The Fault In Our Stars by John Green
Synopsis: 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.
The Fault in Our Stars surprised me because I did not expect to like it going in, and as I found myself liking it I did not expect it to move me.
I had never heard of John Green a few months ago. I had never heard of this book or any of his others. Then, on my Tumblr dash someone reblogged a Gif set of John Green on one of his webisodes telling girls they don’t need guys. He then shouts to the next room to his wife and asks if she’s ever needed him and she shouts back no and he laughs.
Or something along those lines.
It was captioned by the original blogger “I love John Green.” So I looked him up, didn’t really care about his web series and never bothered to look into his books.
And then the trailer for The Fault In Our Stars came out and everyone was so excited and a friend of mine compared something I’d written to The Fault In Our Stars. So I bought it for cheap on my Kindle and then studiously avoided reading it-afraid of what bad writing may lay within.(I have become skeptical of YA novels as of late, however unfair that may be) Until last night when, for some inexplicable reason, I picked it up.
As terrible as this sounds, I expected to hate The Fault In Our Stars. I really did. When large groups of people love something like this it too often turns out to be a Twilight like situation. Especially if the thing people love is a book and that book is a YA book. That may not be a fair analysis but it has been my experience. I really couldn’t even justify why I had bought it in the first place. But I am glad that I did.
The Fault in Our Stars is simply written, the characters are compelling and even occasionally surprising. There was a point when I was thinking about how I was enjoying the book but the characters didn’t have a lot of depth to them until a scene happened a few chapters later that changed my mind.
The plot itself is not all that surprising. You can call a lot of the shots pretty quick into the story.
What was astounding, at least for me, was how badly it hurt when the things that I knew were going to happen happened. Even if I hadn’t predicted it, they outright tell you what’s coming fifty or so pages before it does. And it still hurts.
The Fault in Our Stars is one of maybe three books I have ever read that moved me to tears (I’m not a crier) and of those three it is the only one that I had to stop reading because I couldn’t see through the tears. That sounds corny and terrible I think. But it is true. I was borderline sobbing at one point. When I could pick up the book again, I continued to tear up through the last 70 or so pages of the book.
I tell you this to illustrate a point. I’m not, as I said, easily moved. Especially going in and knowing what I knew and then predicting what I did. I’ve become an expert at preparing myself for pain. And still, knowing far ahead of time what was coming, when it happened it still broke my heart.
Besides being touching, The Fault in Our Stars is unabashedly honest.
It is honest about how the world sees and treats people with diseases, it is honest about what it means to die and what it means to be left behind. John Green, through his characters, even pokes fun at all the people who come out of the woodwork when someone dies. People who hardly knew the one who died or hadn’t spoken to them in years come together on Facebook to express how much they are going to miss this person who hasn’t been a part of their lives in a long time. And he pokes fun at the trope of every person with cancer being strong and brave and an inspiration when it’s just not the truth. No matter how much we would like it to be.
And what The Fault In Our Stars does really well is, between the sadness and the pain and the heartbreak there is real joy and real humor and real love.