Sunday 22 January 2012

Contemp YA Month: The Fault in Our Stars - John Green

The Fault in Our Stars – John Green

Pages: 313
Publisher: Dutton (Penguin US)
Release Date: 10th January 2012

Other Titles by this Author: Looking for Alaska; An Abundance of Katherines; Paper Towns; Will Grayson, Will Grayson (with David Levithan)

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 rewritten.

Insightful, bold, irreverent, and raw, The Fault in Our Stars is award-winning-author John Green’s most ambitious and heartbreaking work yet, brilliantly exploring the funny, thrilling, and tragic business of being alive and in love.

I don’t really know how to put my feelings about The Fault in Our Stars into coherent sentences and not spoil the story. But I shall try my hardest. Promise.

I guess I should start with Hazel. All of the words I could use to describe her don’t really seem enough: strong, fragile, snarky, spunky, angry, sad, witty and completely lovable. I’m in awe of how John Green is able to write a girl so well; I think he must just have a really good understanding of people. And he has serious skills. He got inside her head and touched on all of her fears, insecurities and wants, both related and unrelated to her illness. Haze is the type of girl who you’d be glad to know, even though she wouldn’t think so. Her observations and reflections on life are incredibly astute and things that I know would never cross my mind. Before reading The Fault in Our Stars I couldn’t even begin to understand what it would be like to be her, but now I know a little more.

And then there’s Augustus. Oh, Augustus. John Green really does know how to write the most incredible guys – though he’s not perfect by any stretch of the imagination. He’s clever, funny, sweet and really loves Hazel, but then something changes everything and he reacts in the way that most teenage boys would – he struggles. It was probably one of the most heartbreaking section of the novel when Augustus begun to come undone, and there were many of these moments. I adore this character.

John Green handled the reality of cancer and its wide repercussions beautifully. Okay, so in order to explain why this touched me so deeply, I’m going to have to go pretty personal: you’ve been warned. My mum has been suffering from cancer since 2007 and so, while with obvious differences, I understood what Hazel’s parents were going through and now that she’s been told that it’ll never be cured, I empathise even more. The situations are very dissimilar in quite a few aspects, however. The struggles, the fear and the depression were handled beautifully and, I think, accurately and I have so much respect for him for not shying away from the horrible reality of a disease such as cancer.

As you can probably imagine because of what I just said, I reacted very strongly to The Fault in Our Stars. I devoured the first 250 pages with occasional bursts of sniffles and then I had to put it in the freezer – I just couldn’t read it anymore; I was coming undone. I’ve never, ever had to do that before. My housemate even stopped cooking and came and gave me a hug.

The Fault in Our Stars is stunningly beautiful, heartbreaking, funny, endlessly clever and easily one of the best books that I’ll have the honour of reading for a long while.



  1. I'm actually a little worried to read this, just because I will undoubtedly cry! xXx

  2. Sending big hugs and thoughts to you and all the family, Sophie, and thank you for such a beautiful and moving review.

  3. This sounds like an amazing book. I'm sorry that it has such a personal connection for you, though - sending good thoughts to you and your mum!

  4. I've been reluctant to read this because I'm pretty sure I'll end up a huge mess. Thinking of your family Sophie x

  5. I've been avoiding John Green's books because they all look like tear-jerkers. I bought this one today and I'm scared it'll make me miserable.


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