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Thursday, November 28, 2013

Bookshelf: John Green's The Fault in Our Stars

So most teenagers have probably heard of this book, and many have it. Adults like me have even read it. It has become a bestseller, and now it's in the works to be a movie next year with some notable names in it. I can see why this book has achieved popularity though. Green has been building his name for a while in the young adult genre by consistently releasing novels, and teens like them. He does put a voice out there for them that most teens wish they had. And like author's, Lurlene McDaniel, he somehow hits a soft spot that is devastating to read.

Summary: Hazel lives with terminal cancer. She carries an oxygen tank around to help her lungs work, and is attending a cancer support group. Other than that her life is filled with America's Next Top Model reruns and going to college classes three days a week. All Hazel's mom wants is for her to get out a little and live the life she has. After Hazel meets Augustus at the cancer support group she finds just what it seems she needs. Hazel is scared to fall for the guy though considering she doesn't know how long she has to live.


Characters: The characters do just pop right off the page, and I think that is why the book has resonated with so many. There are many times you can when an author has over thought their characters. They try to justify their every action, give them deep inner monologue that feels forced, and tie them in relationships that feel flat to their development, but Green just lets himself write and feel it. You can tell that he's really gotten into these characters. Hazel is I think what most girls want to be, but I think females should keep in mind that Hazel is written by a man. So of course she is this cool, intellectual, philosophical, calm, and collected girl that a guy falls madly for. Her major setback in life is her cancer. While she is a very likable character I think females should keep in mind that she is a female made in a male mind. It's the same females creating males in their minds to write. No matter how much you try to deny there is always something uncharacteristically the other sex about them. Anyways, I think this is why Augustus has such a huge more impact on the story. He is the stand out character. I also really liked Isaac and felt a complete spin off of his character could happen. Then there are others like the author, Peter Van Houten, who was an interesting character, and the development was interesting to read as well.

Writing: This is where I think for most people it becomes divided. I personally didn't have any of the writing take away from the story for me. I think that John Green is a great writer, but something felt so Stephen Chbosky about the novel. It was like he wrote constant sentences that were meant to be quotes instead of realistic dialogue or thoughts by characters. I much prefer Chboksy's adaptation of a teenager because they speak like them, they act like them, and they even provided introspective quotes and insight at their own minds as well. Don't me wrong, Green's writing is beautiful and it does contribute largely to the nostalgia and longing vibe of the novel, but realistically not every sentence and thought is a great quote.

Plot: The plot is lovely and I think it will translate over very well to a movie. I like how the character development is made by each character's interaction with one another as well. Everyone sort of ripple effects their stories off one another, and just because Hazel is the focal point it doesn't lessen anyone else in the story. Expect thought that a story regarding cancer will make you cry. There are moments though that this book makes you smile or laugh. It also makes some good points about how we perceive death and living though. On top of that you get a great romance that someone at any age can enjoy.

The Fault in Our Stars can mostly be credited to the success of Green's other books. He just relates to teens, and he knows what they want to aspire to be like, or say but can't always voice it, or at least the target audience reading his book that is. I think as an adult that is something to keep in mind while reading this, and that the book probably wasn't directed at that audience but more so the young adults. It's a realization life and death that I don't think many truly have at the age.

Rating 9 of 10.


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