May 23, 2012

Review: The Fault in Our Stars by John Green

book cover of The Fault in Our Stars by John GreenTitle: The Fault in Our Stars [Amazon|GoodReads]
Author: John Green [Website|Twitter|Facebook]
Standing: Stand alone novel.
Genre: Young Adult, Contemporary
Published: January 10th, 2012 by Dutton Books
Format: Hardcover; 313 pages.
Source: Borrowed from my local library.
Challenge: Completely Contemp Challenge

You have a choice in this world, I believe, about how to tell sad stories, and we made the funny choice.

Did you know that there are, chemically speaking, two different stages of love? The first stage, the one where you’re falling and all dopey and basically unable to function because you can’t think of anything but that other person is the result of a chemical cocktail of adrenaline, dopamine, and serotonin pouring through your brain. The second stage, the one where you’re committed and stay together potentially for life is because of two other chemicals, vasopressin and oxytocin. These are the ones that really bond you together, but the fact is, once you’re getting the vasopressin and oxytocin, you don’t get so much of the adrenaline, dopamine, and serotonin. And that, my friends, is probably the biggest reason that I (and quite probably you) love to read about falling in love. It gives me a bit of those chemicals (and feelings) back. That’s why after reading a book I love, I often can’t sleep, and I usually have a lot of energy. And I love it!

But here’s the thing. Reading can also make you feel not-so-good feelings that you don’t like and want to avoid like the plague. That, my friends, is why I did not really want to read The Fault in Our Stars. I drug my feet…a lot. Even while reading. A book that could have easily been read in one sitting, I read a third of, put down for two days, then read chapter by chapter for some time, getting up and doing something else constantly to try to keep myself from getting too involved. This behavior continued for about 2/3 of the book.  I knew what was coming, and I dreaded it. I kind of Monnicad this book. I didn’t want to get hurt, so I pushed it away, but it hurt anyway. But it also felt pretty good, falling in love with Augustus Waters.

This book doesn’t really need another review at this point (heck, I didn’t even bother to post a summary, please click the GoodReads link if you need one). Many/most of you have already read it, and to my knowledge, everyone’s loved it, so it seems silly to go on and on, and yet I’m not sure I can resist fawning a little. So here it goes:

I love Augustus. I love that he pushes this perfect boundary between being pushy and just plain attentive. I love that he doesn’t try to kiss Hazel, or call her too much, and I love that he reads her favorite book first thing, and really thinks about it.

I love that Hazel has a hard time standing much, and Augustus has a hard time sitting. Something about that whispers “star-crossed lovers” in your ear and breaks your heart.

I love that Hazel and Augustus both have wonderful families. Families who care about them and support them, and even hover a little, but the kids don’t resent them for it. They love them for it. There need to be more families like this in books (and maybe in real life).

I love that this book manages to include poetry that wasn’t at all cheesy, and did not once make me gag.

I love that this book made me laugh a lot more than it made me cry. I agree with Hazel and Augustus (and with Mr. John Green), you have a choice how to tell sad stories, and the funny choice? That’s the best one.

And I like my choices.

Likelihood that I'll be back for more: This was my second John Green, and I’m not going to lie, I am glad it wasn’t my first.  If it was my first, I’d probably think “wonderful book, but I’m not signing up for that again”.  Luckily, I remain very excited to read his other books, and plan on listening to the audio of Looking for Alaska somewhat soonish.  This guy’s made himself a must-read.

Recommended for:  The next time anyone says something degrading about the quality or value of YA lit, I’m going to slap them with The Fault in Our Stars and just dare them not to feel all the things.

Real life repercussions of reading this book:  Only 2.25 tissues used! <—Unsure if this is a bragging point, or a sign that I am well and truly dead inside.

Get a second opinion:
The Readventurer
G Reads
Chachic’s Book Nook
Good Books and Good Wine (Audio)
Book Harbinger


  1. The last book of John Green's did not agree with me. I hated it to be honest! I would like to get this though but I'm waiting until Dutton bring out a decent copy. The copies currently available are awful...

    ComaCalm's Waiting For...

  2. Oh yeah and sorry for the link! I'm half asleep, got a snotty nose and it's REALLY WARM. But hey, it still links to me?

    1. Haha, no problem. I'm actually happy to see people who didn't love this book. Honestly, the more time that passes since I've read it, the more angry it makes me. I really did enjoy reading it, and loved the characters and humor, but the whole cancer thing just seems like such a cheap ploy sometimes. I know it wasn't meant to be, but I still had a hard time reading it. Like I said, glad this wasn't my first John Green!

  3. I loved this everyone else and their mom, grandpa, and dog. (dogs can read?!) I was a little surprised that Tatiana didn't love it but the thing about John Green, as you'll see once you read one or two more, is that he has a system and organizational plan in his books. It works, and it works well, but it is readily apparent that you are reading one of his books and soon all the characters seem to blend together. Sarah Dessen is another author I feel that way about. Do I read everything they both right? Yeah, because I like their style. But it gets old:-/ I thought Fault was a little departure for Green and I really liked the book for it but I can see why it would/could be considered similar to his other books. Anyway, I'm so happy you're trekking through all of them. I hope you like Looking For Alaska! That was my first, if I recall correctly.

    1. I totally see what you mean about the characters and structure being similar. I mean, it's totally working so I'm not going to complain, but I am going to try and space out the backlog.

  4. This was SUCH a good review. I loved it. A lot. It made me want to read the book that has been sitting on my kitchen table for three months because I am too damn afraid to pick it up since you know...CANCER and DEATH plus LOVE makes me want to puke a little and not in a good way...

    1. Thanks so much, Alyssa! And yeah, reading this book was hard, and I am so with you on the resistance thing, but it wasn't nearly as bad as I thought it was going to be, and it was worth it! Though yeah, I still get mad thinking about this book using cancer to make me feel things. D:

  5. I'm glad you reviewed this, Heidi. I always enjoy hearing your opinion. I hope you like Looking for Alaska! That used to be my favorite before TFioS.

    1. I hope so too, though I'm sure I will! I actually didn't like TFioS as much as I liked An Abundance of Katherines to be honest, but I can certainly see why everyone loved it so much.

  6. Like Flannery said, Green definitely has sort of a way of organizing. I know I could not read all of his books nor all of Dessen's books back to back or I would get bored of them. I think it's good to space them out. Like, sigh, I still have Paper Towns left to read, but I won't dive into it until later in the year because it's too close to TFioS.

    Also? Even when books have a bajillion reviews, I am always interested in your thoughts on the book cuz you bring your own unique and awesome insight to the table.

    And yes. Augustus Waters was completely fantastic. And I loved their functional wonderful families. :-D

    1. Awe, thanks April! I know it gets tiring reading tons and tons of reviews on the same book, so I appreciate people who still want to hear what I have to say.

      I like that all of the families in the two John Green books I've read have been really good, supportive, and functional. Even if the parents in Abundance of Katherines were largely absent, we still knew they cared by the need for him to call nightly and what not.

  7. I still have yet to read a John Green book. The synopses never seem like my sort of my thing, but I have seen SO many reviews that are just glowing this one I may have to try one.

    1. Yeah, honestly, this already isn't my favorite John Green. I preferred the lighter, funnier side I saw in An Abundance of Katherines. Still, this was a wonderful book, and I hope that if you try it you like it!


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