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Get Excited For 'The Fault In Our Stars,' A Twisted, Authentic Take On The Nicholas Sparks Sick-Lit Genre

By Joanna Robinson | Trade News | December 18, 2013 | Comments ()


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If you’re a lover of young adult fiction, then you’ve probably already read The Fault In Our Stars. Perennial favorite John Green (Looking For Alaska, An Abundance Of Katherines) delivered what treacly, sentimental authors like Nicholas Sparks and Jodi Picoult were unable: a believable and emotionally engaging story about the urgency of living your life with a death sentence. If you don’t have time for all those cumbersome pages and, dear lord, words, a film adaptation of the popular book is being released in June of 2014. Forget Divergent, this is the YA book adaptation you should be squirming in your chair for. The choice of Shailene Woodley (The Spectacular Now, Divergent) to play cancer-stricken Hazel is perfection. Unfortunately, I’m fairly certain her co-star is entirely made up. There cannot be (nor should there be) a real human named Ansel Elgort. At any rate, Wingelbert Humptyback (Carrie, also Divergent) there will be playing her ill Romeo and, best of all, Willem Dafoe is playing the rage-fueled alcoholic author Peter Van Houten. Here’s the first poster. Let’s hope they keep the emphasis on “sick and twisted” and stay well clear of misty lighthouses and inexplicable angel ghosts.

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Comments Are Welcome, Jerks Will Be Banned


  • Jumping Jesus on a pogo stick what a tearjerker this was. I still wish they had gone with Mae Whitman for Hazel Grace, but I like the looks of what they've got going on.

  • Emilie

    really? i always feel like mae whitman looks too old. hazel grace is 16, and i don't feel like mae whitman played 16 well on parenthood when she did it a few years ago.

  • Cowtools

    Warning: rant incoming…
    I found this book unbearably smug and phoney. I'm NOT trying to be a contrarian jerkface; I read it on the recommendation of a friend, and spent an hour discussing it with them, and the more I thought about it the less I liked it.

    The book establishes early on that it's intended to be - as this article says - an antidote to Nicholas Sparks-style stuff and clichéd inspirational cancer stories. But then what does 'The Fault…' do? It relies on every cliché from cheesy romantic comedies.

    The hero sees herself as a wallflower that no one could be interested in, until lo and behold this incredibly cute boy starts pursuing her for no reason, and BAM they're in true love forever.
    And every other character in the story has no personality or relevance except to highlight their love. There are scenes where other people behave in a wildly unbelievable manner in order to enable some big romantic moment for the lead couple. In one case, this become borderline offensive.
    The two leads face no challenge to their relationship, except, y'know, the cancer. So the story relies solely on the cancer to generate its pathos. Just like every other inspirational cancer story.

    And I found the heroine/narrator insufferable and shallow. She admires the boy for his little quirks which help him cope with cancer in his own way, but early on she makes fun of another man for coping with cancer his own, more traditional way.
    At the end of the book, there's a long monologue which essentially tries to make the narrator's stance of ironic detachment seem like a heroic stance!

    Ultimately, this book left me feeling as if its intended audience was, people who want a good cry but also want to think they're above being manipulated. At that just made it feel cynical and self-satisfied.

  • I don't think Hazel saw herself as someone no one could be interested in, she just didn't want anyone to become interested in her because they would be hurt by her inevitable death. While at some point, on some level, Augustus might have been out of her league...circumstances are such that that is no longer the case. At least in his estimation. I also don't know about true love forever, just for their limited infinity.

  • Cowtools

    What bugged me was more the fact that he approached her out of the blue and was instantly perfect for her. I can't buy into a romance unless I can experience the characters have to work at it.

  • I can see that, though my interpretation was that Augustus was working very hard at being perfect for Hazel. He was trying to be her Manic Pixie Dream Boy. At first, at least, I thought he saw her as a challenge and was taking her on as a sort of Make-A-Wish boyfriend. He made it his duty to cheer her up, and then along the way it turned into something genuine, when he started sharing his own negative feelings about things.

  • Art3mis

    I can't watch this movie. The book is so absolutely perfect, and I don't think there's any way for a film to capture what makes it great. So much of it is about Hazel's thoughts.

  • SVR

    They better not fuck this up. This book made me weep. Not like pretty, cathartic tears falling from my eyes, but full on ugly weeping.

  • axis2clusterB

    Same here.

  • Patrick Garcia

    The YA books of my childhood (before there were internets), were filled with complex and engaging stories like these (see Robert Cormier). When did YA novels become falling in love with mythical creatures and love triangles a midst fighting in tournaments to the death?

  • Cowtools

    I dunno...
    On a sentence-by-sentence basis, 'The Fault In Our Stars' is better written than 'The Hunger Games', but THG deals with themes that are 100% more interesting, and deals with them in a far more genuine and meaningful manner (and yes, I'm including the love story in this) that TFIOS does. Just sayin'

  • bcarter3

    Robert Cormier was a stunningly good writer. The endings of "I Am the Cheese" and "After the First Death" are absolutely shattering.

    Much as I loved "The Hunger Games"--at least the first two volumes--nothing in YA today comes close to the power of Cormier's writing.

  • nosio

    Ooh, Willem Dafoe is unexpectedly perfect. He's not at all what I was picturing, but reading this just made me all tingly in my, er, tearducts?

  • Berry

    In the book, I knew Hazel was going to be disappointed in this person, because that's how these things work. So, when they're getting ready to go to Amsterdam and about to meet him, I kept wanting to yell at the characters something like "nooooo, don't go, he's not going to be what you expect at all, and the disappointment is going to crush you." And Willed Dafoe is going to work for that, but knowing that it's him, I'll probably want to yell something like "noooo, don't go, he is going to EAT YOUR FACE!"

  • Cowtools

    I was so angry when that character returned and explained to Hazel his sob story and why he was such a grump. The ONE interesting wrinkle in that book was the idea that Hazel would never get closure on that man, and then it turns out, no, he's just another clichéd supporting character in your little rom-com, here to help you learn a life lesson.

  • Berry

    I can't really disagree with that. I liked some aspects of the book, but didn't love it like almost everyone else apparently did. And that dude's story certainly tied up way too neatly.

  • BabyBearStrikesAgain

    John Green is attached to the movie somewhat, so I can only hope it will stay true to the book.

    The book made me cry and laugh and laugh and cry at the same time. It's so so good.

  • BWeaves

    She looks very healthy.

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