The Fault in Our Stars by John Green Review 3/5

Overall Impression: Intelligent writing with poor execution which sacrificed the integrity of the characters.

The Fault In Our Stars, adored by readers everywThe Fault in Our Stars by John Greenhere. I have been aware of this books presence on the internet for what feels like an eternity. I avoided picking it up for a long time because hello, epitome of the hype monster! Also, one of my best friends may or may not have threatened to de-friend me if I disliked it. She takes the life of a nerdfighter very seriously. With the release of the film adaptation right around the corner I finally gathered the courage to open the first page and begin to read.
But after closing the last page, I found myself a little baffled. It seems once again I am out of step with the rest of the bookish community because when it comes to this novel I keep hitting up against an imaginary brick wall of okay. Not heartbreaking or adorable, okay. Ironic, considering the front cover and the importance of the word to the two leading protagonists.

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.

Hazel is a terminally ill teenager with cancer who needs a cannula and an oxygen tank to stay alive. When Hazel’s mother decides her daughter is depressed she sends her to a Cancer Kid Support Group in the hopes that it will help. Support Group is Hazel’s idea of hell, but when a witty, attractive boy in remission named Augustus turns up suddenly everything becomes a bit more interesting. Augustus has a truck full of charm and the best part is, he’s interested in her. But Hazel is worried about her grenade like status and is determined to hurt the least amount of people around her with the remnants of shrapnel.
However, Augustus’s charm is tough to resist and with the help of a book in common named An Imperial Affliction and a magical trip to Amsterdam, Hazel may just change her mind.

John Green’s writing style was okay, with the occasional hint of genius showing though. Having watched a lot of his Youtube video’s I had a reasonable idea what to expect. It turns out, he writes exactly the same way he speaks. Green has an unusual way with language that is somewhat awe-inspiring. He is good at twisting a string of words together in a way that is insightful and funny, which also enables him to expertly switch the tone from sad to happy. Green is a witty, witty man and king of intellectual flirting, Hazel and Augustus’s banter back and forth was fun and cheesy grin inducing which suits a romance novel, especially a romance novel aimed at nerds (seriously, the bits about THE LITERAL HEART OF JESUS had me cracking up). John Green also seemed to know everything about everything. You can tell whist reading he has a huge knowledge base on a wide array of topics and he definitely does his research. I could have greedily devoured this novel in a day if given a chance, it was so easy to read and the pages flew by, but here’s the catch, his writing uses my number one pet hate. It’s pretentious and over the top which is something I never get on with. I don’t believe that John Green is pretentious, but his story and its characters came across that way to me. Many of his word choices had me squinting at the page thinking ‘Really?’. I felt he was trying too hard to be clever to the point of ridiculousness and it kept throwing me out of the story and worked as a barrier which prevented me from becoming emotionally invested. I found most of the famous quotes really irritating and there wasn’t one line I felt the need to write down because it inspired or resonated with me.

The plot of The Fault in Our Stars was okay. Throughout the first third of the book I was enthusiastic about where the story was going to go, anxious to see what would happen and share in the tribulation of the characters. I liked how cute Hazel and Augustus’s first encounter was and the way they bonded over the discussion of a book that they were both passionate about. There were some interesting points on mortality and I especially loved the sections pondering what defined a life well lived. I found it interesting how even though most of the characters in this novel had been dealt a hard blow in life and resented that the world was not a wish granting factory, there was still this element of hope and positivity weaved throughout the novel. The problem was that as the story continued my interested deteriorated. The book began to drag and I became fed up with Hazel and Augustus’s repetitive philosophical musings far beyond their years. By the time the characters reached Amsterdam my interest had dwindled. Also, I found the whole Anne Frank scene weird. It didn’t help that I saw the so-called ‘twist’ coming from a mile off either, it lessened the shock impact on me.
As the novel continued and events escalated I squeezed out a few tears but didn’t weep or become heartbroken. I’m the kind of person that sobs at Disney movies and regularly mists up when watching TV, and there can be knock on sadness for hours afterwards. Cancer is one of those horrendous topics that gets me every time, but with The Fault in Our Stars there was a short initial reaction and then I moved on with my daily life unaffected. I felt weirdly disconnected from the whole thing. It failed to get me deep in the gut, and I need that connection from the books I read. No matter how much I looked for it, this feeling never surfaced.

