This was one of those books that makes me feel like a bad person for not liking it. I keep seeing all of these five star ratings and I just don’t get it. I felt that this book was extremely over-hyped when really, this book was mediocre at best. The only thing I can really say is that I didn’t hate it, which is a start, but I was also no were close to loving it. It was merely okay.
The first problem I had was that I didn’t buy into the characters. I didn’t find them realistic at all. I thought that the relationship between Gus and Hazel was over done. An odd way to describe it but that’s the phrasing that comes to mind. I remember rolling my eyes during their dinner in Amsterdam because it was too perfect. That was not the dinner of teenagers but the dinner of a couple on their honeymoon. Even then, I would have rolled my eyes. It was like eating a candy that was too sweet, and despite how much you want to eat it, you just can’t make yourself swallow it. That was that scene.
I also thought that their teenage banter sounded more like a desperate attempt for John Green to be witty. Teens don’t talk like this. It almost got to the point when I would want to skip long sections of dialogue just because it annoyed me how unrealistic their banter was. I also don’t know if John Green knows this or not, but sarcastically talking about your terminal cancer is not something knew in the cancer writing world. Also, he did it too often. Some meaningful thoughts and emotions would have been nice rather than touching on sometime profound and then ending it with a one-liner. This happened all the time.
The “plot twist” really wasn’t a twist. Maybe if it weren’t written in first person from Hazel’s point of view it might have been, but since she was narrating it was pretty obvious what was going to happen. That is my problem with books written in first person. Especially books that have life threatening situations, the narrator obviously lives through it all. It takes out that element of suspense that make books so much fun to read. Of course, there is the possibility that the author didn’t actually mean for this to be a plot twist, but I have heard it referred to as such so many times that that is how I think of it. A highly predictable plot twist.
There are more issues that I have with the book, but since I would be risking giving away spoilers I am not going to go further into it. Overall, I was disappointed in this book. I was expecting to laugh and to cry like everyone told me I would, but I did neither. I was left not wanting to read anything written in the last four years since everything I have read so far that is currently popular has been disappointing. (Except for Game of Thrones. That series is freaking awesome.) Maybe The Night Circus will treat me better. I’m trying to go in with an open mind.
I wouldn’t recommend this book to anyone. It just wasn’t worth the time it took to read it (which wasn’t long, granted, but still) and I didn’t take anything out of it other than, “Eh, it was alright.” If you’re just searching for a quick read, this is an option, but I know there are better quick reads out there than this. Don’t fall for the hype, because this book falls way short.