I’ve been reading this on and off on the iPad when I’ve not had my ‘main book’ with me and I just finished it this evening. I want to preface this review by saying that, in general, since becoming just ‘an adult’ I don’t like reading ‘young adult’ books. The exception to this was the Hunger Games trilogy which I found thoroughly entertaining and not too childish at all. I say all this because I want to point out that I tried to come to The Fault in Our Stars with an open mind, especially as a lot of sensible ‘grown ups’ I know have also loved it BUT my dislike of the genre may have clouded my judgement.
This book has had a lot of publicity so I suppose most people know the plot. Hazel, a teenage girl with a debilitating form of lung cancer which is currently being staved off by a new wonder drug but is still likely to have a premature death, meets and falls in love with another cancer patient, Augustus, at a young support group. It takes your typical boy meets girl scenario of teen fiction and throws in a few terminal illnesses to further pull on your heart strings. The novel plots the twin development of their relationship and their respective diseases.
I probably would have loved it and read it over, and over, and over, aged 13. I would have fancied the pants off Augustus and found Hazel witty and strong. I would have sobbed and sobbed and then sobbed some more. I admit, I did find the odd moistening around my eyes in parts but I think that was more to do with it resonating with my own recent bereavements than any true empathy for the characters who, I’m afraid, left me rather cold. They are all too knowing, too clever, too insightful, too self-aware. I spend a lot of time with teenagers this age as a teacher and they just don’t talk like that. And if they did, you’d want to knock their heads together to get the pretension out of them.
This book isn’t for me, now. But, I suppose, may have been for me 20 years ago (yikes, that makes me feel old).