I think one of the reasons this book missed the mark for me was because I was comparing it to Before I Die by Jenny Downham (also turned into a film named Now is Good starring Dakota Fanning) which I read when I was 15. That book felt like such a harrowing and realistic portrayal of a teen with cancer and covered many of the themes The Fault in Our Stars did, love, hope, what it means to be alive. I read it at such an impressionable age as well and it absolutely wrecked me emotionally. It was subtle but excellently done. As the only other cancer book I have read, I was bound to compare the two and The Fault in Our Stars didn’t have even close to the same effect on me. This is an issue that lies with me rather than the book, and I can hardly blame John Green for it!

Finally, the characters were you guessed it, okay, but they were probably the biggest disappointment for me overall. I liked Hazel, her sarcasm and spunk was fun to read along with her flair for the blunt. I found her belief that nearly everything was a side effect of dying funny and weirdly accurate. Unfortunately, I also found her quite annoying and stuck up. Some of her everyday ponderings were plain stupid to me. I had a similar problem with Augustus, he had some great one liners and was irresistible in many respects but in other ways he annoyed me. I didn’t find the cigarette metaphor remotely cute or amusing, I have a feeling it was supposed to be super insightful or something but I just thought it was pretentious. Most frustrating of all was the unrealistic dialogue between the two because while it was fun, it didn’t work for me. I get that this book has been hailed and praised as intelligent YA, but I don’t want the intelligence of a book to affect the integrity of the characters. I understand that fiction often means we have to suspend our belief, but in a very specific way. I don’t have any problem with dragons and vampires or special powers as long as they are written in a way that makes me believe as if they could truly be out there, even if it is entirely impossible. John Green failed to do that for me with his dialogue, although I’m sure he has succeeded for a multitude for other readers.

The Fault in Our Stars was an unusual case where I preferred the minor characters. Isaac, who had lost his eyesight due to his battle with cancer made for an interesting read. He had some great lines, but realistic ones, and the egg throwing scene was my favourite in the entire novel. His pain felt raw and heartbreaking, he was only character that made me tear up and I wish I could have discovered more of his story. Peter van Houten the author came in close second, he was vile, mean and blunt but in an oddly appealing way. He’s a character you could imagine running into in real life. Someone who isn’t afraid to slap someone with the reality of life.

I wish I could have loved this novel. Maybe if I hadn’t already read and adored Before I Die, if John Green’s writing style hadn’t been so pretentious, if I had been younger or I hadn’t read so many other stellar books in a row. If, if, if…. But ‘ifs’ are no good to me because here I sit in reality world, and in reality when it comes to this book all I feel shamefully indifferent about the whole thing. I know this review will probably turn heads but I never have and never will apologize for being honest about my thoughts on a book, no matter how well-loved it is because it’s not in my nature! I would recommend this book to males or females 13+ who enjoy tales about first loves, loss and hope with a side of intelligent bookworm banter.

Writing Style: 3/5
Originality: 2/5
Entertainment: 3/5
Character Development: 3/5
Would I recommend this book? Meh.

Overall Impression: 3/5

Image Sources:
Book Cover.

63 thoughts on “The Fault in Our Stars by John Green Review 3/5

  1. Great review! I haven’t read The Fault in Our Stars yet, mainly because the hype around it is just so huge that I’m worried that it will affect my reading of it. I definitely read the novel at some point though.I’m so glad that you mentioned Before I Die – I must have read this when I was 16 or so but had forgotten all about it, thanks for reminding me!

    • Thank you, Gemma! I completely understand your hesitancy about picking it up, when there’s that much hype it almost has the opposite effect and puts you off reading it. I think (if possible) you have to try and put it all out of your mind when you begin to read. Easier said than done I know.
      Ohh good, I’m glad I could remind you of a fond, old read! I loved that book so much. 🙂 Have you seen the film adaptation? I thought it was a great interpretation of the book.

