In Which I Read The Book That Scared Me The Most

If you know me, you will know 4 things.

1. I love John Green’s books.ย  Like all time favorites categories.
2. I love books that will gut me and make me cry. (Ya know, except in public).
3. Cancer is a hard subject for me to read about for personal reasons I have shared but I tend to do it anyways.
4. I have never read The Fault In Our Stars.

The Fault In our Stars

So you might be thinking…so why have you just now read it? Wouldn’t this have been high on your list of books to read?

Why, yes, yes it was. I pre-ordered my copy. I could not wait. So what was the problem?

1. It’s always scary, while exciting, when a favorite author comes out with a new book. Amirite?

2. I don’t shy away from “cancer stories” despite the fact they gut me every time but it’s John Green and I know how his words have the ability to rip me apart, to make me get really inside my head thinking about Big Things and how they just always move me and become lodged in my heart and mind. I just wasn’t sure I could handle it and I psyched myself up.

3. I probably would have gotten over psyching myself out over it but then the HYPE. It spread like wildfire. And all the comments about how people ugly cried and could not live life and all that. If I wasn’t already building it up in my head before NOW I REALLY WAS. I was so scared I wasn’t going to be able to function afterwards. And then the movie news?? Pretty much my expectations for TFIOS were so beyond unmanageable that I just tried to conveniently forget about it on my shelf.

I decided I was going to finally read this book in 2014, before the movie came out, and even put it on my TBR list. But then I got an awesome email inviting me to participate in a John Green interview via the phone and I was like SELF. Let’s do this. Let’s finally read this book. This seems like motivation enough to woman up and sit down with the book you had been anticipating for freaking forever.

So I pulled it off my shelf. Told nobody I was reading it because I didn’t want all the opinions or OMG I CRIED SO HARD because I would get scared off undoubtedly. And I did it.

So here we are…I have just closed the book and the first thing I’ve done is walk over to this computer to get my thoughts down. Okay, that’s a lie. The first thing I did was grab many tissues because tears weren’t the only thing running down my face — yep, TMI, but I had a river of snot just flowing out my nose. My emotions are all over the place. I’m a hot mess. Nope not even hot right now with my red eyes and my snotty nose. Just a mess.



So what did I think?

1. I loved it. I did. The story and the characters just defeated that hype monster and let me forget that anyone had talked about this book. It almost felt like I was the only person in the world who had read it. It was powerful, funny and sweet and made me think in the way his books tend to. I was gutted and devastated over Gus for sure but there was also this smile on my face, perhaps was hard to see through the tears so it probably looked more like a grimace, because life is so beautiful even when it’s really, really awful and unfair and sad. To take from Hazel’s dad…it’s such a privilege we have to be able to love the ones we love. Even when it can’t and won’t last forever.

2. I love so much that it wasn’t some cliched “cancer story” with the typical platitudes you see — it made an impact without being obviously inspirational. There are all sorts of stories and they are all important and serve a purpose. I love inspiring stories of all kinds but I was glad that TFIOS wasn’t that. It was about so much more than having cancer or “fighting the good fight”. These characters felt real and not defined by this though it was a part of who they were — they were full of life and cared about normal teen things. It was about life and love and how to live a brave and heroic life without living a Brave and Heroic Life. John Green, like always, manages to capture these amazing and thought-provoking truths in a way that is so subtle and so profound. I found myself thinking A LOT — about how I want to live, what I want to be known for and what, at the end of the day, truly is a well-lived life — a huge topic in The Fault In Our Stars because Gus and Hazel don’t always agree on that.

3. It’s hard to say whether or not this is my favorite John Green novel or not. I feel like Looking For Alaska still holds that spot but TFIOS is a close second. And honestly it’s hard to know, had I read it earlier on with no expectations, would it have been in that spot? Who knows! All I know is that I loved it fiercely.

