Review: The Fault In Our Stars by John Green

My Thoughts

Absolutely amazing.
An emotional, powerful, piercing and heartfelt
story of love and friendship, loss and surviving the difficult
“side effects of dying.” Beautifully written and deserving of all the
praise it has garnered, I will never forget the gripping story of
Hazel Grace Lancaster and Augustus Waters.

6stars

Synopsis

The_Fault_in_Our_StarsDespite the tumor-shrinking medical miracle that has bought her a few years, Hazel has never been anything but terminal, her final chapter inscribed upon diagnosis.

But when a gorgeous plot twist named Augustus Waters suddenly appears at Cancer Kid Support Group, Hazel’s story is about to be completely rewritten.

 

 

 

My Review

“But it is the nature of stars to cross, and never was Shakespeare more wrong than when he has Cassius note, ‘The fault, dear Brutus, is not in our stars / But in ourselves.”

There are so many things I LOVED about this book. So many elements… so many big things and subtle things. I loved seeing the witty dialogue come to life through elegant and elaborate syntax. I loved that John Green didn’t talk down to his young adult readers, but rather banked on their intelligence, referencing greats like William Carlos Williams and T.S. Eliot (the poem mentioned at one point, The Love Song of J.Alfred Prufrock is one of my all-time favorites). I loved that he captured the transcendental and deep musings of insightful teenagers, particularly those whom are terminally sick and suddenly find themselves short of time and forced to more seriously ponder the profound and interminable questions that plague their thoughts. And perhaps most significantly, I love that he was able to engender this story that so completely captured my heart, then shattered it into a million little pieces and was nonetheless able to deliver a thoughtful, honest glimpse into the painful world of cancerverse. This is a story that is simultaneously complex and simple…we see introspective, esoteric reveries juxtaposed with the irrefutable reality that dying simply sucks.

“Because there is no glory in illness. There is no meaning to it. There is no honor in dying of.”

Hazel is dying. 16 years old. Thyroid cancer. Mets in the lungs. She walks around with an oxygen tank and a cannula affixed to her nostrils at all times, helping to deliver air to her “lungs that sucked at being lungs.” She’s an intelligent, thoughtful girl who challenges the expected cancer platitudes espoused by the non-sick who mean well, but in the end, are only successful in making the sick feel like “others.” Forced to contemplate the sadness and reality of her imminent demise, as well as of those around her, she questions the usefulness of her cancer support group, where despite challenged to “live her best life today,” names read off a list of those whom are no longer there, make it evident that you can only cheat death for so long. And it’s at this support group where she one day meets the boy who would change her life.

 “My name is Hazel. Augustus Waters was the great sat-crossed love of my life. Ours was an epic love story, and I won’t be able to get more than a sentence into it without disappearing into a puddle of tears. Gus knew. Gus knows. I will not tell you our love story, because-like all real love stories-it will die with us, as it should.”

Augustus “Gus” Waters lost his right leg to osteosarcoma and is now in remission. He’s a friend of Issac, another friend in the support group who lost an eye at a young age and has recently been told that his other eye must be removed, leaving him to be permanently blind. Augustus is immediately captivated by Hazel and the two form a friendship that was fated to be so much more.  Hazel has already survived so much, permanently living in pain, fighting for every breath, every single moment of her life. However, it’s not the pain that plagues her, it’s the fear of leaving those she loves behind… leaving them to be shells of who they used to be. Augustus quickly becomes someone she cares about and she’s afraid she’ll leave him wounded in her battle too.

“I wanted to know that he would be okay if I died. I wanted to not be a grenade, to not be a malevolent force in the lives of people I loved.”

Their relationship is simply beautiful. It’s so special watching two kindred spirits, two clever quirky people, connect so completely. Hazel and Augustus are not strangers to pain, and their individual fears are so real, warranted and heartfelt that they gut you, because you know as the reader that in a book about two kids with cancer, a happy ending is not fated in the stars. I love the fact that they are so thoughtful, the terminality of their life forcing them to ponder the bigger, unanswerable questions of life. It’s incredibly moving and heartbreaking to read about these brave young kids and how they wrap their minds around cancer and death.

“That’s the thing about pain,” Augustus said, and then glanced back at me. “It demands to be felt”

I also loved that despite their transcendental musings and their expertise in the vernacular of cancer, they were kids… teenagers who played video games and obsessed over a book (An Imperial Affliction by the drunk recluse, yet brilliant Peter Van Houten). I found myself so quickly entrenched in this story, deeply devoted to its characters, prematurely distressed at what was yet to come. The fact that they fall in love is even harder to experience because I was so happy for them and at the same time, so very sad. Augustus is amazing, never afraid to be forthright about his feelings, while Hazel is more cautious with her expressions, but with such a loving heart just the same. Together, they are perfect.

“Some infinities are bigger than other infinities … There are days, many of them, when I resent the size of my unbound set. But Gus, my love, I cannot tell you how thankful I am for our little infinity. I wouldn’t trade it for the world. You gave me a forever within the numbered days, and I’m grateful.”

I actually experienced this book via audible, in a version narrated by Kate Rudd. She was amazing too. I loved listening to the story… I could almost hear John Green himself in the speed and wit of the dialogue. I thought the story was so ingenious in the way it pulled you into scenes of funny conversation, then swiftly and unexpectedly delivered emotional gut punches that left you breathless. The last 30% or so had me crying big, fat, ugly tears and I honestly didn’t stop until the last word was read, carrying the heaviness in my heart for the remainder of the day and even still. It’s a beautiful story of love and life and figuring out how to work with the cruel hand some are inexplicably dealt. As I mentioned above, the book is deserving of all the accolades it has received and I anxiously await the movie next summer. This moving book solidly earns 6 stars from me.

“I’m in love with you, and I’m not in the business of denying myself the simple pleasure of saying true things. I’m in love with you, and I know that love is just a shout into the void, and that oblivion is inevitable, and that we’re all doomed and that there will come a day when all our labor has been returned to dust, and I know the sun will swallow the only earth we’ll ever have, and I am in love with you.”

addtogoodreads

 

Connect with John Green

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And here’s a vlog where he answers some questions about TFioS movie.

Comments

  1. This book was really awesome and I can’t wait for the movie!

  2. Not enough stars for this book, huh? 😛 <3 <3 <3

  3. I completely agree with you. This book was truly one of the most phenomenal books I have ever read. The Fault in our Stars is one of the best books I have ever read, even though I almost never read anything other than science fiction! In fact, I liked it so much that I also reviewed it on my blog, http://www.books4nerds.com. Check it out if you’d like! Thanks!

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