This was my first John Green read, and I’d have to say this was pretty reentry to young adult fiction. After high school, I’d grown out of reading about teenagers and their teenage angsty lives. I got enough of that in my real life. But after reading The Fault in Our Stars I’ve realized just how close these stories can hit home.
The Fault in Our Stars was no exception. This book was amusing, heartfelt—and if it makes any effing sense—beautifully confusing in so many ways… Green writes in a very witty form that’s at first really appealing until you realize something’s missing—something important. And then I realized what it was: Hazel and August.
I know, I know, I know… “What do you mean?” Well, I’m getting to that. As much as I enjoyed reading Hazel and Augustus’ love story play out, it didn’t seem real at all. This was a very fictive pair of teenagers that could not honestly have existed outside this book. If anything, they are imposter teenagers. Am I still not making any sense? (Well, I tried.)
Okay, so here’s what I’m getting at: I don’t know about you but when I look to my younger cousins, who are the same age as Hazel and Augustus, I don’t see the same pair of kids. I see the latter as two adults inhabiting the bodies and minds of two teenagers—what teens do you know to speak in long, drawn out monologs like these two? That’s bullshit.
And look, I’m not trying to undermine teenagers today but this isn’t really conceivable for even the brainiacs of the world. Hazel is way too pretentious for her age, more than is actually comfortable; Augustus, on the other hand, is incredibly wise, which isn’t so unbelievable but he’s a bit too complex for the average teenager. But then again, I forget “average” is a bad way of living…BUT SERIOUSLY WHAT TEENS TALK LIKE THIS?!
Aside from the two unrealistic teenage lovebirds Green has created in A Fault in Our Stars, I have very few faults with this book. He does a great job at cultivating all the elements of what it means to be a teenager, misunderstood; he’s able to capture the complexity of young love in just under a couple hundred pages and I especially enjoyed the fact that this was optioned for film.
Although this was only my first Green read, it most certainly will not be my last.