I say: I expected more from this, mostly because everyone has been raving about it, including people who I usually share the same tastes with when it comes to Young Adult fiction.
However, I believed the hype and was let down.
As per usual.
Don’t get me wrong, the book was good – it just wasn’t brilliant. I think the biggest problem I had with it was that I didn’t connect with Hazel. She was rather meh, to be honest – there was nothing about her that made me root for her. Yes, it was sad that she had cancer and had to carry around an oxygen tank, and even though Green was trying to show us that there was more to her than just the cancer, I think that he sometimes got it all muddle up.
We pity her in this scenario, but we shouldn’t pity her in this other one.
On the other hand, I really liked Augustus – he was cool, knew himself (as much as you can as a teenager) and his only fear was that he wasn’t going to leave a mark on this world. In a sense, he was the exact opposite of Hazel, and taught
the poor girl her how to live and love.
The best part was the dialogue between Augustus and Hazel, and their friend Isaac. It was funny, absurd, enlightening and refreshing.
Hazel is obsessed with a certain book and the author who wrote it, mainly because the book ends midsentence and she wants to know what happened to all these people. This was the most relatable part for me (having read all those Russians who love to burn their manuscripts and/or die before finishing the work), Augustus saying:
“And okay, fair enough, but there is this unwritten contract between author and reader and I think not ending your book kind of violates that contract.” – p 67
But then, and this may be a tad spoilery, so highlight if you want to know what happens, when they meet the author, Peter Van Houten he says:
“[...] to be perfectly frank, this childish idea that the author of a novel has some special insight into the characters in the novel ... it’s ridiculous. That novel was composed of scratches on a page, dear. The characters inhabiting it have no life outside of those scratches. What happened to them? They all ceased to exist the moment the novel ended.” – p 191/2
That made me really think about the relationship I have with some of my favourite books and authors.
Either way, it was a good enough read, and although I really like Green’s writing, this just wasn’t for me.