4. My fear was misplaced for sure. I should have just read the damn book when I pre-ordered it. It contained sadness but my overall feeling was not SAD. A few parts wrecked me but the whole book did not wreck my soul like I thought it would. I was worried that much of this book would really chronicle the sickness part and be really vivid and intense there and it wasn’t. It was about them living their life with this cancer. Sure, it was real and raw and made my heart ache many times but it was also beautiful and uplifting and not at all what I had envisioned.

5. God there are so many quoteable lines. Like always, John Green makes me want to dogear like mad. And YEAH I DID (because I do things like that).


Moral of the story: I’m an idiot for building a mountain of fear around this book. I’m so, so glad I finally read it and think you should too if you haven’t already. Just rip the band-aid offย  if you’ve been afraid like me! It was emotional but I’m still here — whole and okay! It was everything I could have hoped for the latest John Green book to be and maybe even more. Honestly? I want to reread it already. AND OMG I CANNOT WAIT TO SEE THE MOVIE!!! (AND CRY MY EYES OUT)



Tell me about your TFIOS experience — good or bad!! Are you another one, like me, who has been holding off on reading it?? RAISE YOUR HAND IF YOU ARE EXCITED FOR THE FAULT IN OUR STARS MOVIE!!

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About Jamie

Jamie is a 30 year old married lady who is in denial that she’s actually that old. When she’s not reading you can find her doing Pilates followed by eating ice cream, listening to music with oversized headphones and having adventures with her husband and dog.


  1. Definitely agree with your thoughts on the book- especially the smiling through all the tears bit! I put off reading it for a good while after it was published even though every time I went into the bookstore I picked it up. I honestly don’t know what made me keep putting it down. But once I did pick it up- oh man- it was what I would call a ‘game-changing book’. ๐Ÿ™‚ So many thoughts and re-evaluating of my life and priorities

  2. I totally understand your fear! For the past few months I’ve done my best to avoid anything that makes me cry like the plague including this book. I read it when it was first release but didn’t buy a copy until a few weeks ago and I have yet to re-read it even though on some level I would love to. I just know I’ll end up CRYING MY EYES OUT. This is also why I’m so afraid of watching it in theaters, I hate crying in public even if I end up doing so on some occasions because I get so emotionally at times.

    So tell me, are you going to be watching it in theaters or waiting until you can watch it in the safety of your ‘free for all cry zone’ that is called your home like I am! ๐Ÿ™‚

  3. I love that book! Yeah it destroyed me a little bit inside, but still. I love books like that every once in a while. But not in public. No no no no. I’m going to re-read it before I watch the movie though.

  4. I adored the Fault in Our Stars. I’m looking forward to seeing the movie and rereading the book. (however I don’t really have time to do so yet). I’m glad you enjoyed it and not felt too sad about it after all.

  5. Cynthia says:

    I am like you were: terrified of the sad. I avoid movies that I know will make me cry, but with TFIOS, I feel like as a book-lover, I am soooo missing out on something great. I had decided that I would read it before the movie comes out, therefore giving me a deadline to just do it! Now I just need to actually buy it….

  6. I have to say, I totally agree with you! I was avoiding the book like mad simply because of the fact it had been turned into a movie. But, I went ahead and put myself on the hold list at the library anyway just so I could see what all the hype was about. Boy, am I glad I did! I was a hot mess by the end, and all I could do was whimper when someone asked me about how I liked the book. So beautiful and so perfect simply because it was real.

  7. OMG Jamie an interview with John Green? That’s amazing I’m so jelly!
    And I am so happy you enjoyed TFIOS. A lot of my friends actually said it didn’t live up to the hype but I read this when it first came out in 2012 and back then nobody had heard of it. Hence nobody warned me of how sad it was AND I READ IT ON PUBLIC TRANSPORT. Oh my god big mistake.
    I totally agree that it’s not a cancer sob story – it’s why I love it so much. I never really pitied them. I wished they had more time but I was so grateful for the time they had together.
    This is actually the only JG book I’ve read. I need to read LFA D:

  8. I just read this book about 2 weeks ago and I had put it off for the very same reasons. I knew it was going to be a sad book and I just wasn’t ready for it. Then one day i woke up and decided it was time. And I loved it! I wrote a quick review about it on goodreads and my blog, but I didn’t do it justice like you did. It was such an emotional read for me and it kept waking me up at night. It reminds me how lucky I am (at least for today). I find myself thinking about the book at random times. It’s powerful. I loved the scene with the swing set and the classifoed ad that followed.

