Sadly, there were only four this month. I am partially to blame, as I was cruising down the coast to Tasmania.
The book for this meeting was John Green’s ‘The Fault in Our Stars’. I felt the groups should try and sink their teeth into a YA (Young Adult) book for a little something different, and it turns out that was the right thing to do.
Before we go any further, I must confess that as a young adult myself, this was my first dip into John Green’s work. I am ashamed to admit that I often take against what I like to call “Hype Books” – you know, books that even people who don’t read absolutely have to get their hands on immediately. Titles that come to mind include Gillian Flynn’s ‘Gone Girl’, Paula Hawkins’ ‘The Girl on the Train”, Dan Brown’s “The Da Vinci Code”. What is it about these books? What sends people into a frenzy? But I digress.
I read The Fault in Our Stars in exactly one day. It was a rainy day, and frankly I had no interest in getting up and participating in life. So in bed I remained, and instead entered the world of Hazel and Augustus, two teenagers who fall in love, despite Hazel’s terminal cancer.
I had trouble relating to these characters. Augustus was the “cool guy”, a title which included holding an unlit cigarette in his mouth so that he could face death, but still maintain control of his destiny… Mmm…
There were aspects of the book that I enjoyed, the main one being the inclusion of Hazel’s favourite book within this novel, and the adventure attached to the book’s author. That was clever and gave me a warm, fuzzy feeling.
My rating is 2/5. I am keeping it separate to everyone else’s, because I feel it will unfairly drag the novel down.
After my scathing review, here is what others had to say:
“Well written, very courageous characters. It was very sad, but I enjoyed it.”
“True and real story. Well written.”
“Great characterisation. Really enjoyable. Well written and appeals to all ages.”
“I cried in bed for an hour. That’s how you know it’s a good book.”
As you can see, I obviously missed something here. The rest of the group were absolutely enchanted. Which is why the overall score, without my miserable one, was 4.6/5 stars. Wowza.
After this roaring success, our next book will be Barbara Kingsolver’s ‘Flight Behaviour’.
Discontented with her life of poverty on a failing farm in the Eastern United States, Dellarobia, a young mother, impulsively seeks out an affair. Instead, on the Appalachian mountains above her farm, she discovers something much more profoundly life-changing — a beautiful and terrible marvel of nature. As the world around her is suddenly transformed by a seeming miracle, can the old certainties they have lived by for centuries remain unchallenged?
Flight Behaviour is a captivating, topical and deeply human novel touching on class, poverty and climate change. It is Barbara Kingsolver’s most accessible novel yet, and explores the truths we live by, and the complexities that lie behind them.