Monday, April 16, 2012

Review: The Fault in Our Stars

The Fault in Our Stars, by John Green. The GoodReads summary:
Diagnosed with Stage IV thyroid cancer at 12, 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.
Okay, so don’t hate me for this review. Because while I found the book amusing and touching and whatever, I’m not joining the ranks of its raving fan club, nor did it make me get over my John Green prejudice like I hoped it would.

I think the number one thing I appreciated about this book was its humor. Hazel is a funny girl--realistic and self-deprecating, and just generally hilarious. And I think the humor was really important in this book to keep it from becoming a totally sappy cancer story. And it was well-written too. I’ll admit there were quite a few quotes that I underlined, and there were some really great observations about life in there.

I liked all the characters too. As I said, Hazel is great, and she takes what’s a really crappy situation and handles it with maturity and grace. Augustus is a lot of fun to read. He’s funny but pretty dang pretentious--but it’s an intentional pretentiousness that I can forgive him for. Hazel’s parents deserve a best-parents medal or something. They seriously were champs. It’s gotta suck majorly to have a daughter with cancer, but they deal with it and deal with it well.

So yes, there are plenty of things I admire about this book. But it never quite won me over. I guess I thought it was way too predictable and pretty cliché. Especially since it kept saying that Hazel and Augustus’s story was different than the cliché, but . . . it wasn’t really. I was hoping it would be so much more than it was, so I was let down by what it turned out to be. Which is kinda my own fault, but whatever. Plus, everyone kept talking about how it made them cry, but I really don’t know why--I didn’t find it that depressing or touching or whatever it was that made everyone tear up. Maybe I’m just heartless, I don’t know.

Overall, while I think there are some things that the book does really well, I thought it turned out to be too much of a cancer-story cliché. Plus, I’m not John Green’s biggest fan, so it had that working against it as well. I would still recommend it to people, though, because I think I’m just disappointed that I didn’t find it as awesome and moving as everyone else seemed to.

Rating: 3.5/5


  1. I get where you're coming from. The Fault in Our Stars was the first John Green book I read, so not only did it carry the weight of its own hype, but also the hype about Green books in general. I did really like TFIOS - there's nothing I dislike about it, but I couldn't help feeling like " that it?", because of all my expectations.

  2. I haven't read any John Greene and it's because of the hype. I'm a bit worried that if I start with this one I'll end up being traumatized because I don't do well with books about cancer. I can't handle them regardless of how cliched they can be.

  3. I actually just read this one too! Even though I found it very intense, I can see how it is a bit clichéd. Fortunately, cancer books are not exactly my normal genre, so I wasn't bored by it. I'm sad you didn't like it, but no book is for everyone and you wrote a great review!

  4. I've never read any books by John Greene because I've heard lot's of things about they hype. I can see how it can be a little bit too clichéd, but I might just read this book in the future. I'm not a huge fan of cancer, but hey! At least I'll give it a try eventually!

  5. the hype surrounding both John Green himself and this book has not made me want to check his stuff out. I have Paper Towns on my tar but I'm not in any great rush to check out any more of his books.

  6. Brilliant review. I sort of agree with you about John Green. He has some moments of utter genius, but sometimes I just can't get past the pretentious characters and the fact that a lot of teenagers just don't talk like that.
    The worst thing about hype is that it can ruin the experience of reading a good book. This one is still on my to-read list though :)


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