by John Green
Publisher: Dutton Books
Reading level: YA
Book type: prose novel
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.
Insightful, bold, irreverent, and raw, The Fault in Our Stars is award-winning author John Green's most ambitious and heartbreaking work yet, brilliantly exploring the funny, thrilling, and tragic business of being alive and in love.
(synopsis from Goodreads)
Thanks to John Green, I don't even have to write a review of this book. It's right there in the text, thrust into the mouth of Augustus Waters by his own creator:
Tell me my copy is missing the last twenty pages or something.
... tell me I have not reached the end of this book.
... OH MY GOD WHAT IS THIS
Thank you, Gus. That about sums it up.
This must be one of the most infuriating, tiresome, exhausting, utterly pretentious pile of pages I have ever had the displeasure of reading. Ever. Unlike the vast majority of people who read this book, I did not enjoy it. I did not cry, either, despite reading about the tear-jerkiness factor in other reviews. In fact, my first reaction upon finishing TFIOS was to heave a huge sigh of relief (while simultaneously thinking, "Seriously? That's it?") and then break out in a huge smile because I had finally (finally!!!) finished.
To be fair, the story itself isn't completely awful. Unfortunately, I hated pretty much everything else. I've never read anything by John Green before, and I think it's safe so say that I never will again. In fact, I'll probably go out of my way to avoid his books if this is how he writes, like someone "who says fancy things to get attention like a really precocious eleven-year-old and I feel super bad for [him]". (Sorry... I couldn't resist. But, really, I wasn't kidding when I said earlier that John Green basically wrote this review for me.)
Because of the writing, I pretty much hated all the characters. Augustus Waters is a Manic Pixie Dream Boy who is way too close to a masculine version of Hazel... only a lot nicer and supposedly hot (which makes it okay for him to stare at Hazel like a stalker when they first meet; if he was ugly, I guess she would've called 911 or something). Hazel's parents seem placed into the story only to provide a bit of conflict at the oddest moments. Hazel's friend Kaitlyn is conspicuously absent for most of the book, appearing in only a few scenes, acting like a total poseur and being nothing more than a... actually, I'm not really sure what the point of Kaitlyn was. Isaac, Gus's friend, is probably the only character in the whole book who didn't make me either roll my eyes, scratch my head in bewilderment, or want to scream, but he played such a relatively small role that even he couldn't salvage the book for me. And then there's Hazel, which leads me to my main problem with this book: I absolutely hated the main character (and main character-hatred is a really difficult thing for a book to overcome). She's rude, selfish, nihilistic, depressing, and mean (even though Gus says she isn't... but I heartily disagree; you don't tell a blind guy that it wasn't "nice" of him to have his eyes cut out of his head and retain your "not mean" status). But the worst thing about Hazel is that she is so annoyingly pretentious. This whole book is pretentious, continually veering off into philosophical ramblings that seem to be vomited from the characters' mouths... just because. If I wanted to read about philosophers, I'd pick up Sophie's World again (which somehow manages to entertainingly incorporate philosophy and fiction without being so maddeningly pretentious).
I made so many notes as I was reading this book, but I'm too worn out to post them all or even try to incorporate them into this review. Maybe I'm just too old, maybe I'm jaded, or maybe I just can't relate to a book about teenagers who speak as if they're all vying for the Nobel Prize in Really Depressing Insights on the Universe. This book didn't elicit the sorts of emotions in me that it seems to elicit in everyone else; instead of a tear-jerker of a beautiful story, The Fault in Our Stars was, for me, just an exercise in endurance.
Now I can say I've read it. But I can't say I'd really recommend it.
Look, let me just say it: He was hot. A nonhot boy stares at you relentlessly and it is, at best, awkward and, at worst, a form of assault. But a hot boy... well.
Recommended to: fans of pretentious teen characters who all sound like wannabe philosophers
Writing & Editing: 2/5
Overall Rating: 1.29 out of 5 ladybugs