At the time of writing this, there are only 21 '1 star' reviews of this trash. What? Are there only 21 sane people left in the universe?
Friends and fellow lovers of the written word, I'm so tired. First came Twilight, which told teenagers that stalking is romantic as long as the guy is hot, that it's ok to sociopathically string along someone deeply and obviously in love with you if you can't be with the person you actually love, and that suicide is the only way forward if your partner leaves.
Then, just as poor Literature staggered to its feet after this devastating blow, came 50 Shades of Grey. As if to mock all who finally believed we'd seen the back of Twilight, here was its dark fanfiction twin in which all the already horrible characters become caricatures of themselves. Dim Bella becomes the chronically thick Ana, her head so filled with her medulla oblongata-dwelling imaginary friends and their props that there was no room for a brain up there, and creeperific Edward Cullen became Christian Grey - the nastiest, most unbelievably abusive romantic lead to get the ladies swooning since Heathcliff. Except, y'know, at least Heathcliff's writer knew he was a monster and didn't try to convince the middle aged women of the world that they should have a Heathcliff of their own!
And now, this. This steaming heap of self-important twaddle that people are claiming 'saved' YA. Yes, of course we've bounced back to the young adult genre that Twilight took aim at years ago now; as if this genre needed any more reasons for everyone to think it's a bit rubbish. Meet Hazel, the most egotistical, sneering depressing blob of a protagonist you'll ever meet. I quickly came to the conclusion that Hazel is not a sour, wallowing, hardened little ball of selfishness and misery because of her cancer, but in spite of it. Augustus Waters is just as bad but for all different reasons. Upon first meeting Hazel, who happens to look just like his dead ex girlfriend, Gus's first response is to flirt with her and then invite her down to his basement. This raises no red flags at all for Hazel, our supposedly intelligent protagonist, who goes along with this because Gus is stunningly handsome. Hazel and Gus quickly realise they have mutual attraction, pretentiousness and a superiority complex in common, and Gus realises he can emotionally manipulate his way to getting laid. They go to Amsterdam, verbally and physically abuse an old man, make out in the Anne Frank museum (I'm not even kidding), and then one of them dies. The only thing tragic about it is that both of them do not die.
You probably think I'm harsh, but these fictional people are more loathsome than Lucius Malfoy and Walder Frey put together. Hazel thinks the world revolves around her, and unfortunately due to the awful, awful writing, it does. John Green never even tries to hide this. Her parents and their supposed concern are convenient pieces of scenery who vanish when the plot demands it; the Contrivance Fairy and her magic wand work overtime to ensure that a non-existent charity for cancer patients funds an all-expenses paid trip for Gus *who isn't even suffering cancer anymore*; and my personal favourite, nobody in-universe ever calls either Gus or Hazel out on their pseudo-intellectual cowpoop, which takes up an eye-watering amount of pages. Every time one of them began to mechanically waffle with something ~deep and clever~ I would skip a paragraph or four, rolling my eyes with an internal 'Oh my god, PLEASE shut up!'. Truly, a pair of angsty, narcissistic teenage brats know more about philosophy, love and pain than the rest of us mere plebs.
Yes - Hazel and Gus don't only love to remind us that they are intellectually and emotionally superior to us, they're morally superior too! Even while strong-arming their blind friend into egging his ex girlfriend's car after a painful breakup! Never mind that the poor chap was getting through the pain in his own way and did not want revenge! Never mind that this poor young girl must have had her reasons for leaving her cancer-ridden boyfriend, such as wanting to preserve her own sanity and well-being! Never mind that none of this is Hazel or Gus's damn business!! I fail to see how so many readers can still fawn over Hazel and Gus after reading of their juvenile, spiteful, vicious actions. I thought they were supposed to be so ~mature & worldly~?
This book disrespects cancer patients, Dutch people, holocaust victims, and even takes a pot-shot at religion too - as Gus says, unless you're an atheist, you're a dimwit! Ugh. I don't understand how this is a bestseller. I don't think I want to understand. I just hope, like all the twihards who woke up and realise that stalking isn't sexy and that vampires don't sparkle, the fans of this book will someday wake up too.