Wednesday, 18 June 2014

The Faulty Fault in our Stars

So I thought I'd start out slowly with this whole reviewing thing and choose something not too many people are emotionally invested in... (Sarcasm alert)

That's right...

The Fault in Our Stars!


John Green


YA Romance

One-sentence summary:

Hazel, our narrator, has terminal cancer and meets a guy at cancer support group, then develops a sort-of relationship with him while at the same time struggling to deal with the effect of cancer on herself and those around her.


Right, I'm just gonna come right out and say it: I didn't love this book.

It was 'okay' (get it?) but I just didn't find myself falling as madly and tragically in love with it as most people seem to. I bought this out of curiosity on the recommendation of a couple of friends who apparently cried buckets the whole way through. And being the obsessive Amazon-review-reader that I am, I trawled through hundreds of reviews saying it was the best book they'd ever read and it had profoundly changed them as a person and they didn't think they'd ever be able to drink enough water to re-hydrate themselves from all the tears they'd shed. High praise indeed.

But there was something about this book that just didn't do it for me.

Sure, there were some things I did like about the book's story, like the fact that it challenges the view of cancer patients being courageous heroes to be placed on a pedestal rather than human beings with struggles and flaws. And I liked how it exposed people's awkwardness and hypocracy when it comes to terminal illness. Hazel has received every possible line from people trying to use words to ease the pain of being a terminal cancer patient, and she acknowledges their hollow uselessness. But when it comes down to it, she cannot help trotting out those same lines herself, though she knows firsthand they're not going to help. 

And it's suction power was strong-ish too, as far as the story goes. I actually read this book sitting on the beach with my French friend in glorious sunshine, but it took me a while to snap out of it when she started talking to me. I count that as a good sign.

BUT sadly I just couldn't get into the writing style... It just felt too laboured and deliberate, as if John Green purposefully set out to write a book with plenty of supposedly deep and meaningful quotes that people could make into inspirational pictures to post on tumblr. Not that I have anything against tumblr of course! I guess what I'm saying is that the writing  felt quite self-aware, which in my experience is the absolute antidote to being able to get lost in a story and forget you're reading words on a page...

The main characters also didn't quite do it for me. Nothing especially wrong with them, they were just a bit flat. I was also not a fan of their unnaturally long monologues, especially Augustus's. Who really talks like that? Not to mention that their love story pretty much came out of nowhere and didn't really have a reason (except that Augustus stared at Hazel and was good looking). But I didn't dislike the characters - they were okay. Some of the minor ones were better developed though (Isaac, Hazel's mum, Peter van Houten).

Final thoughts:

I liked the book's subject matter and the choice to go for (respectful and tasteful) humour, and the fact that it didn't shy away from the uglier and more uncomfortable sides of cancer. But I didn't click with the characters or the writing, and didn't feel this book was anything special or unique compared with similar books. I really do wish I'd been able to love the book more, just so I'd have an excuse to wear this awesome cutepolish design on my nails. (Check out this awesome tutorial!)

But sadly, I didn't. So for that reason, I'm giving The Fault in Our Stars...

Similar books

Things I Know About Love by Kate le Vann
My Sister's Keeper by Jodi Picoult

What did you think of The Fault in Our Stars? Do you agree with my review? Let me know in the comments.


  1. Oh I agree so much! I feel like this book is such a SOLID 3-star. Mostly it was for the characters - I don't see what's SO dreamy about Augustus, really - and the romance felt WAY too speedy for me.

    But I thought the writing was gorgeous! I tend to fall for that sort of stuff :-)

    1. I think what probably ruined this book for me was all the hype. I think if I'd come at it from a completely objective perspective I would probably have felt better about it, though I still probably wouldn't have given it a higher rating. I definitely don't want to rain on anyone's enjoyment of the book though! I know how much it sucks when you love a book/film/thing and it's kinda ruined when someone else doesn't like it. I get that same thing with Disney movies because I never watched any when I was a child, so now when I watch a lot of them they just annoy me.. But my friends love them because of their sentimental and nostalgic value so I have learnt to bite my tongue so I don't end up being a killjoy.. :P


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