The Fault in Our Stars – John Green

Posted 3 July, 2012 by Trish in Reading Nook, Review / 34 Comments


The Fault in Our Stars CoverTitle: The Fault in Our Stars
Author: John Green
Published: 2012 Pages: 313
Genre: Fiction (young adult)
Rating: 3/5

In Short: I can throw out the C word without it being a spoiler, right? One night at Cancer Kid Support Group, Hazel meets the handsome and curious and funny Augustus Waters. While Hazel is a terminal case, she begins to see how much she still has to experience.

Why I read it: Because everyone else did. More accurately because I really enjoyed Looking for Alaska and Paper Towns. And Will Grayson, Will Grayson.

Thoughts in General: How I feel about The Fault in Our Stars is very dissenting so I’m going to keep it brief and then share the parts that I did like. What I love about John Green is he creates a teenage emotion in his books that are incredibly nostalgic. His characters are raw and real, and the core of his novels always seems to be this incredibly profound truth that teenagers are apt to discover. I didn’t experience any of that with this book—maybe a little bit but the story and the characters felt more contrived. I never connected with the story or the characters.

But there were several parts that I dogeared and I was particularly tickled with the references to Prufrock. Careful reading the quotes as they might be leading. Not spoilers but leading.

Bits I liked:

“Everyone in this tale has rock-solid hamartia: hers, that she is so sick; yours, that you are so well. Were she better or you sicker, then the stars would not be so terribly crossed, but it is the nature of stars to cross, and never was Shakespeare more wrong than when he had Cassius note, ‘The fault, dear Brutus, is not in our stars / But in ourselves.’” [Van Houton, 111].

“I’m in love with you, and I’m not in the business of denying myself the simple pleasure of saying true things. I’m in love with you, and I know that love is just a shout into the void, and that oblivion is inevitable, and that we’re all doomed and that there will come a day when all our labor has been returned to dust, and I know the sun will swallow the only earth we’ll ever have, and I am in love with you’” [153].

“It seemed like forever ago, like we’d have this brief but still infinite forever. Some infinities are bigger than other infinities” [233].

Bottom Line: I’m sure you’ll be one of those folks who liked this one better than I did. I love John Green’s writing. It’s smart and sharp and it usually cuts right through me, but this time it didn’t. The writing was still brilliant but it felt the same. Less than the same. But. But I’m definitely in the minority. And who knows—maybe next time I read this one I’ll like it more.

Have you read The Fault in Our Stars? What did you think? What do you like best about John Green’s writing?

34 Responses to “The Fault in Our Stars – John Green”

  1. No, you’re not alone. I had the same beef you did. While it is the typically brilliant John Green, it is TYPICAL. He is obsessed with these tropes and can’t seem to move on. I’m READY for him to move on. If his next book features a road trip and/or a manic pixie girl I will scream!

  2. *Viv – I hope you enjoy it! It’s not a very long read.

    *Heather – To be fair I’m not sure I can remember any maniac pixie girls in WG, WG? ;) But yes, I think if I had read this one earlier I might have liked it more but for now I’ll stick with Looking for Alaska as my favorite.

    *Judith – I skipped a lot of the early reviews so I need to go back and see what all the raves are about!

    *Bermuda – It’s almost like the first wave of readers LOVED this one and the second wave is taking it down a notch. Hope you do enjoy it!

    • I haven’t read WG, WG, at least not yet. I actually just got it last week from Audible. I’m hoping for no pixie girls. Also, Looking for Alaska remains my favorite as well!

    • Heather – I enjoyed WG, WG but it wasn’t a favorite either. Definitely no Margo or Alaska in that one and I haven’t read Abundance of Katherine’s to compare. Though I do think that WG WG would make a fantastic movie!

  3. Actually if you follow the Nerdfighters, which is a group started by John and his brother Hank (YES I ADMIT I FOLLOW THEM EVEN THOUGH I COULD BE THEIR GREAT-GRANDMOTHER!!!), you would see that they are exactly like the characters in John’s books so I didn’t consider them contrived at all! :–)

  4. I have seen only glowing reviews for this one, so I am glad to see a review that is a little disagreeable. I have only read Paper Towns but I do plan to read this one at some point.

  5. *snorts* That’s not the C-word I thought you meant!

    It feels like everybody in the entire world has read this but me now, although it’s a relief to see a less-than-glowing review. It seems I’d doomed to be disatisifed with books everybody else loved, so maybe I’m more likely to like it now I’ve read your review.

    Did that even make sense? :s

  6. *Rhapsody – You’re right, you’re right. I know you’re right. But still…maybe switch it up for next time Green? (says me…who is not a nerdfighter). :)

    *ReviewsbyLola – I hope you like this one! And I’m with you on dissenting reviews. I like to have a balanced perspective before going into a book. ;)

    *Linda – I hope you enjoy it! Have you read other Green novels?

