The Fault In Our Stars – John Green

The Fault In Our Stars – John GreenTitle: The Fault in Our Stars by John Green
Publishing Info: January 10, 2012 by Penguin
Source: Library
Genres: Contemporary, Young Adult
Find it on the web: Buy from Amazon // GoodreadsDate Completed: September 1, 2012
Related Posts: An Abundance of Katherines, Will Grayson, Will Grayson, Looking for Alaska

Diagnosed with Stage IV thyroid cancer at 13, Hazel was prepared to die until, at 14, a medical miracle shrunk the tumors in her lungs... for now.
Two years post-miracle, sixteen-year-old Hazel is post-everything else, too; post-high school, post-friends and post-normalcy. And even though she could live for a long time (whatever that means), Hazel lives tethered to an oxygen tank, the tumors tenuously kept at bay with a constant chemical assault.

Enter Augustus Waters. A match made at cancer kid support group, Augustus is gorgeous, in remission, and shockingly to her, interested in Hazel. Being with Augustus is both an unexpected destination and a long-needed journey, pushing Hazel to re-examine how sickness and health, life and death, will define her and the legacy that everyone leaves behind


Please don’t bring out the torches and pitchforks but… I totally didn’t like THE FAULT IN OUR STARS as much as I had hoped. For everything I had heard about it, the rave reviews, everyone who was touched by it, I feel like there were so many things that I just found not to like about it.

First and foremost, I borrowed this from the library as an audiobook. To be fair, I probably shouldn’t have listened to the book and I should have actually read the book. I really didn’t like the narrator, Kate Rudd (actually hated at the beginning). Her voice was just fine, but it was a little too exact in pronunciation so I felt like I was listening to a motivational tape or something. I also really didn’t like her voices for Augustus or Isaac at all. Isaac was a really whiny voice and Augustus just sounded kind of dopey. Also, all of the “okay” sequences between Hazel and Augustus sounded so stiff and not emotional at all and always with the same exact inflection. I just really didn’t think she did a good job.

Looking past the narration, there were also quite a few things that bothered me. I felt like John Green had big word-itis in this book. Has anyone ever seen that episode of Friends where Joey uses the thesaurus to write an adoption recommendation letter for Monica & Chandler? That’s how I felt about the choice of words in this book. Now, now, I know Hazel is supposed to be “not-your-ordinary-16-year-old-girl”. She doesn’t have the social life to pick up the common teenage “OMG” aspect, but still. She’s 16. I just didn’t relate to the fact that she (and Augustus too) seemed to have a vastly larger vocabulary than any of their peers, and even the adults in this book were dumbed down by their knowledge as well as their struggle with their respective cancers. I just really felt like the writing was a bit — dare I say — pretentious. I really just didn’t care for a lot of it, actually.

I really didn’t enjoy the trip to Amsterdam much either. The whole thing just felt unnecessary and that the whole thing could have taken place in the US.  I know, I know, there were obvious reasons for it but I totally wasn’t digging it.

And don’t get me wrong, it has nothing to do with the fact that it was a sadder or more serious story than I normally read. I quite enjoy the serious turn on quite a few books, but I don’t know… I just never really got into it. And also has nothing to do with cancer as the main focus – Please – Lurleen McDaniels books were my bread and butter as an adolescent. I just never made a real connection with the characters.

I think I complained a bit too much in this review… But I actually was bothered by quite a bit. That being said, I did cry. I sobbed at the ultimate sobbing point of the book and totally could not help it! And I did end up enjoying quite a bit of the book. I was just let down quite a bit since everyone was giving it 4.5 or 5 stars reviews. I disappointed myself by expecting too much!


Hazel // Well, I kind of already summed it up a bit. I just never identified with Hazel, and I really, really wanted to. Broken but strong, stoic but emotional – How could I not? But really somehow I didn’t. I didn’t care for how she switched from extremely large words to calling someone a “doucheface”. I felt like it was quite a polar opposite that didn’t transition well.
Augustus // Yet again, just didn’t really connect. I didn’t care for the whole metaphor of the cigarettes… I like his story a bit more than Hazel’s… but right from the start, he didn’t stand a chance of me liking him because of his name. I just didn’t like the name Augustus and to shorten it to Gus? That’s even worse. The only Gus I’ve ever known was the mouse in Cinderella!
Isaac // I actually liked Isaac the most out of the teen characters. He was a bit simpler, as it should have been.


