Title: The Fault in Our Stars
Author: John Green
Rating: ★ ★ ★ ½
Genre: Young Adult, Contemporary, Romance
Published: 10 January 2012 by Dutton Books
Format: E-book, 320 pages
Synopsis: “Despite 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.
Insightful, bold, irreverent, and raw, The Fault in Our Stars is award-winning author John Green s most ambitious and heartbreaking work yet, brilliantly exploring the funny, thrilling, and tragic business of being alive and in love.” (Taken from Goodreads)
– – – –
The Fault in Our Stars has received much hype over the last year and a half for being an incredibly moving story of survival and heart-break following the life of Hazel Grace Lancaster. Diagnosed from a young age with a form of terminal cancer that affects her lungs, Hazel had accepted that she would die … the question was when.
For a very long time, her means to keep fighting was to ensure that she didn’t hurt her parents with her death. She belittled herself, seeing herself as weak and unloveable, thus distancing herself from many so she wouldn’t hurt them when she died.
Then at one of her support group meetings, Hazel meets Augustus Waters, the boy with the wooden leg and beautiful smile. She couldn’t comprehend why he was staring at her since she thought herself to be unworthy of his attention. As the novel progresses, Hazel and Gus begins to spend a lot more time together. They’re two characters that actually create sparks – both being so real and tangible.
It’s sad to admit that this is actually my first John Green novel. While I have a few of his books sitting on my shelf, I never had the urge to crack them open. I’m not sure if I’m being deterred by the hype surrounding his work or some other unknown reason, but I’m glad that I am finally starting on this journey with his writing. As many already know, Green creates immaculate characters that are both realistic and loveable. Hazel and Gus are no different. Their journey towards love and finding each other in the most improbable of times had me leaking like a tap. I always knew what would eventually happen in the end, but even so, I
needed desperately for wanted them to be together and to live a long and happy life.
But this novel teaches you that the world is not fair – not because it’s against you – but sometimes things happen because it just does. There is no use fighting against it, all you can do is live today to the best of your abilities. Augustus Waters wanted to leave a mark behind, and his biggest fear was oblivion. Hazel counters this by saying that oblivion was inevitable. Rather than leaving behind a mark, she’d rather minimise the harm and scars.
In a way, they both had different thoughts on the idea of death, but what’s nice about this book is that Green doesn’t dumb them down. It was nice to read about two characters that are both intelligent. While this may have been a side-effect of cancer, I don’t agree with reviewers who think it’s so crazy that both Hazel and Gus were wise beyond their years. There’s this stigma surrounding the idea that certain ages must be less intelligent, but just like you can’t assume that all people must suddenly be smart as soon as they become an adult, you can’t assume that all 16 and 17 year olds can’t have the intelligence of someone beyond their years.
Now why, you may ask, am I giving this novel 3.5 stars if I enjoyed it so much? I think it’s really a case of ‘it’s-not-you-it’s-me’. I thoroughly enjoyed Green’s writing style, his characters and the story he penned. However, I’ve been exposed to many cancer stories and this book simply didn’t add anymore to my knowledge of the disease which I didn’t already know. Yes, there were moving messages. Yes, I enjoyed the romance. Yes, I loved the characters … but there was simply no ‘oomph’ that really changed my whole perspective on life. I know The Fault in Our Stars has done this exact same thing with other people, but unfortunately, I’m not one of them. But that doesn’t mean it’s not a great book.
I do recommend this book if you enjoy novels with great characters and a moving story. But be warned, have a box of tissues nearby if you’re a cryer, because you’ll definitely need it!
The Fault in Our Stars is being turned into a movie in 2014 with Shailene Woodley as Hazel and Ansel Elgort as Augustus. What do you think of these actors? Do you think they fit the role?