The Fault in Our Stars by John Green Review

Sunday, June 30, 2013

Title: The Fault in Our Stars
Author: John Green (Twitter)
Publisher: Dutton Books
Publish Date: January 10, 2012
Genre: YA, Contemporary
Pages: 318
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.

26 comments:

  1. I ended up not reviewing The Fault In Our Stars because I'm not even sure what to say. But I love your review and absolutely agree about the subtle romance in the book. Glad to see you loved it! Thanks for the review :)

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    1. Thanks, Vy! I almost didn't review it because I didn't think I'd be able to put my feelings into words, you know?

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  2. I love this book! I also can't say enough good things about this book ;) I can't wait to read other books written by this author ;)

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    1. I loved it, too, Paulina....it's incredible!

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    2. Yea, have you read any other book written by John Green? Paper towns were published recently here but I didn't have an opportunity to read this one :)

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  3. Yes, I totally agree the best books are the most difficult to review! I'm really glad you loved this so much Melissa<3 Unfortunately, I couldn't connect with this story :( I'm definitely the black sheep here, but I'm willing to give John Green's other books a go one day!Fab review!!<3

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    1. I understand, Shirley. Not everyone can! But Green is a great writer, and I highly recommend his other books!

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  4. I reviewed this book but I definitely didn't do it justice. Wasn't it such an awesome and powerful read? I am glad you enjoyed it. I need to read more John Green! Great review!

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    1. It so is, Christina. I tried so hard to have my review measure up, but it's pretty much impossible!

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  5. This one's sat on my shelf because I'm a chicken. I love when I fall into a book but sometimes, I'm just not ready for all the emotion, you know? And John Green is always good at poking at my emotions. Plus, I totally get not being able to put all your feels into words. But you did good! :)

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    1. I think this is worth it, Mary. Green has a way of making you feel so deeply...and this is definitely no exception.

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  6. I love character-driven books over plot-driven books for sure. I've heard nothing but good buzz about this, and all of John Green's, books.

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    1. I think it really worked for this one, especially. It was really, really powerful.

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  7. Yay! I'm so glad you loved this one! It made me cry ugly tears but was so beautiful...definitely by favorite Green novel so far. :) Lovely review, Melissa!

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    1. It was just so dang powerful, huh? I read it on the airplane and cried like a baby.

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  8. I know exactly what you mean about feeling like you could never put into words exactly how much you truly loved a book. But honestly, I thought you did a wonderful job with this review, Melissa! I can definitely tell how special this one was for you. And I really think I'm going to love this one just as much as you when I get around to reading it (hopefully soon!).

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    1. Thanks, Aylee! It really is such a special book. There aren't enough words to say just how well John Green captured every emotion in this book.

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  9. I haven't read any John Green book and I'm so scared to pick up TFioS simply because everyone loves it and I feel like I wouldn't. It's a very stupid fear and doesn't make sense. I will read it someday though. Thanks for the wonderful review, Melissa :)

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    1. This is a fabulous place to start, Aman. I was floored. I cried on the airplane while I was reading it :)

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  10. Awesome review! I love everything John Green has written and I loved this as well. I think i went through a whole box of tissues though. SO sad!!

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    1. SO sad, but so realistic and optimistic, too. It's the reality of it that hits the hardest, you know?

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  11. At first I read your sentence as "I've never been so disappointed." And I thought - 'oh no, she didn't like it!" I'm so relieved that you loved it. It's a wonderful book. And hard to put into words how great it is.

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    1. It really is, Alison. I cried like a baby, but I was happy and laughing, too.

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  12. I agree that it's often hardest to review the books we love rather than the books we dislike. The Fault in Our Stars is definitely a gem amongst YA novels. It's so, SO, good. I'm glad you enjoyed it as much as you did. :)

    Julia @ That Hapa Chick

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