Friday, June 15, 2012

YA Book Review: The Fault in Our Stars by John Green

by Isabelle Doan

Random Information:

Publisher: Dutton Juvenile
Pages: 336 (Hardcover)
Series: No
My Format: Library
Time: 10 Hours
Rating: Library/Borrow/e-book/Paperback/Hardcover
Diagnosed with Stage IV thyroid cancer at 13, Hazel was prepared to die until, at 14, a medical miracle shrunk the tumours in her lungs... for now.

Two years post-miracle, sixteen-year-old Hazel is post-everything else, too; post-high school, post-friends and post-normalcy. And even though she could live for a long time (whatever that means), Hazel lives tethered to an oxygen tank, the tumours tenuously kept at bay with a constant chemical assault.

Enter Augustus Waters. A match made at cancer kid support group, Augustus is gorgeous, in remission, and shockingly to her, interested in Hazel. Being with Augustus is both an unexpected destination and a long-needed journey, pushing Hazel to re-examine how sickness and health, life and death, will define her and the legacy that everyone leaves behind.

This book... for me... ah.

Okay.

Well, when writing this review, I really wanted to give this book 4 stars, I really did. I bumped it up to 5 stars because:

1) I didn't want to die a slow painful death as all the fangirls came to my door and beat me to death with copies of City of Bones saying, "WHY DID YOU GIVE THIS CRAP A HIGHER RATING THAN THE FAULT IN OUR STARS?" (To that, I say that star ratings are objective. I've read quite a few cancer books, and this hardly brings something new to the table.)

2)Upon finishing the book, I realized that all the problems I had with this book had been acknowledged. I realized that in their purpose, they added to the story, however much they annoyed me.

Let me elaborate.

The Fault in Our Stars by John Green is about a girl named Hazel who has a form of lung cancer. She meets a boy named Augustus Waters, who has osteosarcoma, and they have an epic love story.

In typical John Green fashion, the book is about something you don't really expect it to be about. Also in John Green fashion, chapters and passages end where it may or may not have really deep meaning, or is just there. (Think of an analysis of text. Am I digging too deep, or did the author mean for this line break to have metaphorical purpose?)

For instance:

"Augustus and I timed it so that we started watching the same romantic comedy at the same time on our respective screens. But even though we were perfectly synchronized in our pressing of the play button, his movie started a couple seconds before mine, so at every funny moment, he'd laugh just as I started to hear whatever the joke was."

AND THEN THERE'S A LINE BREAK.

I really question if that's just there, or it has meaning. If so, does this metaphorical meaning mean that Augustus knows everything before Hazel? Or does it mean that Hazel can't laugh last, because the expectancy of laughter ruins it for her? Does my head hurt?

That brings me to another thing. Augustus Waters is somewhat pretentious.

He's not pretentious in the sense that he's arrogant (although I guess that's the meaning of the word pretentious) but in the sense that he over thinks everything and tries to joke around too much. (I suppose I do that, too, but I am a horrible human being, and somewhat of an asshole. Augustus Waters is not.)

However, an acknowledgement to these pretentious tendencies was made at the end of the novel, in a speech another character, Issac, made.

Though I had a few other gripes, they were all solved similarly. I though this other character, Peter Van Houten, was an idiot in his emails to Hazel. (Too much swagger.) I thought that it was wrong for Hazel to still like Van Houten, because I would be repulsed by these emails. However, Hazel realized this. All other problems were beaten down as well.

My last, and somewhat sad complaint, is that I love John Green too much. I wish authors weren't people, because there's a reason I was putting off reading this book.

I'm part of the Nerdfighteria and have been for a while, now. That being said, I know John and his bother Hank's wittiness, and I couldn't read TFIOS without thinking DFTBA, a slogan from their vlogs.

And then, while reading this, Hazel said, "I think forever is an incorrect concept." That's something John said on a very recent vlog. (June 1, 2012)

I kept hearing John in Hazel's voice, just in the sheer smartness of the dialogue.

Sigh.

Anyway, long story short, pretty good book, and  I think fans of Sad Things will like this.

5 comments:

  1. Fantastic review. I completely understand all of the complaints, although the cool thing is that John does answer some of these things in the tumblr Only if You Finished TFiOS ( http://onlyifyoufinishedtfios.tumblr.com/ ). Like the fact that his movie starting first IS foreshadowing, and the reason he chose their names. Hazel was chosen because it is an in-between color and she has an in-between personality. Augustus was chosen because he has two names, Augustus and Gus--Augustus is an emperor's name, the name of the manic pixie dream boy he originally appears to be, the one with big words who's larger than life, and Gus is the normal, sick, wonderful boy that Hazel comes to see him as.

    So. Yeah. :D

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    1. I updated the Goodreads version of the review with your comment. Thanks!

      Isabelle

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  2. Ohhh, I'm so glad I stumbled upon your blog! I LOVE this review for its honesty. I too love John Green, and I really enjoyed this book, but I agree completely with what you said about his characters being a little pretentious/wise beyond their years. I guess it's both a strength and a weakness, because they probably wouldn't be nearly as entertaining or insightful otherwise, but John Green's characters always manage to make me feel stupid! :)

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    1. Glad you liked the review!

      Isabelle

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  3. Wow! You just summed up exactly what I thought about this book so eloquently, having read this book just a few days ago and in one sitting. I don't think I can add anything that you haven't already said, just that John Green is my favourite author at the moment due to his beautiful writing style and how he can make me laugh and cry at the same time.

    regards,
    dwayne of Tony Lama Boots

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