Borrow it

Well, I suppose the hype killed this one for me a little bit. I also MAY not be a John Green fan. (I know there are more than one of us out there!) I’d say maybe borrow this one before you buy it!

book_recommendations1BOOKS LIKE THE FAULT IN OUR STARS

Hi, I'm Brittany!
Hi, I'm Brittany!

I'm an avid reader, candle-maker, and audiobook lover! Here you'll find book reviews, fun blog posts, and my other loves of photography & craft beer!

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24 thoughts on “The Fault In Our Stars – John Green

  1. Jo

    I’m glad to see more critical reviews of TFIOS out there, I was starting to feel like I was alone in my not liking of this supposedly incredible book! I had the same issues as you, I couldn’t connect to the characters and to be quite honest, the story kind of bored me. I didn’t even cry at the sad part because I saw it coming a mile away.

  2. Matt

    Great review, even though you didn’t love this book I have heard great things about it! Would love to read it. Please enter me in your giveaway.

  3. Soap

    I’m also really glad I found your review… you pretty much covered everything I thought while I was reading it. My friend LOVED this book and recommended it to me, and I wanted so much to like it too. I was so excited to read TFiOS. But then, it just felt flat. I mean, I think it’s very well-written compared to the stuff like Twilight and 50 Shades that have reached mass popularity with the public. But I just feel like TFiOS is super overrated and not 5 stars good, you know? Maybe 3.5 stars at most.

    I too found the characters (especially Hazel) quite presumptuous, and lacking in real depth/personality. They all felt the same to me. I could never get attached to them 🙁 And this is coming from me, who gets attached to things super easily and can cry in sympathy if a character is even feeling disappointed. The whole time I read TFiOS however, something felt off somehow.

    To be honest, I’m also really irritated by the amount of backlash people receive when they express this sort of opinion, due to John Green’s massive fanbase The Nerdfighters I believe they’re called. People shouldn’t be afraid or uncertain to speak their mind. In any case, if you want to try another one of his books, I would recommend Papertowns (I heard Looking for Alaska was good as well). Papertowns wasn’t flaw-free, but at least the characters were likable and the story had heart.

  4. Streetlight Reader

    I’m really glad that I found your review because I didn’t like The Fault In Our Stars as much as I wanted too either. I didn’t have any emotional attachment to the characters and that’s such a change for me after reading Looking For Alaska. Someone how the book just fell flat for me. It kind of felt like there was no direction. Does that make sense? And I didn’t seen the point of Peter Van Houten’s character either. I just finished the book yesterday and I wrote a review for it, but a part of me was a bit afraid to write it because of my negative response to it. I think John Green’s a fantastic writer, this book just didn’t work for me.

    Great review! Happy Holidays!

    1. Brittany

      So glad to hear when people agree!! I know so many people love the book but it really just didn’t impress me like I had hoped. I’ll definitely keep a lookout for your review!
      Happy holidays!!!

      1. Streetlight Reader

        It’s definitely disappointing when a book that so many people love just doesn’t appeal to you. Have you read A Monster Calls by Patrick Ness? I think that really got an emotional response out of me. It was so well written in comparison to TFiOS. You actually formed an emotional attachment to the characters. I thought TFiOS had some great quotes, but that was at the beginning of the book and then the rest of it fell flat. I haven’t picked up John Green’s other two books yet. I feel like my disappointment of this one might carry over to those and I won’t enjoy it. So I’ll take a leave of absence from reading his books for a bit lol.

      2. Brittany

        I read (well, listened to the audio) of An Abundance of Katherines and was left less than impressed again! I’m not sure if I want to pick up any more John Green books. Maybe his works just aren’t for me??
        I haven’t read A Monster Calls… Hmmm maybe I’ll have to look into it!!!

      3. Streetlight Reader

        My friend who introduced me to John Green and I were talking about our responses to his books. I think the first book you read is what sticks with you the most. I read Looking For Alaska first and I felt like TFiOS had nothing on that one. I truly loved LFA, but this one was just flat.

        I HIGHLY recommend A Monster Calls. It’s one of my favourite books of the year!

  5. nuelene

    At first when I read the synopsis, I really don’t like it but I found a copy of the book so I decided to read it. I like it because it made me laugh and cry at the same time. I just don’t like how the book revolves around another book and how Hazel thinks of the future of the characters in it. I just hate it.

