Sunday, 15 June 2014

The Fault in Our Stars - John Green

The Fault in Our StarsThe Fault in Our Stars - John Green
Grade: YA
Rating: 4/5 stars

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. (Description from Goodreads)

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I don't know if this is smart, writing a review so soon after finishing, but if I don't get something down now I probably won't try again later.

I have been avoiding reading The Fault in Our Stars for many reasons. Originally, it was because my grandfather had just passed away from cancer, and I couldn't take the idea of bringing back cancer-death emotions. Then is was online articles overdoing the awesomeness that was (apparently) John Green. And finally, I was scared of all the hype. When a book is blown up so much, I get a bit nervous that I won't enjoy it - or at the very least I'll go in with huge expectations and spend the majority of the book waiting for the moment when I scream: "OMG, this really is an epic book!"

But I was always determined to read the book before seeing the movie; and a friend from work wanted to share it with me. So here I am, less than 24 hours later, a survivor of The Fault in Our Stars. I say 'survivor' because this book basically crushed me, ripped out my emotions and yet I'm still standing.

I have to hand it to John Green, his love story - because this book IS a love story at it's heart - was full of all the emotions I needed it to have. The awkward beginning, cute flirtations and heartwarming declarations of love. The fact that it had such a tragic twist just gave it a stronger hold on my emotions. Even without all the warnings about needing tissues (which I managed to ignore and ended up kicking myself when the tissue box was so far away) you knew there wasn't a lot if hope being left on hold for the end.

The only thing I didn't really enjoy in this book was probably the thing that made the love story come about. Hazel and Augustus bond over Hazel's favourite book - AN IMPERIAL AFFLICTION - and without this one book, an international journey, a last wish and love story might not have come about. But I was sort of annoyed by all the philosophical crap that came about because of it. Then endless questioning of life, love, the crisis of wanting answers. It's strange, because I know this was all an important feature of the story and I know it's not unreasonable for people dying to want to question their existence or to even want to know more about their favourite stories because there's that chance they won't live long enough to find out the answers. But, for me, it made the beginning drag a bit.

But, without all the philosophical questioning, without Hazel's obsession and Augustus' determination to seize answers, it wouldn't have been the book that made me bawl; the book that made me say 'okay' like a hundred times before I could psych myself up to keep reading.

I can see why The Fault in Our Stars has taken the world by storm. Is it as epic as I was lead to believe? Probably not quite as epic, but it is an emotionally tragic and powerful book.

4/5 stars

(Also posted on Goodreads)


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