The Fault In Our Stars by John Green
Note: This is a repost of a book review I wrote back in 2011 for my book blog.
Before reading The Fault In Our Stars, I’d read another John Green book (Looking For Alaska) that everyone seemed to adore but left me feeling cold. So, when I started seeing stellar reviews for this book, I was a bit skeptical. Still, so many book bloggers that I trusted raved about how amazing, uplifting, funny and sad this book was that I felt I had to give it a chance. So, I did. (And I stayed up way too late last night finishing it.)
As I wiped away my tears and hit the sack, it occurred to me that the perfect way to review this book would be to capture my feelings about it as the five stages of grief. (Very apropos given that the subject of the book is teenagers with cancer.)
Stage 1: Denial (before starting the book): This book can’t possibly be as good as everyone says it is. How can a book about teens with cancer be funny and uplifting yet also heart-breaking? And a Young Adult (YA) book that really moves me? Bah humbug. I’m too old for these YA books. They disappoint me more often than not.
Stage 2: Anger (within the first five chapters): Damn it! This book is brilliant! I’m loving Hazel Grace and Augustus Waters and their witty repartee and view of life. Why did I wait so long to read this? Why did I delay? Why didn’t I listen? What if I’d decided to chump out and not read this and MISSED IT? Arggghhh…you stupid fool!
Stage 3: Bargaining (about the middle of the book): I don’t want this book to end. I want to stay with these characters longer. If I slow down my reading pace, I can spread the delight of this book out over a few days. Maybe if I start another book, this book will never end and I’ll get to read it for days and days.
Stage 4: Depression (at about the three-quarter mark until the end): I can barely read through my tears and my smiles. I’m having my heart broken by this author over and over. Such emotion and pain and laughter and feelings of truth and beauty. Each page takes me closer to the end of this amazing gem of a book, and I don’t want that to happen.
Stage 5: Acceptance (now): Everyone was right. The Fault In Our Stars is a truly special book that transcends the YA genre and speaks to the human heart. It is fierce and funny and unapologetic and realistic and it broke my heart in the best of ways. A true five-star read and one I’m grateful to have read. Thank you, John Green. I bow before you in your brilliance. You’re no Peter Van Houten!
Note: After the book was such a huge hit, they made a movie of it starring Shailene Woodley and Ansel Elgort. I remember liking the movie (and of course it made me cry). However, as is almost always the case, the book was better. I’d recommend reading the book before checking out the movie.