Review: The Fault In Our Stars by John Green

February 28, 2013 5 Stars, All Aboard For Europe, Contemporary Romance, Death, Get Ready To Cry, John Green 13 ★★★★★

The Fault In Our Stars by John Green
Published by Dutton Books on January 10, 2012
Genres: Contemporary
Pages: 318
Format: Hardcover
Source: Own
Goodreads
five-stars
Diagnosed with Stage IV thyroid cancer at 13, Hazel was prepared to die until, at 14, a medical miracle shrunk the tumors 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 tumors 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’ll admit it.  I did not believe I would love The Fault In Our Stars.  Yes, I’d read all of the rave reviews.  But a book about kids dying of cancer?  And not only would I love this book, but it was going to make me laugh, too?  Well, this doubting Thomas is here to tell you that my answers are a very emphatic YES and YES.

“Cancer books suck.”  So says sixteen year-old Hazel, the wise beyond her years narrator of The Fault In Our Stars, and a cancer…victim?  No, she does not view herself as a victim.  Sufferer?  That doesn’t seem quite right, either, because she’s focused more on living than on the suffering that comes with cancer.  Cancer survivor?  I think she’d roll her eyes at anything that attempted to add a false feel-good tone to her certain-to-be short-lived life.  So I’ll go with this – Hazel is a girl who happens to have cancer.  She views her cancer through realistic, but never bitter or self-pitying eyes.  As Hazel says, “Even cancer isn’t a bad guy really: cancer just wants to be alive.”

When we meet Hazel, she is attending a support group for kids with cancer.  She attends  the group to appease her parents, not herself; she views it as a major nuisance, at best.  All the talk of death, the discussions of feelings and fears – Hazel wants none of it.  But then she meets Augustus, a newcomer to the group.  He’s missing a leg, but he’s got looks and charm to spare, and he immediately intrigues Hazel.

You will be in love with Hazel before you’ve finished the first ten or twenty pages.  And you will root for this young couple, even though you know one or both of their lives are doomed.

One of the many heart-breaking aspects of this book is the suffering of her parents.  I don’t have children, but I know there cannot be anything worse in this world than watching your child die.  In Hazel’s case, the watching and waiting has gone on for several years.  Her father cannot participate in a discussion regarding Hazel’s cancer without sobbing, and her mother has given up her own life to take care of Hazel’s.  As much sympathy and love as Hazel has for them, she occasionally gets angry.  She lashes out at her mother and pleads with her to find something else to do besides taking care of a dying daughter.  After all, once Hazel is gone, what will remain for her mother?

OK, that was a lot of dark stuff, and I promised you some humor.  How about these two gems?

  • Augustus expressed outrage that a 13 year-old Hazel used her “Make a Wish” on a trip to Disney World.  Hazel knew it was lame, but softened the blow by adding that she went to Epcot, too.
  • Hazel’s friend, Kaitlyn, when discussing Augustus: “I would ride that one-legged pony all the around the corral.”

The romance between Hazel and Augustus is one of the most beautiful I’ve ever read.  So much so that I happily overlooked the fact that their dialogue was unlike any that I’ve ever heard from any teenager (or most adults, for that matter.)

I kept waiting and waiting for the moment that I would need tissues.  I thought I had the outcome nailed early on, based on what I thought was a subtle “clue,” but I was wrong.  We’re pulled along to what we believe is the inevitable conclusion until the inevitable gets flipped on its head.  And yes, then it was tissue time.

On a personal note, I visited Amsterdam and the Anne Frank House a year and a half ago.  I climbed those same, steep narrow steps in the house that Hazel climbed, hauling her oxygen tank with her.  Everything that she described brought back intense memories.  If you get the chance to visit Amsterdam, the House is a must-see.

Your friendly blogger, outside AF House
A taste of the beauty in Amsterdam
Canals as far as the eye can see. I was surprised to learn that people live in those small wooden structures on the water.
I got very lucky – the middle of November with this beautiful blue sky

Now, if you haven’t read TFIOS yet, then get off this blog and go get it!

Stephanie

13 Responses to “Review: The Fault In Our Stars by John Green”

  1. Allison Kirk

    I thought TFiOS was on of the Best books of 2012 and possible one of the best books EVER. I was surprised I liked a “cancer” book so much myself. But John Green is amazing.

    Also, I LOVE your pics from Amsterdam!! Very nice touch! 🙂

    • Go Flash Go - Read, Rinse, Repeat

      It will undoubtedly be one of my best books of 2013, one that will stay with me for a long, long time, and one that I will force my non book-loving friends and family to read.

      And thanks for the compliments re: the pics! It was SUCH a gorgeous bright day and the photos came out well (thankfully).

      Stephanie

  2. werejumpinbooks

    I use to read all of Lurlene McDaniel’s books, which was mostly about cancer patients. It gave you some sense of knowing what they go through, and I loved them! They also helped me with understand my grandmother’s cancer. It is weird how a book could do that, I will definitely add this book to my TBR.

  3. Amanda Hendricks

    I myself haven’t read this yet, been putting it off for awhile now because unsure but your review makes me want to start it now. Think I’m gonna have to start looking for this in the bookstore or my Nook. Great review!

  4. mariusreads

    This has to be one of the best books I’ve ever read in my whole life! Btw, I’m a new follower and I’d I really appreciate it if you’d return the favor by following me back at Forever YA.

  5. linda

    This is next on my to be read list. I didn’t really think this would be my type of book but I’ve read so many good reviews about it now and so many people have said it was their fave book of 2012 that I’m going to give it a try!

  6. Danica Page

    I’m hesitant to read this one. I know, how can I still feel that way. It’s just cancer books usually hit a little bit too close to home for me. However, this one sounds incredible. I love this author and it seems to be everybody’s favorite book.

    I’m seriously contemplating caving. Thanks for your review. It was very helpful and beautifully written.

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