Sunday, September 16, 2012

Review: The Fault In Our Stars by John Green

by John Green
Publication Date: January 10, 2012
Publisher: Dutton Books
Hardcover, 313 pages

Diagnosed with Stage IV thyroid cancer at 13, 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.

5 stars


I love this book. 

Just in case you didn't read that right, or chose to ignore it, or for some unexplainable reason didn't believe me the first time, I'll say it again.

I love this book.

The Fault In Our Stars is the craziest emotional roller coaster I have ever been on. And as my fellow bloggers can attest, I LOVE roller coasters. While reading this book, I: laughed out loud in the middle of class when the room was completely silent, banged my head against a tree Charlie Brown style, hugged the book to my chest vowing to never let it go (in public!), and cried myself to sleep. 

The Fault In Our Stars opens with Hazel attending the cancer support group her mother forces her to attend for her "depression". Instead of helping her, however, it only increases her moodiness. That is until, she meets Augustus Waters. Augustus was diagnosed with osteosarcoma about a year and a half before, but after having his leg amputated has been NEC (No Evidence of Cancer) for about a year. While introducing himself, he reveals that he is there to support Isaac, another teenage member of the support group who is having his one remaining eye removed in an attempt to completely get rid of the cancer. When Augustus, after being prompted by the support group leader, Patrick, reveals that he "fears oblivion", Hazel speaks up willingly for the first time. "'There will come a time,'" she says, "'when all of us are dead. All of us. There will come a time when there are no human beings remaining to remember that anyone ever existed or that our species ever did anything. There will be no one left to remember Aristotle or Cleopatra, let alone you. Everything that we did and built and wrote and thought and discovered will be forgotten and all of this will have been for naught. Maybe that time is coming soon and maybe it is millions of years away, but even if we survive the collapse of our sun, we will not survive forever. There was a time before organisms experienced consciousness, and there will be a time after.  And if the inevitability of human oblivion worries you, I encourage you to ignore it. God knows that's what everyone else does'" (Green). 

If that doesn't sell you right there, I don't know what will. Add to that the fact that the title is taken from a quote from inspiration itself, Mr. William Shakespeare, and there is absolutely no question why this is now one of my favorite books. 

The relationship between Hazel and Augustus builds slowly and believably. Their relationship is not by any means a normal one. There are many obstacles in their way, each of which is over come in an unexpected way. This book kept me guessing, and I was constantly engaged in the twists and turns. Though the plot was unexpected and page turning, it was always believable. As someone whose life has been fraught with cancer lately (in friends, acquaintances, family members, and those who feel like family), this book hit very close to home for me. I found The Fault In Our Stars to be spot on with the information I know about this subject, and while it in no way skirted around heavy subjects like cancer and death, these were treated in a way that most people are unwilling to publicize in such a public fashion. The characters were not characters, but rather very real people talking about very real things. 

I love the characters in The Fault In Our Stars. Hazel is not your typical moody teenager, nor is she a happy-go-lucky, head-in-the-clouds, everything-is-going-to-be-alright type. She has mood swings. She is a bit depressed and moody, but it's to be expected of a sixteen year old diagnosed with terminal cancer. Unlike a lot of other characters in modern literature, however, Hazel has the ability to be happy and have fun. She doesn't walk around with a rain cloud over her head the whole book, which (honestly) she has every right to. And Augustus. There are no words to describe how much I love Augustus. He is the perfect foil to Hazel. Whenever she starts with her depressing commentary, Augustus immediately challenges her and forces her to see things from another point of view. Augustus is always there with a humorous quip which makes you burst out in laughter. And all of the supporting characters have their own personality and purpose. Isaac could make me cry and make me laugh all in the same page. Peter Van Houghten, the author of Hazel's favorite book, An Imperial Infliction, is the character that you love to hate. As a person I completely despise him, but as a character I adore him. Hazel's parents have their odd quirks, but you can see where they are coming from, and their love for Hazel shines through in all of their actions. 

John Green is now one of my favorite authors. He is able to invoke so much emotion I never thought possible in 313 pages. I know I've started to ramble, but I simply con not help it. I. LOVE. THIS. BOOK. Go buy it. Now. I'm dead serious. I borrowed this book from the library, and I am now saving up to buy my own copy. It takes a lot for me to actually go out and buy a book. But The Fault In Our Stars is completely worth the 30 minute drive to the nearest book store. 

For those of you (once you have finished the novel- there are a TON of spoilers here) who are interested, here's a link to an interview with John Green.

Purchase this book: Amazon / Barnes and Noble / The Book Depository


  1. Hey!
    I liked the post.
    I am yet to have an encounter with any John Green books. Do you think I should take up this one or Looking for Alaska first?

    1. I personally didn't like Looking for Alaska compared to The Fault in Our Stars, so definitely try this one out first. You do not want to miss this one!

    2. Well, I, for one (this is Maggie) actually just finished Looking For Alaska, and I loved it. I am in a John Green phase right now. I think that he writes a certain way, which doesn't appeal to everyone, but that I love and am able to connect with. But I would definitely start with The Fault in our Stars first. That is my favorite of his books so far, and it seems like it is getting the most positive reviews. Also, I think TFiOS has an easier style that appeals to more people. So start with TFiOS, and if you like it (which I think you will) I'd reccomend his other books. If your looking for a lighter novel, try An Abundance of Katherines.

  2. Ah, thanks so much.
    Have you read Speak by Laurie Halse Anderson? Is there any book of the similar kind that you'd recommend?

    1. Yes, I have read Speak. Are you looking for a book like Speak, or a book like TFiOS? Or a mixture of both? If you're looking for something like TFiOS, then I'd recommend any of John Green's other books. An Abundance of Katherines, Looking for Alaska, and Paper Towns. He also co-wrote the book Will Grayson Will Grayson, and for those of you who are into obscure novels of hilarity, he wrote a short zombie novella. (I have not read it yet, but it is supposedly quite hilarious and non-sensical).

  3. I completely fell in love with this book! I've always heard rumors that this book will take you from laughing to anger to sadness, and right back around. I'm usually not one who cries while reading, but I admit this one had me at tears! Awesome review!

    My Current Giveaway:

    1. Thank You! I am the same way. If I'm reading an average book, then my reactions are extreme, and I gasp aloud and laugh and cry, but the most emotionally invested I am in the book, the more I love it, the more withdrawn and emotionless I am, because I know if I start crying/laughing/etc. I know I'll never stop. But I'm glad I'm not the only one who was so effected by TFiOS. If you liked it a lot, I recommend reading John Green's other books and watching vlog brothers, the youtube vlog that John Green and his brother Hank Green have.

  4. This is definitely a book that sticks with you... John Green is pretty amazing!

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