    *Vasilly – You never finished it?! So curious why!

    *Hanna – LOL! Cancer is the C word. ;) I might have a sailor’s mouth in person but try to keep it clean on the blog. And your comment makes PERFECT sense. I’m always grateful for the reviews that are a bit more grounding. If you do read this one I hope you like it!

  7. For a second, something entirely different popped into my head when I read “the C word,” just like Hanna. ;-) I loved this novel, but I think I can see why you didn’t connect with it. And I believe there is kind of an individual chemistry between a reader and a book.

  8. Well, I’m one of those people who loved this book. (Not as much as Looking for Alaska, but I’m not sure he could ever write a book that I love that much.) But I have to admit that I had a very weird-ish experience with this one, an experience that I can’t really explain. But in so many ways it took me back to my teen years when my teenage cousin had cancer (and died just after her sixteenth birthday). I don’t think I could have handled this book back then, of course. But so many years later, it had a way of bringing up so many beautiful memories. For that alone, I consider this book a treasure.

  9. It’s always disappointing when you don’t love a book everyone else raves about. I’m probably going to listen it, eventually … great photo!

  10. Don’t you feel like you must have missed some pages, when everyone else raves about a book, and you think MEH!. Sorry you didn’t love it.

  11. So many people have raved about this one but I’m honestly more likely to pick it up now that I’ve read your review. I’m always concerned going it to a book with too high of hopes. Now if I picked this one up, I’d pick it up thinking that I will probably like it. I might love it, but at least then it will be a pleasant surprise.

  12. I actually read this book fairly recently but I just can’t remember enough about it to write a review, lol. I liked it well enough but I definitely didn’t adore it like most people did either.

  13. This was my first book by John Green and I listened to it on audio. Having nothing else to compare it to I enjoyed it very much. It felt like it was a better book to listen to than read. I liked the fact that it was a cancer story from a teens point of view, which is a typical. Though teens, they were mature beyond their years, wiser than many adults. I will have to read more John Green to compare.

  14. Les

    I have yet to read anything by John Green. If you had to pick just one for me to try, which would you choose?

    Outstanding photo, Trish. Love the bokeh.

  15. *Stephanie Ward– I know…I shouldn’t have mentioned the c word. Ha!! You’re right about individual chemistry and I”m glad that so many have loved this book but for me I think that’s Looking for Alaska. Love.

    *Peppermint PhD – That’s what I’m hear for–balance. ;) Actually after so many great books I figured a less than stellar one was bound to happen.

    *Debi – Oh Debi! I can’t imagine the loss that you must have felt when your cousin passed away from cancer. It doesn’t seem fair that people so young are afflicted with this terrible disease. Well, anyone really. I’m glad that this book evoked the beautiful memories and I can absolutely see that coming from this book. For me the one I still relate to the most is Looking for Alaska. Or perhaps even Paper Towns.

    *JoAnn – I do wish that I had listened to this. I’ve had great luck listening to Green books before. I hope you enjoy it!

    *Irene – LOL!! Yes, I do feel like I’ve missed something. And this book was wonderful but it was just the same. I’d like to see Green broaden out with his next book.

    *Lisa – I’m like you that I like to see the balanced reviews. And when I look on Amazon I only look at the 1 star reviews. Ha! Figure if I can handle the worst of it then I’m ok. I do hope you enjoy this one!!

    *Melody – I know what you mean about too many books, too little time!

    *Jenny – There are parts of this book that I remember vividly but overall I find it pretty forgettable as well. I think it’s OK that we don’t all love the same books.

    *Amy – It’s always disappointing when an author you love lets you down but how can every book be perfect?!

    *Kailana – Thank you!! :) (did you see my whining on twitter?)

    *Elisabeth – I’ve heard many people say that this is their favorite Green book. I really recommend Looking for Alaska (and will use Lisa to help the endorsement as it’s one of her favorites). Green’s teens generally are mature beyond their years but still in a very teenish way (if that makes sense).

    *Softdrink – ;) Yes, I like good company!

    *Les – I’d recommend Looking for Alaska but many people have called this one their favorite. Thanks about the picture. Had a lot of fun taking it but Scott just didn’t get why I wanted the Christmas lights pulled out in July. not sure what the imperfection is on the bokeh–maybe my lens is dirty?! :)

  16. Still haven’t read Green (and yes I feel bad about that) but am thinking that this will probably not be my first, although I do want to read it. I think I’ve got Paper Towns around here somewhere.

  17. Oh, I was expecting so much more from this book. I will still give it a try at some point, but it is not a priority. Thank you for your review.

  18. *Stacybuckeye – I really enjoyed Paper Towns! I hope you like it. :)

    *FABR Steph – Well…I think most people did get much more out of this book than I did. I hope that you do too.

  19. Jo

    I really like this book. My dad survived Cancer in the last few years. I just recommended this book to a friend who has recently declined Chemo. It means a lot to me.