Title: The Fault in Our Stars
Author: John Green
Part of a series? Nope
Publisher: Dutton Books
Release Date: January 10th, 2012
Length: 313 pgs (hardcover)
Genre: YA contemporary
Source: Limited Collector’s Edition (purchased with own money)
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.
Late in the winter of my seventeenth year, my mother decided I was depressed, presumably because I rarely left the house, spent quite a lot of time in bed, read the same book over and over, ate infrequently, and devoted quite a bit of my abundant free time to thinking about death.
That sentence is SO Hazel. Green nailed her voice perfectly. And right off the bat, I know what kind of a girl she is: sarcastic, funny, and rather mature for her age.
SQUEE-worthy: Let’s see… where do I start!? When a book is centered around teens dealing with cancer (or as Hazel would call it, “a cancer book about cancer kids”), you expect a lot of maudlin moments, tearjerky stuff, etc. But this book… Oh, it was so much more. It was full of humor, heart, and a profundity that was both deep yet somehow flawed — which really made it seem all the more believable that a teenager, albeit a smart one, is narrating the story. And that’s another thing: the narrator. Hazel. But not just her either: Augustus, Peter Van Houten, even Lidewij Vliegenthart! All the characters BURST with life! Never mind leaping off the page; it was like they were literally in the room with me, sulking and frolicking and bantering and flooring me with their all-consuming AWESOMENESS. In just 313 pages, John Green managed to make me feel emotionally and personally invested in his characters, and that’s really saying something. Only J.K. Rowling has managed to do that for me in the past, and she had a lot more pages to work with.
“Meh” Moments: There were none. Even during the most mundane scene (e.g. Hazel watching TV), I am totally engrossed as the reader (which is kind of weird now that I think about it. I mean, how does John Green manage to make a fictional character watching bad television INTERESTING??) Bottom line: Not a single dull moment in this entire book. There will, however, be plenty of LOL and gut-wrenching Kleenex moments, so be prepared.
For fans of: John Green (Nerdfighteria, anyone?), Sarah Dessen, Jay Asher, and Sara Zarr.
Buy or Borrow? If there’s one book you should buy this year, it’s this one. Buy it HERE, or HERE, or HERE if you want the limited collector’s edition — which I recommend because it includes a Q&A with John Green and a snazzy silver cover.