The Fault in Our Stars

The Fault in Our Stars - John Green *I had previously written a review for this book but it was terrible and only four words long. This is my second attempt at writing something coherent.*

This is my second Review Month review.

This will probably turn into a rambling manifesto on what is wrong with YA books. You may notice that I said YA books, because as much as people will say it, YA is NOT a genre. It is an age range, you fools.

Anyway I was reminded of this book tonight for two reasons.

The first is because I went shopping with my sister today and that Boom Clap song by Charli XCX played on the radio all fucking day. Don't you just hate that when the radio stations play a good song so much that you begin to hate it? Well, that song made me think of this novel because it's on the soundtrack of the film that was adapted from this book, and even though it really doesn't convey what the book is about at all.

The second reason is because the Final Jeopardy question tonight was:

"THIS NOVEL WAS DEDICATED TO ESTHER EARL, WHO DIED OF THYROID CANCER AT 16 & NEVER GOT TO READ IT."


I knew this question instantly (along with many others in that idiotic teen tournament, sometimes I even wonder if the producers think these teens are babies, the questions are so easy). When I read this book just a month or two after it came out I absolutely loved it, and so I got online and read a lot about it. That brought me to the story of Esther Earl and her friendship with John Green, the author of this book, before she died, yada yada yada.

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So all these events got me thinking about this book again. Just a few months ago I had been thinking about it too and lowered my rating. Why?
Because this book is an unrealistic portrayal of teenagers. And don't tell me these teenagers act different, and are so sophisticated because they have been through so much in their short lives. I really don't accept that. Teens don't converse or act the same as the teens in this book do, and while you can attribute some of that behavior to the cancer and the toll it has taken on them, you can't attribute all of it to that.

Did I enjoy this book when I first read it? Yes, yes I did. But only in the gooey sentimental, good-golly-you-made-me-cry way these books are designed to make you feel. And it did make me cry, because there are some characters here that I cared about, and by the end of the book it felt bad to see them go, both figuratively and literally if you know what I mean.

But at the same time this book pisses me off because of that design I spoke of earlier. I know that John Green sat down to write this damn book and he fucking knew someone was going to die in the the end, because he knew it would tear the little emotional teenage girls who read this book limb from limb and leave them balling. And that was the only way he could make sure they loved it

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And yes, I just used the gorgeous Jennifer Lawrence in a gif to show how those teeny bopper shits felt at the end. Jennifer Lawrence is not a teeny bopper shit though.

Anyway, before I get distracted again, let me get on with the review.

This books relies way too much on emotion to get you to actually think about these characters and this plot. The best books plant the seed that will lead to emotion later from the start, and don't rely on the blunt force of a character's disease or death to carry you through the whole damn book. I just found this book overly sentimental and sort of fool of itself. Or maybe it just feels that way to me because John Green's writing style finds a way to be obnoxious and pretentious AT THE SAME TIME. I mean this man just has a real talent doesn't he?

And what makes it even worse is I loved John Green before I read this book. He runs a YouTube channel called The Vlogbrothers with his brother Hank. I loved that YouTube channel, and before I read this book I had watched every single video on it, I'd just never read any of John Green's books. This means I had a tremendous amount of respect for this man. Then he lied.

He said in an interview I read that he wanted to write a book about kids with cancer who weren't "dehumanized" or "oversimplified". And I think he did a good job of that. But in the same interview he said he didn't want the book to rely heavily on the readers sympathizing with the characters and more on the readers coming to love them regardless of their condition.

HE FREAKING FAILED AT THAT.

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But at the same time I kinda like this book despite all its sappiness. It has a good story with decent characters, even though the author didn't ultimately achieve what he set out to do.

It also really upset me that TIME Magazine named this the book of the year. I mean are you kidding me?

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NO JULIA STILES, I WON'T CALM DOWN. That was just ignorant for such a widely read and respected magazine to give that title to a YA book. At least give it to something a little literary and not to some book that caused ignorant, hormonal teenage girls to posts things like this comment on YouTube:

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That upsets me a lot and makes me want to log off the internet forever.

So yes, I believe this book has done a lot of damage.

And I'm way too nice. I probably shouldn't give it even three stars.

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3 stars out of 5

I'm not sure if I'm even done with this review yet. We'll see tomorrow.