March 27, 2014
By Meagan Winker, Staff Reporter
John Green has exploded across all of the popular social media platforms. Quotes and fan-art from his young adult (YA) novels flood Tumblr dashboards everywhere. His Twitter has over 2 million followers. He has a massive following on YouTube from his Nerd Fighter videos. His newest novel, The Fault in Our Stars, has been made into a movie that will be in theaters this summer. With all this exposure, it was only a matter of time before I sat down to read what is perhaps Green’s most popular book.
The Fault in Our Stars is told from the point of view of Hazel Grace Lancaster, a teenager suffering from terminal stage 4 thyroid cancer. She befriends Augustus “Gus” Waters and his friend Isaac at a support group for young people with cancer. The trio grows close, finding that despite different conditions they share many similar feelings. The trio bonds quickly, bound by shared experiences. Hazel and Gus’s relationship blossoms despite the overwhelming obstacles that their respective illnesses present them with. The pair wind up taking an international trip to meet Hazel’s favorite author, Peter Van Houten. The story of their journey is heart-wrenching and the end of the book will leave you sad if not completely in tears.
I liked the book, but I didn’t love it. Green’s tale is well written, his writing style simple and honest. Hazel, Gus, and Isaac are interesting characters who are endearing and sarcastic throughout most of the story, yet I found myself less fond of them near the conclusion, as their sarcasm becomes dry and redundant. As I read further, the personalities of the pair became so similar it seems that they almost blur into one character. The parents in the novel also adopted this similar tone, making it difficult to tell them apart. What started as a varied cast of characters was eventually reduced to a single character type. This was disappointing to say the least.
The plot was also a little predictable, but how could it not be when the main characters have cancer? You know from the start that the ending is going to be messy. However, it’s the journey and experience leading to this sad end that makes the book worth a read.
I saw how the book was going to end before I was ten pages into the story, yet even anticipating the inevitable conclusion, when the dramatic moment came, I found tears rolling down my cheeks and I had to set the novel down to take a moment. That’s how powerful Green’s words were, which, I think, is a testament to his writing.
If you’re already a John Green fan, you’ll probably love this book. In my opinion it is one of his better novels. If you haven’t read Green’s work yet, love sad books, or just want to read the book before the film adaptation hits theaters June 6th consider checking out, The Fault in Our Stars.