Wednesday, 25 June 2014

The Fault in Our Stars by John Green: Review

The Fault in Our StarsTitle: The Fault in Our Stars
Author: John Green
Publisher: Penguin
Buy This Book: Amazon / Book Depository

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. (Goodreads summary)

I know you all might be shocked by this but, the first I read TFIOS I thought it was okay (no pun intended) but it didn't blow me away in the way I had thought it would. I read it a few years ago now, before seeing all the blog hype but I still knew that this was seen as a special read. I was expecting to be really moved and to sob my little heart out, but I didn't even tear up once while reading. I decided to reread it before seeing the film and I am so pleased that I did because I got all of the feels the second time round. I think I can even see why I didn't fall so in love with it the first time round.

TFIOS probably suffered because of the hype, I had high expectations that I was about to read a book that I would instantly connect to and cry over. I didn't though and I know why that was the first time around. Hazel and Augustus are brilliant characters, truly they are but they never felt real to me. I think most people can agree that they aren't exactly your typical teenagers, in fact I don't think one of them exists anywhere let alone two of them. So the idea of these two people both living in one town, going to the same support group did seem a little unreal. They weren't realistic characters in a lot of ways and that instantly disconnected me from the story the first time around. The second time, I went with it because I knew exactly what I was getting. I knew the characters I would find and I wanted to find them there. Augustus and Hazel are brilliant characters and I don't care if they don't sound or act like authentic teenagers, they are exceptional characters and I wouldn't change either of them.

A boy movie?
Okay, I lied. I lie a lot, deal with it! I would change Hazel Grace because she has two fatal flaws. 1. She refers to V for Vendetta as a boys film that she shouldn't be expected to watch or enjoy & 2. She doesn't like 300 either. What? Nope, I can't deal with that. She loses a ton of cool points for those two completely unforgivable things. V for Vendetta is beyond awesome and it's not a guys movie or a girls movie, it's just a movie and a pretty awesome one at that. So Augustus Waters won a bazillion points for the fact that he's not only gorgeous and intelligent but he also has fantastic taste in films.

I enjoyed the humour in this book, and there's a lot of it! The characters in this are exceptionally witty and I adore that about them. From all of Augustus's jokes about Isaac going blind, to all of the sarcasm that you find throughout. Characters that genuinely make you laugh can be hard to find, so it's great to find a book that doesn't have just one, but three characters who make you giggle.

I have already said that my reread produced tears, but there was no uncontrollable sobbing. I really want this book to make me feel everything that it seems to make others feel, but it doesn't. I think it's because the characters never feel real so there predicament and the outcome for them both doesn't affect me that much. I don't care about them the way I do with characters who feel real to me, who I come to know and love and who almost seem like real people. Augustus and Hazel always felt like fictional characters to me, so there was always a detachment there.

There were specific moments that made me cry. One was around the 120 page mark and it was because of how happy Hazel and Augustus were about their upcoming trip to Amsterdam. I can't remember what moment it was exactly, but I knew what was coming for them and it just made me sad. The other moment I remember really getting to me was when Hazel's mother realised Hazel had heard her that day at the hospital. That one really got to me and had tears in my eyes, a few might have even slipped out. The other moment that definitely had me in tears was when they went to the Anne Frank house. That was because of all of Hazel's thoughts about her and just how determined she was to climb all those stairs. She realised that, yes she has terminal cancer and she's going to die young, but that others had suffered so much more. If they could get through it then so could she. That moment really had me crying.

There's not really much I can say about the book that you probably haven't heard or read before. It tells a great story and, to me, it feels like an adorable romance at it's heart. But then it deals with death and dying young, the idea of wanting to leave something behind, to not be forgotten. Others see this as a sad read, but it has always seemed more uplifting to me. Maybe that's why I don't cry as much at it as others do. I think it depends what you decide to take away from it.

I started writing this review when I finished the book over a week ago but, as I often do, got totally sidetracked and am only just finishing it. I am struggling to recall all the emotions that I had for it after that read. But I know that after I finished I actually hugged the book, which is really strange because I am not a book hugger very often. But it was such a sad yet completely uplifting ending and it worked perfectly for me. I knew what was coming though, so that always helps, I don't think any first time readers will end it feeling super happy.

4/5 Butterflies

This is never going to be a 5/5, out of this world read for me. I enjoy the story and the characters but I don't get the intense emotions everyone else does. Would I recommend this? Definitely, because it's superbly written, has witty and hilarious characters and as many sad moments as it does happy ones. Even if it doesn't reduce you to a sobbing, uncontrollable mess, it's still going to make you feel something. So read, enjoy and maybe find a mind-blowing read that you'll never be able to forget. 




