So Many Spoilers About The Fault in Our Stars

“You don’t get to choose if you get hurt in this world, old man, but you do have some say in who hurts you.  I like my choices.”

[Edit:  I had a wave of guilt after posting this, worrying that others might somehow see this review and get spoiled.  This review contains a lot of spoilers, like the title says.  If you haven’t read The Fault in Our Stars, please do NOT read this.]

Goodreads says that I rate 49% of the books I read with four stars.  Only 17% get five stars.  Like Hazel reserved her ten, I reserve my five because I know that books like this exist.

I don’t usually do book reviews on my blog because, honestly, I’m not very good at them.  But for Tracy Neithercott’s YA Book Club, I’m going to give it my best shot.

This book was trouble from the start.  Within two chapters, I was completely in love with Hazel and Augustus.  Did I know there would be death?  Of course.  For all of the hype that this is not a cancer book, it’s a freaking cancer book.  It is what it is.  But I couldn’t help falling for the characters anyway.

Augustus killed me.  This is where he won me:  “‘Right, that’s why I said tomorrow,’ he said.  ‘I want to see you again tonight.  But I’m willing to wait all night and much of tomorrow.'”  I even read that scene out loud to my husband, and he just smirked because, when we first fell for each other, we made a date for the coming Friday.  I instant messaged him (God, I’m old) and told him I couldn’t wait for Friday.  It was Thursday.  We went on our first date on Thursday instead.

It's so sad. But it's so funny. Can't. Hold. It. In.

I don’t think I’d be the first person to compare TFIOS to the recent movie 50/50, which had me similarly wrecked–except for with TFIOS, I at least got to sob in the privacy of my own living room.  There’s something so perfect about pairing tragedy and comedy.  Sometimes humor can make things bearable.  Sometimes it’s the only thing that can.

It seemed like a lot of people had trouble with how mature and eloquent Hazel and Augustus were, but I didn’t see it.  When I was in high school, I was melodramatic as hell.  Philosophizing was NOT beyond me at age 17.  And I knew people my age who spoke just like this.  Who wanted things to be metaphorical.  It was absurd and obnoxious and completely pretentious, just like in TFIOS.  At least in the novel, Augustus doesn’t get a free pass to be his pretentious-ass self–Hazel calls him out on it.  Prefers the real version of him, outside of the pretenses.  I loved that.

The story was a bit predictable, at least for me.  After reading, I wasn’t sure why Green was so adamant about containing spoilers.  As though a person might pick up this book and NOT know that Augustus would die.  Or that idols, no matter their form, are inherently disappointing.

But the predictability didn’t turn me off.  It made my heart ache, because I knew why Augustus was shouting at his mom before the Amsterdam trip.  Their infinity was numbered from the beginning, and watching their star-crossed love unfold was nearly torturous–despite being also hilarious and tingly-making.  

And that Venn diagram.  That was pure genius.  It deserves its own line in this review.

This was me. For the last 100 pages.

Of course, I need the obligatory cried-my-eyes-out line.  Because I totally did.  It got really messy, and I snotted a little on my sweater sleeves because I couldn’t bring myself to get up and get a tissue.  I couldn’t pull myself away.

Side note:  I kept thinking that Green would end the novel in the middle of a sentence, just like in An Imperial Affliction.  That whole meta, novel within a novel thing made me think a lot about how much of a story we create on our own after the book is read.  How many liberties we take with the characters.  We bring them with us.  Set them on new paths.  Whatever Van Houten could have told Hazel about Anna’s mom and The Dutch Tulip Man, Hazel could just as easily have created herself.  She didn’t need him to tell her the fate of the hamster–she already figured it out for herself, anyway.  I like to think that the characters belonged just as much to her and Augustus as they did to Van Houten.  That’s the nature of fiction.

So, have you read THE FAULT IN OUR STARS (I hope so, because if you haven’t you just spoiled the crap out of yourself–assuming this story can be spoiled)?  What did you make of it?

