The Fault in Our Stars
by John Green
Summary: Diagnosed with Stage IV thyroid cancer at 12, 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.
Quick pre-review visual summary:
At first I was like:
And then I was all:
With a lot of this in between:
And by the end, the book looked like this:
Every scrap of paper marks a page with at least one quote that I loved (and that's not even including funny quotes, I didn't mark the ones that made me laugh or there would've been way more).
There are certain kinds of books that I avoid, like books about people with heart conditions because they scare me and remind me of how my dad died, for example. And books about people with cancer are in the catagory of books that I avoid - probably in the top five of books that I avoid actually.
It's not because they're bad, I've read a few in the past, it's just that they can often come across as a bit - Lifetime movie-ish in the way they're told. Like they're trying to inspire the reader and romanticise the characters, like having cancer makes them more than a person, wiser or smarter or whatever when really, it makes them human because death is a part of life. I don't like the way "Cancer Books" make me feel and I'd need to be in a very specific kind of mood to pick up a book like that.
This book? If it wasn't written by John Green, who could probably write the phonebook and have me want it on my book shelves, then I may not have read it purely because of the subject matter.
This book was not Lifetime movie-ish. It made me cry, but it also made me laugh and I loved the way it made me feel. John Green writes amazing characters that I can't help but adore, he has a way with words that I love to read but hate that I can't write as well he can, and his stories...he just tells them in a very real and honest way.
It didn't feel like I was reading a book about cancer, it felt like I was reading a book about life and a part of that was that, for the characters, cancer was a part of their reality. Which may not make much sense, but I can't think of any other way to explain it. The cancer was a big part of the story because it was a big part of Hazels life and how she lived but the book was more than that, it showed more than that.
It's 5:43am right now and I just finished reading. I cried for the duration of like the last 70-100 pages and now I'm all headachey and heartachey and sore eyed from all the crying but I regret nothing because the book made me feel. The good stuff and the bad stuff and just - real stuff, and books that can do that? They're the very best kind.
The book wasn't perfect and there were some things I didn't like (mainly the stuff with the author character within the book or the fact that most of the characters could get a bit Dawson's Creek-ish with their dialogue at times and be overly philosophical/smart...which I don't mind, it just makes them less convincing as individuals - one or two characters being like that is fine, but not most of the characters being that way) but no book is entirely perfect and the flaws in this one...while I know they were there, they don't even really register on the radar of my overall opinion of the book because the thing I mentioned above about how the book made me feel - that's the most important thing to me.
I really hope Julie can do the book justice in her review in the way that I can't seem to, my thoughts are all muddled.
I’ve had a few days to digest my thoughts on this book. I finished at three in the morning on Friday, tears still streaking down my face. I told myself to wait to post the review because damn it all, I was in no state to be thinking coherently.
So, in those days of rumination where I’ve only finished one other book and started a reread of an equally devastating book, what have I come up with?
This is not a Cancer Book. This is a book about Hazel Grace and Augustus Waters, two teenagers who deal with cancer on a daily basis in some form or another.
This is a book about two incredibly, almost unbelievably at times, intelligent teenagers who love books and feel passionately. They’re sarcastic and witty and if they were real, I’d want them to be my best friends.
This is a book about love and grief and handling every emotion you could have. It’s a book about how families deal with loss and about how those with seemingly no hope find hope and laughter. It’s a book about survival.
This is not a Cancer Book, this is not a book about death; this is a book about life.
I laughed, I cried through most of the last 50 pages, even making myself stop and clean my cat’s litterbox at one point so I could calm down enough to continue, I thought about life, I whipped out the little yellow bookmarks and used all of them to finish bookmarking this book. I loved and I lost and I became a member of two little families, one biological and one hand chosen.
Though I’ve never been in love personally, I was in love while I read this book. I’ve never battled cancer, but my lungs seemed to limp along like Hazel’s (it didn’t help I had this horrendous cough at the time that physically hurt my lungs). I’ve never been to Amsterdam, but that’s where I was while I read part of this book.
This is not a Cancer Book, it’s an experience. One I wish I could forget and live over and over again.
If you haven’t read this book, you’re missing out. Fantastic, descriptive writing, witty, charming characters, and the story of life, The Fault in Our Stars is everything I could ask for. And honestly? This is the best review I can give you guys.