  9. Welcome to the other side, haha. I read this one about a month after it’s publication. I remember there being hype, but not enough to detour me away from reading it. I’m like you, though, when something is being talked about ALL OVER THE INTERNET and pretty much every where you turn IRL, it’s a red flag to step away. I’m thankful I experienced this book when I did. I’m not sure I would have appreciated it as much if I’d gotten to it right now. I’m anxious to see it on the big screen, but it’s also one of those books I wish would have just stayed a book.

  10. I actually just read this like a month ago. I was super scared too. Mostly of the hype. I didn’t want to be the one person that hated it, but like you, I decided to buckle down and read it before the movie. I absolutely loved it. The thing about this book is that I didn’t even realize how much I loved the characters until the end and all of a sudden, I was sobbing. I don’t know when I fell in love with Hazel and Gus’s story, I just know that I fell hard. I loved that these two teens, going through something they shouldn’t have to go through, still lived their lives like normal people. They didn’t let it define them. They were themselves, the cancer was just a part of them. I can’t wait to see the movie. I’m bringing a whole box of tissues with me for sure.

  11. If you read the book about Esther Earl (the girl “Fault” is based on), you’ll see a lot of similarities. While the love story is just that – a story – the heroine herself is pretty much Esther to a T.

    While I did like this book, reading “This Star Won’t Go Out” and seeing that John “stole” a lot of Hazel’s characteristics from Esther made it a tad less creative to me.

  12. This was the book I had to work the hardest to talk myself into reading. It was my first John Green, so I didn’t have a commitment to him as a fav author.
    My brother-in-law died when he was 18 years old, not of cancer, unexpectedly of a seizure. The first time I heard of John Green was his friends talking about him non-stop at his wake. He had pre-ordered TFIOS, and it arrived in the mail two days after his funeral.
    Through blogs I have gotten to know a lot about John Green and gotten more and more curious, but just looking at the TFIOS cover would bring me to tears. I finally broke down and read it a month ago because I made the movie be my deadline. I liked the first half of it, but I think as a whole it was just too hard for me to to handle to say I enjoyed the book. I’m not sure if I want to see the movie.

  13. I held off a little reading this, but eventually I gave in and immediately fell in love with the story. Cancer stories hit VERY close to home for me, so I felt a few punches to the gut when reading it, but overall I adored the story and even felt I appreciated life more after finishing it. I am VERY excited for the movie, but it’s going to be a rough one. Well, duh, right? Everyone says that and everyone will be crying, but for me, it’s going to affect me in a different way due to recent events. (My aunt passed away from a long battle with cancer just last week). There is also other stuff, but of course not something I should post about on a blog comment wall.

    I’ve got my kleenex and Okay? Okay. shirt ready to go.

  14. My experience? Never cried so much because of a book. NEVER!

    This book is beautiful and heartbreaking… Gave me hope and smashed my heart at the same time. Dr John knows how to write…

  15. Jamie, I could not believe it when I saw this post today. I “just” finished this yesterday too – and WOW words could not decribe it. The quote or point in the book you point out from Hazel’s Dad where it points out that love hurts but how lucky she was to have loved Augustus – I was balling like a baby also. The ending..balling like a baby. There was a quote from the book they often referenced about pain too – saying the more pain the more worth it it becomes and all I could think was the amount of pain Hazel felt when she lost Augustus relates to the amount of love she felt for him – and how lucky if we could all feel that kind of love.

