The Fault in Our Stars, a New York Times #1 Bestseller, Time magazine named it as the #1 Fiction book of 2012, soon to be turned into a movie, and widely loved young adult fiction novel certainly had some hype to live up to. And live up to it, it did. I have to say that I have had this book for a while, and in fact, I bought all of John Green’s books before I even read a single sentence of his. Sounds a little pre-emptive, but I didn’t have very strong doubts about the books. I have watched John and his brother, Hank, on Youtube on their Vlogbrothers channel (and Crashcourse, and SciShow, and Hankgames, and Mentalfloss, and TruthorFail) for a while now, and I just loved them and the community they have created of Nerdfighters. So I was going into this book with anticipation, and excitement, I was finally reading one of his books, which I had heard so much about. It was daunting at the same time, because what if I didn’t like it? Not that it really matters in the scheme of things, but I had already bought the books, so wanted to like them. And thankfully I wasn’t disappointed. Beware the spoilers below!
From all that I heard about the book, I knew to prepare for some sad times, and for some romance. Now I’m not very romantically-inclined, Pride and Prejudice bored me to death, so I wasn’t sure how much I’d like it. But as soon as I started the book, I knew I liked it. Green’s writing style just worked for me. I loved that his characters were smart and witty, I felt I could connect with them. I loved that they were ‘nerdy’ teenagers with sophisticated language, and didn’t find it all pretentious or unbelievable. And it was just something about the overall style that just made it enjoyable and almost comforting. So I really have to applaud that, it was a major highlight.
And it was refreshing to see a novel not afraid to discuss death and morality, and to have characters (and a main character especially) who had cancer and were confronting disabilities and morality. Like honestly, I struggle to recall a book with a major character (even a minor character) with a disability. And I think diversity in protagonists is a good thing, they don’t always need to be white, cis, straight males, because so many people aren’t those things. So that was a good thing.
Ok, the plot isn’t overly shocking or ‘breaking the mould’ so to speak, it was pretty predictable. Despite all of Hazel’s concern about her own chance of survival, it became clear that Gus was the one who wasn’t going to make it. I guess knowing that this was a sad book gave me an inkling that something sad would happen, so of course one of them had to die. And it was sad, but it was really well done, I thought the pre-funeral was an interesting idea. As I said I liked that morality was confronted, and that there were a variety of perspectives on life, it was really interesting.
So Peter van Houten was a complete dick, and his An Imperial Affliction was different. I have to say though that the Amsterdam scenes were awesome, and made me want to go there. I just didn’t expect Houten’s behaviour, but I guess something had to sour that trip.
I actually don’t really know what else to say about the book. It’s just something that should be read. Is it the best book ever? No. Is it ground breaking? I don’t really think so. Will it become a classic? Who knows. I just think that it is a really good book, with some really important themes, presented in an interesting and refreshing manner. It’s a book I think people should read, not completely fawn over it like it’s The Bible or something. I look forward to reading more of John’s books! And I look forward to the movie as well, it should be interesting.