Title: The Fault in Our Stars
Author: John Green
Hardcover: 313 pages
Pub Date: Jan 10, 2012
Publisher: Dutton Books
Rating” ++++++ (means go read this book right this moment if you haven’t)
Diagnosed with Stage IV thyroid cancer at 12, Hazel was prepared to die until, at 14, a medical miracle shrunk the tumours in her lungs… for now.
Two years post-miracle, sixteen-year-old Hazel is post-everything else, too; post-high school, post-friends and post-normalcy. And even though she could live for a long time (whatever that means), Hazel lives tethered to an oxygen tank, the tumours tenuously kept at bay with a constant chemical assault.
Enter Augustus Waters. A match made at cancer kid support group, Augustus is gorgeous, in remission, and shockingly to her, interested in Hazel. Being with Augustus is both an unexpected destination and a long-needed journey, pushing Hazel to re-examine how sickness and health, life and death, will define her and the legacy that everyone leaves behind
I bought this book the day it was released but I took my time to read it. It wasn’t that I didn’t want to read it, it is just that John Green is my favorite author and a world where there are no new John Green books to read is a little more sad. But I couldn’t wait any longer and I had to pick it up.
This book shows again that John Green is not only the master of YA books, but a writer that all writers can learn a lot from. The characters are so well-developed. I knew exactly who Hazel, Augustus, Isaac and Hazels’s parents were. In only a little over 300 pages I understood their motivation, their thoughts, and their actions. They were complete and imperfect, but their imperfections made them perfect characters. Yes, Augustus is blunt and conceited, but I could see why he became like that and it didn’t bother me.
John Green is also a master of prose. I kept adding post-it flag to great passages. I haven’t marked a book in any way (other than books for school) ever. But I had to here and I want to share with you some of the brilliance. These may contain minor spoilers, but nothing that really gives anything away
“It feels like we were all wounded in your battle”
Anyone who has lost someone to any illness can relate to this and it expresses this sentiment perfectly.
“You are not a grenade, not to us. Thinking about you dying makes us sad, Hazel, but you are not a grenade. You are amazing.”
Her parents were actually one of the best parts of the books. Watching their struggle along with Hazel and Augustus showed a more full view of cancer and all of its victims. I cannot imagine watching your child go through something like this. I do not want to compare my eye problems with cancer, but I can now understand a little more of what my parents went through and I want to go to Ohio to give them a hug. Hazel’s parents’ journey is just as impactful and beautiful as hers and the book would not be nearly as good without it.
“Some tourists think Amsterdam is a city of sin, but in truth it is a city of freedom. And in freedom, most people find sin,”
I loved that they were able to go to Amsterdam, but what really blew me away with this line is that in two little sentences that don’t seem to matter, John Green conveyed an ingrained fact of human existence. I could write pages about this one idea, but pI would rather let you think about it yourself. It is just another example of how a YA novel can have ideas that spark conversation and reflection just as well as any other books.
“The thing about dead people…The thing is you sound like a bastard if you don’t romanticize them, but the truth is. . . complicated I guess.”
There is so much sadness in this book, but also so much beauty in writing and in the world. It doesn’t sugar coat anything. If you read it, you probably will cry. I didn’t too much because every time I started, I put it down. It was sad, but it was real. It was sad, but there was so much hope and love.
I have loved everything John Green has written, but this is his best book yet.
Please, read this book if you haven’t.