There’s another John Green book! The voice of our generation has blessed us with another brilliant bible of youth that captures our lives exactly. After such works as “Looking for Alaska” and “Paper Towns”I could not wait to get my hands on a copy. Green has been working on this novel for seven years. There’s no way it could be anything short of an automatic classic.
And then I started reading.
At its core, “The Fault in our Stars” is a romance book wrapped in a cancer story. It charts the romance of two teens dealing with tragically fatal cancers as they fall in love and travel the world. John Green sticks to his unique style of blending dialogue that reads exactly as a teenager would really speak with philosophy that causes the reader to see the world in a completely different light. Unfortunately, when it comes to writing the relationship between two cancer patients, Green falls short.
The lovers in the novel, Hazel and Augustus, have an infuriating habit of believing that they are somehow on a plane above healthy people because they have suffered. They treat everyone without cancer as if they are less intelligent, less able to understand the reality of life. I am not saying that their view of life would not be different after dealing with cancer, I just feel that the fact that their parents have not does not mean that their thoughts are of no merit.
Green also falters when writing the dialogue between Hazel and Augustus. It may be speech that is very close to how I speak in real life, but scenes that are full of emotion and power are struck down by a few stupid quips by one of the teens. While on a perfect date in Amsterdam, Green describes everything in mellifluous tones until the couple decides to talk. Bad jokes, ridiculous flirting and banal lust-filled lines kill any hope for a scene that doesn’t end with me face palming at the similarities to a “Twilight” movie.
This is not to say that the book doesn’t have merit. Several chapters contain Green’s thoughts which show the hours he spent studying philosophies and world religion at Kenyon college. He talks about an author’s connection to his work, dealing with the eventuality of death, and a study of the concept of infinity. Green does a fantastic job of describing the death of a close friend, how it feels to think that you may die without making a difference and whether it is actually possible for someone to live and love without making a difference.
So no, its not the pinnacle of pubescent publications. Its not the next book to make the SM East tenth grade required reading list. But it is not a stereotypical teen book. It’s not a stereotypical cancer book. It’s a book that shows that no matter who you are or what you are dealing with, there is always hope and there will always be love.