      • I didn’t know that there was a film adaptation until your review, so I’ll definitely have to check it out! I might revisit the book first though, it’s been ages since I’ve read it 🙂

      • Ohh right, awesome! I didn’t realise their was an adaptation until about a year ago either, I don’t remember seeing any hype for it and because it has a different title I didn’t catch on straight away. I hope you enjoy the movie. 🙂

    • I think that is highly probable, Michael! The TFiOS fandom is VAST and very, very passionate.

      It’s a bit scary.

      If you don’t hear from me by July, you’ll know what happened. 😛

  2. I agree with everything you said. The dialogue was pretentious. It’s fine for characters to be smart, geniuses even, but even my most intelligent friends (some who really are geniuses) don’t talk like this and they are in their teens. When you create a character and make them speak or act in a certain manner you have to consider the context. Why does character A talk like Albert Einstein? It’s fine if they speak like this but I feel like there needs to be more of a legitimate reason for why their dialogue needed to be the way it was and I didn’t see the reason. I think reason and context are important when deciding how and why a character acts the way they do. You have to setup a background that explains/legitimizes the characters. I still enjoyed the book though, but I did stop a lot and then started re-reading Rainbow Rowell’s FANGIRL. I thought she did a fantastic job w/ voice and dialogue and I kept comparing the way she did character dev. w/ how Greene did. (Even though the characters had very-very different conflicts). Still Rowell did a great job setting up everything to explain why the characters acted the way they did. She made them believable to me even though I had nothing in common with any of them.

    Great Review!

    • Thank you, I’m glad you agree. 🙂 It’s a matter of taste of course but I didn’t get on with it. I completely agree with you, if he had justified why they were so intelligent it possibly could have worked but he never really approached the subject. While the people around Hazel and Augustus note how oddly intelligent the two are for their years it didn’t work for me. Maybe if Green had written this novel in the third person I could have accepted easier because the thoughts wouldn’t all have come from Hazel, but who knows, we can only guess! Also, when the the topic of cancer or death is tackled I am instantly weary of teens that are suddenly wise, I think it’s unrealistic 98% of the time and difficult to do well. Hazel and Augustus are not necessarily wise because of their cancer though, it is never explicitly stated so this is a bit of a grey area for me.

      I think Rainbow Rowell is a great comparison to John Green, they have the same sort of quirky, brilliant dialogue. Yet Rowell’s has much more realism to it! I thought she was a great writer and storyteller.

      Thank you. 🙂 And thanks so much for sharing your own thoughts on the novel!

  3. Fantastic review! I haven’t read this, but it has been soooo hyped and it’s really interesting to read a measured, thoughtful review offering a different opinion. I remain undecided as to whether to read it, but you’ve given me food for thought!

    • Agreed, dare I say this is probably the most hyped book in YA fiction at the moment? Possibly.
      Awwh, thank you so much. 🙂 I’m glad you felt it was balanced because I really wanted it to be! Don’t get me wrong, this is definitely not a bad book by any standards there is far worse out there, but it didn’t capture my imagination and I found it very ‘meh’.

      I think whether you get on with it will depend on whether you love/find the writing style believable. Good luck! I would love to know what you decide. 🙂

  4. You finally bit the bullet and did your review! See, that wasn’t so bad was it?! Had any hate mail yet? Is your friend still your friend? 😉

    I enjoyed the book, but I think I agree with pretty much everything that you’ve said. In my review I mentioned that the whole star crossed lovers thing isn’t new and I also picked up on the fact that Hazel and Augustus are VERY philosophical, perhaps more than people of their age should be. Also, I felt severely emotionally manipulated when I was reading, like I was being DELIBERATELY poked into feeling sad. Despite all that, I lapped it up because I’m clearly a fangirly sheep. Ouch.

    It’s got some good ideas, good characters and good lines but it isn’t without flaws. You’ve slightly pricked my TFiOS balloon 😉 In fact, if I reread it in a year’s time, I wonder how I’d feel about it then…interesting thought!

    Fabulous review as always my dear.

