Summary: “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.” – Goodreads
After having seen raving reviews on Goodreads and hearing much the same from friends, I finally decided to pick up a copy of The Fault in Our Stars. Regrettably, I’m happy to say it was from the library. Regrettable because I wish I wasn’t happy over the fact that I didn’t spend a dime on this book.
The two biggest issues with the book were that it was anticlimactic and lacked emotion. First off, the novel had no clear end-game. No clear conflict, other than the cancer the characters were trying to overcome/cope with. Ergo, it’s only logical for the reader to assume that’s going to be one of the main struggles of the story. That one of the characters is either going to fight off death or succumb to it, making for the climax of the book. As for the actual climax of The Fault in Our Stars, there was none. The closest things the audience gets to any sort of conflict is whenever Augustus tells Hazel of his cancer, and the car scene where he went out on his own and rapidly became ill. When Augustus does die from his cancer, the story gives it a mere “Augustus died eight days later”. That’s it. No emotion. No struggle. Just a very bland hopelessness that leaves the reader sitting there going, “Well, that sucks.” The lack of emotion in this book was the single worst thing about it, to me. Even if the structure was poorly constructed beyond all belief, it would’ve been more enjoyable with an injection of emotion.
I found it to be poorly written as well. Green’s writing style is inconsistent, most of the time very bland and opting to ‘tell’ rather than ‘show’ the audience, occasionally met with a burst of lyrical prose. The inconsistency in the writing is baffling, especially when some of the most lyrical bits are pieces of dialogue from these teen-aged characters. I don’t care how smart your characters are, people, nonetheless teenagers, don’t spout of things like “I fear oblivion like the blind man fears the dark” at random.
The one and only reason I did not give this book a one was because of the few rays of potential I saw in it. Those few rays being the car scene where Augustus got sick and the dinner in Amsterdam.The emotion and vivid description in both of those scenes were wonderful, the first giving an actual sense of conflict and emotion, the latter with a smooth, calm, yet interesting scenario. Those were the rare beautiful and emotional moments that let me know there could have been SOMETHING more to the book, which yes makes it more painful to trudge through the rest of it. At the same time it lets you know John Green has something decent to offer. Regrettably, very little of it.
All over, I was very disappointed with this book. If you’re a fan of emotion and conflict and a plot that actually does something, I wouldn’t recommend this book. If you’re a fan of the bland, have at it.