The Fault in Our Stars is about two teenagers with cancer who fall in love. Hazel and Gus have both had terminal diagnosis at different points in their lives, and after meeting in a support group they find true companionship and understanding in one another.
Minor spoilers are below.
My opinion's a slightly unpopular one. I didn’t love TFIOS but I didn’t totally hate it, either. Most people seem to love it in a rather hysterical way.
I thought it did a good job of showing how parents of kids with cancer cope. Hazel’s mom barely functioned outside of taking care of her daughter. Gus’ parents were completely focused on his happiness during his sickness and if that meant spending all his time with Hazel, so be it. Hazel and Gus did have a lot of sweet moments that were also very sad, because you never really forgot the disease these kids were living with. I was rooting for them to have every experience they could together.
However, I did not like how pretentious it was at times. I think John Green’s personality came through and sometimes Hazel and Gus were just too much. All those “deep” quotes look great on tumblr but make for cheesy moments. The occasional light hearted moment was necessary for Hazel's happiness, but with such serious subject matter the last thing I wanted to do was roll my eyes at Hazel’s breakfast monologue. But roll I did.
The romance also seemed forced to me. I understand completely that having cancer created a strong shared bond - that’s not my issue. That part was realistic. I just couldn’t deal with how these two were a couple about five seconds after meeting. I like a little bit of suspense in a romance! There was zero buildup or time to root for them before Hazel and Gus were already a done deal.
The ending of the book was a tear jerker, true, but TFIOS made me more sad for real children facing terminal illnesses than its own characters. I haven't seen the movie but I've heard it does a good job of bringing Hazel and Augustus to life.
3/5 stars - I don’t really understand the John Green worship but TFIOS did have many moving moments and was an easy read.