Length: 7 hours and 14 minutes
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.
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.
‘But it is the nature of stars to cross, and never was Shakespeare more wrong than when he has Cassius note, ‘The fault, dear Brutus, is not in our stars / But in ourselves.’
The contemporary genre in general has never been my go-to type to read. Personally I like to sit down with a book and open up onto another world. Not necessarily fantasy but I’ve never cared to read about real-life problems that humans have to deal with on a day to day basis. Depression, death, heartbreak and everything along those lines that manage to make life so dreadfully difficult. For this reason, I always avoided John Green’s novels and this one in particular because, who wants to read about a girl that’s dying of cancer? Apparently, me. This was my first John Green novel, yet I can safely say this will not be my last. And the one thing everyone wants to know: I didn’t cry. Okay, I didn’t BAWL but it did come pretty close and for me that’s pretty miraculous.
‘You realize that trying to keep your distance from me will not lessen my affection for you. All efforts to save me from you will fail.’
Hazel Grace Lancaster is a girl who doesn’t expect to live for very long at all. As she puts it so eloquently, “I’m a grenade and at some point I’m going to blow up and I would like to minimize the casualties, okay?” She knows she’s going to die, she knows it’s inevitable that she’s going to cause some pain, but she’s doing the best she possibly can to keep people at a distance so as to not cause any unnecessary pain. Then she meets Augustus Waters. These two meet in a cancer support group and they are two peas in a pod getting along so well so quickly and falling for one another equally as quick. While suffering through the harsh realities of life with cancer, these two add a flair of wit and sarcasm that manages to make the bleakest of subjects surprisingly funny. Regardless of the humor these two imbue into the story, those harsh realities make their expected appearance so as to cause heartbreak and great distress forcing us as the reader back into the tragic reality of the lives they’ve been given.
‘You have a choice in this world, I believe, about how to tell sad stories, and we made the funny choice.’
Hazel and Augustus are the stars of this show but there are several other noteworthy characters as well. Their friend Isaac recently underwent a surgery which made him blind but prior to that he was dealing with the loss of his long-term girlfriend. So after the surgery, Hazel and Augustus take him over to her house so he can egg her car. At one point, Augustus says, “Hazel Grace! Take a picture of this so Isaac can see it when they invent robot eyes.” I rewound that on my audiobook about three times because it was so ridiculous yet so touching how these three bonded together to be there for one another. It made me laugh, it made me smile and it made me sad because of their unfortunate circumstances.
In addition to the strong friendships showcased, there was another surprising addition to this story and that’s a strong parent presence and relationship. It’s often seen in YA fiction the complete lack of parents but not only were Hazel’s parents present, they were a huge and necessary support group for her and it was such a joy to see. It was clear that Hazel’s mother was trying to make her daughter as happy as possible for the short time she had.
“HAZEL! IT’S YOUR THIRTY-THIRD HALF BIRTHDAY!”
“Ohhhhhh,” I said. My mom was really super into celebration maximization. IT’S ARBOR DAY! LET’S HUG TREES AND EAT CAKE! COLUMBUS BROUGHT SMALLPOX TO THE NATIVES; WE SHALL RECALL THE OCCASION WITH A PICNIC!, etc.”
The Fault In Our Stars is a love story but it’s so much more than that. This is a truly heartbreaking and powerful tale. We’re given such a small amount of time to live as it is yet the characters in this story are given even less. Cancer is a thief, a robber, a purloiner of time. Living life to its absolute fullest is the only thing you can do and these characters did just that. I am highly recommending this book even for those of you who were like me and didn’t care to suffer through the heartbreak of watching fictional characters die. Looking past the heartbreak and suffering you’ll see a hopefulness and a zeal for life that is quite contagious. So, give it a shot, okay? Okay.