Rated it: 5 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.
It had taken me about 100 pages to really get into but after then I was hooked. I just fell in love with these two teenagers and their love story. Initially I was skeptical, I mean these were really a deep pair with all their in depth analyzing of well … everything. But I went with it, partly because I think that not everyone takes the time to discover themselves and while I believe Hazel and Augustus were both intelligent, this disease prompted them to grow up much faster. Then there’s a couple lines from a NPR.org review:
Green writes books for young adults, but his voice is so compulsively readable that it defies categorization. He writes for youth, rather than to them, and the difference is palpable …. You will be thankful for the little infinity you spend inside this book.”
I couldn’t have said it better, but Thomas did:
How unrealistic John Green’s characters tend to be has turned me off from most of his other books – the characters in this one suffered slightly from it too – but The Fault in Our Stars as a whole is John Green’s best book to date.
Like I said, at times Hazel (the protagonist) and Augustus (the love interest, but so much more) came off as wise beyond their years. They notice this, their parents notice this, and readers will notice this. However, there is something so human about the way Green portrays them that makes them relatable. They are not simply teens suffering from cancer, but teens who doubt their place in the world, who are filled with angst and longing and confusion and hope. I can’t say I’ve experienced the exact same emotions as Hazel and Augustus have, but I can say that it’s easy to empathize with them and feel their pain entirely.
I totally recommend that you read the entire review.
This is actually hard for me to write, I know what I feel but the words refuse to leave. The Fault in Our Stars is honest, frank, smart, funny, poignant and heartbreakingly beautiful.
TFIOS is the first book where I really don’t care for negative reviews, while they can seldom be agreeable, they won’t change how I feel at all as they used to tickle the doubt that usually lurks around. I can’t remember crying so much since Harry Potter four years ago, it just seems so real. The words read themselves to me as much as I read them, I felt the emotions they dictated head on, fighting it makes no sense.
I don’t know what it’s like to have any cancer though I did have a scare once, two years ago. I will not say that he portrayed how anyone suffers through it perfectly, because who am I to say that has has? Who is he to assume? (I understand he worked as a student chaplain at a children’s hospital when he was twenty two, but it’s not really the same thing, is it?) Besides, perfection is just a concept people try to attain. I don’t believe as if he were trying.
What I will say is that for his characters, Hazel and Gus, and as pretentious as they might come off, I will risk saying that his did a decent job in showing that there no dying gracefully, there’s nothing dignified about it, nothing heroic. There is wetting the bed, puking on yourself and looking like the miserable crap heap you probably feel like, but none of the former. There’s a certain bravery and dignity in living, not in death. It’s unfortunate that some people are fated to be side effects. John Green doesn’t bullshit you about this stuff.
I find this a very quotable book. There are some who think that half of it is utter nonsense, that they’re so deep that you actually get lost in them while trying to figure what they mean. Sure, there are probably a few I haven’t quite understood as yet but there are lots that I believe to be insightful.
Okay, so there’s this one review that I’ve come cross where the writer was having conversations with the voice in her head (and I say this without any sarcasm that I find the argument with herself quite fascinating) and there’s this one quote they (she) were referring to.
“My thoughts are stars I cannot fathom into constellations.”
This was Augustus telling Van Houten in a letter that he found putting what he felt about Hazel difficult. His thoughts of her were his stars and arranging them in to coherent sentences would be the fathoming into constellations. Makes sense to me. Am I wrong? You tell me, dear reader.
It’s not a flawless book as much as it’s a book about flaws. It’s not a cancer book, either. It inspires and makes me feel a lot of things at once and it’s challenged me to think about myself properly, about the universe and it’s awesome mysterious existence and whims. I love it.
2 responses to “The Fault in Our Stars by John Green”
Great review Devina, I’m honored that you quoted my thoughts on TFiOS! You’re right that there’s bravery and dignity in life, even if that courage includes all the not-so-pretty parts as well. Love how you emphasize that while this book and its characters aren’t perfect, that’s what makes the story even better and more believable. Once again, wonderful review.
You wrote what I was thinking much better than I could, so it was only right to quote you. Yeah, it’s while living when the action happens, when we get to choose how we want to influence our realities and though death might not be a final end to a person, it’s just a physical full stop. While reading this I kept thing that there’s a certain beauty in the imperfections that run like fine cracks along us. Thank you!