I have mixed feelings about John Green. I tried to read Looking for Alaska and I couldn’t finish it. I didn’t like it at all. Since then, I’ve avoided everything John Green even though half the blogosphere reverently whispers his name as if he’s some YA god. When I heard that The Fault in Our Stars was being made into a movie, I had to give it a chance since I ALWAYS have to read the book before I see the movie. (Plus, as a YA book blogger it’s kind of embarrassing to have NOT read the book at this point.) I was pleasantly surprised.
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.
The love story of Augustus and Hazel is a unique one. With both characters directly affected by cancer, and in Hazel’s case terminal, it makes sense because it’s a unique story. However, I would argue this book isn’t about cancer and isn’t about love: It’s about life — living it to the fullest and filling it with wonderful things such as laughter and love. This aspect of the story really touched me and had me bawling my eyes out the last 20 pages.
I found the conversations between Augustus and Hazel to be witty and charming, and their individual stories were so specific and detailed that by bringing them together in a never-really-defined relationship made for an intriguing adventure.
To be honest, I really liked this book, but I’m not totally sold into the John Green fan cult, particularly because I didn’t really buy Hazel’s personality. I get that she has a different perspective because of her battle with cancer. I really enjoyed her dry humor, especially the lines “sleeping fights cancer” and “cancer perks.” However, I thought her voice was too…what’s the word?..nerdy I guess? It boils down to the fact that it was written by a guy and I could tell. Maybe I was looking for a little more swooning or feminine complaints, and I guess that’s my personal issue not the fault of the writer. My issue with her voice really caused a disconnect for me with her story, leaving me watching from the sidelines instead of living the action with her.
I guess I don’t really know how I feel about this story. It was beautifully tragic and thought provoking. I’m glad I read it but it’s a sad read and that’s what caused me to steer clear in the first place; the world is already sad enough as it is. It’ll be interesting to see what the movie adaptation looks like. From the trailers I’ve seen, it looks like it’ll be pretty close to the book.
STARS: 4 out of 5