The Fault in Our Stars by John Green
Released: 10th January 2012
Challenge: Contemporary challenge Rating: 3/5
**I considered not posting my review of this book but ultimately, I don't believe in censure so here it is**
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.
It's hard for me to separate out my feelings about this book. Honestly, I'm still not sure how I feel about it. Yes, it's sad and moving but...I just couldn't shake the feeling I was being manipulated. I mean, kids dying of cancer? Strong, intelligent kids dying of cancer? How can that NOT be sad? How can you not find that upsetting. It's upsetting. I felt like my emotions were a ball of string that John Green was shaping into whatever he fancied and, whilst I did feel those emotions, I didn't like it. It's effective storytelling, but it's not the sort of thing I'd want to subject myself to again.
I liked Hazel. I liked the way she spoke and her love of endless TV marathons (I'm a TV marathoner myself...Grey's Anatomy for 12 episodes straight? Yes please.) Augustus I felt the same way about. Again, the way he spoke appealed to me. I know a lot of people say that teenagers just don't speak like that....these people have never met my boyfriend. Or my ex boyfriend. I like the quirky writing style that John Green uses, the way he forms sentences and the feeling that every word has been carefully selected for maximum impact. I also really liked Isaac. He had the worst deal of all of them in my opinion and I liked that he wasn't afraid to be angry or upset. I've heard a lot of people say that John Green recycles his characters in every book but, having never read him before, I'm not really in a position to comment on that.
What I really didn't like was all the profoundness in this book. Why? Because it didn't feel all that profound to me. You wrap something up in big words and have a dying kid say it and suddenly it's this massively deep philosophy? No, I don't think so. Maybe the part of me that actually remembers my philosophy degree is the part speaking here, but I was totally fed up with all these big speeches with 'life lessons' in them and the bandying about of words like 'existential' and 'nihilistic'. It did my head in in a massive way.
So yeah, I had a lot of ups and downs with this book...a lot of negatives and positives so my thoughts are all swirly. Ultimately, you'll probably enjoy it. Pretty much everyone else did, so you should read it. I wish I could've enjoyed it more, I hoped I would and I wanted to, I just...didn't.