    • I did! I’m actually surprised by how many people are agreeing in the comments, I wasn’t expecting that at all. My friend is still my friend….just. 😛

      Ohh good, I’m glad as someone who has read and enjoyed the book you can still understand my gripes with it. I definitely didn’t feel there was anything new in this novel and I agree with everything you’ve said. I do think the twist was a bit emotionally manipulative, but then again I don’t mind being manipulated in that way much because at least it provokes a reaction! With TFiOS my ability to care about the characters at all was severly lacking, which is not something I come across often. I’m still not entirely sure why that was missing.

      Ohh no, I definitely don’t want to prick you TFiOS balloon, stay in the bubble it’s happy in there!

      Thank you muchly, Charl. 😀

  5. I think it’s perfectly acceptable to find a book mediocre. In fact, its perfectly…okay. 🙂

    This has been on the edges of my vision for a while. I keep seeing it pop up in Goodreads and elsewhere, and with the film coming out, it’s more front and centre now.

    Pretentiousness turns me off a book faster than a light switch dims a light as well. The Road by Cormac McCarthy was a bad example. Great book ruined by the words in it.

    Fantastic review as ever! I like the grenade analogy of the main character, that was a cool image.

    • I’m glad you think that, Tony. It’s weird because normally with a book I have a strong reaction of some sort, be it awesomeness, frustration or anger…but just okay and indifferent? That doesn’t happen often! Haha, I see what you did there. 😉

      It is hard to go anywhere bookish on the internet without coming across TFiOS enthusiasm, the hype is in full swing with the film coming out so soon. I’m glad it’s not only me that is turned off by pretentious writing, it’s a guaranteed to put me in a bad mood! I’ve heard a lot of people complain about The Road so I’m not surprised to hear that. Such a shame…

      Awwh thank you, Tony. 🙂 I think the character did describe herself as a grenade at some point so I played on that and expanded it, I’m glad you liked it!

      Do you think you will read The Fault in Our Stars or give it a miss?

      • It’s on my TBR, so I’ll get it from the school library at some point, but I’m not in a rush to read it after your review. I trust your judgement as to what’s good and what’s not!

      • Ahh, good old library. Get to read it but don’t have to pay for it, excellent! Well, I will be interested to see what you think, mine isn’t exactly the opinion of the masses so it will be interesting to see if you agree. 🙂

  6. Dude. Thank you. Well. I don’t know if having the same opinion as someone warrants offfering thanks. but. there it is.
    I read The Fault in Our Stars around the time it first came out, and I found it so, to borrow your term, okay. My thoughts were almost exactly the same as yours in every regard. So. I didn’t understand the hype at all. If want something good from John Green I think Will Grayson, Will Grayson or Paper Towns (despite also containing a good deal of unrealistic dialogue) are much better options.

    I thought that there were some fantastic ideas in The Fault in Our Stars, really. I just thought it was too measured. Almost like he wrote some aphorisms and then tried to jam them into a narrative, which makes for something rather implausible with overly explicit themes. I like to be able to read creatively, if you catch my drift, and when every literary device is administered on the great golden spoon of obvious, it is viritually impossible to do so.
    What I would say is that maybe I am just not a part of this book’s intended demographic. It’s good to remember that this is a teen book. It’s not Moby Dick. I think it’s a good beginner book to read if you are just learning about critical thinking or detecting themes in literature or writing about said themes. Similarly, I think it is a good book for someone who can’t be bothered to read something more complex and just wants something easy and seemingly profound. If you smell what I’m stepping in.

    • Oh! I want to add something. I’m out of control! Someone stop me!!! I did really love Augustus’ little speech about the wish factory and preserving the integrity of the wish as an idea. So that was a good moment.

    • No problem! I’m not entirely sure about that either, but I’ll take it all the same. 😛 I understand your relief in finding someone who agrees with you about this book because I feel similarly about your comment! I wasn’t expecting many people to agree with me.

      Wow, I’m so glad you feel almost exactly the same about this book, it makes me feel slightly less odd for feeling indifferent towards it. Interesting that you would still recommend some of his other books, I was wondering about that actually. I’m not sure whether I should try some of his other work because if I found his writing pretentious in this one I’m worried I will feel the same about the others. Thanks for the tip, I will head to those two first if I consider reading more of his work. 🙂

      I completely agree with you! ‘Measured’ is the perfect word. It all felt so forced and specific which meant I was constantly aware of the author’s presence instead of getting lost in the story. I’m the kind of reader that likes subtly and while reading everything felt kind of in-your-face-you-will-find-this-insightful-or-else which I didn’t like. It doesn’t necessarily mean Green’s style wrong, it just wasn’t for me. Great golden spoon of obvious, ha! I love that.

