Thursday, January 2, 2014

Review: The Fault in Our Stars - John Green

The Fault in Our Stars by John Green
Genre: YA, contemporary
Published on January 10, 2012
Published by Dutton Books
Pages: 318
Read From: 12.21.13 - 12.21.13

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.


Cover Blurb: Yes or No? There's nothing exciting about the cover art - it's blue and it's got writing on it and a weird little white and black cloud. I probably wouldn't have paid any attention to it whatsoever if it weren't for all of the hype surrounding it. At the same time, I can't say that I dislike it, either. I kind of like the simplicity.

Characters: I didn't really know what to think of Augustus at first, except that he seemed a little too forward and quite possibly a fake. But as the book progressed, I started to like him a bit more and then some. He'll never be a favorite male protagonist, but I didn't dislike him at all, either. He's got a weird sense of humor and truly does live in the moment - and he's a total nerd. But he's got a good heart and I just loved how good of a friend he was to Isaac. Hazel was very funny; I enjoyed her dark humor and matter-of-fact way. She, too, will never be a favorite protagonist, but I did really like her. And that was extremely important for this book, because it is totally character-driven.

The Romance: Augustus and Hazel fall for each other - it's a given. I'm not a fan of teen romances, and I never will be. But as far as teen romances go, this wasn't the worst, and there was something admittedly sweet and true about their relationship. It didn't feel nearly as shallow as most teen romances; it felt like it could have most definitely blossomed into a much, much deeper relationship if they had more time for that. And to make it better than one's average teen romance, Hazel doesn't spend a ton of time describing Augustus.

Plot: Hazel has known all her life that her days are numbered. A terminal cancer patient, it's no surprise that she's sunk into a depression and doesn't want to do much of anything except stay home and read. But her parents force her to go to a support group, which does absolutely nothing to make Hazel feel any better. Until Augustus Waters shows up. A cancer survivor that resulted in one of his legs being amputated, Augustus brings meaning back into Hazel's life and teaches her what it is to grasp her remaining days by the tail and live in the moment of today. Funny and understanding and honest, he's everything Hazel needs to make life bearable once again. I hate terminal ill stories - I really hate them, in fact. They're depressing, try to give an inspirational message that fall flat, or teaches the Reader that one's goals are pointless because life can take unexpected and often fatal turns. Who wants a message like that?! But The Fault in Our Stars is, somehow - remarkably - different. There is no hidden inspirational message - at least, not one that I saw. I'm sure plenty of Readers have drawn inspiration from this book, but there is no particular message that the Author seemed to be trying to convey. The book is a simple, honest story told from the perspective of a teenage girl who spends her days knowing that she'll die soon. It's very stark about the reality of cancer, but it doesn't preach and it doesn't inform its Readers that goals are pointless. It just tells a story. And I have to say that I did enjoy its honest, straight forward, and basic narration. The characters totally made the story, with their quirks and their humor. Not to say that this book doesn't have any plot twists - it does. Though the Reader will be able to guess what it is fairly early on.

Believability: No complaints here!

Writing Style: First person, past tense. Hazel's dark humor and stark honesty make for an excellent narration voice. A very modern style, it suits the story and the protagonist so well that I can't complain.

Content: 24 s-words, 9 g--damns, 1 f-word. Hazel and Augustus do eventually sleep together, though we're not given explicit details. And yes, this did take away the sweetness of their romance, because it suddenly boiled their feelings down to raging hormones and the fact that Augustus had never slept with a girl because of his one leg.

Conclusion: I had been warned that this book would make me cry for days on end. Quite possibly, if I had not known the "twist" already, I might have been a bit sadder. I'm not saying the end isn't sad - it is. It's also predictable. How else is a cancer story going to go? There was one moment - when Hazel finds Augustus in the car - that I did tear up. There was something about it that just hit me. But did I cry in the end? No, I didn't. I'm probably a rare exception, though; I just don't cry easily. The one thing that very much bugged me about the end: I wanted to know what happened to the rest of the characters in Hazel's favorite book, too! Why couldn't we have found out? As far as cancer stories go, The Fault in Our Stars is a surprisingly good one, and I would say that Readers who don't enjoy that sort of thing may in fact find this one to be a good read.

Recommended Audience: Girl-read, seventeen-and-up, great for fans of John Green, inspirational reads, cancer stories, and chick-lit.

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