Okay, so I wrote this a little while ago, and it was just supposed to be for me and my mental health when I got a littttlllee peevish. But I was reading it again, and, well, I feel like I need to post it. It’s kinda funny at how dramatic I am. But beware, I don’t curse – in fact, I don’t even like cursing, at all – but I did here. Kinda a lot, and not the light kind. Sooo . . . read at your own risk. This doesn’t usually happen.
This is NOT a review.
I just want to get that out there. This is a RANT by a YA blogger that has read a lot of books, and has fallen in love with A LOT of books, and sometimes this little blogger who may or may not become anything one day, and who may never have anyone read this, is in a ranting mood right now. And now, listen, before we all start to loose our
shit crap over this little book-that-has-taken-over-teenage-girls, let me just put it out there that I love this book, but not because I cried (I didn’t. Call me heartless if you will). I have loved this book the second I read the first chapter, and I couldn’t stop laughing. I love it because when I was in college this last year, and I was having a really, really tough time, you know what I did? I went back and re-read the fucking first chapter of this little book, okay? Because it’s fucking funny. It’s so fucking, fucking, fucking funny.
(Shhhhh . . . don’t tell my mother.)
Why am I ranting about this book all of a sudden? Because I’ve never done a review on it before, and I’m sure as heck not about to start now. This book has enough reviews to last forever.
I read this book before I was on Goodreads, before I started this blog, before I’d even thought about reviewing books, and before I’d known there were other people out there that love YA books as much as I do.
I’ve certainly never looked the book up on Goodreads before. And I wish I never had. Because you know what I found? I found that there are two kinds of people anymore: The ones who love The Fault in Our Stars or the ones who absolutely hate it, with mixed feelings washed in.
And I don’t know why – I really don’t – but I got upset. (Hence, the cursing above.)
Reason number one (I shall attempt to number them so as not to completely loose track of my train of thought, but no promises): I don’t believe it’s the fact that people simply read the book and hate it or love it, oh no, it’s the stupid fact that it got really, really popular. And you know what happens to really, really popular books anymore? The ones like Twilight? You get the super-super-fangirls and the ones who end up hating it with a resilient passion. And do you know why some of the people hate it as much as they do? Because it becomes popular to do so. Yup. Not all people, mind you.
But here’s how it goes:
Step 1: Hear about the book. Listen to all your friends rave about it.
Step 2: Finally pick it up to read it. But all the while you get the constant, “Don’t you just LOVE it? Isn’t it just so sad? Have you cried yet? NO? Oh, but you will.” Underlying meaning: “You MUST love it, or go die. You MUST cry, or you’re a heartless bastard.”
(You know what? I’m gonna curse in this one post. Fuck it.)
Step 3: Finish it. Not be able to form your own opinion because you’re being constantly hammered with the unending and annoying bicker around you that it was JUST THE BEST THING ON THE EFFING PLANET.
Step 4: Hate it. Because you’re actually just hating the people around you and the all the fanfiction about it and the commercials about it and the “teams” from it and quotes you will never, ever get out of your head again.
Step 5: Go and make disciples of the I-hate-this-book clan to conquer the fangirls.
Reason number two: The number one reason I’ve heard people talk about on Goodreads as to why they hate the book is that Hazel and Augustus don’t act like normal teenagers. And I will agree with that TO AN EXTENT.
Look, no, they do not say things most teenagers would say, but when I read it, it was such a nice change from reading about the stupid, naïve teenagers so commonly found in YA books. Yes, some of the things Hazel and Gus say might even go over the naïve line to the smart line and maybe into the just-effing-genius line, but that’s okay. Because some teenagers are that way. I never thought it was because they have effing CANCER that was the reason they were smart. Now, yes, being closer to death might make you start to think a little more deeply about things, but you know what, I’m a teenager who does not have cancer, but I think pretty effing deep about a lot of things. And what’s wrong with that? To me, Hazel was more relatable then you can imagine because I found myself nodding along to her thoughts, because I had those thoughts too.
And what’s worse? Reading about a stupid character or a genius one?
Reason number three: Another reason people seem to dislike the book so much is because of the quotes. This brings me back to my first reason, and how the quotes probably wouldn’t be so bad had people not been shoving them in your face for so long.
Yes, some of the quotes are ambiguous and cheesy, but you know what? I never gave most of the popular quotes a second glance when I first read the book. And so what if they are a little cheesy, because – guess what? – life is fucking cheesy, and it’s sticky and sometimes it melts when you don’t want it to, but that’s life. And I can only hope that one day, if I ever get published, I too will have cheesy quotes, because when you get down to it, those are also the most real ones. People are cheesy, and we all love it. Stop denying it.
Now, give me a moment to stop my numbers and take a step back to talk about Twilight. I love Twilight, I’m just going to get that out there. Hate me if you will, but here’s what happened in numbered steps, per your convenience.
Step 1: Had all my friends in middle school rave about it.
Step 2: Decided to read it. (Note: I was not a reader then. I did not like to read, and this was one of my first YA experiences.)
Step 3: I loved it. I loved it so much. I talked it up to everyone who knew me.
Step 4: I went to cry in the bathroom when reading New Moon. That shit left me broken, ya’ll. (To this day that has been the first and ONLY book to ever, ever make me literally cry. Not even in reading The Fault in Our Stars did I cry.)
Step 5: The movie was announced. It got more popular then I could’ve imagined. I still loved it, but it had lost that special spark that had been there when it was just mine; now, it was the whole world’s to pick apart and demolish.
Step 6: I hated it. I was so sick of hearing everyone talk about it, and making those stupid T-shirts with “Team Edward” and “Team Jacob” on them.
Step 7: Movies came out. Everyone stopped screaming about it. More people hated it now. I just stopped caring.
Step 8: Time passed. I started loving it again. I still go back to re-read the first one sometimes, when I want to remember where it all started. I still have my battered, ripped, tear-stained copies in my favorite bookshelf.
I make fun of Twilight. I do, and I will not stop. But I do love it. It’s like that annoying sibling that you also really love.
I am not saying that Twilight or The Fault in Our Stars does not have it’s faults (get it? . . . Okay, I’ll shut up now). Because they do, but if I ever read a perfect book, I don’t think I’d love it. Because it would be so utterly boring, and who wants to love a boring book?
But I suppose the reason I’m getting so unhappy about this is not the fact that people hate (you are welcome to hate it. I’m serious, actually) but the reasons that they’re unhappy about it just seems so . . . ambiguous to me. You don’t hate it because you simply didn’t like that book – then you just might dislike it or not care about it – but because everyone has to loose their shit over it, that means you either love it or hate it. Because (apparently) there is no in-between anymore.
You want to know what my mom leaned over and said to me in the middle of The Fault in Our Stars movie? (Quietly, of course.)
Mom (in a whisper): Hazel reminds me of you.
Mom: Yeah. You’re the same.
You want to know what my dad said the minute we walked out of the theater after seeing the movie?
Dad: I really liked that. Did you like that?
Me: Yeah. (*gasping for breath because trying and failing to hold in feels.*)
Dad: It was just so . . .
Dad: Yeah. Like, they were just two kids, who fell in love, and just happened to have cancer. It was real.
The reason I’m getting so angry at all this is not because I’m so in love with the book. I love it, don’t be mistaken, but it’s not like the wholly grail of books for me. But it’s a smart, funny book that I found so inconsequently genuine and clever.