Series or Standalone: Standalone
They say that your first John Green book will be your favorite John Green book and the rest, while good, are just variations on a theme. If this is true, then my first John Green book will probably be my last John Green book. Despite the fact that The Fault in Our Stars was a cancer book I had high hopes for it as everyone of the blog reviews I read and most of the people I follow on Twitter seemed to love and adore this book. But for me it just didn’t work. To me the characters didn’t come across as teens…and more often than not the overly pretentious dialogue had me rolling my eyes in exasperation.
I also didn’t like how the book started off in the present with Hazel narrating her life as things happened. Then towards the end things shifted from her going forward to her narration coming across as a flashback. Which again became a manipulative set up trying to force the reader to get all sad and filled with heartache before the big sad happened. If this book had a musical score some of these moments would have been filled with the slow build of dramatic violins playing just the right notes to touch those heart strings. There are ways to manipulate emotions without trying to beat people over the head with text that pretty much screams “this is how you are supposed to feel and I’ll do everything I can can as an author to make you feel it!” And I think that played a big part in how I just couldn’t care about any of the characters in this book. I do not like being forced into liking people. Even fictional ones.
Everyone I know seems to love and adore John Green books but the whole thing just left me feeling blah. The writing and story telling in this book weren’t all that spectacular and I never connected with any of the characters. If you want a book that deals with cancer and real teens then I would recommend reading Drums, Girls & Dangerous Pie by Jordan Sonnenblick (my review) instead. Now there is a book that is both raw and realistic. Never once did I feel as though my feeling were being manipulated. And never once did I ever doubt that the characters weren’t real teens. I don’t get the hype of John Green. I thought that after reading his newest and super celebrated book that I would get it. But I don’t. And I don’t think that I ever will.
About the narrator
About the only thing that I enjoyed about The Fault in Our Stars was the narrator, Kate Rudd. She took this blah story and made it so I didn’t want to tear my hair out by the end. I think it was because of the narrator that I managed to finish this one. She was really good with all the voices and actually managed to make Hazel sound like a teen despite the text which ages her so very much.
People who felt differently than I did
Radiant Reads – “This is the kind of book that makes you think about life and death and what kind of mark you want to leave on the world.”
Moonlight Reader – “A brilliant novel filled with heartache, love, hope, trust, friendship and loss. This book was filled with so many emotions; it made me cry, so much!”
Girls in the Stacks – “How does John Green create these complex characters with depth, soul and wisdom? I’m not sure, but I do believe this book is a modern day classic.”
Bookhouse Boy – “TFiOS is a classic love story but its more than that too, its funny and smart and there is adventure in it as well.”