Join us on Monday, October 18th to discuss The Guest List by Lucy Foley. We will meet outdoors, weather permitting, at 6:30pm. In the event of poor weather we will discuss the book virtually via Zoom at 7pm. Contact Elizabeth for details.
The Fault in Our Stars
There was great anticipation for the FoF June meeting due to the fact that we were discussing an extremely popular book that was recently released as a film. It is also worth noting that our discussion group consisted of both adults and teens- an appropriate audience considering TFIOS is a Young Adult title with crossover appeal.
Before we began the discussion I gave a brief introduction to John Green. Due to Green’s strong presence on the web, I also provided handouts with the links below for those who were looking for more information on the author or TFIOS:
· John Green’s TFIOS FAQ: http://ow.ly/xTE1i
· TFIOS Movie: http://thefaultinourstarsmovie.com/
· This Star Won’t Go Out Foundation: http://tswgo.org/
· John Green’s official website: http://johngreenbooks.com/
· The New Yorker’s “The Teen Whisperer” http://ow.ly/xTMcS
· Vlog Brothers: http://ow.ly/xTEG8
· Crash Course: http://ow.ly/xTN4J
· Nerdfighters: http://nerdfighters.ning.com/
When I asked the group if this was a thumbs up/so-so/thumbs down read, I received eight thumbs up and six so-so votes. No thumbs down, hooray! Here are some of the initial thoughts from readers as they explained their thumbs up/so-so votes:
- I really liked the book, I thought it was very down to earth and believable.
- I loved the twist in plot, I did not see it coming at all.
- I loved it. I thought the repartee was really wonderful.
- I liked this one, it was a so-so read for me. Ultimately this just isn’t my genre but I thought it was well written and the characters were likeable.
- I liked this one, but I don’t like feeling emotionally manipulated to cry. I thought the author was obviously trying to rip my heart out. But I did love Hazel.
- So-so for me. I liked the plot and it kept me reading through to the end; however, I totally guessed the twist. It was too predictable.
- I thought the writing was good and I liked the characters. I saw the twist coming as well as the disappointing visit with Van Houten.
- I loved the descriptions of Amsterdam and the poetry references. I also loved the conversations about oblivion.
- I loved this book. And I believe that you can mourn a fictional character. I loved the poetry references and the description of the Anne Frank house. I quote TFIOS all the time.
- I cried throughout this entire book and if I cry, I love the book.
- I loved it, definitely a thumbs up. I thought it was really funny but I cried as well.
- I didn’t fall in love with this book but I think I’m used to reading a certain age group. I questioned the likelihood that Hazel and Gus would meet and fall in love. They seemed sort of isolated, so what are the odds that you’ll find someone? I didn’t think it was overly sad, I just thought it was reality. But I also took away the message that love is pretty powerful.
- This isn’t really my genre so TFIOS wasn’t my typical read. But I admire that it was well written and I thought that Hazel was very likeable. I don’t remember YA lit like this when I was young and I think this genre is a great thing we have in the world now. Ultimately I think I’m better for reading TFIOS because it allowed me to realize what YA does for teens today.
While our discussion focused on the book, I couldn’t help but bring up the movie as it had just been released in theaters within a week of our book group meeting. Some group members expressed concern that the movie would “ruin the book” but I assured them that John Green was on set nearly every day of filming and despite a few minor changes, the movie stayed pretty true to the novel. I asked FoF if they would see the movie and why or why not. Below are some of their responses:
- I loved the book so much I don’t think I’ll see the film. You just can’t convert this language on screen.
- I saw the movie and I loved it. I really enjoyed seeing their journey to Amsterdam, specifically.
- I saw the movie and I LOVED it. The scene where Isaac smashes Augustus’ old trophies was hilarious.
We also discussed Hazel’s obsession with discovering what happened after the ending of Van Houten’s AIA. While most of us could relate to Hazel’s feelings of wanting to know what happens to fictitious characters after finishing a novel, I asked why Hazel’s obsession with AIA was so extreme. One reader mentioned that Hazel was obviously concerned with her parent’s future and was projecting that worry onto Anna’s mother from AIA. This led to a conversation about Hazel’s parents, during which a few readers mentioned that they especially liked Hazel’s mother. One group member stated that she appreciated the fact that her mother “pulled back and let Hazel enjoy being a teenager.” Another discussed her relief that Hazel’s mother was going back to school, which led us to compare Hazel’s mother to Anna’s. While we don’t know exactly what will happen to Hazel’s parents after the end of the novel, Green at least gave us a bit of a hint, unlike Van Houten.
Towards the end of our meeting, we briefly discussed Green’s use of foreshadowing (Augustus hanging up the phone first, his movie starting first on the plane, his desire to save everyone in the video game, etc.) as well as the significance of the last line of the novel (the allusion to wedding vows, present tense). Overall the entire group seemed to have a lot to say about TFIOS which resulted in a very lively discussion. For those of you who are crossing into Nerdfighter status and want more John Green, check out Looking for Alaska, Paper Towns, An Abundance of Katherines, and Will Grayson, Will Grayson.