So I’m starting with a popular one. You have to start somewhere…
Title: The Fault In Our Stars
Author: John Green
Genre: Teen Fiction, Lexile score 850 (what is this?)
Synopsis (on back cover): 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.
About the Author: For one, he’s a bestselling author. Not just of this book, but a few others. He’s won a couple awards, too. Like the Michael L. Printz Award in 2006 and an Edgar Award winner in 2009.
Ever heard of a nerdfighter? No, it’s not someone who fights nerds (they are called bullies). It’s a community of people that gathered around two brothers (John being one, Hank the other) who stopped texting and started videoblogging each other instead – on YouTube, where everyone can see. They have quite the following (I’m talking almost 2.25 million subscribers) and are more than just a video community. Nerdfighters everywhere ban together to raise awareness and money for charities, thus attributing to the goal of “…fight for intellectualism and to decrease the overall worldwide level of suck.“
If you want to check out the vlogbrothers, do so here. It may turn out more important than you realize. For John Green’s bio, where I got most of this information, go here.
My first impression: Catchy title; the book as a sort of minimalist cover you’d normally find on the indie scene. Plus, everyone seems to have read it, is reading it, or wants to read it. Should be good, right?
Maybe not so much. I had a hard time getting into the story. I didn’t understand his writing style or sense of humor. With a book that has both cancer and humor, it’s imperative to understand the connection. That’s why I mentioned the vlogbrothers. If you decide to read this book or have read it and couldn’t get into it, their vlog may be the insight you are looking for.
Our society is hardwired to pity those fighting cancer. There is a stigma that comes with it. I wish it was not so, but those are the facts. Cancer is a terrible thing – I’m not saying that it’s not; not even close. But do the bulk of the non-afflicted stop to think before reacting to the news? Especially if it’s only new news to you. My guess is, probably not. It’s a shock.
Hazel’s point of view may have you thinking twice, however. Her approach to the subject of cancer is refreshing. Yeah, it sucks, but life goes on. Not forever, not for everyone, but it does go on. It’s the human condition. We are born to die. The question becomes whether you live first.
In my opinion, that is the intended focus of the story. Once you get past the blasé
, yet strangely appropriate approach, to the story beneath, it becomes palpable. I’ll admit there were times when I was really into the story line. I even cried once… maybe twice.
In the end, it boils down to another tragic love story. There is love, there is loss, there has to be a moral in there somewhere, right? I don’t know. Maybe I’m not nerdfighter material. Maybe I never truly understood what the author was trying to portray, despite repeated trips to YouTube and several discussions with my online book club – which, by the way, is the real reason I picked up this book. Maybe I was too critical while reading it. Maybe, maybe, maybe.
Final Thoughts: Does it deliver what was promised on the back cover? Yeah. That blurb sums it up nicely. Some other stuff happens. There’s a lot of talk about cancer. The main characters fall in love (shocker! no, not really). There’s a plot twist, then you’re done.
I mentioned before that I had a hard time getting into the story. I pushed my way through to the end and found it mediocre, but still thought-provoking enough I wasn’t sorry I read it. I even tried to defend it when explaining it to someone else, who subsequently tried to read it, but also couldn’t get into it.
My Suggestion: Don’t buy it. Get it from the library or borrow it from a friend first. Dip your toes in, test the waters. Either it sinks or it swims, but read all the way to the last word before making up your mind.
Like it? Where to Buy:
Amazon → http://amzn.to/1txIMvc
B&N → http://bit.ly/1dyGLkl
AbeBooks → http://bit.ly/1r53LU9
Many other fine retailers (these are just my favorites)
I’d love to hear what you have to say + any recommendations you have on books I should be reading! Hit me up with a comment or two. I’ll be waiting…
Disclaimer: I have not been compensated in any way for this review and all opinions contained herein are my own and in no way reflect the ideas or opinions of people or sites I may reference. This is intended for entertainment purposes only.