      Maybe you’re right about the demographic thing, I feel like I may have enjoyed this novel more if I had been even a little bit younger. Having said that, I still read and love most YA at the age of 20 so I doubt my disinterest in TFiOS is rooted in that.

      Thank you for the reading and commenting, Jessie!

  7. Thank you so much for this review! I always thought I was the only one who found it pretentious. Seriously, no one talks like that! And as much as I loved the story (I can’t believe you saw the twist coming! Though, in hindsight, it totally makes sense), it lost something when those two started on their hipster-I’m-so-alternative rants.
    Isaac was definitely the stand out. Isaac and Hazel’s parents.
    But question: will you see the movie?

    • No problem, Bec! Honestly, when I wrote this I didn’t think anyone would agree with me so I’m really relieved. 🙂 I went into this book with an open mind and although I liked how clever the dialogue was at points I also found it really annoying and couldn’t get over how ridiculously unrealistic it was!
      Aha, yeah. I seem to be quite good at guessing where a plot is going to go, probably because I’ve read so many books!

      Glad you liked Isaac too. Hazel’s mum was pretty awesome, but I went off her dad when he did that whole speech about how the universe wanted to be noticed, that was utter rubbish to me.

      Oooh, tough question. I originally read the book with the intention of watching the movie, but now I’m not that bothered. The trailer makes me cringe. If I have friends that want to see it I will go with them, but otherwise I don’t think I will bother, being a poor student and everything. 😛

      • Oh the poor student thing. I’ve missed so many movies because of that! I am so much more excited for Maleficent than TFiOS. That being said, I will probably go and see it. Just to see it on screen and to see what they change and what they don’t. If they make the dialogue more palatable, that would be fanTAStic.

        I got annoyed with Hazel’s dad because he was so…weak. I mean, I understand that having a daughter with terminal cancer would be unbelievably difficult, but poor Hazel’s mum. She was so amazing and basically had to deal with the whole thing herself.

        I’m bad for plots. I usually get surprised by endings that other people have guessed. Though, I kind of like that 🙂

        Oh those kids: too indie to use regular language. BUT that swing set scene was gorgeous!

      • Haha, me too! I really want to go see the new X-Men film but I don’t think I’m going to be able to. *Sigh.* Especially as the cinema near me is SO expensive, it’s almost criminal. Oooh, agreed! Maleficent looks awesome and so atmospheric. I’ve always been much more interested in the villains in traditional fairytales rather than the ‘pure’ good girl. Well good luck, you’ll have to let me know what you think of it. 🙂

        Yeah, I must admit I found it odd how he cried all the time, but then again, would we bat an eyelid if it was the opposite way round and the mother was always crying? I doubt it. I did feel bad for Hazel’s mum too!

        Ha yeah, I wish I wasn’t good at guessing plots, it can ruin books sometimes!

        The swing set theme was pretty awesome. 🙂

  8. Yet another one here who is suspicious when any book gets so much hype (while secretly hoping my own will as well one day). I stood with this one in my hands a while ago and put it back down after reading the blurb. Would you say it’s worth reading simply from a language point of view?

    • Haha, it’s a twisted world!
      Yeah, I don’t think the blurb does much for this book. Hmm, that’s a tricky one. There is some awesome use of language in TFiOS but I didn’t like the way a lot of it was used. I would recommend investigating some of the famous quotes floating around the internet because if you feel those are insightful and interestingly constructed it is probably worth you reading the book. I think that would be the best indication. 🙂

      Hope that helps!

  9. I can’t say that I am not a little sad that you didn’t love this book. However I can completely see where you are coming from, Green’s style is well suited for some readers (such as myself) and a rather poor fit for others. I am very emotionally driven, and so I can easily forgive any pretension or unrealistic dialogue because Green’s writing just makes me feel all the right things. I might suggest reading some of his other works, because in my opinion TFIOS might be the most popular, but it really is not his best work. Great review!

