Let me start out by admitting there was no way I could look at this book with the kind of objectivity I normally cling to. Allow me to put my perspective into context:
1.) I'm a registered nurse, and the daughter of registered nurse. I recognize that morbid gallows humor is often an essential coping mechanism for both medical personnel and long-term patients. I'm not squeamish, and I have almost zero gag reflex. I grew up with medical terminology and have no concept of what may or may not be considered appropriate dinner table conversation.
2.) I'm closely familiar with cancer—both in terms of the victors and victims of its various ravaging forms. I've watched it weaken, mutilate, and kill without discrimination for age. And I know how much more intense it can seem when the inflicted is so very young. (Growing up I watched two high school friends and my 32-year-old neighbor battle for their lives.)
3.) My sister has Cystic Fibrosis. She has been living at the hospital for the last 8 months, her life and health in tenuous suspension as she awaits a compatible lung transplant.
So, now that you know a little more about where I'm coming from, I hope you can forgive me for not adoring this book. Not that I went into this expecting to love a Nicholas Sparks-style romantic tragedy with so much medical emphasis. I did hope, though, for the depth of philosophical thought and emotion that so many around me were going on about.
“You'll cry!” they promised. “Oh, the feels!”
I wanted them to be right. But the fact is, I didn't do a lot of feeling. I chuckled now and then, admired a few of the more poetic passages, frowned at nit-picky points of medical description... and in the end, walked away shaking off the mild aftertaste of defeatism.
I'll readily admit my timing might be way off. Or, perhaps, this book wasn't meant for someone like me at all. (As I understand it, it's doing a bang-up job of giving many folks an expanded sense of sympathy for those with cancer. For some, even instilling more awareness of their own mortality. I give it kudos on that front.)
The Fault In Our Stars is well paced, complex, and exceptionally readable. The prose has good flow, the sarcasm is biting, and the wording is clever. While the vocab choices may have slightly overindulged in pulling the cancer-caused profundity card, this reviewer stands firmly in the camp of people who appreciate it when a YA author doesn't talk down to their audience. I also found that John Green's writing style does agree with me enough that I'm now likely to pick up one of his other works.
Yet, at the same time...I never really connected with this particular story. Hazel was a part of my problem, I know. She was dying, and she didn't really seem to have a reason for living (aside from, well, keeping her parents from becoming no-longer-parents.) There was one nagging reason I had trouble finding her believable: her thought processes were such that I would have easily thought she'd ALWAYS been dying, rather than being diagnosed at age 13. In this regard, I found Augustus more multidimensional and, I dare say, likeable. He had the stronger sense of self and purpose. Which I'm sure was by design, but still, it's Hazel's POV we see everything from.
I realize I sound like a horrible, callous person for criticizing the character of a suffering cancer patient—however fictional she may or may not be. (On that note, is there a way of not adoring this book without looking like a complete jerk? >.>)
I presume this is the sort of heavy “issues” book that's supposed to make the reader think. To that end, it succeeded with me. But I spent a great deal of my time thinking on the differences in worldview and mindsets in all the young people I've known who dealt with fatal and potentially fatal illnesses. I also dwelt quite a bit on the differences between those who've been diagnosed with things like cancer and more or less had their futures snatched away from them, and those born with life-long terminal ailments like Cystic Fibrosis who never have a chance to be blissfully ignorant of their own mortality.
I expected this book to be so much better than it was. The hype is what killed it for me. I went into it expecting some life changing book and it just didn't live up to it. I liked this book. I didn't hate it or love it but I was left disappointed and mostly unsatisfied. I'm not saying the book wasn't beautiful because at parts it truly was. And then others just sort of fell flat.
Hazel at times was a good character but for the most part she seemed to be in a different universe. I'm sure she was meant to be a very likeable, strong character but at times her character just fell flat. Augustus on the other hand was extremely charming and charismatic. He wanted to leave a mark in the world and was always living his life to his fullest.
There were parts of this book that made me laugh and I admit that I cried at a few parts. There are moments where the romance is absolutely swoon worthy and others where the book just infuriates you to point where you want to smack some sense into the characters.
I had some issues with the way things were done in this novel as well. Hazel's parents just let her go to the house of some boy she's known for less than 2 hours. Which is strange since her mother hovers over her constantly whenever she's at home so why is she so lenient all of a sudden? And another thing is in the beginning of the novel her mother pushes her to get out of the house and make friends but when she does her mother complains that she's never home and makes it seem like Hazel is just doing it on purpose even though her mother told her to.
This book had me really excited but turned out to be a major let down for me. It was alright but not the wonderful novel that everybody made it out to be. This book is a tear-jerker there is no doubt about that but I believe that it could have been done in a way that would have brought out the full potential that this novel could have had.
Meet Hazel, diagnosed with thyroid cancer at 12 and ready to die.
While reading the beginning of the book I felt a “click” with the story that ended when Hazel met Gus at Cancer Support Group (apparently people who suffer the cancer have a massive vocabulary, especially teenagers).
Are you supposed to like a book just because it is about cancer and dying teenagers? Some readers love this book so much that they get offended if you don’t. I feel the book said too much and nothing at the same time.
Sadly, the story didn’t work for me. I did not enjoy the story within the story of the book (the writer, the fictional book...). I feel it was too fast paced. I mean, not that the book had to be only about sickness and that, but I didn't get this "An Imperial Affection" mystery/conflict.
I did feel sad and almost like crying at one point or two, but that wasn’t enough to make like the book.
I’m including the links of some other readers who did not enjoy “the fault in our stars” either. Some of them express my sentiments perfectly; others add to it. But since I can’t just
I did feel sad and almost like crying at one point or two.