Author: John Green
Rating: 4 / 5 stars
I was skeptical to start reading this novel as I had heard rumors it was a tear jerker. Indeed, I borrowed the ebook from the library twice and never got around to reading it before I finally got on the waitlist for the hardcover from the library and finally caved and read it. My timing was not the best, as I just had a grandfather who passed from cancer and the feelings are still a little raw after a one year battle of treatments after surgery.
This novel could best be described as a young adult romance novel between two star crossed lovers. I think the target age range and thus the style of writing is what really prevented me from fully engaging with these characters. Unlike a novel similar to My Sister’s Keeper, this novel is written for teenagers, and thus is not as descriptive or detailed as its adult targeted counterparts. As such, at times I had a hard time believing in these characters and never felt they were fully developed. Their lives were solely about their ailments and how it affected them, and Green did little to explore else in their lives which I think hindered the novel.
In addition, the way the novel plays out is rather predictable. While I couldn’t guess 100% how it would end, I knew with certainty it was either going to play out one of two ways by the time Green introduced both Hazel and Gus, and I think that hindered my ability to bond with the characters as well. I know with a disease like cancer, it almost has to end in one way or another, but when you can guess how it ends right at the beginning, it lessens the tragedy you feel the characters go through as you read along.
With that being said, it still brought tears to my eyes for the last 40 pages or so. And I like the eloquence and bouts of sophistication Gus brings. He is, hands down, my favorite of the characters as he reminds me a lot of my grandfather.
While nothing Earth shattering and completely heartbreaking like My Sister’s Keeper, I think The Fault in Our Stars in a fresh young adult novel that touches on tragedy and young love that does not have the unrealistic fairy tale endings that most of the novels in its genre today spew. So while John Green didn’t blow my socks off with this first novel I’ve read by him, I am certain to explore the rest of his literature out there.