    • Don’t worry, Rachel, I was sad that I didn’t love it as well! I’m so glad that you can still see where I am coming from in this review even though you loved the book. I completely agree and you’ve summed it up so well. My reading preferences weren’t that suited to novel, that doesn’t mean that this was a bad book, it just wasn’t to my taste! I am a very emotionally driven reader too but for some reason I never connected to TFiOS in that way which was a real shame.

      Oooh, that’s interesting, which John Green book would you recommend the most? 🙂

  10. Finally someone who agrees with me! I read this book about a year ago and like you I found parts of it only okay, and some parts even frustrating. The pretentious writing and the characters did nothing for me and having just finished John Green’s “Looking for Alaska” I found the characters almost identical to those I had just read. And like Charl said above, I felt manipulated into feeling sad. Great review! Glad someone finally said it!

    • I’m glad I wasn’t the only one who found this book frustrating! The writing honestly didn’t do much for me either, although I can also understand why many readers love it. Ohh wow, really? That’s interesting. I always think it is a great test of an author’s skill if they can make their characters feel different in each of their books.
      Thank you so much! 🙂

  11. Oh well, I guess we won’t feel exactly the same way about every book will we Book Buddy? 🙂 I understand all of your points, and I know it’s far from perfect, but I loved this book. It moved me deeply, and I thought about it for days afterwards. As usual though, your review was excellent because you are always totally honest about your feelings.

    • I’m afraid not, I really wish I could have loved this book! For the first few chapters I thought I would but then something went array along the way. I’m so glad you were able to fall for Green’s story and it’s characters like so many others have though. I always think the books that move us and make us think are the most important ones. 🙂 I think it’s great that it had such a powerful effect on you. Have you read any of Green’s other novel yet?

      Awwh, thank you. 🙂

  12. Great review! Wonderful balance of constructive criticism and praise, and I’m glad you’re unafraid of voicing your opinion even if contrasts with the majority. While I really enjoyed this book I agreed that sometimes Green tries to be too clever, which makes his presence as an author way too apparent – which eventually detracts from the reality of the story. Even though you didn’t love The Fault in Our Stars I’m glad it gave you the opportunity to write such a wonderful. Also, I had no idea Before I Die was turned into a movie, and now I really want to see it.

    • Thanks, Thomas! I’m so glad you felt it was balanced, I wanted it to be because there were aspects of this book that I enjoyed despite feeling so detached from the characters.
      You have phrased my problem with this book perfectly in so few words. I agree, I constantly felt the authors presence while reading which prevented me from becoming completely engrossed in the story.
      Awwh, thank you. 🙂 Ohh, well at least you know now! it’s a great film and so true to the book, definitely worth checking out. Also, the whole movie may be available to watch on Youtube, but you didn’t hear it from me. 😉

  13. I agree with you on quite some points, especially about the pretentious writing. However I did enjoy the book a lot. I don’t love it like many do, but like it a lot. It din’t make me cry or move me very deeply but I must admit that it had an effect on me.
    It definitely isn’t the best book out there like many claim it to be, but that’s just my opinion. I picked it up for the hype and also because many friends recommended it. Fortunately I din’t have any huge expectations from it so I wasn’t majorly disappointed when I finished it.

    Great review! 🙂

    • I’m glad you enjoyed TFiOS, Keerthi! The pretentious writing was a big problem with me and I think that was what prevented me from being affected by the book. I think it’s great when a book has an impact on you that lasts after you have finished the last page so I’m glad it had that affect on you. 🙂 I agree, it’s not the best book out there. It’s always good to go in with little expectations, I wish I had been able to do that.

      Thank you!

