Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Tea Time: The Fault in Our Stars

Before I get started, I bet you're wondering: What is tea time? Besides grabbing your fancy cups and eating cookies with your pinkies turned up (because you can totally do that, too), Tea Time is where I'll be talking about books. Books I've read, more specifically. Are they reviews? Yes, yes they are. But keep in mind that this is one woman's opinion.

Get the point?

**Warning: Spoilers May Abound**

The Fault in Our Stars, John Green

Despite the tumor-shrinking medical miracle that has bought her a few years, Hazel has never been anything but terminal, her final chapter inscribed upon diagnosis. But when a gorgeous plot twist named Augustus Waters suddenly appears at Cancer Kid Support Group, Hazel's story is about to be completely rewritten. (source: goodreads)

Alright. I read TFiOS because I decided to jump off the same emotional cliff that everyone else I know was leaping from. My Facebook newsfeed was full of people talking about it, I've seen the movie poster, and, heck, I saw the trailer for the movie coming out and thought, "What the heck? It can't be too bad."

Thankfully, I wasn't wrong. I finished the book in two days, subtly ignoring my roommate while I flipped from page to page. She even looked at me funny when I started laughing and tried to get her to appreciate the humor-filled personality that is Augustus Waters. Then when I came out of my room the next day, she didn't ask me about the sniffling she might have heard from behind my door.

Because that's what best friends are for. Am I right?


Okay, how could you not like that cover? It's so visually pleasing and simplistic. Three colors, and not even varying shades. Clouds. And what I can definitely appreciate is the fact that all of the reviews they decided to paste on the cover that normally look obnoxious are subtly faded into the background (okay, so maybe four colors?). At a first glance, I thought they were tally marks. Words work, too, though.

So overall, yes, I like the cover. I like the plainness; it only adds to the overall mystery behind the title (assuming that you have no clue what this book is about).



This section's quick, I promise. Told in the first person from Hazel's point of view, the narrative was extremely simple, but not in a way that made me feel stupid or slow. The sentences were mostly short, always to the point, and I feel like a lot of it was relying on dialogue. Since I happen to love dialogue, this was absolutely no problem for me. I mean, if you like super-long, flowy sentences, I think you could pass; but when you just want to relax and not be forced to focus on what the sentences are saying, but rather focus on what's happening, then yes. Just yes.


Okay. So when I first started the book, I didn't know where Green was taking me. And this is despite all of the hype and spoilers I'd already gotten from the people in the fandom that couldn't keep a secret. To be brutally honest, my main thought was: How the heck can he fill an entire book with just two cancer patients falling in love? I knew there was more, but had I gotten any hints beforehand on the other arcs he was pushing?


So I was surprised with the clever twists and turns that he takes in first developing Hazel and Augustus' relationship in a not-creepy way. First they get to know each other, and, let's face it, those places were cavity-inducing enough. Then there was a whole 'nother plot arc that takes the two cancer-patients (and one caring mother) halfway across the globe. Then-well, I'm trying not to ruin it for you.

Let me just say that, when the "big blow" happened, I was shocked.I mean, for not knowing in the beginning where the book was going, it was a very pleasant feeling to be surprised.

So, if I'm being honest, I don't read a lot of books from Green's genre. I especially don't normally read books with terminal narrators. It's not that I'm trying to stay away from the depressing, because it's the depressing that usually touches me the most. It's just not my go-to genre. So what I appreciated about this book was, as I've already noted, the fact that I was turning one page after another. There wasn't a single time where I got so bored with it that I wanted to put it down and pick it up "eventually."

Green took me through two general arcs: the love story of a boy and a girl, and the life of two teenagers with terminal cancer. One's the cutest thing you'll ever read, and the other is just heartbreaking. I guess what this long little rant comes down to is that Green took the concept of star-crossed lovers and kind of turned it on its head. And it's beautiful.

That being said, I will tell everyone here what I keep telling everybody else: I'm glad I didn't pay full-price for it. The bookstore wanted almost twenty bucks for it, and me being the money-savvy college student I am, I ordered it online for nearly half the price. I'm not saying that I'm glad just because I saved money, because I'm always glad to do that (especially because it means more books), but despite having an affectionate place in my heart taken up by this book, I'm not quite sure that it completely lived up to the hype.



Before I say anything, I want a promise that you'll read this entire thing. Okay?

I didn't connect with the characters as much as I was hoping. This isn't to say that I didn't completely love them to death, but something I both appreciated and cringed at was the fact that everybody felt so distant. At the same time, I kind of loved them for that.

Hazel Grace Lancaster and Augustus Waters are both, well, normal (not including the cancer). There's nothing about them that particularly makes them stand out from a crowd (let's pretend everything I say doesn't include the cancer, unless I specifically mention it). They're awkward, shy, teenagers, struggling through the labels that society's glued onto them (now is the cancer; but, seriously, how many of the rest of us get labels? Everyone, that's who). When everyone is telling them what they can't do, they're shoving it in everyone's faces and saying watch me.

They're normal. Teenagers. And while I loved their personalities, I love a lot of people's personalities. There wasn't anything about them that said, them, yes, they're my favorite, I love them forever in the same way characters from other books have done.

But I did love them. For their normal-ness, for their dreams, for their thoughts. For their love of a single book that no normal person has ever heard of. For their quirks (seriously, Augustus with those cigarettes was probably one of the coolest things ever). The picnic? Yeah, only an adorable boy named Augustus Waters could plan something like that to woo the same girl he called beautiful on their first meeting.

I mean, I didn't connect, but maybe that's the point? Because through not connecting, I connected. When I was done reading it, I sat on my bed and stared up at the ceiling and my mind was totally blank. I was thinking, yet not thinking. It was deep in a simple way, through the plot and through the narrative and, dare I say it, through the characters.

So . . . I'm just kind of torn, but I've got to go with my gut on this one.


So was this a book that had me on the edge of my seat? Was I inhaling the words, the chapters? Did I cry, and scream, and yell when the characters were in pain?

No, I wasn't. But I was taking my time, digesting the pages (not literally), and thinking about every word that came out of Hazel and Augustus' literary mouths. And that's what really struck me about this book, and that's why I loved it.

Final Answer: 4 / 5

Stay Crazy,


Thoughts or Questions? Let me know what you think!

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