    I also was hesitant to read this book because of the topic and the hype. I lost my father to cancer almost 4 years ago and sometimes this is still a topic that makes me hesitant to read about… But like you said I was so wrong and cannot believe I waited this long to read this book. It’s my first book by this author and I as well CANNOT wait to see the movie adapatation…

    Thanks for sharing this review of the book and your feelings – I thought I might be the only one out there who pre-purchased and then waited this long to read it out of almost pure fear and not being sure I could handle the content or the feeling of loss after personal experiences.

    Great post and review!


  16. I just wrote all my comments to you on Twitter…but what I meant to tell you as well is that I’m super-proud of you for kicking that fear and just reading the book. I should do that, too…I’m kind of scared of the Game of Thrones series, because FANTASY and BIG, but…I should just do it, right?

  17. I put it off as well. I’m the opposite of you, I have no desire to read books about cancer or even grief because I already experienced that in real life. I read it last fall because a friend and I challenged each other to read books that were out of our comfort zones. I did enjoy many aspects of the story, especially the characters and dialogue. I knew everyone else had sobbed over this book so I went into it expecting someone to die (I didn’t know who) so at every turn I was coming up with theories of how everyone would drop dead. I believe I psyched myself out too much. I actually didn’t cry and came away from the book feeling like it had been trying to manipulate me into feeling a certain way and since I didn’t, I must suck. So yeah, not the typical experience! But I’m glad I read it and am looking forward to the movie, I’ve already heard great things from early reviews!

  18. I started reading TFiOS when I came home after being discharged from the hospital due to emergency surgery. I remember laying in bed in the middle of the night and crying so hard, that I though that something was going to burst open! I kept thinking that it would be very interesting if had to go back to the hospital and try to explain what happened.

    It was SO worth it!

  19. TFiOS is just… perfection. My words cannot do it justice. I loved that it wasn’t about fighting cancer; it was about living life and loving people. I finished this book at 1 a.m. and I just laid there on my bed, tears running down my face, choked, whining noises escaping from my mouth. I had to smother my face with the pillow so I wouldn’t wake up my parents when the screaming/sobbing became unbearable.

  20. I completely understand what you mean when you said ” The story and the characters just defeated that hype monster and let me forget that anyone had talked about this book. It almost felt like I was the only person in the world who had read it.” I didn’t read TFIOS until a year after the release and this book was all over the place. But as soon as I started reading it became such a personal thing. These were my friends and I felt honored that they were sharing their story with me. I love that about John’s writing. Somehow he makes your reading experience so special. Anyways, I’m glad you liked it!

  21. I borrowed the audiobooks from my library 3 times before finally just listening to it. This is the first John Green book I’ve read, and I’m definitely on board to read more!

    And TFIOS movie? Ah! I’m so excited to watch it and weep at the beautifully sad story that is Hazel and Gus and the lives they lived!!

  22. This timing of this post is so crazy! I finished TFIOS last night at 1 a.m. And yup, so many tears! I avoided this book for the same reasons you did, b/c of my mom & that big ‘ol C word. But wow, it was just so beautiful/horrible at the same time. And the parent side of it tore me up too, as I just couldn’t imagine losing a child like that(or at all). This was my first John Green book, but won’t be my last. And I now own TFIOS( the copy I’d been reading is my friend’s) as when I was at the grocery store this afternoon, they had the paperback on sale for $10 bucks!

  23. I’ve been avoiding this book too. I haven’t actually read John Green before so if it weren’t for all the hype, I probably wouldn’t have known about it. At first I put it on my tbr, but then the hype got a bit too big. I’m always nervous reading books that EVERYONE loves – even though that also guarantees I will HAVE to read them. But that hype, combined with the subject matter of the book seriously freaked me out. So I haven’t made it there yet. But I have requested it from my library finally and once I come up on the wait list I’ll stop freaking myself out and join you on the other side ๐Ÿ™‚ I’m so glad you enjoyed it so much and that it didn’t deserve your fear!

