Review: The Fault In Our Stars by John Green

Author: John Green
Publication Date: January 10, 2012
Publisher:Dutton Books
Reading Level: Young Adult
Pages: 318 (Collectors Edition Hardcover)
Source: Personal Shelf
Diagnosed with Stage IV thyroid cancer at 13, Hazel was prepared to die until, at 14, a medical miracle shrunk the tumours in her lungs... for now.

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.

 ~*~Lili's Reflections~*~

I am at a complete loss of words in regards to this review. This is one of those books that I picked up because all of my friends thought I was completely insane for not reading it. In truth, I didn't want to read it because I knew that I would bawl and I was completely unprepared to bawl. I'm the avid reader out of all of my friends and all of the non-readers read it so my nerdy reader friends ganged up on me and threatened to burn my books if I didn't read it. Naturally, I relented because my books are my babies and burning them would be like ripping out my soul. Not really, but you get what I mean. Am I beyond happy that I read this book? Definitely, and I plan on checking out numerous other stories by Mr. Green, but am I so worried about writing a cohesive review that I'm babbling and trying to distract you from the fact that I'm still tearing up thinking about this amazing literature masterpiece? A thousand times yes. So, forgive me if this review does not reach my normal standards. It's hard to review a book that leaves you speechless because there truly are no words to describe the feelings and emotions that it instilled in you.

To begin, John Green has perfected the art of unique characterization and connectivity. I had no problem connecting with Augustus or Hazel which, I believe, is why this was probably one of the most rickety emotional roller coaster rides I've been on in a while. Hazel has this really caustic, dry sense of humor that I tend to greatly enjoy in characters. However, hers was made all the more interesting because it was exhibited in such a unique and dire situation. She made an otherwise serious and overwhelmingly emotional tale full of surprising laughter and occasional smiles. At least, that was the first two thirds of the book because the last third was a killer. However, I'll get into that later.

Augustus Waters deserves his own praise. My favorite aspect of young adult leading men is flaws. I love the flawed ones because they're real, they're not these perfect men that are unattainable in reality. They're doubly perfect because of their flaws. Somewhere in the world, such a person could exist and walk among us. It's characters like this that make reading worth while and, in my opinion, Augustus Waters is one of these characters. Once a star basketball player, he had to get a limb amputated from his cancer. In remission, he lived a life of metaphors with a big heart under his overly-confident exterior. Despite his ability to be highly romantic, the boy in him shines through his love of zombie video games and novels, but this also gives way to his obsession with helping others and going out as a savior instead of a victim. I have unlimited respect for this boy who always puts others before himself. The boy who puts a cigarette between his lips signifying the ability to kill, but refusing to light it to show that he has the heart to beat it. This boy is perfect because of his complexity, uniqueness, faults, and drive. It's funny to think that when I first met him in the story I couldn't pinpoint if he was an arrogant character who was all too aware of his good-looks or if he was putting up a front. It was neither, he's a boy with unbelievable depth who just so happens to be aware of the fact that he is gorgeous (both inside and out). I would read the book just for him. This guy is full of so much love and the romance in this one is real. It's not a silly little teenage love story--this is one that deserves to have a place in the real world. This is one of the first love interests in a while who, to me, seems human.

The perfect romance aside, this book has a very serious undercurrent because it is a cancer story. I know a lot of people claim it isn't, my friends did, but this truly is one. It's just different than the usual cancer story because John Green was brutally honest. We get the whole shebang--the worry about the family once their gone, the journey to death, accepting ones fate, low points where the pain is so immense that they want to die, and the acknowledgement of "cancer perks." These perks aren't just having your one Wish granted from the Genie Foundation, but being given a license after failing your driving test three times with your prosthetic leg because you got your right food amputated and can't do anything with your left. This perk is the free trip to Disney or boarding the plane first. The things that people do for the sick people. This book is real, and that's what makes it all the more heartbreaking. Green's amazing writing skill easily allows us to be caught up in Augustus and Hazel's relationship, their easy banter and worry in the first 2/3 of the book that when things get real, you almost forget that you're reading a cancer story. ALMOST being the key word. It quickly becomes abundantly clear that the story you predicted from page one has been lurking beneath the surface and it will all eventually come to light through a flood of tears, a barrage of tissues, and an infinite number of pleas for change alongside several of the characters. It's hard to make me cry, and this book has me tearing up just thinking about it two hours after completion.

With that in thought, I want to caution that if you have a family member with cancer, I wouldn't recommend this story. It's heartbreaking to those of us who are fortunate enough not to go through such struggles ourselves, it'll be so much more intense for you.

This is not the story for those looking for a happy-go-lucky story. At times it may seem that way, but it is so much more. The tears and torment are so worth it because the tale is so perfectly weaved. I know many feel cheated by the ending because the beginning of the book was so happy, especially for a cancer story, but again, this is a cancer story. If this was a happy story it would be known as a story of survival instead of a cancer story. Thinking that a cancer story is entirely happy is like going into Shakespeare's famous tragedy Hamlet hoping that Hamlet survives. If it's a tragedy and the character's name is the title, he is clearly going to die, just as a cancer story is clearly not going to be the happiest tale alive though it could be used as a vehicle to deliver uplifting stories of survival, love, trust, and perseverance. I truly think that John Green managed that in this one.

Between the drunk yet well written and respected Peter Van Houten, Augustus Waters, Hazel, the newly blind Isaac, the ball-less Peter and all parents in this novel you will discover a cast that is easy to remember for their diversity, message, and perfect characterization. Green has easily proven himself as a literary genius and I eagerly await his other novels. It's not easy to make me cry, and as twisted as it is, I look forward to the novels that such an author can produce because the ability to make readers feel such strong emotions is something to be respected, envied, and praised in the YA writing industry. Green's characters may fear oblivion on Earth, but such a thing is nothing he will ever experience after producing a story like this.

THE FAULT IN OUR STARS deserves infinite stars.


5 stars

~*~Links~*~

4 comments:

  1. Haha I'm with you there. Don't know why I still haven't read it. Though I'm going to soon. I've heard only AMAZING, and since you loved it. It's going to be amazing right??!! Haha loverly review as always Lili!

    <33 Inky

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  2. I don't think I've seen a review for this that was less than five stars yet, lol ;) The Fault in Our Stars sounds so amazing! The romance sounds super sweet, although it seems really heartbreaking. Great review :)

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  3. Glad you enjoyed it. I have heard so much great stuff about this book but have yet to pick it up. Nice review!

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  4. Just finished this book last week and truly loved it! I'm so glad you enjoyed it too. Such a beautifully heartbreaking story. Thanks for sharing your thoughts!

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