The Fault in Our Stars review

A tale of two star-crossed teens who refuse to be defined by their cancer. You will laugh, cry and want everyone you know to read it…

TFIOSThe Fault in Our Stars by John Green

(Paperback) January 2013, Penguin

Book jacket blurb:

Despite the tumour-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.

‘Sometimes, you read a book and it fills you with this weird evangelical zeal, and you become convinced that the shattered world will never be put back together unless and until all living humans read the book.’ This is just one of the gems that comes from the mouth of central character Hazel Lancaster, and whilst I wouldn’t describe myself as experiencing ‘evangelical zeal’, this is definitely one book that I will be imploring many other people to read. It is also a book that I am certain to reread, as within its pages are so many moments in which the realities and ironies of life are brought into focus with crystal clear precision – those perfect bits of writing that you just want to savour time and again.

The story follows Hazel (she has terminal cancer which has taken hold of her lungs) and Augustus Waters (who has lost a leg to cancer) and explores the relationship that develops between them. But even though almost every page has some reference to the harsh realities and suffering caused by living with cancer, and to contemplation of death, this book made me laugh and smile more than any other I have read this year. That’s probably because, rather than being about cancer, or death, it is about two teenagers who meet and fall in love – it just so happens they have both been affected by cancer. That is how Hazel and Augustus see themselves, and their refusal to be defined by their illnesses is what makes them exceptional.

It is also one of those books that leaves you feeling bereft when you turn the final page – I will really miss Hazel and her uncompromising view of the world, her witty, sarcastic observations. She is lovable because at heart she is an ordinary girl who appreciates the good things in life – like poetry and long novels, gourmet vegetarian food and trashy TV – and who ‘walks lightly upon the earth’, ever conscious of the need to avoid inflicting harm and pain. And I will miss Augustus, charming, handsome, self-aggrandizing Gus, with his penchant for violent video games and flair for the romantic. They inspire you to make every moment in life count, and I urge you to do the same first of all by reading this book!

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6 Comments

  1. Great review! I loved this book and will be reading John Green’s Looking for Alaska soon.

    Reply
  2. Herman

     /  February 18, 2013

    Just got done reading this, and had to flick back through your blog posts to find this review and re-read what you’d written! I am not always a fan of the way teenagers fall in love in fiction, and the way their feelings are portrayed, but I thought that Green captured teen-dom in a fresh and completely not annoying way – I especially liked the way Hazel admitted that she preferred Gus when he wasn’t trying so hard, stating that he was imperfect like it wasn’t earth-shattering. Smart, full of fear, anxieties, and likable literary quirks. Me likey.

    Reply
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