I am not a hipster. I like to read things everyone else is reading once in a while just for the sake of reading what everyone else is reading. I also have this unnecessary aversion to being left out of conversations for lack of knowledge. So I picked up The Fault in Our Stars.
I have wanted to pick up a John Green for some time now, and while I hear Looking For Alaska is much better, I chose to start with The Fault in Our Stars because of it’s growing popularity since being made into a movie.
I am not going to write something very ambivalent and cliché about how the book made me cry and how it was such a touching love story between two teenagers who are living in the shadow of death. I did have to choke back a few tears, but I don’t classify how good a book is based solely on visceral reactions. Personally, I think without the character of Peter Van Houten, the book would have fallen flat. Van Houten was spiteful and pitiful all at once and the only character who stood out to me as being significantly interesting. I will give it this, though – it was decent.
The characters were very likeable, if somewhat flat (especially the main character Hazel.) But it was a tough subject for any author to handle – teenagers living with terminal cancer. Green made the subject light when it needed to be light, heavy when it was appropriate to be heavy, and approachable at all the right moments. He handles the subject matter with complete grace.
I think Green’s talent lies in his ability to channel complicated emotions into the experiences of his characters. He hits all the right notes at the right times, and Green demonstrates this skill for pushing his audience into unexpected directions. He follows the golden rule for young adult authors – never underestimate your audiences ability to understand. Ultimately, any author that can make a large group of people pick up a novel that features teenage cancer patients as its main cast of characters must have some talent.
Overall score: 6 – decent read.