The radio show I listen to in the morning does a segment every now and then called Eight Month Old Movie Review, which is usually when one of the DJ’s has just seen a movie that has already been out for quite sometime but they want to talk about it. Today is going to be kind of like that. I’m doing a Five Year Old Book review, ha! I’m pretty behind the times on a LOT of books though, so that isn’t too hard. Anyway, I was recently at Half Price Books and discovered they have a clearance shelf in the very back of the store (Thrifty Tuesday tip!) and grabbed myself a copy of The Fault in Our Stars by John Green. It’s been on my “to read” list for a long time now after it was so crazy popular a few years ago. I started it on vacation and finished it within a week.
If you’ve been living under a rock like me and haven’t read this book before, it’s a YA novel. It’s a tragic love story about a cancer patient named Hazel and how she meets another cancer patient/survivor named Gus at a support group meeting. Hazel does not intend to fall in love with Gus as she knows she will never be cancer free, but despite her efforts not to, the two of them become very close and eventually she can’t deny that she is in love with him. She shares one of her favorite books with him and it is a book that has an unsatisfying ending. Gus communicates with the author via email and tells Hazel they can travel to Amsterdam to meet the author and talk about the book. Hazel tells Gus she already wasted her “Make A Wish” on a trip to Disney World, but Gus generously offers her his wish. They travel together and meet the author, which turns out to be a disappointment (the author is a washed up drunk), but they still enjoy their time in Amsterdam until the last day they are there when the book takes a bit of a turn.
I won’t spoil the last part of the book in case you haven’t read or haven’t seen the movie. I will say I saw the twist coming from a mile away, but I am pretty good at predicting this style of story. I used to read all those terrible Lurlene McDaniel dying teenager books and this book reminds me of a more sophisticated version of one of those. That isn’t necessarily a negative reaction though. I found the writing was fresh and held my attention, the characters were witty and interesting and even though I pretty much knew how it was going to end and that it would likely be sad – duh, it’s cancer – I still was sucked in pretty much right away and read it pretty fast and enjoyed it. I like to read books that I can get lost in and not have to think too hard every now and then and this one was perfect for that. I am interested in checking out some of John Green’s other books now that I’ve finished this one.
I haven’t decided if I will see the movie or not yet. I have heard it does not deviate from the book much at all which I appreciate. My problem is I’m not a big fan of Shailene Woodley. I don’t know what it is about her, I think it’s probably because I didn’t like her on the show The Secret Life of the American Teenager and therefore I haven’t cared much for her in anything I’ve seen since! But, I do like seeing how books transition to the big screen, so I will likely stream the movie at some point.
Overall I did enjoy the book and even if it was formulaic and predictable, I can see why it was so popular when it was released. I’m glad I finally had a chance to read it!