Wednesday, May 21, 2014

My apologies to John Green

Okay, I confess...I didn't think that The Fault in Our Stars could possibly be as good as everyone said it was. I thought it was momentum and a little bit of hype. Granted, I read and really enjoyed Looking for Alaska, and his other books were good too--but really, the fact that we own 15 copies and a sound recording, the fact that all are checked out and there are five holds, the fact that three more copies have suspiciously gone missing (leading us to believe that someone simply couldn't bear to part with it, once having read it) is not all that unusual in teen fiction.

Look, after all, at the Twilight craze (sorry, I know I'm not supposed to mention it, but there it is--at one point, we owned 64 copies of that book!), the Hunger Games phenomenon, City of Bones...teens lock onto something, they tell their friends, then their little brothers and sisters mimic them, their parents want to know what all the fuss is about, and before you know it, you can't get a copy of whichever book it is for love or money--especially if / when there's a movie tie-in.

So, although I knew it must be good, I got a little tired of all the reviews telling me it was the saddest book ever, most romantic book ever, best book ever, yadda yadda, and I finally (after, I think, six teen reviews published about the inimitable Hazel Grace and Augustus) put a stop to featuring yet one more review of TFIOS on our blog.

After being completely unable to access the book through normal library channels (because I didn't want to keep one precious copy out of circulation), I finally dropped by a Barnes & Noble this past weekend and decided while I was there to buy myself my own copy so I could finally read it guilt-free. Now I have to say, Sorry, John. Sorry that I doubted you. Sorry that I thought your book must be the teen equivalent of a Nicholas Sparks novel. Not that Sparks is a bad writer--but let's just say that sometimes his relationships and plot resolutions take the easy way out. They are a proven formula, and are designed specifically to tug at heart strings--which characteristics are appealing to many, judging by his blockbuster sales. I am not a fan.

TFIOS is not easy. It's smart, it's unexpected, it's funny and tragic, and even when I have been bombarded, these past couple of weeks, with quotes and imagery from the upcoming movie, it still surprised and pleased me and yes, touched my heart. So Mr. Green, from me to you--all the hype is deserved. Congratulations.

(Also, while I have your attention, your YouTube videos are brill. Just saying.)

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