The Fault in Our Stars- My Thoughts

I need to preface this review-of-sorts with a few things:

1. I don't read YA. Like I really, really, really don't read YA.
2. I'm not a fan of overly-sappy books.
3. I listened to this on Audible.
4. I decided to give this book a fair chance because of the movie coming out, the fact that some people I truly respect like it, and because I felt a smidge bad telling probably forty students they couldn't read it for outside reading over the past few years.
5. We can still be friends if you like it.

There are some popular books I refuse to touch, the Twilight series and Fifty Shades of Grey being examples. Other books I've given into the hype about and have come up with mixed feelings, such as These Lovely Bones, The Casual Vacancy, The Hunger Games and The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo Series. After the aforementioned reason number four, I decided to give John Green's The Fault in Our Stars a try.

First off, I will say that I have an inkling that it probably is one of the better written, or at least thought-out, YA books. There are some heavy themes dealing with life and death (and supposedly existentialism... ha!) that can at least get people to question their own mortality and I appreciated that he handled the love story aspect pretty tastefully. Yes, they're teenagers, so there are lines about how Augustus is "hot" and the normal back and forth "do I like him?" nonsense that I see every day at work. I also must say that John Green seems like a decent guy, after listening to the interview at the end of the audiobook, as well as from his preface and afterward.

All in all, I don't think this is a literary book by any means (and I know most people don't necessarily consider it one, but I have heard the argument that for YA it is literary), nor did I really enjoy it. First of all, it was beyond sappy. I swear, there was crying by one character or another on at least half (or more) of the pages. I know, I know, cancer is sad. But still, the level of weepy drama was too much. Hazel's poor dad's only purpose in this text is to cry. I hope they buy Kleenex at Costco in bulk, for crap's sake. While I thought Hazel's character was slightly more realistic, there were times with Augustus Waters was just too much- I work with teenagers all day, every day and while I have no doubt he was one smart cookie, I just felt like he was often a bit unrealistic. The writing was absolutely mediocre and at times, from what I can tell from listening to the audiobook, anyway, the script aspect was annoying ("Mom: blablabla Me: blablabla").

The lesser characters were quite flat, and some of their little subplots were just so underdeveloped and seemed to be an afterthought (I don't want to give anything away, just in case I was in fact not the last person on the planet to be exposed to this book). The entire premise of going to the Netherlands to seek out an author without really solidifying any plans seems a bit contrived. I did appreciate how drunk and crazy he was, though. His reappearance later in the novel at an event that I will not divulge made me laugh out loud. Sure he'd really attend. Suuuuuuure. And I'm sorry, the obsession those two have with the ending is just ridiculous. It's not even that big of a cliffhanger.

Oh, and I thought the ending was extremely predictable. Green was obviously trying not to come across this way, but in his attempt to mislead the reader throughout he ended up being obvious. I felt that as a whole he did try a bit too hard with this text; there's isn't a natural flow to it.

I completely and understand the draw people have to it; it has the teenage angst that some people love, it has travel, it has a love story, it has drama, it has tragedy. For me, it simply did not work. 

You loved it, didn't you? DIDN'T YOU?!?! Tell me why. 


  1. I'm glad you said we can still be friends because yes, I liked it. But I like it for what it is, YA, and I don't compare it to other genres. (I know that sounds really crazy and self serving. It's kind of like how most action movies are really stupid, but Fast Five was good, despite how ridiculous it was, for an action movie.) For me, it delivered what I want YA to deliver: love, angst, self-exploration, semi-predictable surprises, heartache. As much as I like FioS, I wouldn't say that it is better than Assassination Vacation or The End of Your Life Book Club. And I have zero desire to see the movie.

    The more I think about it, the whole trip to the Netherlands annoys me. I kind of see where Green was going, but I wish he could have found a way around it. I will say that he converted me on sex in books. (Although, the sex in this book was super tame.) I typically don't like it because it's not always purposefully included and I just feel weird reading about people sticking things in other people. (I read a scene in What A Mother Knows that had me literally blushing, and I'm no prude.) But I felt like it had a reason in this book. The cancer had made them grow up so much that it felt natural for them to do other grown-up things.

    I also liked Looking For Alaska, but I would say that if you didn't like this book, you probably wouldn't like Green's other works. They are pretty similar and FioS is widely regarded as his best work.

  2. You know, I'm with you on this. I got through the first few chapters of this book, but then I couldn't handle the overwhelming drama anymore. Kudos for finishing it - my copy went straight back to the library.

  3. This comment has been removed by the author.

  4. I love the fault in our stars. That's the beauty of being human, we all have our own taste :) I love YA, but I don`t like all the genres of VA books. I don`t like dystopia or science fiction, which is a very popular lately. The hunger games and The Bone season is probably the only two things so far I like of dystopia.

  5. It's so nice to read a review of TFIOS that isn't gushing about it. I'm in high school which means that virtually everyone has read it and has loved it, and I feel like I'm personally offending them to say I didn't think it was a very good book. Then again, I don't really love YA, so it wasn't really my type of book from the start. This was my review of TFIOS-

  6. You are indeed, not the last person on the planet to read this book...still torn about whether or not to give it a try :/

  7. I think contemporary YA on the whole tends to be a bit dramatic (or at least most of the books I've read in this genre are). In fact, TFiOS is pretty tame compared to some of its peers...I just read an eyeroll-inducing book where one MC's father was crazy abusive and the other's parents died..etc.

    I think fans of contemp YA like this heightened drama (nothing wrong with that it's just a matter of preference). I agree with armyamy, I like it in the context of its genre. Also, I read it before it became SUPER hyped which maybe kept my expectations at a normal level :)

  8. Your review actually makes a lot of sense. You're right, the teens were a little annoying sometimes, and Gus a little unrealistic (although oh my GOD I WISH I HAD A BOYFRIEND LIKE THAT AS A TEENAGER). And the whole Netherlands trip was very "fairytale-we-can-do-whatever-we-want-cos-we-have-cancer".

    But I still liked it. Now I'm just not sure why anymore. It is YA and not literary, but it was beautiful for me all the same.

  9. Exactly. EXACTLY.

    I have nothing else to say.