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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

                      More by this author

                      Alicia Prince

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

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                      Last Updated on September 10, 2019

                      7 Morning Rituals to Empower Your Day And Change Your Life

                      7 Morning Rituals to Empower Your Day And Change Your Life

                      Most of your reality is not a given. It is shaped by your expectations, beliefs and thoughts you have formed about it. A big chunk of these beliefs and expectations are encoded into habits you integrate in your daily life.

                      Yes, some of these habits are formed unconsciously and can be counter-productive or limiting but conversely, you can consciously form positive habits that will transform and empower your life significantly.

                      This is a powerful point of departure that more and more people are becoming aware of. The most common trait of highly successful people is the recognition of the power they have in co-creating their reality through changing the way they think, believe or expect their reality to be.

                      One of the most effective ways of changing our belief patterns is through practising and maintaining daily rituals. Ancient traditions had clearly understood the power of rituals in reinforcing habits and changing the way we see and create our reality a long, long time ago.

                      Once again, if you look into the life history of any highly successful individual, you will find some form of ritual in their daily routine. Some of these rituals may seem banal or eccentric but don’t be deceived by appearances. Rituals are one of the most effective self-empowering tools freely available at the practitioner’s disposal – that is, you!

                      Below are some the easiest yet life-changing morning rituals you can do every day. Of course, you can have your own afternoon or bed-time rituals but morning rituals are extremely effective in empowering your day since they help you charge yourself before it all starts.

                      1. Gratitude

                      Feeling gratitude and appreciation for those little signs and moments of joy happening in your life is probably one of the most overlooked or underestimated rituals. It is a perfect morning ritual to start your day on a very positive key.

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                      The real power of gratitude is that it makes you pick out and focus on what is working in your life – what is in tune with your being as a whole. It is selectively positive. It reinforces happiness and positivity by shedding light on those awesome things, small or big, that grace your everyday living.

                      Quite often, we just pick out the pain points, the problems, the bottle necks, whatever it is that is not working in our life and causing friction, anxiety and unhappiness. This is like constantly rewriting the script of your life with a negative or tragic overtone. Your subconscious mind follows faithfully that script you write whether it is a negative or positive one.

                      So feeling gratitude is undoubtedly an immensely empowering ritual. Start your day by being thankful for those positive things that happened the previous day or throughout the week. It could be something really petty and small. It doesn’t matter. You might be grateful for an unexpected visit from an old friend, a beautiful encounter with a kind stranger, a new opportunity or whatever it is that shines your way. Do it every morning and see what happens during the day.

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                        2. Writing Down Your Most Important Tasks

                        This is a very practical ritual. Start your day by identifying and writing down from one to three of the most important tasks you need to complete during that day. These tasks are ones which support important long term goals that are aligned to your purpose, passion or general direction in life.

                        For example, if writing a book or building an online community are important long term goals which are aligned to your personal growth, then an important task for the day might be finishing off a particular page or two of the book or coming up with fresh content ideas for the online community.

                        What is important with this ritual is that you identify these tasks and complete them as early in the day as possible. Of course, you will have other tasks apart from the ones you will write down but, these are tasks which can be tackled later or batched up and carried out in one go.

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                        Writing down your most important tasks in the morning helps you focus your day and life according to what is essential. It helps you prioritize and manage your time better. As a result, you simplify your life by applying your focus and energy on what really counts for your overall life progress.

                        3. Affirm Your Goals in Writing or Drawing

                        This is similar to the previous idea but different in its application and purpose. Writing down your most important tasks of the day is a way to have a concrete structure of action to follow. Affirming your goals, on the other hand, is a very powerful way of crystallizing your vision and goals in life into your everyday mental space.

                        Writing down or doodling your goals on a piece of paper helps you externalize those goals by giving them form. In return, they are reflected back in your subconscious mind and thus, reinforcing them and integrating them more wholly.

                        An example of this would be writing down “I am achieving greater success in my career” or “I am becoming healthier and stronger through my exercise.” Notice the present tense being used as a way to tell yourself you are in the process already. Remember the life script we subconsciously follow? You are basically modifying the script to be applied now in the present.

                        Drawing or doodling can be equally, or even more, effective  (if you are more of a visual person) as it summarizes a graphical representation of your goals. For example, if your goal is to build a new house or live in another country, you can draw the house or draw things that symbolise the country you want to live in.

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                          4. Practice Qi Gong Exercises

                          According to Chinese philosophy, Qi (pronounced ‘Chee’) means the life force or energy inherent in all things;[1] and Qi Gong is the practice to cultivate and circulate that energy in your body. This may sound esoteric or complicated but actually, Qi Gong is really a set of simple exercises aimed at increasing your health and vitality.

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                          There are numerous forms and practices available for free through the online media. As a morning ritual, I recommend following these simple exercises by Qi Gong master Lee Holden:

                          5. Drink Hot Water with Lemon

                          Simply add a slice of lemon in a glass of hot water and drink one every morning. This is a very simple ritual I follow faithfully every morning.

                          Apart from being a good source of vitamin C and a great way of flushing out toxins in the morning, it balances and maintains the PH levels in the body, reduces pain and inflammation in joints and knees and helps nourishing brain and nerve cells. Here are some more benefits of drinking hot water with lemon.

                          6. Rise Earlier

                          The practical advantages of waking up early are obvious.

                          For example, you gain more time for doing exercise such as walking, cycling or Qi Gong as suggested above. You gain more time to be with yourself to reflect, meditate or, more importantly, carry out the other morning rituals.

                          So rising early can be seen as a foundation for all the other morning rituals. Many, like myself, find that they are more productive in the early hours of the day.

                          Also, various studies have shown that there are many other benefits from waking up an hour or two earlier in the morning. Sleeping early and waking up early helps the body attune with the earth’s circadian rhythms thus, promoting more restorative sleep. Other curious results from such studies show, for instance, that early risers tend to be more optimistic and can anticipate and solve problems more efficiently than the norm.[2]

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                          7. Listen to Uplifting Music

                          Uplifting music can have a direct impact on our mood, especially in the morning. It charges us emotionally and tunes us into a more positive outlook of the day ahead.

                          Most people wake up to music or listen to music as they commute to work. Very often, however, they tune in to a radio or randomly pick a playlist from their device. Being more selective and conscious of the music you listen to in the morning can have a great impact on your day and life in general.

                          It’s funny how we try to choose music according to our mood. For example if you are feeling down or disappointed by something, you are more prone to listen to music that reflects that mood – for instance blues, sad songs or downtempo music. This has the effect of reinforcing that mood. What you need to do is the exact opposite and retune your mood by listening to music that beats to a different tune than that mood.

                          Try to listen to more uplifting music in the morning even if, or especially if, your mood does not dictate so.

                          More About Energetic Habits & Rituals

                          Featured photo credit: Carli Jeen via unsplash.com

                          Reference

                          [1] Live Science: What Is Qi Gong
                          [2] Harvard Business Review: Defend Your Research: The Early Bird Really Does Get the Worm

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