John Green – The Fault in Our Stars
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.
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.
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