May 23, 2012 by Heidi
Title: The Fault in Our Stars [Amazon|GoodReads]
Author: John Green [Website|Twitter|Facebook]
Standing: Stand alone novel.
Genre: Young Adult, Contemporary
Published: January 10th, 2012 by Dutton Books
Format: Hardcover; 313 pages.
Source: Borrowed from my local library.
Challenge: Completely Contemp Challenge
You have a choice in this world, I believe, about how to tell sad stories, and we made the funny choice.
Did you know that there are, chemically speaking, two different stages of love? The first stage, the one where you’re falling and all dopey and basically unable to function because you can’t think of anything but that other person is the result of a chemical cocktail of adrenaline, dopamine, and serotonin pouring through your brain. The second stage, the one where you’re committed and stay together potentially for life is because of two other chemicals, vasopressin and oxytocin. These are the ones that really bond you together, but the fact is, once you’re getting the vasopressin and oxytocin, you don’t get so much of the adrenaline, dopamine, and serotonin. And that, my friends, is probably the biggest reason that I (and quite probably you) love to read about falling in love. It gives me a bit of those chemicals (and feelings) back. That’s why after reading a book I love, I often can’t sleep, and I usually have a lot of energy. And I love it!
But here’s the thing. Reading can also make you feel not-so-good feelings that you don’t like and want to avoid like the plague. That, my friends, is why I did not really want to read The Fault in Our Stars. I drug my feet…a lot. Even while reading. A book that could have easily been read in one sitting, I read a third of, put down for two days, then read chapter by chapter for some time, getting up and doing something else constantly to try to keep myself from getting too involved. This behavior continued for about 2/3 of the book. I knew what was coming, and I dreaded it. I kind of Monnicad this book. I didn’t want to get hurt, so I pushed it away, but it hurt anyway. But it also felt pretty good, falling in love with Augustus Waters.
This book doesn’t really need another review at this point (heck, I didn’t even bother to post a summary, please click the GoodReads link if you need one). Many/most of you have already read it, and to my knowledge, everyone’s loved it, so it seems silly to go on and on, and yet I’m not sure I can resist fawning a little. So here it goes:
I love Augustus. I love that he pushes this perfect boundary between being pushy and just plain attentive. I love that he doesn’t try to kiss Hazel, or call her too much, and I love that he reads her favorite book first thing, and really thinks about it.
I love that Hazel has a hard time standing much, and Augustus has a hard time sitting. Something about that whispers “star-crossed lovers” in your ear and breaks your heart.
I love that Hazel and Augustus both have wonderful families. Families who care about them and support them, and even hover a little, but the kids don’t resent them for it. They love them for it. There need to be more families like this in books (and maybe in real life).
I love that this book manages to include poetry that wasn’t at all cheesy, and did not once make me gag.
I love that this book made me laugh a lot more than it made me cry. I agree with Hazel and Augustus (and with Mr. John Green), you have a choice how to tell sad stories, and the funny choice? That’s the best one.
And I like my choices.
Likelihood that I’ll be back for more: This was my second John Green, and I’m not going to lie, I am glad it wasn’t my first. If it was my first, I’d probably think “wonderful book, but I’m not signing up for that again”. Luckily, I remain very excited to read his other books, and plan on listening to the audio of Looking for Alaska somewhat soonish. This guy’s made himself a must-read.
Recommended for: The next time anyone says something degrading about the quality or value of YA lit, I’m going to slap them with The Fault in Our Stars and just dare them not to feel all the things.
Real life repercussions of reading this book: Only 2.25 tissues used! <—Unsure if this is a bragging point, or a sign that I am well and truly dead inside.