The Fault in Our Stars

by John Green.

1st: I liked this book, and considering I thought I was going to hate it, that’s awesome. I did not love it.

2nd: No one reads my blog, so I’m spoiling the book – when Gus admits he’s dying, which I already knew he was based on the fact that he was normal one chapter and stopping to breathe and carefully open doors the next, but he just didn’t want to tell her, I was like, that is so Nicholas Sparks. And I was told this was not Nicholas Sparks. That is A Walk to Remember secret right there.

3rd: The eulogies they wrote for each other. That is so Nicholas Sparks.

4th: The only thing I found to be not a typical cancer story about this book, was the scene at the gas station. The whole montage of her taking care of him while he deteriorates …. Nicholas Sparks.

5th: People treated this book like it was the second coming of Christ. I feel like this is mostly due to the fact that John Green has not put out a book written solely by himself in a long time, and the anticipation was high, and NerdFighters worship him.

6th: Although the signs that THIS IS A JOHN GREEN BOOK WRITTEN BY JOHN GREEN WHO ENJOYS SMART TEENAGERS WHO THINK LIKE JOHN GREEN AND UNDERSTAND GIANT WORDS AND COMPLICATED IDEAS LIKE JOHN GREEN were not as multiple and obvious (think depressed and piney teenage genius after girl who doesn’t want him), most were there.

7th: Here’s my beef with John Green — with An Abundance, Paper Towns, and Will Grayson, I felt like I was reading a trilogy with the same character moving from one adventure to the next. I don’t think he is very good at creating unique and realized characters with each new novel. All his protagonists roll into the same cookie cutter format. It really hurt to read E. Lockhart state that she wishes she could write like him, because I feel like she can write independent stories about independent characters — Ruby is vastly different from Frankie, and they are set in their plots to discover their own truths — one about how to navigate life with purpose and self worth, another to achieve value in the eyes of society despite restraints and gender prejudice. I feel like John Green’s characters in Abundance, Towns, and Grayson are vaguely the same person vaguely searching for a purpose — in Abundance, in life, in Towns, with a girl, in Grayson, outside the shadow of a friend. Each with a fat, “hilarious” side kick who they like and loathe all at the same time.

In conclusion, if someone asked me what John Green book I would recommend, I will forever and always say Looking For Alaska. That to me is like A Separate Peace or Catcher in the Rye — just a literary classic. However, if they read that and want to know what’s the next book of John Green’s they should try, I would say this one. And then I would say don’t read anymore of his books.

 

***I should point out that Green thinks that it is a ridiculous argument to say all his books are basically the same, because Abundance is about mathematics (but yet still sir, about a prodigy searching for a purpose beyond learning) and Towns is a bookend and opposite of Alaska (but yet still sir, about a boy searching for a purpose beyond what the girl next door tells him). He even says superficially that they are different, because Abundance has a road trip (but so does Towns, and essentially, Stars has a trip outside of the main setting as well).

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