Backlist Bonus: The Fault in Our Stars

11870085by John Green
YA Contemporary
4 of 5 stars

It was nearly impossible to avoid the hype of this book once it was slated for the big screen. “You will laugh! You will cry! SO MANY FEELINGS,” etc. Well, I didn’t cry when I read it (I guess I’m a robot?) but I did enjoy it. This book isn’t revolutionary—it follows the standard John Green Formula with standard characters falling in love for the first time, standard banter included. But Hazel Grace Lancaster (unlike Alaska Young and Margo Roth Spiegelman) feels a bit more solid and real. Maybe because she doesn’t have to be the epitome of femininity for Augustus Waters (Green really has a thing for full names) to love her.

Hazel has terminal cancer—she doesn’t have long flowing hair, crazy adventures to talk about, or a substance abuse problem. She is physically weak, her looks distorted from medications, and her closest friends are her parents. She is sharp and pragmatic about this, which I really loved about her. Her friendship with Gus grows from opposite opinions on nearly everything and his stubborn refusal to agree to her philosophy of having no relationships because her early death will end them.

There is plenty of dark humor as the characters (all of which come from a support group for teens with cancer) grapple with pain and issues that most people their age can’t begin to imagine. Questions that many people put off until their golden years to consider are shoved in their faces each time they look in the mirror. What is the purpose of life? What happens after you die? Combined with these are the questions no less pressing to teens: will I ever find anyone who understands me? Who are my real friends?

As with other Green novels, there is a slight feel of the pretentious but he has a knack for creating characters that can push that aside so you can enjoy the story. After his first novel, this one is my favorite. There are some truly beautiful lines that will stick with you.

If you’d like to see more reviews or buy a copy for yourself, The Fault in Our Stars is available on Goodreads and on Barnes & Noble’s website here. Please consider supporting your local bookstore!


Similar reads:

  • Eleanor and Park by Rainbow Rowell – The counterpart to Green’s emotional writing, this is the story of a boy and a girl who fall in love despite knowing that first loves don’t last. See my review here.
  • The Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky – Charlie’s freshman year chronicles his ups and downs as he tries to make friends and deal with traumatic events from his past. See my review here.
  • Wintergirls by Laurie Halse Anderson – A moving story about two best friends competing to be the skinniest girl in their class. But when Cassie dies, Lia is feels haunted by her spirit and by the voice in her head whispering that if she can lose a few more pounds, everything will be all right again. See my review here.
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4 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Trackback: Backlist Bonus: Eleanor & Park | To Live a Thousand Lives
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  3. Trackback: Mosquitoland | To Live a Thousand Lives
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