  14. I don’t remember much about The Fault in Our Stars now (though I am planning to watch the movie to refresh my memory!) but I am one of those that quite liked it. Having said that, and having watched Now is Good AFTER I read TFiOS, I think I probably wouldn’t have liked the latter as much, because Now is Good was quite powerful and had me sobbing. I actually was watching it with my sister the other day and we were both weeping. >.>;; So yeah, I understand where you’re coming from! I dunno though, I think the movie adaptation may be good. 🙂

    • Funnily enough that’s one of my problems with TFiOS, I don’t feel like it’s memorable. Already my memories of it are beginning to fade and I only read it a month ago, whereas some book I read years ago I can still remember so clearly! Odd, isn’t it? I’m glad that you enjoyed reading it though, there are certainly a lot of good aspects of this book as well.
      Ohh wow, really? now that is interesting. I found Now is Good/Before I Die incredibly moving and powerful. It had me sobbing just like you! Both the book and the film. Perhaps if I had read them the other way round I would have liked TFiOS more, who knows? Anyway, it gave TFiOS a high bar and it would have been tough to surpass it.

      Thanks for reading and commenting, Zen. 😀

  15. This was a really great review. I’ve been super leery of this book ever since I saw it getting so much hype (in my experience, no book can almost never live up to that much hype) and ever since I read some excerpts. It could just be a matter of taste and not getting the full picture, but I really did not like the samples I read of this book. Something about the way it was written was like nails on a chalkboard. It is kind of disappointing to learn that the characters weren’t worth it, but I’m not really surprised. When there’s so much hype about something and when I can never get anything coherent out of recommendations other than “it’s so sad”… you can see why I’d be hesitant! I may still check it out at some point, but I trust your judgement on this one enough that it’s gone down on the radar (confirmation bias, perhaps? Oh, well).

    • Thanks Maggie, it’s nice to see you popping your face in at WordPress again. 🙂 I’m not surprised by your hesitance at all, I felt exactly the same. Funnily enough before I read the novel I had this…sense that I might not get on with it. I was hoping it would be unfounded but unfortunately it wasn’t. I agree, I wasn’t a fan of the quotes flying around the internet either but I thought maybe in practice they would make more sense.
      They didn’t.
      I couldn’t get on with the characters because a) I felt so emotionally distant from them and b) because they talked in such a ridiculous way, to use your phrase, it was a bit like nails down a chalkboard!
      Haha, confirmation bias definitely. I must admit I would be interested to see what you think of this book, but I wouldn’t blame you if you decided to give it a miss either!

  16. I’ve been meaning to read this. Like you, I will probably pick it up soon before I go see the film. Sorry you didn’t love it. I’ve had people recommending this book to me for ages. I’ll go in with low expectations now.

    • Thanks, Emma, I wish I could have loved it like so many other people. I definitely think it’s best to go in with low expectations, then hopefully you will be pleasantly surprised. 🙂

      Good luck!

  17. I was so interested in reading your opinion on this book! It’s quite similar to mine in that it’s just a bit ‘meh.’ Like you I wasn’t blown away by it and the hype completely passed me by. I found Augustus really pretentious as well and I thought Hazel was just plain annoying. It’s a shame that we can’t jump on the ‘I heart TFiOS’ bandwagon, but hey ho! Will you be going to watch the film? x

    • Huzzar! I was wondering if you would comment on this one, I was interested to see what you thought. 🙂 ‘Meh’ and ‘okay’ are definitely the main words I associate with this book. I’m so glad you felt Augustus was pretentious as well! It made me feel a bit cold hearted saying it, but it’s how I felt!

      It is a shame, I keep seeing how excited everyone is about the movie on twitter, but honestly I’m failing to muster any enthusiasm for it. Being a poor student and everything I doubt I’ll bother. Do you think you’ll watch the film?

      • No I’m the same, and I keep seeing people’s posts with hype and excitement for the film and I just can’t empathise at all! Yeah I doubt I’ll bother as well considering ticket prices for the cinema. I might just wait until it comes out on netflix or something like that… Oh well!

  18. So I waited until after I finished to read your review and I love it because 1) you’re right, we had such similar experiences with this book, 2) the OKAY thing bothered me so I think it’s ironic/funny that it described your lackluster feelings in your review, and 3) you make an excellent point, his writing IS pretentious. There were a couple of times I was just baffled by what a word meant (and not to be pretentious myself but I have a pretty wide vocabulary, especially for the YA genre) yet I couldn’t muster enough enthusiasm to bother to look the words up because I was almost offended I didn’t know them (if that makes any sense? Like I felt a little insulted that he threw in such big words for the sake of using big words, as if he was trying to say “look at how superior of a YA author I am). AND THANK YOU I COULD NOT STAND THE CIGARETTE “METAPHOR” THING (I thought it was SO stupid). And I agree, Van Houten and Isaac were the highlights of this narrative while Augustus and Hazel, well, I felt like he tried to hard to make me like them, and so I didn’t? Especially Augustus. I was so tired of him trying SO HARD to be metaphorical or profound or whatever for the sake of being profound.

