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John Green – The Fault in Our Stars

March 19, 2012

26. The Fault in Our Stars by John Green (2012)

Length: 272 pages
Genre: Contemporary YA

Started / Finished: 04 March 2012

Where did it come from? Purchased from Amazon.
Why do I have it? New John Green book!
How long has it been on my TBR pile? Since 11 January 2012.

If cancer is a
side effect of dying, then
love could be one too.

Summary: Hazel has never had a lot of hope for the future, but that’s not that surprising, considering that she was diagnosed with terminal thyroid cancer in her teens. Her parents force her to go to Support Group, which she hates, but then one week a new kid shows up. Augustus Waters is gorgeous, smart, and interested in Hazel, who has never before had much of an opportunity to practice her flirting. They fall for each other quickly, but how can you build a relationship that really means something when there’s the ticking clock of cancer looming over everything?

Review: Books make me teary-eyed more often than I care to admit, but usually that’s about the extent of it. And while I probably should have seen it coming – even the happiest of John Green’s books make me a little sniffly – The Fault in Our Stars had me out-and-out crying, literally sobbing so hard I couldn’t see the page to keep reading. I read the entire book through in one straight sitting (except for getting up to find the kleenex), and absolutely loved it, even through the sobs.

Now, the devil’s advocate reaction to this is surely “Yeah, but doesn’t that just mean that it was emotionally manipulative? I mean: Cancer Kids.” But it didn’t feel that way at the time, and what saved it were the incredible characters. I feel like if Hazel and Augustus could have read this book, Hazel would have been the first one to call bullshit on using Cancer Kids to create instant sympathy, and Augustus would have pointed out that any writing that is intended to get a reaction out of readers (so, all writing) is therefore by definition trying to manipulate their emotions, and then they’d get in a charmingly snarky debate about it. Because the characters were so hyper-aware of the reality of their situation, the book felt like it came by its emotional highs and lows honestly.

And there were definitely some highs; the book is not at all entirely sobby bits. Hazel and Augustus both feel like real people, and watching them find and bring out in each other the parts of themselves that are more than and separate from the Cancer Kid is one of the joys of the book. They’re also both fairly similar to John Green’s other protagonists, in that they’re snarky and smart and not ashamed of being smart and of loving the things that they love, which is something that I think teen books could use more of. There are funny parts and absurd parts and sweet parts and heartbreaking parts and a lot of really nicely observed poignant parts. It, overall, is just a lovely, lovely book. 5 out of 5 stars.

Recommendation: It’s wonderful. Even if you don’t normally like YA, or contemporary fiction, or whatever, I still think it’s worth reading. I am pretty stingy with my 5-star ratings, but I cannot think of a single thing about this book that I would change.

This Review on LibraryThing | This Book on LibraryThing | This Book on Amazon

Other Reviews: The Alcove, Bart’s Bookshelf, The Bluestocking Society, Book Addiction, Good Books and Good Wine, Devourer of Books, Things Mean A Lot and plenty more at the Book Blog Search Engine.
Have you reviewed this book? Leave a comment with the link and I’ll add it in.

First Line: Late in the winter of my seventeenth year, my mother decided I was depressed, presumably because I rarely left the house, spent quite a lot of time in bed, read the same book over and over, ate infrequently, and devoted quite a bit of my abundant free time to thinking about death.

© 2012 Fyrefly’s Book Blog. All Rights Reserved. If you’re reading this on a site other than Fyrefly’s Book Blog or its RSS feed, be aware that this post has been stolen and is being used without permission.

28 Comments leave one →
  1. Amritorupa Kanjilal permalink
    March 19, 2012 7:46 am

    It sounds amazing… each life is complete in itself irrespective of its length, and each life deserves love. It’s good to know that Green treated the subject with maturity, and without manipulation. Would love to read this.

    Please have a look at my book blog at https://riversihaveknown.wordpress.com/

    Thank you!

    • March 19, 2012 11:15 am

      Amritorupa – I hope you get the chance to pick it up; it’s a pretty amazing read.

  2. March 19, 2012 7:56 am

    This was my first John Green. (I don’t read much YA either, but so many people were talking…) I loved the humor and wit, which provided such good balance to the heavy material. Hazel and Augustus are fantastic. I’m with you on the “Highly Recommended” bandwagon.

