I did it! I’m on a mission to read the most hyped YA books and I finally made it to TFiOS. I’m not going to review this in the traditional sense, but here are my impressions and thoughts on one of the most buzzed books of the last 2 years.
I’ve been staring at a copy of TFiOS for two and half years. This copy was pre-ordered way back in 2011. To be honest, I mostly read it so I could watch the movie trailer.
I’ve known about John Green for a few years, most of what I know comes from seeing a few minutes of his popular YouTube videos in 2010 and more recently from what I see about him on Tumblr and in the news. I’m not really invested enough to find myself wanting to throw up aNerdfightersign, but have nothing against Green or his buzzworthiness.
|Also, this quote. I keep seeing this quote on Tumblr
I wasn’t surprised to see diagrams in TFiOs.
Going into this book I knew a few specific things about John Green and TFiOS:
1. Green had lived in Amsterdam.
2. Esther Earl, a teenager who died of cancer served as slight inspiration.
3. How the book ended.
Even though I felt like I should put all of my preconceived notions aside when I read the book . . . I didn’t. I wanted to acknowledge thatTFiOS doesn’t exists in a vacuum and I wanted to read the book with some context.
Going in I found exactly what I expected ; A contemporary novel with a girl who meets a manic pixie dream guy who only speaks in deep metaphors. I expected a lot of metaphors and anecdotes. I did find the book a bit to anecdotal at times and some of the metaphors hit better than the others.
I was a little miffed at how easily Gus and Hazel went from meeting to obsessed with one another, but it’s for the sake of the plot so I let it go. As I continued reading I constantly found myself wanting to follow these character to the end I knew was coming.
However I think the biggest part and maybe the most interesting part of this novel is just how. . bookish this book is. Hazel and Gus grow their relationship through books and stories. A relationship that sends them all the way to Amsterdam searching for an ending but finding (here it goes) Some infinities are bigger than other infinities.
I had no concept of Amsterdam or the Peter Van Houten plot elements so those were a pleasant surprise for me. For some reason, I had this idea that books about kids with cancers would be more focused in hospitals.
What is really interesting is that Green made up the drug that helps Hazel reach the point she is at in her treatment. I can’t imagine that was something he decided easily. So many writers would be obsessed with trying to be as really real as possible and for Green to not do that was an interesting point.
I can see the appeal for Green fans who want to find a bit of his quotable wisdom in his books. I think it’s interesting a book about characters trying to find meaning in a book . . . is in a book that means so much to readers.
Originally, I thought that the book was going to be overly earnest and it completely averted this. I like how the characters in the book focus on how being too earnest is a cliché among cancer kids. In TFiOS they are allowed to be angry and sad and they feel hopeless.
I haven’t read a lot of books dealing with cancer, I’ve always been kind of afraid of them. Reading TFiOS has certainly opened me up to wanting to read others and to see how those characters compare to Gus and Hazel.
TFiOS is the ultimate YA novel. It has the teenage “this is all that matters” perspective that makes YA what it is and arguably having a book about teens with cancer makes the living in the present even more urgent.
Overall, I’m glad I read it and I can’t wait to see what they can do with the film.