    Sorry for the rant, I loved your review and this is one of the few I’ve seen that I’ve agreed with!

    • Yay, I’m so glad that you saw the parallel’s between our posts as well, I was so pleased to see that we had both picked out similar issues, especially since the majority of people love this book so much. Hahaa, glad you liked the ‘okay’ thing! It seemed appropriate at the time.
      I was slightly worried to see how people would react to me calling his writing pretentious because I didn’t want anyone to mistake it as me finding his writing to ‘highbrow’ for me to appreciate, but that definitely wasn’t it and I don’t feel his writing is highbrow. More impressive than some YA authors for sure, but nothing spectacular. I completely agree with you, it did seem as if he used more complex words for the sake of it, rather than because if was of benefit to the story.


      No by all means, rant on! Rants are always welcome here whether in line with my opinions or not. 🙂 Awwhh, thank you, so glad you enjoyed it!

  19. I finally caved and read The Fault In Our Stars too recently, I was a little worried because I’d heard it’s really sad and I know how likely I am to turn into a sobbing mess haha, I did cry a bit but not until in the last 4/5 chapters. I’ve got to admit I absolutely loved it, it’s the first book that I’ve read of that type though so I don’t know if that had anything to do with it. But, I have to agree, I thought the cigarette metaphor was slightly odd and I didn’t really get why everyone started clapping for them in the Anne Frank scene, *shrugs. But like you said, I really liked Hazel’s spunk and sarcastic humour. It’s a shame that you didn’t like it as much but I totally agree with you in that you shouldn’t have to apologise for your opinion – to each their own 🙂

    • Why hello Sophie, long time no speak. 🙂
      Yes, I think this book reduces most people to tears! It managed to squeeze a couple out of me but for the most part I was surprised by the lack of emotional connection I had to it! I’m not sure why that element was missing for me because I’m usually a total blubber. I’m glad you loved it though. 🙂
      Arrg yes, the damn cigarette metaphor. That annoyed me. I got why they clapped in the Anne Frank scene but I dunno, I just found it kind of cringe? Didn’t really like it.
      Yes, Hazel did have some really good one liners! It’s a shame she started to grate on me as the book went on.

      Awwh thank you. 🙂 I really wish I could have loved this one. Thanks for taking the time to read the review!

      • Heyyy 🙂 I know! I’ve been really slacking on the blog front since getting my full time work placement! I’m hoping to do National Blog Posting Month next month and get back on track *crosses fingers*. Hope you’ve been well.

        I was a bit like that, or maybe I just assumed it was going to be a blubber fest the whole way through, so I’m glad I’m not the only one who didn’t cry much! Thank you 🙂

        Yeah I just thought those two bits were kind of weird. Hazel’s one liners were great, though I could kind of see how someone could read it and take it a different way; it’s a shame she grated on you as it went on.

        Not a problem Becky 🙂 Have you seen the film yet?

      • Haha, no worries. 🙂 It’s awesome that you’ve managed to get decent full time work already, so it’s a good kinda busy I hope! Oooh, good luck with that. I would love to see how you get on. When I did the 30 day book challenge it was such a struggle but really rewarding.

        Haha maybe, that’s the thing. There’s so many preconceived expectations for a cry fest before you pick this book up and it’s bound to have an impact!

        Yes agreed, I think it’s definitely a personal preference thing because I can also see how someone would like Hazel a lot even though I didn’t take to her. 🙂

        No I haven’t seen the film yet but I’m really curious! I must admit my expectations are pretty low after the book, but I’m interested to see what they will do with it. Have you seen the film yet? 🙂

  20. Pingback: Review: The Fault in our Stars | Musings: The Blog of Tony Talbot, Young Adult Writer

  21. Pingback: Tony’s Review: The Fault in our Stars – asidefromwriting

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