Jennifer Pickrell

YA Writer

YA Book Club – The Fault in Our Stars

15 Comments

This pic doesn't do justice to how pretty the blue actually is

True story: The day after TFIOS released I was in the library, picking up another book from the circulation desk.  As I turned to leave, I happened to glance at the YA book display.

The Fault in Our Stars!

I may or may not have yelled, “Aah!!!!” as I ran to grab it.

Wow, that story sucks.  Sorry.

Goodreads description:

Diagnosed with Stage IV thyroid cancer at 12, Hazel was prepared to die until, at 14, a medical miracle shrunk the tumours in her lungs… for now.

Two years post-miracle, sixteen-year-old Hazel is post-everything else, too; post-high school, post-friends and post-normalcy. And even though she could live for a long time (whatever that means), Hazel lives tethered to an oxygen tank, the tumours tenuously kept at bay with a constant chemical assault.

Enter Augustus Waters. A match made at cancer kid support group, Augustus is gorgeous, in remission, and shockingly to her, interested in Hazel. Being with Augustus is both an unexpected destination and a long-needed journey, pushing Hazel to re-examine how sickness and health, life and death, will define her and the legacy that everyone leaves behind.

What I liked:

-How matter-of-fact Hazel was about her cancer.  It kept me from dissolving constantly into tears.  I definitely had my moments, but it was more overall and mostly coming from an adult perspective.  If you love any kids/teens, then you understand.  Kids think they are invincible and sometimes I wish they were.

-Isaac.  How awesome was he?  Maybe it sounds crazy, but he was my favorite character.  He seemed the most real.

-Parents.  In YA???  Yes, please!

-The literal heart of Jesus.  I keep laughing to myself over this one.

What gave me pause:

Obviously John Green is insanely smart and it comes across in his characters/books.  Which is fine and more than welcome, but sometimes I think:

Really?  Are people always “on” like this?

I know some super smart people and some witty people and some super smartly witty people, but even they aren’t constantly philosophical like this.

Without a doubt, the book was beautiful and moving, but there were a few places where I felt like the dialogue was going right over my head.

Maybe because I’m not exceptionally philosophical.  Years ago, I accidentally bumbled into an existence conversation with another person.  We both got confused and freaked out, so he took us for ice cream.

But other than that (and maybe because of it), this is one of *those* books, the ones that stay with you and make you think and reevaluate and all those other things good books are supposed to do.

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Author: Jennifer Pickrell

I write YA contemporary filled w/ romance, angst & family drama. Currently in the query trenches. My faves include: cats, snacks & green tea.

15 thoughts on “YA Book Club – The Fault in Our Stars

  1. I, too, loved Issac. And I agree that the philosophy pushed the boundries at times, but just when it would get out of hand, he would rein it back in.

  2. This: “Kids think they are invincible and sometimes I wish they were.” I totally agree. I spent the better part of that book hoping John Green would conjure a magical cure and everybody would live happily ever after and take lots of trips to Amsterdam. (I’m obviously glad that he didn’t go that route.)
    I loved the dialogue and the philosophizing, but I agree that it pushed the boundaries of being realistic.

  3. Oh, Issac! I loved him too. I also loved the literal heart of Jesus. And the parents! Awesome YA parents who are always around! But most of all I loved Augustus Waters so very much.

    I agree that most adults, never mind teens, don’t talk like that, but I was willing to overlook that detail because Green made them so fun to read.

  4. Loved Isaac! And the literal heart of Jesus. John Green knows how to turn a phrase, that’s for sure.

    And I wasn’t really bothered by all the philosophizing. I didn’t feel like it was any less realistic than dialogue in a lot of other books. Honestly, the vast majority of people DON’T talk like that or think like that–but does that mean that no one does? The story, after all, is not about every teen in existence. It’s about these two specific teens, with their own specific problems, and maybe these two were blessed with incredible insight and intelligence beyond their years.

    It just makes me think about that nine year old Indian girl who was the youngest Microsoft Certified Professional–are all nine year olds that adept at using computers? No. But she was.

    • Yeah, I just kept thinking that these characters had gone through more in their short life than a lot of people deal with in 80 years, so it made sense that they’d think about the “bigger picture” so much

  5. It is really one of *those* books 😀

    Those kids did grow up too fast, no matter how much they try to hold on to those precious moments, it still took its toll on them.

    But the beauty is that they see pass it, they go on and they feel so much.

    I also loved the parents in this novel, so present and so real!

  6. I commented on those “on” characters in my blog post, as well. When I saw John Green live, he pulled an audience question about An Imperial Affliction that sounded like it was a character from one of his books. 🙂 He emphasized that the writer of the question was sixteen and said something along the lines of “see, sixteen year olds DO talk like that.” That put me at ease knowing before reading that I would be meeting more elevated John Green characters. I thought it fit in this case.

    • Wow, I feel so unsmart (hah) now because I definitely didn’t sound that way as a teen. My BFF and I actually went through this bizarre phase where we spoke like Dr. Seuss. And so jealous you’ve seen John Green live! He was in my area, but tickets sold out so quickly.

      • I definitely didn’t speak like that either! And I teach 9th graders and they don’t really talk like that, either. But he had one example. 😉 It was interesting seeing him speak. A vast majority of his audience were Nerdfighters and they were an enthusiastic bunch and knew all the words to his brother’s songs. I was there to hear him talk about TFiOS. But, it was a fun experience. I envy his talent FOR SURE!

  7. I loved Isaac too!

    There were moments when things went over my head a bit too, and the kids sounded very mature. But it wasn’t totally unbelievable. I really liked that Hazel and Augustus talked about heavy topics. They brought up some interesting discussions!

    The literal heart of Jesus cracked me up too. Haha. 🙂

  8. Nobody talks like this, unless they are from Dawson’s Creek. Otherwise, great all around!

  9. I finished this not too long ago. I’m still thinking about it. It’s definitely something I’ll reread, even if I get upset again.

  10. Reading John Green’s books has given me unrealistic expectations about the amount of witty repartee to expect in my relationships.

    But yes, I definitely cracked up every single time I saw “literal heart of Jesus.”

  11. Pingback: My Five Favorite Reads of 2012 « Jennifer Pickrell

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