Friday 18 April 2014

Book Review (and Extra Questions): The Fault In Our Stars; John Green

Wow, so this took me a while to get up! Sorry guys, I've been quite busy and trying to figure out with Myra what to do, as I've mentioned many times that we planned a joint review. We have come up with five questions together, which we both will answer in our own reviews of this book. Check out Myra's blog here, she is planning to post her review this weekend as far as I'm aware! I am entering this book into a challenge, the 2014 'Key Words' Challenge, as one of this month's words is 'Star'. You'll find the button for that at the bottom of this review!

SOURCE: Borrowed
TYPE: Paperback

TITLE: The Fault In Our Stars
AUTHOR: John Green
PUBLISHER: Penguin Books
PAGES: 316
GENRE: Romance, Young Adult, Contemporary

RATING: 5/5 Stars

Despite the tumor-shrinking medical miracle that has bought her a few years, Hazel has never been anything but terminal, her final chapter inscribed upon diagnosis. But when a gorgeous plot twist named Augustus Waters suddenly appears at Cancer Kid Support Group, Hazel's story is about to be completely rewritten.

What I Liked:
  • John Green writes beautifully. One of the things that grabbed me most about the book was the fact that Green's grasp on language and story-telling was mind-blowing. His prose was so eloquent and flowed in such a way that I was hooked on every word he wrote. I think most people who have read this book would agree that there are some gorgeous quotes in there that are guaranteed to stay with a person for a long time. The humour, when included, made me laugh out loud but I certainly cried on many occasions while reading this book. I think that says enough about Green's masterful handling of such a sensitive and heart-breaking topic.
  • I felt like Green really had a good insight into how his characters felt, and their thoughts and feelings on every situation they were confronted with. Their response to their vulnerable position, a terminal illness, seemed very human. It was never too dramatic, yet still hard-hitting and very thought provoking. 
  • The characters all had personality too, which is nice to read in any book. Let's start with the two Main Characters, Hazel and Gus. I loved their relationship! The attraction between them, despite being quite quick, felt very right. Also, Isaac was a fantastic character and I had a real soft spot for him. Some great characterisation from Green in this book! He even made room for a small amount of empathy for those that seemed to do some pretty harsh things (that's right Monica, I'm looking at you). Green had an unwavering ability to make you understand the actions of every character in this story, even if you didn't agree with them and I admire that in a writer.
  • The story-line was really well written. In a story that covers illness like this, there is normally an inevitability about the ending and with that comes a pretty good guess at the middle of the book too. Now we get that same 'this is going to be sad' feeling here, but as to what would happen before that? Green kept me guessing again and again! And to an extent, I wasn't entirely sure what the sad ending itself would be. I really liked that!
What I Disliked:
  • The ending. Now not just for the obvious reason, that it was very emotional and sad and made me cry. Obviously I knew that it was coming, I think anyone that reads this book knows within the first few pages that they should have some tissues at the ready. But I really felt that the ending here was just too abrupt. I would have liked a little more time to grieve maybe? I can see why it ended there. I mean, when would be good time to end the story? I just felt a little like I'd been slapped around the face and was missing something. What can I say? I like to be eased out of my misery gently.
Overall Conclusion:
So you can probably get a pretty clear idea from this review that I really liked this book. The writing style had me hooked through every page and I really thought he did well at making me care a lot about the characters. The conclusion here really is that I need to get my hands on another John Green book and read it because if his other work is as good as this then I want it on my Read list ASAP.

Question Time!
1) What was your favourite part of the book?

Oh goodness, so many parts to choose from! There might be some spoilers here, I really liked the moment that Gus and Hazel first met. The instant connection and friendly banter really set their personalities in stone, and the cigarette metaphor was brilliant! Also, some parts of the Amsterdam trip were pretty cool, it was nice to see the two of them finally make the decision to be together.

2) Did you have a favourite character? If so, who?

Now I mentioned in my review that I had a soft spot for Isaac, and I meant it! He was most certainly my favourite character and I always looked forward to the next moment his name would appear on my page. To me, his story is equally as tragic, if not more so, than Gus' or Hazel's. Why? Not just because of his loss of sight and loss of girlfriend. But because of the inevitability of the fate of those around him, while he survives. It felt very bittersweet.

3) Was there anything that you didn't enjoy or would change about The Fault In Our Stars?

I mentioned that I wasn't a fan of the abrupt ending and I think that is what I would change. Well actually ideally I would like a cure for cancer to be invented at some point in the book, because I grew very attached to those characters. But knowing that it would make the story very different I'll go with my original answer, though it breaks my heart to say it.

4) How did you feel when the book was finished?

A bit lost if I'm honest. I wanted more, I wanted to know what happened afterwards. But then there was a certain sense of not wanting to know too. Because I didn't want to keep reading about something that already had me a blubbering wreck. All I wanted to do was go back to the good bits of the book and read them over and over, which I guess in a sense is how we would cope with such a situation in real life. Revisit our memories and remember the good times before the sadness started.

5) If you could say anything to John Green right now, what would you say?

Oh wow. I'd be struck dumb I think! But once I remembered how to form words and communicate like a human, I might say that I really enjoyed his book, am glad that it got the success it deserved and I can't wait to read more of his work.

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