Sunday, August 3, 2014

Book Review | The Fault in Our Stars

Before I even begin the review, I'd like to admit that I had no intention of reading this. I thought it was over hyped, extremely predictable, and popular for the sake of a name – John Green. Don't get me wrong, this book is all of those things I mentioned above, but I now view each separate belief in a different light. Let me elaborate.

Virtually everybody knows what this book is about, who the characters are, and who plays them in the movie. Holla at my homies Tris and Caleb. Insert exaggerated wink. Now, if you have no clue what this book is about, I shall drop a small synopsis and mini review for your future reading prospects.

The Fault in Our Stars is about a girl named Hazel Grace Lancaster, who happens to attend a Cancer Support Group regularly and one day stumbles upon this beautiful young man named Augustus Waters. Eventually, Augustus does most of the leading when it comes to his relationship with Hazel but in doing so, he helps her discover new ways of viewing the world and inevitably teaches the importance of one's own story. Hazel learns to look past what she cannot control to figuring out what living in the moment means because time stops for no one and there is no time to complain, wonder, or wish for what could have been in comparison to what is.

There you have the as-vague-as-it's-going-to-get synopsis. Add on some spoilers and that's what I had to work with before finally giving into the peer pressure to read this book. I will say, I enjoyed this much more than I had originally envisioned in my mind. Preconceptions proved me wrong. Here comes the real review.


I mentioned above that this book was more enjoyable than what I thought it would be, but just because I liked it, doesn't mean I loved it.

To clarify my take on this book, I did love and appreciate certain aspects within the story itself. With this being a stand alone, contemporary book; I have to say the world building was nice. I liked that Hazel ached to be a normal teenage girl so she acted like a normal teenage girl, hence the constant ANTM viewing. I liked that she made fun of Patrick and his constant reassurance that yep, he had “ball cancer” and of course, he was going to tell the group his somber tale of two balls turned none. I'm not joking, this is what he declares every time, I'm simply rewording it. And I also liked that her and Augustus had a close to regular teenage relationship where they were told to stay upstairs by his parents, joked about sex, and talked about problems small or big, in depth.

Moments that I loved and instantly got me hooked:

- When Augustus and Hazel spoke about the misuse of literality, specifically in terms of The Literal Heart of Jesus.

- Any involving An Imperial Affliction which I find fascinating. Similar to many die hard fans, I wanted to know if that book was real or not. The fact that it isn't a real work of fiction blows my mind. I give a round of applause to John Green for fathoming not only one book, but bits of a second. Bookception.

- Amsterdam. I honestly just appreciated the use of another culture that isn't too radically different from my own world in the United States but it was different enough to be intriguing and had a rather dream like quality. I think anyone would become entranced with the idea of Amsterdam as it's described in the book. Then there's the Swedish rapping 'cause, sure, why not?

- Times involving parental humor. It reminded me of my own family's humor, relatable.

- When Augustus went to the gas station once he became more ill. It was a beautifully written section that felt very honest and real.

- I liked that there was not an effortlessly happy ending.

My main problem with this book is not even the book necessarily. From the very moment I picked up The Fault in Our Stars, I KNEW one of the main characters would die. There is no getting around it. I was surprised that so many people were taken aback after reading this. It wasn't shocking at all, if anything it was very predictable but then again, that's probably why I didn't cry. Um hi, that's what authors are known for doing. John Green is no exception. He rips hearts out here and there with his writing. He ripped hearts out with this book as well.


Overall, I still believe that this book was over hyped although some of that hype is well deserved. The end was flat out predictable but I can't say I would have ended it any differently. Lastly, I know for a fact that this book is popular not solely because it's a wonderful work of literature but because of a well known name. But hey! That's why I picked it up, so clearly, the whole John Green movement is working it's magic and I have no room to be hypocritical.

I do recommend this book. However, I don't recommend it because I think it's “absolutely amazing” or the best book ever written since that isn't how I view it. I would recommend The Fault in Our Stars because it's well written, refreshing, and as good as contemporary fiction taking on the topic of cancer can get. For anyone a bit skeptical about reading this book, I understand the hesitation wholeheartedly, but trust me. Give it a whirl.

Feel free to share any other thoughts or book suggestions below! 

Rating: 4.5 out of 5 stars

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