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Confessions of a Bibliophile

An aspiring writer and bookstore employee with an incredibly bad book-buying habit... I'll read just about anything (so long as it will appeal to my interests in some way), but my main loves are YA and sci-fi/fantasy. I also like quirky history and science books and will book nerd. A lot. Currently in the process of weeding out my personal library. Find me on Twitter @princess_starr or check out my YA book, Snowfall, on Smashwords: https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/240027
The Fault in Our Stars - John Green There was a lot of expectation for this book on my end. (There was a point when I thought that I may have been hyping myself just a bit too much.) I am pleased to say that the expectations have been more than exceeded, and insert a witty metaphor here. Would I rate this as the best book of 2012? Well, not yet, but it’s a very strong front-runner at the moment. This is not to say The Fault in Our Stars is less than expected. It’s wonderful.The thing I love about John Green and something that I’ve found in everything that he’s written is the underlying honesty in his fiction. There’s no pretty version of teenage life in this, but it’s not a harsh criticism of being a teen. His characters feel like they could be any of the kids I went to high school with (probably didn’t hang out with them, but I would have gone to the same school). They’re petty and snarky and tragic and annoying and overly pleasing and above all, real. And that’s what I like about Hazel, she’s all of those things, and she’s sympathetic and you probably know someone like her. One of the automatic criticisms I read about this was “Oh, God, he’s given the Manic Pixie Dream Girl cancer.” I disagree—Hazel’s a normal girl who has cancer and it sucks and she’s frustrated by it. One of the details I love is that her family’s struggling financially—it’s not a horrible situation, but it’s certainly a drain—and Hazel does feel guilty about this. But then she goes and fights with her parents and they make up and watch America’s Next Top Model together. (It’s become almost rare to see an actual parental relationship in YA recently.)Hazel not having many friends is very realistic. The constant in-and-out of the hospital, as well as weakened lungs, I can see why she only keeps in touch with a few people from her high school. (I actually have a friend with health problems, who had to drop out of college for those reasons. Hazel reminds me of her.) And while we’re introduced to the Support Group of the Literal Heart of Jesus in a very sarcastic manner, I like that Hazel does feel something for the rotating cast of members. The support group scenes could have come off as completely cloying and saccharine—and they do at times—but the shared gallows humor by most of the members give it this feel of community. On that note, I freaking love Isaac. I know he’s regulated to the best friend role, but he’s easily one of the best characters. The fact that he manages to have a sense of humor about losing his eyesight, amongst all of the other crap going on in his life.You could make a strong argument that Gus fulfills the Manic Pixie role, and while I can see the argument, I would also like to make the case that Gus is playing up that aspect. When you figure out what he’s not telling Hazel, a lot of his big, grand actions make a lot more sense. That said though, wow. That poor boy. (“80% chance of survival, and that kid’s in the 20%? Bullshit.” True that, Hazel’s dad. True that.) I love that we get so much of Gus through so very little, with his love of video game novelizations and not-smoking and Hazel. And the thing that I admire about the handling of this relationship is the inevitability of it. Going into the book, you know that this is not going to end well. But you try your hardest to hope that everything’s going to work out just fine and there’s going to be another miracle.And that’s what largely makes the whole thing work; this looming inevitability. It’s not played up as OMGSOTRAGIC or sappy or desperately tugging at the heartstrings. You know what’s going to happen. (To be honest, I was slightly afraid that John Green was going to end it like the in-universe novel, An Imperial Affliction. Don’t worry, he doesn’t.) And despite this, the characters manage to find the humor in day-to-day life, even when it involves fatal diseases. I love the fact that coming out of eye surgery, Isaac immediately goes, “Did my nurse just say ‘You’ll see?’ ARE YOU KIDDING ME?” (Again, ISAAC