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YMMV / The Fault in Our Stars

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  • Alternative Character Interpretation:
    • Some readers dislike Augustus, claiming that his grandiose mannerisms and his love of metaphor make him grating and pretentious, but others argue that he was meant to be written that way, because wanting to be impressive and memorable is an established character trait of his.
      • There's also the interpretation that he's mainly interested in getting Hazel into bed. He's a teenaged boy knowing he might die (and for the majority of his time with Hazel knows he's going to die) and he's only pursued girls he knows were dying, suggesting to some that he's not interested in a relationship (and that he perhaps hopes they will be easier to get into bed since they know they won't get too many opportunities to try it). This interpretation seems common among readers who found his courting of Hazel shallow and the relationship itself lacking in depth and being mostly about two hormonal teenagers finding each other attractive. Also there's his comment to Hazel that he hopes bringing her to Amsterdam might get him laid, which some interpret as not actually being in jest. As to why he doesn't dump her once they've done the deed, it can be argued that as his illness progresses he wants to keep her close because she offers him comfort, or that he hopes he will get to sleep with her again.
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    • Some readers also dislike Hazel, feeling that she holds herself to be better than everyone else, is very judgmental, puts down other people's emotions instead of showing empathy and that she is extremely self-entitled. The way she tells Gus to be appreciative of the life and people around him rubs these readers the wrong way, as it comes across to them as her invalidating his (perfectly understandable) desire to have a larger life than what he got. On the other hand, Hazel does have a right to be a little offended since Gus is implying he doesn't feel their relationship is important.
    • There are also readers who think Van Houten's behavior is pretty sensible to a Reclusive Artist whose privacy has been disturbed, especially since his experience makes him unlikely to extend politeness to Hazel and Gus just because they're used to Cancer Perks. On the other hand, he had all but promised to see them, and Hazel and Gus had no way of knowing that, and he was still inexcusably mean and insensitive. The film and book don't help his case by him implying that he only wrote the email saying he'd like Hazel to visit him under the assumption that a girl that sick wouldn't be able to make the trip, giving her false hope. At least he has the decency to come to Gus's funeral to apologize to Hazel and deliver the last email that Gus wrote to him, showing he realized he went too far.
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    • Monica's mother going back inside to allow Hazel, Gus and Isaac to egg Monica's car. Does she just not want to argue with the teens who have eggs? Does she give them a pass because they have cancer? Or does she also think what her daughter did was a dick move and feels this is a worthy comeuppance for her?
    • Monica herself as to whether she should be sympathised with or not. On the one hand, she's just a teenager who had a panic that was at least understandable. On the other, it was insensitive of her to make a promise she didn't end up keeping. Everyone else doesn't really get mad until after Isaac's surgery when she hasn't even contacted him at all - which is what prompts Augustus to egg her car. It's hinted that even the girl's own mother is disgusted with her.
  • Award Snub:
    • The movie was not nominated for any Kids' Choice Awards. Since it is thought to have been the only movie with any chance of beating The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 1 its snub is especially significant. The book got nominated, but ultimately lost to Diary of a Wimpy Kid in one of its trademark upsets.
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    • Fox tried to get nominations for Best Adapted Screenplay and Best Actress for Shailene Woodley. Neither were successful.
  • Awesome Music: The film's soundtrack is very well-chosen. "Boom Clap" is an incredibly catchy and upbeat ear worm, while "Not About Angels" and "All of the Stars" are appropriately tearjerky and emotional pieces for the film's third act.
  • Crossover Ship: There are a number of fics where Augustus finds a Second Love in the capital-S Something with Alaska Young.
  • "Funny Aneurysm" Moment: Hazel's "you could be an axe murderer" line becomes a lot grimmer after watching John Green's video about how he went to high school with a soon-to-be axe murderer.
  • Harsher in Hindsight: Seeing Shailene Woodley having to say goodbye to Ansel Elgort as he dies from cancer might become even sadder if both actors are cast in The Divergent Series: Ascendant, where Caleb (played by Elgort) will have to say goodbye to his sister (played by Woodley) before her lethal Heroic Sacrifice.
  • Heartwarming in Hindsight: Lotte Verbeek giving the kids a tour of the Anne Frank House can make one smile if they've seen her in Agent Carter where she plays a Holocaust survivor - who is also an Iron Woobie like Hazel and Gus.
