YA fiction

The Fault In Our Stars – John Green – 8/10

“Hazel Grace, could I, with my meager intellectual capacities, make up a letter from Peter Van Houten featuring phrases like ‘our triumphantly digitized contemporaneity’?”

tfios

From the blurb: 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 suddenly appears at Cancer Kid Support Group, Hazel’s story is about to be completely rewritten.

From my first post (about 150 pages into this book):

First impressions: these kids are witty, and I love their conversation, but so far, so another teenage cancer-ridden love story. See similar misery novels: My Sister’s KeeperElsewhereBefore I Die.

I like the humour, the conversations are funny, but then I had An Issue With This Book: Augustus. He talks like no 17-year-old I’ve ever met. He talks like no man I’ve ever met. I know some quite humorous young women who can get about that many words per minute in amusing streams of consciousness out, but no men. I’m not trying to generalise here, find me an erudite loquacious teenage boy, never mind teenage cancer-surviving boy, and I will eat my metaphorical hat. And when I cannot believe the conversational talent of one of the main couple, things are Not Going To Go Well. Or so I thought – I’ve another 70 pages and sort of accepted it but it still bugged me. But now they’re in Amsterdam and drinking the stars and falling in love but it’s cute and complex and not totally sugar-laden because Hazel thinks of herself like a grenade and… stuff. Themes. Things that English teachers like to discuss.

Now that I’ve finished the book…

Major Emotional Upheaval point was kind of obvious, but still neatly done and Green doesn’t shy away from the ugly tragedy of cancer; two of the three main kids go through some pretty awful, harrowing suffering. I ended up not crying after all (after putting the book down for a week because I didn’t want to take it on a commute and end up bawling in public), but I think those less stony-hearted than myself would weep.

The characters are solidly built and funny, clever kids facing their own mortality far too early. The parents and extended families struck me as a little light, but part of that will be because they were simply not the focus of the story.

Generally excellent writing, many witticisms and clever lines:

“It’s hard as hell to hold on to your dignity when the risen sun is too bright in your losing eyes, and that’s what I was thinking about as we hunted for bad guys through the ruins of a city that didn’t exist.”

“I was wondering what ontologically meant. Regardless, I like it. Augustus and I were together in the Improbable Creatures Club: us and duck-billed platypuses.”

Definitely a good read – sweet, romantic, emotionally upheaving, generally restoring faith in humanity and families and friends while ultimately sad… I foresee this appearing on required reading lists for schools in about 3 years’ time – there are stacks of themes to discuss here.

Additional information:
Copy borrowed, sort of, from The Book Accumulator at Mini-Me’s behest.
Publisher: Penguin, 313 pages (paperback)
Order The Fault in Our Starsfrom Amazon*
* this is an affiliate link – I will be paid a small percentage of your purchase price if you use this link, which goes towards give-aways and site hosting
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3 thoughts on “The Fault In Our Stars – John Green – 8/10”

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