Everyone who knows me is aware that I read the Hunger Games and despised it. Why is that relevent to this post? Well that was the first teen novel I had read in years and it destroyed my respect of YA fiction. As a teen, I fully enjoyed reading YA books. After the horrible reading experience I had with the Hunger Games, i assumed that I was too old for YA books and that they were inferior in quality to adult books.
Unless you’ve been living under a rock for the past year, you have heard of The Fault in Our Stars. You’ve probably already read it. If you haven’t heard of it or read it, you must have seen the trailer for the movie adaptation coming out in June. Well I normally avoid best sellers such as these like the plague, but I happened upon this book as I was browsing the free give a book/take a book library at my hotel in Puerto Rico. There it was, this famous bestseller, just sitting there free for the taking. It was as if the universe was telling me, despite my reservations, I had no reason not to read the book. So, I started to read it. The next day on the plane, I finished it between take off and landing.
Before I give my opinion on this book, I will say that I had the preconceived notion that teen books of this day and age are:
1) Watered down adult themes that barely scratch the surface of the human condition/experience
2) Are poorly written.
3) Include flat characters with little or no depth.
4) Are unoriginal/they take themes from classic novels and do a poor job trying to copy them.
I based all of the above on what I found in The Hunger Games.
Here’s what I thought about The Fault in Our Stars:
1) The themes were universal: death, love, friendship, family. The characters were struggling to handle issues such as dying that even adults struggle with.
2) It was well written.
3) The characters had a lot of depth. In such a short book, I felt that I really got to know Hazel and Augustus.
4) While cancer and death aren’t original, the mixture of falling in love, terminal cancer, and trying to understand the meaning of life was original.
I want to thank John Green for restoring my faith in YA books. If you are an adult reading this novel, you can relate to Hazel and Augustus experiencing falling in love for the first time and trying to understand what life means. You can also relate to the struggle to understand why bad things happen and comprehending the scary adult world. If I read this as a teen, I’d be able to relate to Hazel in that I was mature for my age and loved reading like she does.
For awhile, I wondered why this book was so popular. I see now that this short novel manages to capture many universal themes that are a part of being human. No matter what age, you can relate to something in this book. If anything, this book makes you think about life and death from the perspective of teenagers, which is refreshing.
I recommend this book to anyone looking for a quick read that packs an emotional punch.
Rating: 4/5 stars.