    1. Brittany

      Good point! I don’t think I mentioned that in my review but it did bother me too! You’d think as a book person I’d enjoy that plot line but I really didn’t!

  6. Alyssa

    You know, I have checked this one out probably 4 times and I just can’t bring myself to read it. I was even going to read it for book club and just skipped that month!! I have a hard time because I like books that take me AWAY from sadness and reality! Know what I mean? I totally feel you when you say that you hate writing harsh reviews, I feel the same way…almost guilty and like I want to change my own mind!!

    1. Brittany

      Oh totally. That’s why I keep reading things like dystopians and fantasy and mystery and contemporary – They’re all fun and take me AWAY from reality lol. I hate reading sad books or drama so I’ve been avoiding it, but when I found this on audiobook, I thought I’d give it a shot. Oh well!

  7. Lucy

    Though I’m a big fan of the book, I can understand your criticisms of it. It’s hard when you don’t connect with the characters, when it just doesn’t sit right, and the dialogue doesn’t ring true. This is the first JG book I really enjoyed, and I was going to try the Kate Rudd audiobook but now I’m reluctant to. I own the John Green narrated version and my daughter liked it a lot. So maybe I’ll listen to that sometime.
    Awesome, honest review. Thanks for sharing your thoughts!

    1. Brittany

      Thanks, Lucy! I’m just glad you can see my side of it. I always feel bad writing somewhat harsh reviews (since i did have quite a few complaints), but I just try to be honest.

  8. Candice

    I was slightly disappointed with how much I didn’t love TFIOS, but at the same time I had such a weird reaction to it that I must have felt what I was supposed to. I didn’t cry (thank goodness) over it, but about 10 minutes after I finished it I had to sit down and just sit because the story finally hit me. If that make sense! I didn’t connect to Hazel or Augustus very much, and really felt like I was watching an episode of Dawson’s Creek with their language, but I felt a sort of sense of connection to them. I think my feelings for this book are allllll over the place!

    1. Brittany

      LOL love the Dawson’s Creek comparison. I guess that’s kind of how I was feeling too! Just kind of all over. I felt like I WANTED to like it so much that maybe I tried to force it a bit.

  9. Quinn @ Quinn's Book Nook

    There is such a strong, vocal fan base for John Green, that it can raise our expectations for John Green’s books. I’ve yet to read this book, but I do plan to do so soon.

    I know you recommended that I not listen to the audiobook, but I may still give it a try, mainly because I don’t think I will read it any other way.

    John Green’s books just aren’t ones that I would pick up first. Not that they aren’t good, just not my first choice. So the only way I think I will ever read them is by listening.

    But it is good for me to be prepared about the less than stellar job the narrator did.

    I absolutely love John and Hank Green’s youtube channel, so I feel sort of bad for only having read one John Green book (Paper Towns).

    Thanks for the review, and don’t worry, no torches or pitchforks (or tomatoes!) here!

    1. Brittany

      Oh I forgot about tomatoes! 🙂
      Well I wish you the best of luck with the audiobook! I hope you like it more than I did 🙂 I think overall, I just never really made a connection with the book so it just ended up being blah for me.
      I totally get not reading it except for audiobook – It’s so hard to pick up books and constantly want to put them down. Not like I was going to DNF this, but I think I’d be way less inclined to DNF an audiobook than a regular book because it’s less effort lol.

  10. Kelly

    Oh no, I’m sorry that you didn’t like it as much as you thought you would going in to it. I really liked it. I have a hard time with audio books so I’m not sure if I’d have felt the same listening to it as I did reading it. I got a 3 credit audible membership and my second download was TFiOS. I actually fell asleep listening to it, but it WAS late and I WAS in bed! I ended up giving my husband the last of my credits because I just don’t find audio books as appealing as actual books. I ordered the hardback of TFiOS and read that, I did struggle without my Kindle dictionary on some of those big words you mentioned!

    1. Brittany

      Yeah, I don’t know why but apparently just wasn’t my cup of tea! It seemed like I should like it, but I just didn’t connect. And I DO feel like looking back I should have actually read it instead of audiobook, but oh well! I heard John Green audiobooks were generally good so I thought I’d try! I’m actually on a much better audiobook now 🙂
      Even listening aside, there were just a lot of things I was unhappy with 🙁


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