Backlist Review Take Two: The Fault in Our Stars by John Green

Saturday, April 25, 2015
Title: The Fault in Our Stars
Author: John Green
Genre: contemporary
Series: N/A
Pages: 313
Published: 2012
Source: purchased
Rating: 3.75/5

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.

Insightful, bold, irreverent, and raw, The Fault in Our Stars is award-winning author John Green's most ambitious and heartbreaking work yet, brilliantly exploring the funny, thrilling, and tragic business of being alive and in love.

I can take or leave John Green. I enjoy his books but they aren't my favorites. He is not The Coming of YA, or its Chosen (S)One. Of the three I've read, one has been a 3 (Looking for Alaska), one was a almost a four (this), and only one was a 5 (Will Grayson, Will Grayson). You won't find me amongst his nerdfighters, but nor does he irritate me as much as the small but vocal group of detractors he has amassed. Yes, he can be pretentious. Yes, a lot of his characters act the same, think the same, etc. But still, he can turn a phrase. He can make you care about his MPDGs.

I think the key to enjoying his books is to space them out. I read about one a year, and it keeps me from noticing (too much) the similarities between them all. I can also separate the man-as-an-author compared to his smarm on twitter or in interviews. Though I do think this will be the last of him I read, he's not a bad author. He's just not that perfect either. He lacks the originality I crave in characters and plot.

That said, the reason this is rated so highly is purely personal. I read it on the anniversary of the death of someone I loved immensely. Someone who died at 19 - way too young. Someone who was funny, handsome, and full of life. So I am not the be the most objective in how I feel about The Fault in Our Stars, but Green knows how to write grief. It got to me, it resonated with me, and this book will stick with me for all these reasons.  John Green can turn a phrase, but his writing is largely lost on me.

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