Author: John Green (Twitter)
Publisher: Dutton Books
Publish Date: January 10, 2012
Genre: YA, Contemporary
Source: Personal Copy
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.
Hazel knows the outcome of her life. It's the same as everybody else, but she knows that her final conclusion and last hurrah will come a whole lot sooner than most. She lives her life on borrowed time, unsure of her place but sure of herself - unsure of why she should make connections if all she'll leave behind is a memory of pain, loss and sadness. But one person enters her life that could very well make her see everything differently. Augustus Waters is a ball of light in her support group, and his perspective might just be enough to take her breath away...but this time, in a good way.
I've read a couple of John Green's novels before, and I've never been disappointed, so I was fairly confident that The Fault in Our Stars would be no exception to the rule. I'm happy...no, delighted...to say that I was right. This book is simply overflowing with love, life and existential meaning. Powerful characters, a truthful, honest and relatable voice and clever touches of transcendent humour merge to compound upon an already-soulful premise. The Fault in Our Stars will rightfully challenge you to consider whether you're truly living your life the way you should, or if you're simply biding your time.
I've always said that the books we love the most are the hardest to review, so I actually considered not reviewing The Fault in Our Stars. There's an inherent conundrum here. Guys, I will never be able to put into words how much this book made me feel and why, so no review will ever do it justice. All I can hope to do is simply articulate the power within the pages and the promise that this novel will, at the very least, give you something meaningful to think about. Hazel was the perfect protagonist to follow through this story. At the beginning, I had a hunch that she was rather self-deprecating, but I began to realize that she actually built a sort of cocoon around herself - not so much to protect herself, but to protect those around her from the inevitable outcome of her cancer. Despite her disease and diagnosis though, Hazel radiated hope, snark and a wisdom beyond her years, though she would be happy to dispel that theory. Augustus, too, had this aura about him, making him a character that felt less like a character and more like a friend. Despite his cancer and subsequent amputation, he managed to keep his wits about him, and there was such a beautiful, tangible soul to his character. He made it easy to fall in love with him...and to fall in love with his interactions with Hazel. There was a gentle romance that soared through the novel, but I'm happy to say that The Fault in Our Stars proves that teenage love, even in the most dire of circumstances, does not have to be insta-love or overdone. There is nothing cloying about the romance of this novel. It's sweet, it's subtle, it's heartbreaking, and I challenge you not to actually put yourselves in the characters' shoes throughout. Even the secondary characters soar through this novel. Isaac, though a bit of an enigma to start, ups the ante as the story leads on, and we begin to realize just how important he is to both Hazel and Augustus. Less plot-driven than character-driven, The Fault in Our Stars will nevertheless have you laughing, crying and smiling along the journey with Hazel, Gus and Isaac.
I can't say enough good things about this book and, as I said, no review will ever measure up, so I'll simply stop there so I don't give spoilers. I give this book a 5 out of 5, and honestly, I'd recommend it to anyone - YA and up, especially those who enjoy contemporary fiction. Trust me...it's a must-read.