Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Review: The Fault in Our Stars by John Green

Rating (Out of 5): ~4.5 (maybe 5)
Publisher: Penguin (Dutton Juvenile)
Spoilers: Very, very minor, and vague.

Amazon 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.


So, I'm feeling a little unsure about this book. And so I'm not totally sure what to say about it. I feel like I kind of don't think it was amazing, but it was amazing. And there is no reason for me to not think it was amazing. Maybe it was just so much, and I'm overwhelmed and very unsure or something. Also, I feel a little biased and pressured, and like I should only say amazing things about it. But I also don't feel like there's really anything not amazing about it in the first place. And I don't really know what rating to give it. I feel like, maybe, it doesn't really deserve a 4.5, and yet it also deserves nothing less?
I'm just all kinds of conflicted. (And, I promise, I'm not going to spoil anything big in this besides general plot. So, Spoiler Free!)
Anyway: Hazel. Ahh, Hazel Grace. First of all, I want to say how well John did at creating a real girl. Especially because, as a (you know, mostly) normal teenage(-ish) girl, I related to her in a lot of ways. She's a bit cynical, and not all that sure of herself, and she says 'um' quite a bit and ends a lot of what she says in a question. And I love how she thinks about boys, and just living in general. And she's smart, and in college even though she's sixteen (with a completely understandable and logical reason), and she's honest (at least to herself). She's a teenager, even if she does have cancer.
And, ohhh, Augustus Waters. (Also, I want to mention that I love the names John Green came up with. They are brilliant.) I don't even... But I do, I do know what to say about him. He is simply amazing. He wants to mean something, and he's fun, and he likes Hazel and doesn't see why she shouldn't know this. He's just... full of swoon. He is all swoon. There is so much swoon with him that I don't even know what to tell you besides that you have to read it to fully understand the amazing-ness that is him and Hazel, when they are together and not. And I like that the drama wasn't pumped up very much or anything. Even when they have problems (that would usually cause a big scene or something), it isn't too tense, it's not dramatic. It just is what it is.
And I wasn't expecting what... happened to him, to happen to him. Especially not before her. The situation was different from what I'd expected when I started the book, and I'm glad. It turned out different, in a  very good way. Well, not very, but, you know...
Also, you guys. I'd read several reviews and seen lots of people talking about it, and how it was full of all these emotions. And, since I'm not the type of person that cries at things, I was like, 'yea, okay', but my interest was piqued. And you guys, they were all kind of right. A lot of the book is just fun and more fun, and there are a ton of cute moments between Hazel Grace and Augustus. It's much more funny than I thought it would be, like with moments of the them just joking around, which I really enjoyed. And, yea, there are several moments in the book where Hazel is by herself and thinking about things, and I enjoyed them, but I didn't think they were overwhelmingly upsetting or anything. But then. But then, you guys. A scene came up. And I was completely caught off guard.
I knew it was coming; it was obvious that it was coming. And even when it started, I was like 'aww, sad', but then, and I think I might have just put myself in Hazel's mind and imagined it for myself, but then I thought 'oh, there are tears in my eyes'. I'm not even kidding. This book brought me so close to crying, closer than anything I've read before. And it was amazing. Sad, but amazing.
And then there's Isaac. He's one of their friends, who goes blind. But him and Augustus play violent video games together, and then him and Hazel play vocal video games, and he has a moment of denial and hard realization that's a bit sad (and honest, and I genuinely enjoyed it), and he's just generally awesome.
We didn't see too much of anyone else's parents (although what we did see was usually pretty humorous or sad) besides Hazel's, who we saw often. She's close to both of them, and they were pretty awesome. Her dad, in particular, was so sweet, and very sensitive (and cried often). And she jokes around easily with her mom; for instance, when they take a trip with Augustus. Near the end, they got a bit pushy, but otherwise were pretty cool.
Also, the subject matter. It made me a little wary, but it didn't put me off from reading it or anything, because I was much too excited for that. And I haven't even read much about people with cancer, or many novels with sick people. But he did it really well. It was (I'm assuming this, because I haven't, nor have I ever been around someone who has, experienced this,) realistic. And I'm pretty sure he knew what he was talking about, as there were several technical words and stuff thrown around, and I know that he did a lot of research (not that that he couldn't have been making it all up, though). He wasn't afraid of showing the ugly parts of it. It seemed very honest, with the way everyone reacted to it, and thought about living and dying, and how they're all treated because they're sick, like with the Perks and Support Group. (And I liked the, “depression is a side effect of dying” thing, in particular. There were several parts of the book that made me think, “That's a nice/interesting way of looking at things”. There are just so many little things that matter so much in this book.)
And whole thing with Van Houten and An Imperial Affliction. That's just... hm. (Kind of messy? And a bit sad?) There's the big similarities. With the endings, for example. And it is a bit frustrating, but I get it. So, fine. Fine.
The book has John Green's general way of writing. It's his style. He's a bit subtle and honest and a little dark; just him. This book included text messages and letters and little things like that. They added more character to the story, more personality to the characters. I liked it.
It was good. It was amazing. It wasn't amazing. It was all of the things and not, all at the same time. But aside from all that, I really enjoyed it, maybe even loved it, and I would suggest it.

Edit 8/16/12: Now, a while after reading it, I've kind of changed my mind on a few things. I'm not conflicted about how I feel. This book was all of the things, but it's definitely amazing, awesome; one of my favorite books now, one that I would recommend to just about anyone.

No comments:

Post a Comment