The Fault in our Stars by John Green


 
About the Book:
Author: John Green
Publisher: Dutton Books
Source: Bought
Publication Date: 2014
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Genre: Fiction; Young Adult Contemporary
Rating: 3 1/2 out of 5

It’s tough to read uber-popular novels as the girl who isn’t easily bothered if she doesn’t read the New York Times bestsellers – if they are books that don’t interest me, that is. To this day there are series that sold millions and are continuing to enjoy social media campaigns that I will never read – and yes, I know we aren’t supposed to say “never,” but I’m boldly going for it. Still, when I saw the trailer for this movie, I happened to develop a curiosity for it, imagine my surprise when I discovered it was a book. After some debate (the most important of which was an Instagram post), I took the bait and bought a copy. The story (as everyone knows) follows the exploits of Hazel Grace Lancaster and Augustus Watters, two teens who have both lived with cancer. Only difference in their situations is Hazel is terminal and always has been – her experimental treatment is just to prolong her life, whereas Augustus lost his leg to the disease but not his zest for life and the fortunate circumstance to be in remission. This is their story.

How to review, rate or discuss this novel? I’m not sure the task is an easy one. The book is one of those that makes an excellent first impression then sinks into a kind of oblivion that isn’t easy to climb out of – particularly in the latter half when I found myself more annoyed than delighted by the barbs that somehow crept into the scope of coming across as insulting even if they weren’t a direct slam to anyone or any belief. The early half of the book is charming – there is a warmth and beauty that surprised me. I loved the wit, the characters and the general notions presented in the story. Nothing seemed forbearing and almost seemed to spite the fact that the book opens at a cancer support group – almost as if that was nothing more than a place and didn’t need to put on a full display of emotion for any kind of mental impact. This is what is most beautiful about the book; it doesn’t focus on the cancer (it really doesn’t, and yes, I know everyone says that, but it’s true) nor does it sink (early on) into some black hole of depression. For that, I applaud. 

The second half is different. Why exactly I don’t know… it just is. There is a more vivid realization of what is happening behind the wit to the characters – both physically and mentally and it is perhaps more angst-y than its previous story points had been. The journey these two go on is unique and because of that, I’m finding it difficult to find much more to talk about. Hazel and Gus are their own brand of unique and I do love that about them. They had a special kind of relationship, something often more superficial in the YA genre, which is probably why this will be a book I’ll remember reading for a long time – not only is the wit fantastic, the book has a very good kind of quirky quality that separates it from the norm. Will I reread it? Honestly, I don’t know. It’s one I’ll keep around for a while (it looks pretty on my shelf, after all *wink*), but as to if it’ll be one of those forever favorites, I doubt that. There is admiration for the story and certainly, it’s not hard to fall head over heels for Hazel Grace Lancaster or Augustus Watters – they are two of the best characters I’ve had the pleasure of meeting, and that will stick with me for a long time. 

Note: This is secular fiction so there is profanity, and a non-descriptive but clear indication that two teens have slept together - there is also some crude references to anatomy (mainly in regards medical terms, though it is used as a "joke") as well as conversations about being a virgin.

Synopsis: Despite the tumor-shrinking medical miracle that has bought her a few years, Hazel has never been anything but terminal, her final chapter inscribed upon diagnosis. But when a gorgeous plot twist named Augustus Waters suddenly appears at Cancer Kid Support Group, Hazel's story is about to be completely rewritten. - Goodreads
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Rissi
12 Comments

12 comments:

  1. Loved it, reread it a few times and still ugly cry the last 1/3 of the book. We are Hazel, Augustus, and Isaac fans! We have 2 copies: the movie poster one and the silver collectors edition. Can't wait to see how they make Paper Towns by John Green. The kid that played Isaac Nat Wolff is the lead.

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    1. I didn't cry in the book, but the movie... definitely! I thought the ending in the film was more "hopeful" or simply completely which made me happy, and yes! I adore Hazel and Gus. They're special kids. Glad you liked Paper Towns as well. I'm debated reading more of John Green's. We'll see. :)

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  2. When I first read the book (two years ago), I liked it overall quite a lot, though there were lots of things about it that bugged me (language and content, muddled spirituality, etc.). Thinking back on it now, though, I think maybe my more favorable reaction was probably because of how emotional the book made me feel. After that, I read another of John Green's books (An Abundance of Katherines) which I didn't like at all.

    I will reread this one at some point to see if my opinions have changed, but I'm not planning on reading any more of his books. (And I'm planning on watching the film adaptation just to see how it is.) I've watched some of the Green brothers' videos online, and honestly that's probably what has made me uninterested in reading any more of John Green's books. Usually I can separate an author's books from the author themselves (like when I don't particularly like the author), but in this case I can't. I can understand why people love the Green brothers (they're funny and intelligent and quirky), but something about them feels off to me. It makes me uncomfortable that while they seem to advocate thinking for yourself, they have a big teenage fanbase that they're bestowing their liberal views upon. I know I'm in the minority with my opinion there, but oh well. :) Anyway, I didn't mean to go off on this tangent!

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    1. You are exactly right, Kristin. Some of the spirituality bugged me as well. It wasn't like there were any blatant barbs, but they were there enough to make me uncomfortable and partly because of that, the latter half of the story didn't set well with me.

      There is nothing wrong with that, Kristin. Those are your convictions and I think its admirable you stand up for them and aren't reading more of John Green's books. I get why readers enjoy them so much too - this book is warm and quirky and has fabulous characters. That being said, I'm not rushing out to buy more of his novels, but may consider reading Paper Towns if the movie interests me.

      ...and you didn't go off on a tangent! I respect your opinion and enjoyed reading your thoughts. :)

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  3. This book will forever be one of my favorites. I've read it twice, and plan on reading it again soon.

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    1. I'm glad, Raquel. Those are the BEST kind of books. :)

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  4. So glad you were able to get to this one and I loved hearing your thoughts on it.

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    1. Thanks, Jamie. I appreciate you reading and stopping by. :)

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  5. The trailer for the film is what sparked my interest enough to read the book too, though I had heard of it before. I like John Green, and he style is what I think I liked most about this book -- he keeps it light and honest, and focused on character, and even when it gets sadder and darker it's still honest, and I liked that. I know what you mean about it coming across as insulting at times. I guess that was just him being honest again, but it's slightly unsettling. But anyway, I thought it was pretty great, particularly the writing style and, as you said, the characters. Very impressive. Great review, Rissi!

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    1. The first half of this book is magic, Sarah, it really is. I loved the wit, the characters and the fact that despite every reader saying this, the book wasn't about cancer!

      Yes, I just felt like sometimes the barbs were... insulting, but then again, that's me and I know most everyone enjoyed the novel. I can't place my finger on WHAT exactly I was bugged by in the latter half, but some spark was missing after the beautiful first half. Either way, I'm glad I read it and happy to know you liked the book too! Thanks SO much for reading. :)

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  6. So excited to read this review, Rissi, as you know. ;) I especially love what you said about the quirky quality and wit. It's a pretty unforgettable story. This book is definitely one of my faves! Great review!! :)

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    1. Thanks, Bekah; glad to share it. Finally. ;)

      The witty humor was insanely good; I enjoyed that aspect very much and even if I don't reread this, I'm keeping it around. It's a thought-provoking novel that I'm glad to have read. :)

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