  24. I’m glad you took a chance and read this, even with your fears!

    As for me, I think I am one of the few that wasn’t affected by this book. I enjoyed it, it was sweet, sad and beautiful, but the overall impact lacked that OOMPH punch. :/ Ironically, the trailer had be in tears, so…

    I’m happy to hear you loved it though!

  25. I had quite a different experience to you when it comes to TFIOS… At the time, I felt kind of underwhelmed. Now, that doesn’t mean I didn’t enjoy the book because I really did, however I wish I had read it when a lot of the talk about it had died down. I intend to reread TFIOS at some point, perhaps towards the end of the year, and I think my second reading experience will be very different to my first – I’m looking forward to it! I think I will have a better appreciation for it second time round.
    I’m glad you faced your fears and got to experience TFIOS, I think all book lovers need to give it at least one read. Thanks for sharing your thoughts, and reading experience with us.

  26. I’m so so so happy you finally decided to read this bookโ€ฆand so glad you loved it too! ๐Ÿ™‚

  27. I totally held off reading this too. I finally read it early this year and LOVED IT so much. I’m so glad that I read it, and that the hype was right. I am really looking forward to the film. I have a feeling it will be good. I have high expectations, but I really hope they deliver. And if not, I can always read the book again! (that’s not true. I think I might read the book again but only in the very far future when I have a whole day to myself and can cry cry cry.)

  28. I bought the book and read it as soon as it came out and even though I sobbed through it, I loved every second.
    Want to hear my confession?
    I’m terrified to see the movie. Like anxiety inducing fear. I already have an opening day date with my sister to go see it, but I am afraid I am going to panic last second and come up with an excuse not to go.
    I’m afraid I will start crying before the trailers even start and look like an idiot.
    I’m afraid it won’t be as good and will in some ways taint this story for me.
    I’m afraid it will be so good that I will spend the following month doing nothing but going back to see this movie every night and my family and friends will have to call an intervention at the movie theater.

  29. I held off reading it until two weekends ago because of all of the hype. I was about to get around to it after seeing it in the blogging world years ago and then BAM it was all hype and non-bookish people were reading it and so I got scared. I finally was like, “Self you gotta read.” So I did and honestly I didn’t really like it very much. The plot was sort of predictable, I felt John Green was trying too hard, and I thought that without those really thought-provoking, well-written quotes, the book wouldn’t have been much good at all. Just my opinion and I get a lot of hate for voicing it but the hype got to me here. I’m glad it didn’t get to you, I think you were largely able to escape because you had read some of his books before where I had not. Wish I could have enjoyed it more but sadly when I wait until right before the movie for an OTHERWISE SUPER AMAZING BOOK comes out to read the book I am always disappointed due to all of the hype and chaos.

    Marie @ Marie’s Bookworm Blog

    • Ahhh hate when that happens! But it happens to the best of us and I appreciate you sharing your opinion!! It’s sad that you get hate for voicing a different opinion! We might have felt differently but I respect your thoughts! ๐Ÿ™‚

  30. I can’t believe I found someone who shared my fear for all the bandwagon and good reviews about this book. Same thing with Looking for Alaska. Everyone just kept on telling how good it was and when I got my hands on it, I felt like I was ambushed as I was expecting something that would really blow me and all I thought was its a really really sad story and John Green is so good to create such characters and TFIOS feels exactly the same. Its got great characters. i love hazel and she’s one great fictional heroine but the spoilers all over just had to destroy all the good parts for me. And at the end i just think how sad this novel is again. I could have thoroughly enjoyed it without the super and increasingly pressure the book has over me. Im just thankful that Will Grayson Will grayson and Papertowns weren’t as much publicized as the other John Green books because what will be left of their ability to touch lives?

    Btw, Im so happy I stumbled upon your book blog, you have no idea how im so fond of your love story and your reviews without giving way too much. I even love your name!


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