Title: The Fault in Our Stars
Author: John Green
Published by Penguin Books, 2013
How did I discover this book: (or “How did I not discover this book any sooner?!?”) Everybody has been talking about The Fault in Our Stars and how amazing it is, but to me it was just another book that everyone is reading and I probably wouldn’t like. In fact, I only read it because a friend of mine nagged me about it to the point I couldn’t stand it anymore. It’s not that I don’t like John Green, because I love the VlogBrothers. It’s just that the book wasn’t that appealing to me. I have moved on from my YA novels reading phase and I had this completely insane idea that because the protagonists were so young the story would somehow lose it’s power and potential. I was WRONG!!! and I’m not ashamed to admit it.
Review: The book’s main characters are Hazel and Augustus, two teenage kids diagnosed with cancer. Hazel is what medicine calls a miracle, since her cancer was miraculously stabilized by an experimental medical drug. Still, she has to struggle everyday for breath and for her life to continue. Augustus is what we call a NEC patient, because after a year of treatments and the removal of his leg his body no longer showed signs of cancer. They first met at the the local cancer kid’s support group and they were immediately drawn to each other.
This is all very nice, a “girl meets boy and fall in love” kind of story, except these kids have cancer, which dramatically changes everything.
From the beginning of the book you know they won’t have a “happy ever after” kind of ending. Their time in this world is short, they have been living with sickness since childhood and that brings a lot of questions and issues that John Green brilliantly explores in this book. Your first love. To be surrounded by people and yet feel utterly alone. To live with a sickness that gradually eats you from the inside out. Will you subject other people to the grief of seeing you slowly die when you might avoid it. The guilt that you feel for seeing your family being affected by your illness and what will happen to them once you’re gone. Will you ever fulfill your wishes and dreams. What is your purpose in this world. And several other things that make this book not just about cancer, but more about discovering yourself and your place in this world and how to live and grow.
The book would be amazing just for bringing up these concerns, specially among young adults who are just starting to actually live and discover themselves and their place in the world. But John Green’s writing is just so awesome that he makes you think about all this meaningful and emotionally deep subjects while you’re also laughing (and crying!!). Seriously, the book is beautiful and painful at the same time, but more than worth reading. I particularly like Isaac and Hazel’s parents. I loved how the author portrayed her family dynamic. I didn’t like Van Houten very much, but I wondered during the entire book if An Imperial Affliction was a real book so that I could read it as soon as I finished The Fault in Our Stars. Also, I really liked that the teenage characters were physically and sometimes psychologically flawed, and yet so strong and wise that they felt older than what they actually were.
I don’t want to give you any major spoilers, so I won’t talk anymore about the book. Nevertheless, this book was special to me not so much for the plot, which I think was very basic and ordinary, but for John Green’s writing and for what he made me think and feel with the story of his characters. Also, because it portrays life and death truthfully. If not for the insightful perspective that it offers, this book would just be another plain YA novel for me.
Overall: It was an AMAZING book. Really, it’s a must read for everyone. Go get the book now and read it!
Quotes worth mentioning: “You gave me a forever within the numbered days, and I’m grateful.”
(there’s more quotes that meant a lot to me, but this one touched deep into my heart)