Thursday, January 23, 2014
Review: The Fault in Our Stars
You know how there's always that one book/movie/TV show episode/etc. that everyone says is going to make you cry? Like, Finding Neverland, or the Prom episode of Buffy? So, I'm that girl who always, always cries at those sorts of things... but never books. I don't know why - they totally used to make me tear up when I was a kid and more likely to get sucked into novels like they were a vacuum cleaner for your emotional stability - but there's little-to-no response from me when a beloved character dies or something tragic happens.
What I'm basically trying to say is, I thought I was strong enough to read this book, but I wasn't.
The Fault in Our Stars is a best-selling novel penned by quintessential Contemporary Young Adult novelist John Green. Detailing the story of a teenage terminal cancer patient living on the borrowed time of a medical miracle, Hazel Grace meets the love of her life, Augustus Waters, at a Cancer Support Group. TFiOS has already wowed readers across the globe, and has a major motion picture adaptation, starring Shailene Woodley, set to premiere this summer.
It definitely has a reputation for being a heart-breaker, but I just wouldn't listen. Both of my younger sisters were rocked to their core, and ended up even scaring our mom a little with their deeply felt emotional reactions. Nearly everyone I've talked to who read this book felt it like a bomb, and for whatever reason, I thought I'd get away clean. Not so: my mom just so happened to walk into the room at the precise moment when my red splotchy face and squinted-up eyes were gushing with tears, in a way that's more akin to what the underbellies of the Titanic must have looked like after the iceberg hit. This book hurts, as it should.
Structurally, it's solid. Narratively, it's perfection. It's got the dual benefit of being an incredibly well-written story with an incredibly interesting and involving plot. I've heard people try and write this off as simply one of the better spectrum of a Contemporary YA novel, but I think it transcends genre conventions entirely. I'd recommend this book to anyone, regardless of the shelf it came off of at Barnes and Noble.
Honestly, it's no use trying to even write a review for this one, because I'll only be repeating what so many have said before me. It's beautiful, charming, and engaging; a tragic romance of star-crossed lovers that still manages to leave you with a little bit of hope. It touches on a difficult subject with a mix of a careful hand and a willful disavowal of the seriousness that has to accompany the topic of dying, creating a loving and fun cushion for the inevitable painful blow that you know is going to be coming from page 1. Seriously, this book is deep, and wide, and worth it.
This book made me both chuckle to myself and cry like the day I was born, and there's essentially no way to talk about it that won't sound cliche or overused. Just, please read this book.