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Yang Safia On Thursday, March 22, 2012

The review for this book is long overdue. Before I start I just have to share the story on the lengths I go through to get this book. When it first came out I was still in Malaysia for the holidays. The hype was too much and being a diehard Nerdfighter, I wanted to be a part of it too. But I have a confession...I could possibly be the only Nerdfighter who didn't read any of John's books before. I've seen Looking for Alaska loads of times and I've gone over his An Abundance of Katherines halfway through to only get distracted with another book. 

So yeah back to my mission to get TFiOS. First off I didn't place a pre-order on this book because...well I thought it's going to be easy to find it in Malaysia. Boy, was I wrong! I looked EVERYWHERE to the point I even dropped an email complaining to John Green that it was very hard for me to find his book. Right after the email was sent, I received a tip from a friend who said that KLCC's Kinokuniya stocks TFiOS. To make story short, I dragged my soul sistas (Shira, Shaza and Sara) to KL. We braved through the traffic jams and finally made it to KLCC. The whole reason why I wanted the book FAST was because I wanted John Green's signature. It took me awhile to choose which copy because I heard that certain copies are unsigned. To make matters sadder...mine's unsigned. 

I was devastated. 

Anyways, on to the review!

WARNING: Potentially contains spoilers!


(Taken from

Diagnosed with Stage IV thyroid cancer at 12, Hazel was prepared to die until, at 14, a medical miracle shrunk the tumours in her lungs... for now. 

Two years post-miracle, sixteen-year-old Hazel is post-everything else, too; post-high school, post-friends and post-normalcy. And even though she could live for a long time (whatever that means), Hazel lives tethered to an oxygen tank, the tumours tenuously kept at bay with a constant chemical assault. 

Enter Augustus Waters. A match made at cancer kid support group, Augustus is gorgeous, in remission, and shockingly to her, interested in Hazel. Being with Augustus is both an unexpected destination and a long-needed journey, pushing Hazel to re-examine how sickness and health, life and death, will define her and the legacy that everyone leaves behind. 


It's been awhile since I read this kind of book from YA. Nothing supernatural or otherworldly about TFiOS because then again, this is John Green. His YA books are generally focused on the realities of teenhood and the dilemmas and troubles they face. For once the world is not ending and the only concern is how to talk to your crush. But then again, TFiOS is not about that as you can tell. It deals with dying and death. To put it more accurately, how do teens normally deal with dying.

I think at a point John (yes, we're on first names basis now. Because I watch his videos... :P) reassured all of Nerdfighteria that despite the issue it discusses, TFiOS is not a depressing book. I had my qualms at first because it is about cancer but I have to agree. 

At a point people kept saying that it's a really funny read. Well...I don't know about that. I grinned here and there but it wasn't THAT funny as people put it. It's quite dry humour in my opinion. 

Another review that people on the Internet kept on going about TFiOS is that you will definitely LAUGH AND CRY AND WANT TO RELIVE IT ALL OVER AGAIN with this book. Firstly, I think I cried more  than I laughed. Hell I cried over something that's not even sad like what happened on page 14! I think it was the part where Hazel's mom dropped her off for her support group session. I feel sad as I'm writing this because I kept on thinking what would happen at the end...Ahem. Second, would I want to relive the book all over again? No. Not immediately. Give me like three years or so, I would probably pick it up again.

For me the first paragraph into the book hooked me in because a sense of familiarity washed over me. (Excuse the sappy description.) That's because it really felt like John's voice reading it to me and the way it was written is very John-like. At first this is very comforting and enjoyable but as I progressed I realized one thing. John's voice is too strong which makes it really hard for me to connect with the book. Especially in connecting with Hazel. Although I have to admit that I tried to distance myself from the characters because hey(!) I'm already crying by page 14. So I grew some beard and MAN UP and finished the book! But in order to do so, John's voice really helped me to disconnect from the characters. 

What I'm really trying to say is that this is a bad thing. 

It really shifts the whole tone of the book for me. John's presence is too strong and that isn't supposed to happen. So instead of seeing Hazel, I only see more of John Green. I know I'm making it sound really bad right now but honestly, it's not really a big deal. Yes, I'm starting to question John's credibility at characterizing but it's still bearable you know?

TFiOS contains a lot of witty jokes that would work well with the witty mind but to be honest, I don't really pay attention to them. I read TFiOS in one sitting throughout my flight back to New Zealand and I just want to know the plot. I only read it face value so I know I'm missing a lot. John was very clear in his vlogs that the book contains many intelligent stuff like Plato's philosophy and Norwegian culture. So I get it why people would want to reread the book.


My favourite scene out of the whole book would be when Augustus has his pre-funeral party. It was really sad and funny. But mostly funny. I find it such an interesting thing to do. When you know you're going to die and given the customs that we have, you can never have a say on how your funeral should be like. Because you are...dead after all. 

Verdict: 3 out of 5

I'm being real here. Despite being a Nerdfighter, TFiOS is not exactly a mindblowing read for me. It's not PERFECT. It's not the best book I've ever read in my life. But I like it.