16 comments:

  1. Oh man, I watched the movie the other day, oh man, I cried, I'm a crier for sure, but I haven't read the book since the first time (where I also cried, I told you, I'm a crier!) but I doubt I could do it again, it's never going to be the same again re-reading it.. however, I'm glad you did enjoy it, what parts you did enjoy anyway! :D

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    1. I am a total crier too, like all out sobbing, but this didn't get to me all that much! Haha. I think it's because the characters never felt especially real so there deaths didn't affect me as much. I don't know, I don't really even understand why this one didn't hit me as much as it did others.

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  2. This wasn't a 5/5 for me either and I wasn't sure if it was the hype, or if it just wasn't a 5/5 read for me in general. I did really enjoy Green's writing though, and loved Issac's sense of humour. I found the characters to be unrealistic too in terms of their maturity, but I assumed their conditions meant they were wise beyond their years and just rolled with it. My problem was more the author dude (not remembering his name) and how completely awful he was, that story arc was a little strange to me. I teared up for definite at this book, but didn't bawl my lamps out. I haven't really done that in a while with a book. I agree at the 300 and V for Vendetta comments, I LOVE 300. Brownie points deducted for that one. Overall, I thought it was a good read though, and I can't wait to see the movie (hopefully this weekend!) R x

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    1. I still can't work out why it's not a 5/5 read for me either. I do enjoy his writing and love Isaac's character and all the humour in this. I thought it was a good read but it didn't blow me away. Hazel lost lots of brownie points for that, I was not impressed! Haha.

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  3. Have you read other John Green books? All of his characters are pretty similar in the sense that they are really smart, well-read, mature, etc. So that seems to be his thing. I think it makes since for Hazel especially because she hasn't had that much interaction with kids her own age, she's basically lived her life reading. But I do understand what you mean, when I don't connect with the characters, there's almost no way the book will be a 5 star read for me. And it's hard to predict when that will happen. I did like the book, a lot, but it was just so sad. It's hard for me to see the uplifting part of it for some reason. ~Pam

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    1. No, this is my first and only JG boo so far. I know, he seems to write teenagers how he wished they all were rather than how they actually are.

      I don't know why I find it so uplifting, I do. I think it's because they know they're dying, and yes it's sad, but they get to do so much, accomplish so much and experience so much in that time. They get to see their own pre-funeral and say goodbye to their parents and everything else. They get to pick out their own dress. I think it's because I lost my aunt recently and she was only 38, it was sudden and she never saw it coming. She didn't get a last hug with her children, or to say she loved them. Now that's truly sad. I found that Hazel and Gus's story was way more uplifting than it was sad. It's a good life! :)

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  4. Truth be told, I've never had a desire to read this book. Even with all the hype. I'm just *shrug* "eh, I rather not." I don't know. I just don't really like books like this. If I wanted to read about real world situations that end horribly, I wouldn't read novels, I would read the news and all the crap that happens in the real world.

    That's not to say I'm sure that this a fantastic book. I'm sure that it's written well, like you said, and is great. But it's just not for me. Awesome review though!

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    1. Haha, very true. But, like I said, to me this has never seemed like an exceptionally sad story. It's way more uplifting than it is sad, in my opinion at least.

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  5. I have to agree with you on so many points because even though I really liked this, I didn't fall in love with it like I was expecting too, I think because of all the hype. It was a good story though and I did really enjoy it.

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    1. I think it's the same for me, the hype ruined it a little bit because it wasn't nearly as amazing as I'd been led to believe.

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  6. It's so cool that you went back and re-read it, and could see it in a different light but also see why you didn't enjoy it as much the first time around! I read it right after it came out and really loved it, although I didn't cry. I hardly ever cry at books and movies! But I haven't seen the movie yet and knowing what's going to happen might make me tear up. Plus, just seeing their emotions on screen might make it more emotional for me. Who knows, though! Great review! :D

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    1. I always felt the movie would make me cry more than the book, and it did in a way. I never truly sobbed uncontrollably at it, but I really wanted to.

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  7. I totally agree with you :D It has the feels and it is a very very nice story but I don't see myself fully connected with this one. But I love the humour of this book <3

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    1. I really love the humour in it, probably my favourite part of the whole book! :)

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  8. I did my own review of The Fault In Our Stars on my blog Star: The Alter Ego Writer, and my feelings were surprisingly similar. I also wasn't blown away by Hazel Grace, and I felt that the vivid characterisation gave a more uplifting tone to the undeniable fact that they are all terminally ill. About the crying thing... well, it's in my review, hahaha. I'm not gonna go into it here! (Let's just say, either other people are delicate or I must be heartless.)

    Great review! I really enjoyed reading it.

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    1. Haha, now I finally know what your blog is as I have struggled to find it! :) I am glad I wasn't the only person who didn't cry a ton at this book. I barely squeezed out a couple of tears.

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