Review Detail

4.7 60
Young Adult Fiction 50806
One of His Best
(Updated: April 07, 2012)
Overall rating
 
4.3
Plot
 
4.0
Characters
 
4.0
Writing Style
 
5.0
If you have never read a book by John Green, I highly recommend reading this one first because it is by far his best one yet. Reading his other books first actually takes away from the story. Why?

Because John Green is repetitive. You will find similar, witty teenagers who can throw their extraordinarily clever comments back and forth without a moment's thought, though underneath their perfection they are broken and confused, and know, understand, and memorize classical poetry, literature, music, etc. It's a common link between his books, and I found myself continuously drawn out of the story to think, "Hmm... that seems awfully familiar." If this had been his first book I read, I would've given a better rating, because I wouldn’t have known his characters quite yet. Oh, sure, they all have their own philosophies and beliefs, but their general personalities are making me simply bored.

That said, The Fault in Our Stars is a wonderful story, which, while it may not have the most original plot yet (count all the YA books that have protagonists dealing with cancer and romance), he does make it his own by incorporating his own elements in to it. This means his standard fare of life-changing journeys to discover the meaning of life (or something similar), and lovable, dorky characters. I don’t want to give anything away, but it is not your typical cancer book—it is fun and adventurous, but of course, as teenagers dealing with cancer, Hazel and Augustus will have those moments where everything is just awful. The way they deal with death is markedly different from what you read in other books, especially near the end, where there are some truly heartbreaking scenes—some of the best I have ever read.

People who hate crying while reading books will probably take one look at the summary and think, “Cancer. Bye.” But I seriously recommend giving this one a chance. John Green does not write books about how depressing cancer is, though, of course, elements like that are thrown in. He writes about life and about surviving and fearing it. If you’re still not convinced, try this sample line:

“Whenever you read a cancer booklet or website or whatever, they aalways list depression among the side effects of cancer. But, in fact, depression is not a side effect of cancer. Depression is a side effect of dying. (Cancer is also a side effect of dying. Almost everything is, really.)
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