Book Review: The Fault in our Stars
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.
ashley | There has been so much buzz about John Green’s The Fault in our Stars, even before the movie was set to come out. Green apparently has a HUGE following, the kind of following you see at comicon really, so the buzz extends far beyond the book. I’m actually surprised this is the first I’m really hearing about all of this, and the first book of Green’s I’ve read, but curiosity has killed my natural response to avoid all things popular and I’ve decided to see what all this noise is about.
I definitely fell into the witty banter right away. I love books that move quickly like this with whip-smart dialogue and sarcastic interaction. It mimics conversations I have with friends and makes me really open to these new characters. I mean, I’m meeting them for the first time, after all, and this makes a great first impression.
Hazel, Isaac and Augustus have a beautiful chemistry together. And like anyone else who has been exposed to his charms, I couldn’t help but be swept up in Augustus’s crooked smile and whimsical existence. If I was only to meet one other person in life, he is the kind of person I’d want them to be. And the way he sees Hazel, doesn’t everyone want someone to see them like that?
It probably isn’t hard to see her like that, though. Hazel is awesome. And I don’t mean because of how she handles her sickness or how strong she is (though both are admirable), she’s great because of how real she is. She treads lightly, she has her expectations in check, she doesn’t ever seem to take anything for granted or expect anything different just because she was dealt a poor hand. A lot of people could learn a lot from her.
There isn’t anything overly extraordinary about this story; it’s about teens who deal with real issues. People do that all the time, doesn’t mean you always need to write a book about it. But Green weaves a hopeful dreaminess throughout the story that changes this into something much more extraordinary than it seems on paper. And while some of the content is bleak, I love how the characters embrace the bleakness and how bluntly death and their personal doom are spoken about. It’s a very honest approach, there’s no sugar coating, but there’s hope hiding in all that honesty.
It’s so easy to make other literary pieces a star in your book, but it takes some imagination and additional work to make up a whole other fictional piece for your own piece of fiction. Green has not only created An Imperial Affliction, a book which serves as Hazel’s bible, and whose author is a large component of the story as well, but Green also created a series of books based on a video game (the fictional game based on Counterstrike) that he came up with just for this book. I love when authors pour that much of themselves into their work, going beyond what they could have gotten away with.
Be warned: if you haven’t read this book yet, don’t go onto the internet until you’re done. The internet is full of spoilers. Not even half way through the book, I managed to spoil some major plot points for myself all because I jumped on the bandwagon a little too late. That usually takes the fun out of books for me, but there was just too much charm in this to give up on it so soon.
The Fault in our Stars is a short and bittersweet story of two teens coming of age, uncertain whether they will ever actually see themselves come of age. I can see what all the hype is about and why people are falling in love with this everywhere. It brought me to tears and I kick myself for not picking it up sooner. I can’t wait to see the movie, where I will likely bawl some more.