In this day and age, the line between artist and art is a blurred and confused one. Publishers encourage their authors to have an online presence--and no author has been more successful at that than John Green, with his popular YouTube videos and millions of Nerdfighter followers. It is nearly impossible to separate THE FAULT IN OUR STARS from its hype, should you even want to do that. In between or in spite of the cancerkid plotline, TFiOS is distinctly John Green, and that comes with its pros and cons.
Pros: TFiOS is chock-full of John Green-isms. His characters are, in a sense, himself; he is his characters. Theoretically (or technically) this is true for all writers and their characters, but the public John Green himself is already such a character that Hazel, Augustus, and the others just seem like extensions of his online persona. His words in their mouths. They're far from being bad words, no, but they're very recognizably his, and readers who perhaps were trying to appreciate the characters and the writings on their own may find it a slightly more difficult job.
Cons: Having grown up reading John Green--that is, having read each of his novels within a few weeks after they were released--it's interesting observing the development (or lack thereof) of his subsequent novels. That John Green is good at what he does is no secret. He's funny, he's insightful, he's energetic. But he could've done more with Hazel, Augustus, and the others. Instead, his characters and stories seem to stall at "witty" and never progress to "profound." Events could have been expanded into something bigger and more meaningful; instead, things were rushed or felt simply like vehicles for comic relief.
That being said, I still felt that THE FAULT IN OUR STARS was a great read. I always enjoy reading about smart characters, and there were plenty of moments where I nearly jumped up and ran around to find someone to show a particular quote to. We need more YA like this, this combination of humor and intelligence and interesting thoughts. TFiOS being a cancer book, there are certain things that we readers can expect over the course of the story, which dampened the end effect for me somewhat.
The TFiOS reading experience brings up the interesting dilemma of whether or not we readers should consider our relationship with and knowledge of the author when reading his or her book. How you enjoy THE FAULT IN OUR STARS, then, sort of depends on your context. On its own and compared to nothing, it's a pretty good book with its funny and sad moments. Compared to YA lit as a whole, it's rather respectable and reason for encouraging more books of its kind. Compared to The John Green Persona, however, it's a mere middling extension of what he's already good at, and doesn't do anything new.
Doesn't mean, though, that I didn't enjoy it.
The Fault In Our Stars offered a great look at a different kind of romance--one between two teenagers with cancer. The character development is remarkable. The way that Augustus and Hazel interact is realistic and irresistibly honest. You can really feel the emotion in it and the intensity. It's so raw. It's an amazing book, you definitely should read it.
The Fault in Our Stars is a good book with one or two memorable quotes but that's about it. I was sort of expecting more out of it but in the end it didn't make me feel much of anything. It didn't make me feel sad, or happy, or hopeful, nor angry or confused, it was just a quick read. Hate to leave such a meh review, especially when I loved Paper Towns so much.
I had heard many good things about this book, so I decided I needed to experience it. I didn't know amazing and well-written it would really be! I laughed, cried, and felt like I was living with the characters in the book. I recommend this to everyone because I've never read anything like it before and this is something everyone deserves to read.
I read this book a couple of months ago when I found out my bestie had cancer. She didn't like the book, but I found some of the issues Hazel was dealing with beyond her illness were the same things my friend found so frustrating.
That being said...I found the book a interesting read.