Saturday, March 8, 2014

Review: The Fault in Our Stars by John Green

ISBN: 9780525478812
Source: Gift
Series: No, stand-alone
Release Date: January 1, 2012
Goodreads  |  Amazon

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.

After reading this book, I put off writing a review for it as long as possible. I was, and still am, unsure about how I can review a book that has this kind of reputation already... TFIOS has pretty much pegged John Green as a writing god who can do no wrong, and the hype has pegged this book as nearly perfect. But I (don't kill me) don't fully agree with those statements. Don't get me wrong, I really did like this book. I liked the main characters well enough (mainly Hazel) in that showed so much growth and they were pretty funny.

My problem with this book begins with the fact that, while I enjoyed the love story, I wasn't downright swooning over it or anything. At times, the plot turned out to be a little more convenient (Amsterdam.. ahem..) than what I find acceptable. The rest of my issues lie in the dialogue of the main characters. I think Green tried a little too hard to give us smart, sophisticated, witty characters and kind of lost their teenager-ish charm in the process. It just seemed like he was trying too hard to make the book be considered "profound (this is a word used by critics to describe many of Green's novels)" that I couldn't just enjoy it for what it was. The stiffness of the dialogue at times kind of ruined it for me. I like to think that I am pretty smart but there were times that I couldn't figure out what the hell Gus and Hazel were even talking about. Maybe that was the point? Maybe I'm just not up to that level where I can appreciate the witty banter and know what is going on? I don't know, maybe both, but I just found it stuffy and pretentious at times. It seemed like John Green had inhabited the bodies of two teenagers and was having a conversation with himself.

It's for those reasons that I can't figure out why people are going bananas over the book. I definitely tacked on an extra 1/2 star because the book made me cry like a baby (this is just a general rule for me), but I cry over pretty much anything, so I guess that doesn't even really count.

     RATING: ★★★★

All in all, I really did enjoy the book but I felt detached from a lot of the conversations that seemed more geared toward making me think about life and the universe than helping me connect with the characters. I find that when I do connect with the characters and a story, I end up thinking about life and the universe all on my own without it being shoved in my face, ya know? I guess what it really comes down to is that I felt like an idiot reading some of it, whereas (I am guessing) the point was to spark an epiphany in me, like, "ohhh, that's what life is really all about," or something, but it didn't.

Anyone out there agree with me? Or do you think  it was amazing and profound and think I'm a dunce because I can't understand the prolific nature of this novel? Cause that's kind of how I feel already after reading this, so go easy on me! Really, though - what did you think of this book overall?


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