Debbie's World of Books
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The Fault in Our Stars by John Green

July 2nd, 2012 by Debbie's World of Books

The Fault in Our Stars by John Green

Source: Borrowed from a friend

Publication date: January 10, 2012

Publisher: Dutton Books

I give this book 3 out of 5 stars

Summary from Diagnosed with Stage IV thyroid cancer at 13, Hazel was prepared to die until, at 14, a medical miracle shrunk the tumours in her lungs… for now. 

Two years post-miracle, sixteen-year-old Hazel is post-everything else, too; post-high school, post-friends and post-normalcy. And even though she could live for a long time (whatever that means), Hazel lives tethered to an oxygen tank, the tumours tenuously kept at bay with a constant chemical assault. 

Enter Augustus Waters. A match made at cancer kid support group, Augustus is gorgeous, in remission, and shockingly to her, interested in Hazel. Being with Augustus is both an unexpected destination and a long-needed journey, pushing Hazel to re-examine how sickness and health, life and death, will define her and the legacy that everyone leaves behind.

I have to admit that I feel like a freak of nature here when I say I did not love this book.  It seems like every other person I know has raved about this book, talked about how they cried and they could not put it down.  Yes, at one point I did tear up but other than that I just don’t get it.  Maybe I went in with too high of expectations but I just did not get what all the hubabub is about.

I did enjoy Hazel’s character and thought she came across as a strong female character who had a sarcastic sense of humor and an amazing wealth of strength to deal with having a terminal illness.  I can’t imagine living a life where you know for a fact you do not have much longer and as she puts it is like a ticking bomb waiting to go off and hurt those around her.

Surprisingly, my favorite character wasn’t Hazel or Gus (who I will get to in a moment), but rather their friend and fellow cancer victim, Isaac.  It’s interesting because I read this book as a part of a summer class on  young adult materials in libraries and when I mentioned how much I loved Isaac the class was split on those who barely even noticed Isaac and those who loved him.  Of the three teenagers I thought he was the most realistic and I loved his sense of humor.  Yes he made a lot of jokes and was extremely sarcastic but you can tell it’s a defense mechanism for him.  He does it to fight the pain of having lost his vision due to his cancer, losing his friends and losing his girlfriend because of his cancer.  Even though his cancer is not terminal it almost seems like it would be harder to be a survivor and see so many others, including those who he has becomes close friends with, lose their battle with cancer.

Now here is where I know I fall even further into the minority in that I did not get into Gus’s character at all.  Yes he was good looking, yes he brings Hazel out of her shell and is a great friend but who was he really?  Unlike Isaac Gus’s humor seemed like such a facade to me and we did not get much of a glimpse beneath it.  It’s not until he gets some catastrophic news that we finally see this mask fall but by then it was too late for me and while I did not dislike him I didn’t feel like I knew him very well.  Even at one point in the book Hazel mentions how everything Gus does or says is carefully planned out and he’s not an improviser.  This made me feel like he put on the face others wanted to see and not who he truly was.

The story itself was pretty predictable including the “twist” so while it was sad it didn’t make me go wow.  It makes me kind of sad that I’m missing out on all the things that made others go crazy over this book.

Posted in 3 Star Books

3 Responses

  1. Jenn

    I just read this yesterday and while I did enjoy it and thought it a was good book, I wasn’t blown away either. So you aren’t alone! :) And I really enjoyed Isaac too.

  2. Trish

    Yes, exactly. Except I don’t think I teared up at all. It didn’t feel forced but like you mentioned I could see where it was going. I did like the trip to Amsterdam but otherwise I didn’t feel any connections to the characters. They almost felt superficial to me–something I haven’t felt with his other books..

    Funny about Isaac. Took me a minute to remember but you’re right–I would have liked to have known him more.

  3. Debbie's World of Books

    Jenn-glad to know I’m not the only one!

    Trish-good to know his other books aren’t like this. I hear so many good things about him and was let down by this one. So I was hesitant to read another one by him.

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