Being brave is not about sticking your chest out and smiling regardless of what you endure. It is about finding a way to emotionally process your fears to be able to keep going.

                      I have a tool kit of things I can rely on – tools, strategies, techniques. They include people to hug or talk to, music, hobbies, walks on the beach and even my favourite food. It sounds mad but at the times where I have questioned “how will I get through this?” I’ve found immense joy in doing the most unlikely of thing that makes me smile.

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                      It may be a short lived moment of happiness. However, it reminded me that nothing stays the same and I can find a way.

                      One client told me that it was crazy when it felt like their world was falling around their ears to run a bath to the brim (you don’t waste water) get the best bath oils, light too many candles, lock the door and drink a glass of bubbly (champagne is only for special occasions.)

                      Did that moment fix the disaster that my client’s life felt? No. However, it gave them a moment of calm, and the brain is far quicker to find solutions, resolve and motivation to keep going when you do that.

                      It may feel like madness to do something you love, however, it can be a powerful way to help you find solutions to the fears you face in life.

                      8. Assume the Worst

                      If you read the statement from the client above. Notice how they assumed it was wrong to fill the bath up to the top? How bubbly is only for special occasions?

                      Think how naughty they felt to be doing something that was not allowed? Think about what age it may have made them feel?Think about how they feel about champagne? What special moments it’s been a part of in their lives?

                      And you can see how the assumptions they made about their “right” to have these things was not healthy.

                      When I drag the assumptions out of people’s words for them to see, they are often struck by how negative the words make them feel.

                      Don’t assume your words aren’t impacting on you. You can go through fear and actually enjoy the ride when you take the time to understand how you are letting words get to you.

                      9. Take a Fear That Feels Insurmountable Right Now

                      If you were to repeat it to me out loud, what would you say?

                      Would you have blame on yourself in there? Would you assume others can do it and it’s just you? Would you feel small, unsuccessful, useless, unworthy?

                      Usually, when you do this exercise, you are able to spot the untruths that run wild in your head, convincing you that you are doomed. And rarely when we are faced with our assumptions is there is a lot of evidence to them.

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                      10. You Are Not Defined by Your Fear

                      One fear does not define your life – be mindful of that. It is likely to lead you to thinking of all the times you’ve succeeded and bring a moment of calm, confidence and faith back to you.

                      11. Go with Fear

                      When you learn to go with fear, you could find yourself actually having fun, no seriously – having fun.

                      I have a few amazing clients I’m working with right now who would describe themselves as life long worriers, or pessimists. In the past, that has served them well, enabling them to keep safe, steer clear of risks and even develop strategies in the event of disasters. However, now they find it’s becoming hard to break the cycle and they really want to because it’s holding them back.

                      Notice how they’ve found their hidden fears and want to face them?

                      One client said “I knew this was going to be tough, and I knew I couldn’t fight it alone and I knew you would be the one to help me.” Before, I sat an incredibly successful, confident, capable business owner with a family and a social life to die for.

                      However, I’ve learned that the most successful looking lives can hide things that impact on life, success, love, happiness and business.

                      We didn’t start with the fear that they felt was holding them back, we broke the fear down, and found lots of little obstacles that had been deemed as “life” and “unchangeable” and “that’s just the way it is” by developing awareness to the little steps on the road to their obstacles to happiness and success they were able to tackle them in a different way.

                      12. Discover Great Skills in Your Scary Moments

                      And in that client’s words, “I came here to work with you to grow my company, and my own personal skills. I didn’t expect to get the children to be cleaning up after themselves and my partner being more attentive! It all feels a little magic.”

                      The moral is that out of the scariest of moments, we can find great skills we didn’t know we had. Find better, healthier, happier ways to live and find ways to enjoy life more. (And have a bit of magic!)

                      What a great place to be in ready for the next fear that thinks it’s going to get in the way of you, right?

                      13. Own Your Fear

                      Think back over these tips and come up with at least one example for each one. Write them down. Put them on your phone. Turn them into a piece of art. Turn them into a poem. Frame them. Go for a fast walk across the fields, beach, down town and repeat these things in your head to the sound of your feet on the ground.

                      We rarely take the time to appreciate how far we have come, how much we can achieve or what we are capable of – by really owning the tips in this article, you will have given your brain a big fat dose of “Damn right! I can do this!” and the motivation and accountability to say “Let’s find a way” through any fear.

                      You can’t help but feel good when you see that, can you? And fear doesn’t stand a chance, does it?

                      More Resources About Fighting Fear

                      Featured photo credit: Ben White via unsplash.com

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