Monday, March 12, 2012

Review: The Fault in Our Stars

Title: The Fault in Our Stars
Author: John Green
Publisher: Dutton Juvenile
Date Published: January 10, 2012
Pages: 336

How I Heard About It: Every book blog and every avid reader I have ever known ever. People lucky enough to get ARCS sung Green's praises to such an extent that I had to get my hands on a copy of "The Fault in Our Stars" the day it came out.  I've let some time elapse before reviewing because s I wanted to "let things settle."  Now, though, I am ready to start a second wave of fanaticism.

Two Sentence Summary: Despite being the recipient of a new wonder drug used to treat terminal lung cancer, Hazel Grace's life has become coping with her disease.  When Hazel meets cancer survivor Augustus Waters at "Cancer Kid Support Group," the two become enmeshed in a loving, hilarious, heart-rending series of adventures which opens doors of  a more cosmic comprehension at every turn.

Things I Think: This book definitely falls into the category of, "Everyone and their sister has told me this is the best thing they've ever read and I'll love it, so now I'm scared to read it because my expectations are so high and everyone will think I'm a jerk if I don't love it as much as they do."

And you know what? This was one of the few times a book has lived up to the uproarious hype with which it was preceded.  I haven't read any of John Green's other work, so I really went into "Fault" not knowing what to expect.  This exceptionally talented man has written from the first person perspective of a terminally ill teenage girl; not only is the prose hilarious and heart-breaking, but it is entirely believable.  From Hazel's admitted addiction to "America's Next Top Model" marathons to first-love butterflies and worries, Green has constructed a character that is so real one cannot help but become involved in her intricate, challenging world. What is at stake for Hazel becomes what is at stake for the reader: time, companionship, understanding.

I believe the universe wants to be noticed. I think the universe is improbably biased toward consciousness, that it rewards intelligence in part because the universe enjoys its elegance being observed. And who am I, living in the middle of history, to tell the universe that it—or my observation of it—is temporary?” 

Again, Green's character Augustus Waters is constructed with a mindblowing clarity.  Brilliant and witty, handsome and fun, Augustus is the perfect "partner-in-crime" for the cerebral pseudo-loner Hazel.  The two begin to bond, in particular, over their shared love of a novel that centers around a terminally ill teen.  Meta? Yes. Got me bleary of eye immediately? Duh.

You are so busy being you that you have no idea how utterly unprecedented you are.

What's really important to note about "The Fault in Our Stars" is that Green has stumbled upon the magical balance of heavy, cancer-teen reality with a challenging, humorous positivity.  Cliches of sentimentality (which I had so feared from plot descriptions) are nowhere in sight, and in fact, the glimpses into this difficult world are so new and surprising that I found myself continually wondering how Green has garnered such awareness.
Truly, I think this is going to be remembered as one of the best books of 2012.  Coming out just after the start of the New Year, Green's new book has set the bar exquisitely high for fiction writers this year.  If they can live up to the challenge, we will be very lucky indeed.


Mrs Q Book Addict said...

I haven't read any John Green books. I think I will need to change this one soon. I'm glad it lived up to all the praise.

punkychewster said...

aww sounds like a good read! i think it would get me all teary eyed too. I'm now waiting to read the second book of the Hunger games and starting Orson Scott Card's series Tales of Alvin Maker. I love sci-fi and fantasy

Anonymous said...

Hi Karen. Thanks for stopping by my blog & your lovely comment :)
Kel xo

traci said...

Your review makes me want to run out and find this book right now. It's been awhile since I have even been excited to start a new book. I haven't found any that I just have to read. Thanks for the review and for the comment on my blog!

Sweet Green Tangerine said...

Hi there. Just stumbled across your blog. Saw this review and had to comment. Love the way you review, first of all. And I totally agree with the part about being afraid it wouldn't live up to the hype. I thought that too and so it took me a long time to finally read it. But of course, I loved it like crazy too.
Great review!

Love Shayari said...

This is the first book by john green that I have read and i didn't take long to understand as to why is this guy praised by millions on twitter.
The author has a refreshingly amA-A-Azing style of writing and the skillful pour of words and expressions on each page makes the intertwined nature of love and loss seem honest....yet practical,romantic.....yet uncomplicated,heartfelt...yet not exaggerated.
LOVE & AFFECTION IN A NEW DIMENSION.The best part is that even if you can't relate yourself to the book yet it will entertain you till the very end and teach you something.
THANKS Hazel,Augustus,Isaac,Peter Houten,John Green and even Sergeant Mayhem.