Okay, I just finished reading this book last night, and because it was a great book (which I have not encountered in a while) I feel like it is worth writing a review :)
So the reason why I read this book was 1) My friend recommended it to me 2) The movie trailer, strongly hit my emotions (well I mean movie trailers are supposed to provoke some kind of reaction, but still)
And then I also watched the “Teens React to The Fault In Our Stars” before I read the book because I like teens react and I watch it every week :P
Well now let’s get to the review of the book itself.
So before I started reading the book, I was expecting some kind of cheesy love story and a plot that will provoke readers to sympathize the protagonist, Hazel who is diagnosed with cancer and cry with her or something. However, my expectations were betrayed :)
I mean yea, it does have some cheesiness in the love relationship between Hazel and Augustus, but the cynicism and sarcasm in their conversation relieves it. Moreover, contrary to my expectation, the story is not only about this girl who is sick and how eventually the readers sympathize her because she is suffering physically and mentally. It is more about getting insight to a teenage cancer patient and her thoughts. But because the protagonist has been dealing with her illness for about 5 years or so? it is not the sadness that the readers see. It is the realistic thoughts of death/dying that the protagonist has lived with since she was diagnosed with cancer. For me, her perspective was really interesting cause I’ve never experienced myself nor had someone close to me who has experienced and seriously expressed about ‘dying’. Thus, I myself is a teenager, so the contrast of the difference and similarity between Hazel and I reinforced my interest.
In addition, all the characters that appear in this novel show some kind of vulnerability, either physically or mentally, which was interesting. I think this represented the multiple facets of vulnerability and how everyone has problems, but we all need to live with it in some kind of way. Especially the teenage cancer patients like Hazel, Augustus and Isaac show vitality even in their situation, which contrasted with the adults (esp. parents) that all carry some kind of darkness. Maybe this is because they are the ones who will be left (after their children’s death).
For a person like me who is slow and sucks at reading, it was a nice and easy book in a way that the narration is delivered by a teenage girl in colloquial language as well as that dialogues take up the majority of the text.
Another thing that was impressive in this book is the voice of the narrator, which is the protagonist Hazel. Although this book was written by a man in his mid 30s, the voice of the protagonist is very lively and close to a typical teenage girl. As an 18 year old girl, this made it easy to not just read the text, but also empathize the feelings of teenage love.
The love story between Hazel and Augustus…hmm I mean yea it was sweet and all, but for me, that’s just kind of a common universal theme that drags the attention of the audience. I focused more on the protagonist as an individual, as a teenage girl who is isolated from society because of her sickness.
However, due to my lack of vocabulary, the deep thought process that is exchanged between Hazel&Augustus and Peter Van Houten is very unclear and difficult to comprehend. So I guess for me, reading it a couple more times will deepen the message of this novel.
Overall, I loved this book, and I cannot wait for the movie!! Especially because Augustus becomes ‘visual’ and I actually find Ansel Elgort very VERY attractive :3 haha