The Fault in Our StarsWritten by John Green
(Dutton Books - 1/10/2012)Series: Standalone
Genres: Contemporary, Romance, Young Adult
Format: Hardcover (313 pages)
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.
This is what happens when I make emotional decisions. Most of the time I’m pretty logic-minded (perhaps annoyingly so), but I am also prone to impulse. Especially when I’ve been pierced in the heart, you know? Plus it probably helped that while reading this book I was nursing a nasty chest cold. I know it’s not as serious as lung cancer, but hey, my own breathing troubles (however temporary) definitely helped me empathize with Hazel.
For the most part, I liked Hazel. I could relate to her cynical nature, her shared eyerolls with Isaac, and the way she obsessed over An Imperial Affliction. I understood why she was drawn to Augustus, and why she was reluctant to get close to him. I understood her need for answers.
“As he read, I fell in love the way you fall asleep: slowly, and then all at once.”
Augustus Waters, though. Like I said, I can see why Hazel was drawn to him. He was full of metaphor and charm and clever language. But that also made him much less real to me. This book — and especially Augustus — is almost lost in its own narcissism. It’s the same reason I can’t watch Gilmore Girls (sorry, friends): every single line is a witty, clever remark. It’s not that I can’t appreciate witty, clever remarks. It’s that nobody talks like that, okay?
When I talked about it with my husband, as I often do (“So, in the book I’m reading…”), I described it as almost this wish fulfillment on the author’s part. Yes, the book is written by a man and it’s from a female character’s perspective, but I get this feeling that the romantic interest is the “Mary Sue” in the equation. Sure, Gus is by no means perfect (I mean, View Spoiler »he lost a leg due to cancer, and eventually dies from cancer « Hide Spoiler), but he’s the most good-looking, charming, clever, philosophical, interesting guy in the universe (or something).
This is where my logic-brain shines, through. Augustus just felt so unreal to me that the book kind of shifted from contemporary to fantasy in my mind. I was able to go along for the ride with Hazel, Augustus, and Isaac — and believe me, I cried during those certain *scenes* — but even as I neared the final pages I was thinking to myself, “I’m still not going to rate this 4+ stars unless the ending really wows me.” As if I felt obligated to give the book a high rating.
So. I enjoyed the book. It made me cry. But I don’t think it’s as genius as so many other people do.
Why did I rate it 4 stars, then? Oh, the things I do when overcome with emotion…