The Fault in Our Stars - John Green Ouch. This one literally made my heart hurt to read (incorrect use of literality!), despite its thick layer of humor, and the hope in its message. Personally, I think it's still one hell of a depressing book. It's about kids with cancer and dying, so just be prepared to feel gutted.

I also find myself struggling to put my thoughts into words. First of all, I want to make it clear: I felt this was a great book. It's beautifully written and I certainly can't fault it much at all on technical terms. Thing is, I still can't shake this strange feeling after reading it. You know the kind of book that strives so hard not to be a cliche, but in doing so ends up being cliched because of that anyway? This one definitely has that vibe.

I also almost feel kind of guilty for liking it. Don't take this the wrong way, as I'm sure John Green had the best of intentions, and I have nothing by admiration for his history with working with sick kids, but I can't help feeling this was almost exploitative in a way. I felt something similar after watching the "twist" ending of the movie Remember Me. Both I felt were constructed in a very careful and specific way to shoot for maximum emotional impact. There's just a distracting air of artificiality hanging over this book that I couldn't seem to ignore -- everything from the addition of profound poetry quotes and the pretentious use of big words (thank goodness for my built-in dictionary function in my Kindle) to the the star-crossed teenage protagonists who don't sound anything AT ALL like real teenagers and the heartbreaking Nicholas-Sparkseque plot line -- all to be devoured by its intended young adult audience.

I'm sure it works too. Not that there's anything horribly wrong with that. John Green is a great author. This is a great book. You should like this book. It's almost hard not to like. Still, I just can't help but feel very conflicted. And quite melancholy too.