  • Hilarious in Hindsight: Both this film and Divergent were released around the same time as each other. Both based on young adult novels and both starring Shailene Woodley and Ansel Elgort. Playing love interests here and brother and sister in Divergent. What's more is that Shailene Woodley had been offered the title role in Carrie, which also featured Ansel Elgort - where their characters would have been Just Friends.
  • Ho Yay:
    • Isaac points out Augustus’s "physical attractiveness" multiple times. Also, Augustus claims that his hot body caused Isaac’s blindness. And on the dubiously canonical Q&A blog that John Green runs (see main page for link), Isaac is referred to as both "gay" and "a [future] ballerina." Both are said in jest, but still.
    • Isaac accidentally grabs Augustus’ thigh. The first thing Augustus says to him is, "I’m taken."
  • Iron Woobie: Augustus is this from the start of the novel. Despite having a prosthetic leg, he takes everything in stride and tries to make the best out of his situation. He begins to crack by the end.
  • It Was His Sled: Gus dies.
  • Jerkass Woobie: Van Houten. Yes, he’s a drunk asshat, but you have to admit he is sort of a tragic character. His daughter died of cancer, and he's been a depressed alcoholic ever since.
  • Memetic Mutation:
    • This book (not to mention the author) has a pretty big following on Tumblr, mainly for being a massive Tear Jerker and a major source of feels. A common Running Gag is for newtime readers to document their first readthrough of the book and the progressive regression into a blubbering puddle of tears.
    • "Okay?" "Okay."
    • "My X are Y that I cannot fathom into Z."
    • "I X the way you Y: slowly, then all at once."
    • "It’s a metaphor; you put the X in between the Y, but don’t give it the power to Z.”
    • More of a meta example but a comment that John Green made on his official Tumblr regarding a gifset of Hazel and Gus, which spawned a meme (largely from the book's critics) about John being the inventor of feminism.
      John Green: I just want to point out one thing here: When was the last time the girl kissed the boy in a teen romance? Ever? Has it happened ever? I seriously think it might not have happened ever.note 
    • The beautiful X is beautiful.
    • Purposefully confusing Augustus Waters with a certain other Augustus.
    • "No...I just want to cry and play video games."
    • Once the film was released, there were plenty of memes theorising that Augustus's name is really Caleb Prior and Hazel is a Replacement Goldfish for his dead sister.
  • Misaimed Fandom: Although there's no shortage of valid critiques to be made about this book, and none of the following means it should be utterly impervious to negative analysis, it's worth noting that a lot of the most frequent criticisms against TFIOS smack of misreading. For one, Hazel Grace and Augustus being "unrealistically intelligent and eloquent" teenagers — they're actually quite common, especially in the age of much more easily accessible information (via the Internet) and embracing of geek/nerd culture; beyond that, however, Green is also open about the fact that Hazel Grace and Augustus, though smart and precocious teens, are very realistically prone to committing errors, like repeatedly referring to their monologues as soliluqies.
  • Narm:
    • A common criticism about the dialogue, which is flowery and grandiose. Others like it for the same reasons.
    • Their date in Amsterdam is very...romanticized, possibly owing to the author's own love for the city.
    • When strangers yell "beautiful couple is beautiful" at the main characters. "[adjective] [noun] is [same adjective]" is an old meme.
    • Some readers thought the throng of people applauding after Hazel and Augustus make out in the Anne Frank house was a bit much.
  • Ships That Pass in the Night: A large amount of fics pair off Gus and Hazel's respective best friends Isaac and Kaitlyn, who never even meet in the book.
  • Signature Song: "Boom Clap"
  • Unintentionally Unsympathetic: Gus and Hazel making out at the Anne Frank house didn't fare well with all readers; some found it seriously offensive that they indulged in that kind of behavior at a Holocaust memorial and got cheered on for it, and that the recording of Otto Frank's heartfelt eulogy on his daughter is made the "background music" to their kissing scene. Hazel is rather blasé about that speech, too, insofar she can't relate it back to her own situation.
  • Viewer Gender Confusion: From the poster for the film alone, many people couldn’t tell the gender of either person in the picture.


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