    • March 19, 2012 11:17 am

      Alena – I hope you get the chance to read more of John Green’s books! They’re all great; this and Looking for Alaska and Will Grayson, Will Grayson are all tied for my favorite, and Paper Towns and An Abundance of Katherines are not very far behind. :)

  3. March 19, 2012 10:40 am

    I want to read it again already. A perfect book indeed.

    • March 19, 2012 11:19 am

      Nymeth – Oh, me too! The books I’ve picked up since have been good, but much denser, and have probably suffered in my estimation for having been read so closely after something so wonderful!

  4. March 19, 2012 11:05 am

    …oh, man, now I have to read it. I’ve heard nothing but good things about it.

    • March 19, 2012 11:20 am

      Omni – Yes, yes, yes! You should! Everybody should! I’m sure there are people out there that didn’t love it, but I think they’re few and far between, and if you like John Green’s work in general, then it’s a fair bet that you’ll love this one too.

      • March 19, 2012 4:21 pm

        I’ve actually never read him before, which isn’t a very popular thing to say at my college…

      • March 19, 2012 4:28 pm

        Omni – On the one hand: shock! horror! You haven’t read any of his books!?!?

        On the other hand: lucky you! You’ve got a whole shelf of really excellent books waiting for you. :)

  5. March 19, 2012 1:18 pm

    This is the second fantastic review I’ve read of this book. It sounds like a very emotional must read.

    • March 20, 2012 9:47 am

      Kathy – I would agree with both the “very emotional” and the “must read” parts!

  6. myfriendamy permalink
    March 19, 2012 2:57 pm

    I loved it, too! :)

  7. March 19, 2012 5:27 pm

    I’ve read and listened to this one, and loved it both times. (I know you’re an audiobook fan, so if you get the chance to get that as well, it’s an absolute must.)

    • March 20, 2012 9:48 am

      Darren – Oh, this would be a dangerous audiobook – sobbing is not an activity that mixes well with driving, exercising, or doing labwork, and those are my three main audiobook-listening times.

  8. March 19, 2012 5:40 pm

    This was easily my favourite read by John Green!

    • March 20, 2012 9:49 am

      Kailana – I can’t pick one favorite – this one, Looking for Alaska, and Will Grayson, Will Grayson are all my favorite!

  9. March 19, 2012 7:19 pm

    I want to read this but I can’t decide if I want to read it right now. I keep dithering about whether to place a library hold on it or not. Now that it’s spring (or spring-like weather at least), I’m inclined to go ahead and try it. I can always sit right by a box of Kleenex while I’m reading it, and not bring it on the subway. :p

    • March 20, 2012 9:50 am

      Jenny – Or do bring it on the subway, and if anyone asks, blame the kleenex on spring allergies!

  10. March 19, 2012 9:50 pm

    Yes. Yes to everything you said. I was also a weepy mess when I read this, and not because it was a Cancer Book And Therefore Sad, but because it was just so perfectly written. I totally fell apart when I wrote my review, too (which ended up not really being a review but a post in which I tried desperately not to cry all over my keyboard). (Oh, and here’s the link: http://emsalcove.wordpress.com/2012/01/31/the-fault-in-our-stars-review/ if you want it.) Loved it. Loved, loved, loved it.

    • March 20, 2012 9:55 am

      Emily – Added your link, thanks! (I fell apart a little bit just reading your review. Incredible how even thinking about this book can make me sniffly!)

      • April 8, 2012 9:44 am

        Thanks for doing that! I know what you mean – I saw the book the other day, and a little part of me started to crumble . . .

  11. March 26, 2012 11:10 pm

    Great review! I read it and loved it, but I haven’t written a review of it yet since I’m hesitant about how much I loved it. I really really liked it, but I think I would need to reread it, without the expectations this time around!

    • April 18, 2012 5:12 pm

      Kay – I (shockingly) managed to go into this one fairly expectation free. I mean, it was a John Green book, so I knew I was going to like it, but I definitely avoided reading anything else about it – even a summary – before I picked it up.

Trackbacks

  1. The Fault in Our Stars (review) « The Alcove
  2. ‘The Fault in our Stars’ by John Green | What to read??
  3. The Literary Horizon: Imaginary Girls, The Fault in Our Stars « The Literary Omnivore

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