Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Review: 'The Fault in Our Stars' by John Green

An awesome friend I made living on the residency at my university last year gifted this book to me for Christmas and I devoured it in the first couple of weeks of January. Taking this book on holiday with me when I went to the beach for a week with my boyfriends family was about as smart as reading Bridge to Terabithia on the train on my way to Melbourne a few months ago.

Augustus and Hazel are beautiful characters who I loved and hated and loved again while I read this book. Some of the things they say to each other are stupid and insensitive, but the two are just so perfectly, typically, teenager-y and human. If you've read so much as the blurb before you start the first chapter, you already know that Hazel is a terminal cancer patient, and her future looks glum from the very first page. Augustus shows up at support group one day and turns her world upside down very quickly. He is a survivor and an amputee, healthy, and single. Their story is so tragic, but not in the way you might have first expected when you started reading the book. 

My favourite part of the plot was Amsterdam. Hazel had wasted her wish on Disneyland when she was thirteen, pre-miracle, but Augustus still had his and decided to use it to take her to meet her favourite author of a book she had made him read, An Imperial Affliction. The trip isn't perfect and the author is an arse in person, but the intentions were so perfect and Gus was really sweet and I could gush about it all day, but let's move on. 

The majority of the story is set in Indiana, US. The worldbuilding tells us what we need to know, though I am wondering if the park they went to really exists, with the strange bones sculpture. What wasn't set in Indiana was set in Amsterdam, and it was lovely. Again, we were only told a few things, but Green set the scene and the mood for their overall stay with a few sweet descriptions (and the locals who thought their coupling was cute). 

While I found the style of Green's writing annoying at a few points, I have to commend him on his efforts. The reason his style annoyed me was because he had gotten into the head of a teenage girl who was for the most part, gushing over Gus or being moody or both, and he did an accurate job of portraying the inner thoughts and feelings in that way. The way she said, thought, and did things annoyed me because she was just such a typical teenage girl (I have to live with myself 24/7, so I know!) with dying of cancer on top of it all, so I guess it was more Hazel annoying me than Green's style. 

This book stands out from others because it rips your heart out over and over again and never quite lets you put it back in, even at the end. There is a fine balance between humour, romance, and tragedy, along with some dark philosophical thinking about life and death and dying that even made me the reader stop and have a think about things. This book is depressing and there is no happily ever after, even if it is a beautiful story from start to finish. It didn't reduce me to tears like a few people said it did for them, but it certainly struck a few chords and if I read it again I'd probably get a little closer to crying each time.

Review reference credit again goes to Lynda R. Young

If you haven't read it, go on, do it. You know you secretly love feeling miserable because of the tragic lives of fictional characters. 

Have you read The Fault in Our Stars? 
- Bonnee. 


  1. "You know you secretly love feeling miserable because of the tragic lives of fictional characters."

    I so want to steal that quote! (but I will credit you, so it's not really stealing, is it?) There's something compelling about tragedy. I don't know if it's so much that we love to feel miserable, or if we just love to feel.

    I've heard great things about Green, but I haven't read any of his work yet. Saw this in the library some months back but didn't grab it, because I guess I had too many other things I wanted to read first. It hasn't been back since.

    Nice review.

    1. Lol I would be flattered, but perhaps you're right, it's that we love to feel. Maybe we feel sad easier than we feel happy, or maybe we're so used to feeling happy that we like the change of feeling sad. Thoughts?

      I'd heard nothing but "this book is so good but so sad" about TFIOS, and now the friend who gifted it to me says I should read 'Looking for Alaska' and I want to read his other books too. No surprise that the copy you saw in the library has not been back since! Thanks for visiting :)

  2. One of my favorite books of all time. Cried my EYES out at the end. And, yeah, I've got Looking For Alaska in my TBR pile coming up soon. :)

    1. It like tore my heart out and set it on fire. Repeatedly. Let me know what you think of 'Looking for Alaska' :)

  3. The moment I saw the name John Green, I knew that I heard it somewhere. After googling I found the answer. He wrote LOOKING FOR ALASKA and a young woman who read the first parts of the my second novel was raving about this book. I read parts of it. But I like that John Green is able to get into the mind of a teenage girl. I should read these parts and maybe can apply it to my novel. But I don't like reading sad stories about cancer.

    1. I want to read 'Looking for Alaska' along with his other books. If you want to write something in which the main character is a teenage girl, taking a look at some of 'The Fault in our Stars' might be worth your while. There are plenty of happy parts in it, like the date while they're in Amsterdam is really cute. Thanks for visiting :)


Have your say.

Follow by Email