Wednesday, February 29, 2012

The Fault In Our Stars

As many of you are aware, I'm a part of the nerdfighter community. If you don't know what the nerdfighter community is, then I'll tell you.
There are these two brothers, John and Hank Green. They decided to do this thing on youtube called Brotherhood 2.0 where they communicated via youtube videos for a year or so. A whole community sprang up around it, calling themselves nerdfighters, not because they fight nerds, but because they are nerds fighting to reduce world suck. If you're confused, watch this:

Anyway, the videos continue on and Hank makes nerdy music, and John writes great books.
Recently John released his....fourth solo novel (he's done some collaborations) The Fault In Our Stars. It's  now in it's seventh week on the New York Times Best Seller List.
The Fault in Our Stars sound hopelessly cliche'. It's subject matter has been dealt with on documentaries, Lifetime movies, and most importantly real life: Cancer.
I was very hesitant going into TFIOS despite loving pretty much every other John Green book (I'm a little iffy on Katherines, but yet I still totally love it).
However, John deals with the subject with grace and humor. There are so many laugh out loud moments in the book. But at the same time, I was an ugly crying mess by the end. I told myself not to get attached to these  characters in case something bad happens, but the protagonists in the novel, Hazel and Augustus, are incredibly likeable despite seeming so crazily different from the average reader.
One thing I've noted from other reader's reviews is the speaking style between Hazel an Augustus. Some people think it's not how average teenagers really talk. While I can't deny that, you also have to take into account that Hazel and Augustus aren't normal teenagers; they're teenagers who have gone through extraordinary circumstances that are hard on everyone around them. Also, the literary phenomenon known as Willing Suspension of Disbelief is at work here despite the books' realistic fiction pigeonhole.  So before you start the comparisons to Juno (where the characters speak in a similar manner as in TFIOS), keep that in mind.
This book is scary in a way, just in it's subject matter. I found myself becoming very scared of cancer while I was reading. Just the emotional impact of it all is sometimes too much. Take breaks when you read it, and it'll probably sit better, but because I insisted on finishing it in a day, I almost didn't like it at first. I just was so scared of it. It took me a re-read to realize that.
If you've read a John Green book before, you'll probably feel at home in TFIOS. Our narrator is a girl, but she is still a pretty typical Green narrator. While Green's books contain a lot of the same elements, the story is so good that most of the time I don't really mind.
If you read it, keep tissues close at hand and hug your family once in a while. But I do recommend it fully.

P.S. Sorry if this doesn't make any sense, it's really late and I need to go to bed and my thoughts tend to get jumbled when I do things like this.

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