Share My Wisdom:

18 comments

  1. Tracey Neithercott says:

    Augustus had me from the very beginning. I loved everything about that boy and when he was dying I seriously had to put down the book and cry. I still can’t get over it.

    Also, I TOTALLY thought the book would end in the middle of a sentence, too. Of course, I’m glad it didn’t because I probably would have been as annoyed as Hazel was. 🙂

  2. Laurie Dennison says:

    I thought it would end in the middle of a line, too! Actually, I wanted it to, and I was a little disappointed when it didn’t. I even wanted a little mystery about what would happen with Hazel’s parents.

    • Crystal says:

      Yeah, a little mystery could have served the story in a lot of ways. But you know, it is still intriguing to see what Green actually wanted to happen to them. I’m intrigued by this link that Jessica Love posted on her blog, but I haven’t had time to log on yet. Apparently, Green answers a lot of reader questions about the book and symbology and [I’m guessing] what happens to the characters: http://onlyifyoufinishedtfios.tumblr.com/

      Clearly, John Green is no Van Houten.

  3. Ghenet Myrthil says:

    I thought the book would end in the middle of a sentence too! Sounds like we all did. 🙂

    I didn’t know Augustus was going to die when I first started. I began to guess at a certain point, but I didn’t feel like the story was ruined. I went into the book mentally preparing myself for characters to die, because of course that’s what happens in a book about cancer. It was still upsetting when it happened though!

    I really enjoyed that the characters talked about mature topics. It was my favorite part of the book, besides the romance between them. The discussions they had were really thought-provoking, and while they did sometimes sound older, it didn’t bother me.

    Great review!

    • Crystal says:

      Yeah, I think that even knowing that Augustus will die doesn’t really take away from anything.

      And their discussions were really interesting. They made me consider a lot of things differently, which is something I haven’t gotten from a book in a long time.

  4. Rebecca B says:

    I was also convinced that it would end in mid-sentence. I’m glad it didn’t, because that would have wrecked me even further.

    The way the characters talked and the content of their discussions reminded me of my friends in HS–only more eloquent. I love that philosophical spirit; it’s one of my favorite parts of this book.

  5. Kari Bradley says:

    Great review, Crystal! I’ve connect to your thoughts/review the most. I am also conservative with 5s on Goodreads (perhaps not as much as you, I need to do the math). 😉 “Like Hazel reserved her ten, I reserve my five because I know that books like this exist.” I am seriously re-evaluating my 5s because I thought the same thing while reading! Anyway, I also thought it was predictable but then I also thought it would end mid sentence. And this is why Green is an evil genius, I suppose! 🙂

    • Crystal says:

      Yeah, I still think I’ve given away too many 5’s when I read books like this, but when I go back through I can’t mark anything down. I mean, some 5’s are different than others, you know?

  6. Elodie says:

    😀 “I kept thinking that Green would end the novel in the middle of a sentence, just like in An Imperial Affliction.” –> I wondered the same…

    Great review! I agree with you on the HS and philosophy part. Some of my favorite memories of those years include discussing with my friends the meaning of life…of course we also talked about boys, parties…and laughed a lot. I really enjoyed that this book rendered this part of being a teenager so beautifully!

    • Crystal says:

      “Some of my favorite memories of those years include discussing with my friends the meaning of life” EXACTLY. That’s why I don’t necessarily think that the dialogue was too unrealistic. We talked about boys and parties and things, too–but that’s not really a huge part of life for Augustus and Hazel, so it makes sense that they have more time to devote to scholarly/philosophical pursuits.

    • Crystal says:

      It was totally my favorite, too. That, and the one that is on one of the other YA Book clubber’s blog and I completely forgot about since reading it: “I love you present tense.”

    • Crystal says:

      True. It would have been incredibly cruel, but I think it would have had the same resonance that the ending of An Imperial Affliction had. Would have been depressing, though, for sure. Luckily, this book had a much more hopeful ending, in that it actually had an ending 🙂

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