Book: The Fault In Our Stars
Author: John Green
I approached this book with anticipation and I will admit some trepidation-I had heard a lot about the book before I started to read it and I wanted to see what all the fuss was about, but I kind of knew that the book wouldn’t be for me-I’m not the biggest fan of romance novels and I knew enough about the story from hearing people talk about it that romance was integral to the plot-or lack thereof-that was the main problem that I found with this book was that it was not a very plot driven story-the book mainly contains the feelings and internal dialogue of the main female character Hazel towards her illness, her family and Augustus Waters, the boy she meets at Cancer support group and falls in love with. Here is a short synopsis of the book:
Despite the tumour 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 appears at cancer kid support group, Hazel’s story is about to be completely rewritten.
One of the problems I felt with this book was that it was far too predictable-I found that I knew what was going to happen before it actually happened which lessened my enjoyment of the book because I like to be surprised. I also found that it was kind of a slow read due to the lack of plot to keep my hooked. I also did not feel that the book left me feeling anything once it was over-I didn’t feel sad or shocked or particularly happy-it didn’t leave a lasting impression on me after I turned the final page. Compared to My Sister’s Keeper (Jodi Picoult, another book about a girl who suffers from cancer-albeit that story is not a romance) I found that this book fell short.
I did think that Green portrayed teenagers with illness and their thoughts and feelings and worries very well and I thought that Hazel’s anxieties about the pain she would inflict on those she left behind when she died from her terminal cancer was very realistically done (not that I’m claiming to be an expert on terminal illness but it felt real). But I did think that Hazel and Gus did not seem like teenagers-they are more like adults in teenagers bodies and I get that having an illness like cancer might make a teenager more mature for their age but not all the time-Hazel was more believable as a teenager with her sarcasm and her obsession with America’s Next Top Model but at no point could I really believe that Gus was a teenager-he seemed more like a man stuck in a teenager’s body and I kind of found that Gus irritated me a little-no one looks for that many metaphorical meanings in life and I didn’t feel emotionally connected to the characters-you find you feel more deeply for their parents who have to watch their children suffer than Gus and Hazel themselves. The character aren’t really well developed at all-we find out more about their feelings and views on life than the characters themselves-all I can tell you about Hazel after reading the book is that she has terminal thyroid cancer that has spread to her lungs, she has to carry an oxygen tank with her and that she likes reality TV and a book called An Imperial Affliction. All I know about Gus is that he likes to play video games, hates basketball, has osteosarcoma and overuses metaphors-we never get the chance to form a real connection to these characters which makes the end of the book less emotional than it otherwise could have been. Like I said Gus as a character annoyed me and I found it hard to see what Hazel saw in him-he’s incredibly pretentious and he kind of made me want to slap him at points-the metaphor of the unlit cigarette-no one does that! This book is supposed to be for teenagers but I am a teenager and I’ve found books for younger children that I enjoyed more than this-there’s no denying that the book is well written but I just found it infuriating sometimes.
From what I had heard about the book, I expected it to be an incredibly sad, yet wonderful read and I didn’t find this-I think it has been overly hyped up and made to seem like it is the next big thing when in reality, it is just another teenage chick flick, with no discernible plot and an overuse of philosophical outlooks about life, love and death which while they make for some amazing quotes are not believable coming out of a teenager’s mouth-as a teenager when I read a book, i want to feel like I can relate to the characters in some way, even it is only small and I didn’t find I could do this with this book.
I would recommend this book for teenagers who do like the chick flick genre and feel that book filled with romance and metaphors about illness and the world is for them, but as I initially thought this book just wasn’t for me-that’s okay not all books are. This book is one book that I feel just doesn’t live up to the hype it’s been given.
My rating: 2/5
The next book I will be reviewing is Fire Storm by Lauren St John, the third book in The One Dollar Horse trilogy.