Author: John Green
Released Date: 10th January 2012
Read in: January 2012
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Diagnosed with Stage IV thyroid cancer at 12, Hazel was prepared to die until, at 14, a medical miracle shrunk the tumours in her lungs... for now.On the night that I started reading The Fault in Our Stars, a group of drunken students gathered on the stairs outside my flat, at 2 in the morning. They, by the sounds of it, started chucking objects of an unknown nature, down the stairs. The sound of chiming metal radiated back to me. Fortunately, I was wide awake at this point, unable to stop reading. Otherwise I would have been very grumpy.
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
“Name. Age. Diagnosis. And how we’re doing today. I’m Hazel, I’d say when they’d get to me. Sixteen. Thyroid originally but an impressive and long-settled satellite colony in my lungs. And I’m doing ok.”
I originally thought that reading a book about someone who was slowly dying of a type IV cancer would push me to my limits of what I was comfortable with. However, John Green makes this a blast to read without fully taking away the reality of the situation; a tough situation that ruins the lives of millions.
Most YA novels, I read, are about a “maybe not so original girl” falling for an “attractive but not so perfect” guy. Add in some tragic or mysterious plot and I’m then pretty content. I enjoy them.
Cue The Fault in Our Stars. It follows the story of Hazel; a girl who lives with an oxygen tank, and Augustus, who has a prosthetic leg. Occasionally we are joined by their mutual friend Isaac, who only has one eye.
AND I LOVE IT! Just as much and, in the case of most books, more than stories with those attractive guys. These three characters feel more real than most.
Even though Hazel’s situation is completely different to any I have been in, I still could completely relate. Hazel isn’t an, “I am going to fight this,” type fighter. She showed strength in her own silent way. She has been battling this disease for three years and is still going. I loved her strength and determination, especially as it grew as her relationship with Augustus developed.
Augustus was the star here. Oh what I’d give to meet a guy like him. On one hand he is smart, gentlemanly, good sense of humour, philosophical and has his girl’s interest at heart. However, he is also a regular teenage boy; he likes sit around in the basement, with his best mate, playing video games, he likes reading books based on war and really enjoyed the death in the movie 300. Yes, he has a prosthetic leg and can’t drive very well but I love him just as much as any other fictitious boy. The YA genre doesn’t mean the guys have to always be extremely good looking. They just need to be an amazing person.
As for Isaac …well kudos to John Green again. I was feeling sympathetic towards him even though I had only known him for 50 pages. That is a sign of a good author.
This book will make you laugh and may even make you cry.
Apologies to my flatmate for possibly keeping her up in the middle of the night due to my regular laughter. If that didn’t, then the drunken party most certainly did.
Is it bad that I’m laughing in a story about cancer patients? No. The character’s smart, witty humour made them all the more real to me. I have had very little experience with cancer patients in real life so sharing the same sense of humour was the main connection. John Green has a unique writing style. It sounds bit like one of his vlogs; same pace, same style, which made it all the more comical.
Many stories make me sad; my eyes well up and I sniffle a bit. But very rarely does a tear spill. This is one of those of rare times. (The fourth if I recall correctly.)
I don’t think any fiction book in the word will make me sit there balling my eyes out in sadness because my subconscious is always telling me “these people are not real” (as much as I want them to be). If I tear, the story and the writing have allowed me to deeply connect with the characters. It is usually a sentence or a paragraph that just tips me slightly.
It is obvious when this story become more emotional however still nothing. The tear came only once. On one sentence. 16 words long.
I admit that I didn’t express much of an interest before in reading this book. In the end, I bought it partially because; my friend couldn’t wait to read it and her enthusiasm was kind of contagious, I do occasionally watch the vlog brothers and it was mentioned quite a few times, the absolutely amazing reviews that it was getting and the clincher that it was half price on Amazon.
I regret not buying the book earlier. Don’t wait any longer. Go and read it now! It will stay with you long after you have finished.