The Fault in Our Stars by John Green


“Boys do not have a monopoly on the Staring Business, after all. So I looked him over…and soon it was a staring contest. After a while the boy smiled, and then finally his blue eyes glanced away. When he looked back at me, I flicked my eyebrows up to say, I win.” So begins the tragic comedy of Hazel and Augustus’s love affair. He is seventeen and in remission from osteosarcoma and has a prosthetic to show for it. She is sixteen and terminal, diagnosed with Stage IV thyroid cancer “…three months after I got my first period. Like: Congratulations! You’re a woman. Now die.” They meet sort of cute in a support group, after being introduced by a mutual friend whose cancer will soon render him blind. Though between them they are missing a leg and a great deal of lung capacity, their humor is still intact. Hazel: “I looked down my blouse at my chest. ‘Keep your shit together,’ I whispered to my lungs.” Augustus: “I didn’t cut this fella off for the sheer unadulterated pleasure of it, although it is an excellent weight loss strategy. Legs are heavy!” Though they are very different, they bond over their shared love of cancer perks,(“little things cancer kids get that regular kids don’t: basketballs signed by sports heroes, free passes on late homework, unearned driver’s licenses, etc.”) impromptu picnics and an abruptly ending novel by a crazy private author who lives in Amsterdam. Hazel doesn’t want to be the “grenade” that destroys Augustus’s life when she goes. But his gallows humor, big blue eyes and lanky, one leg frame are impossible to resist. And when Augustus plans a wild trip that will fulfill one of Hazel’s life long dreams, she finally gives in to her feelings. Hazel know that her future is short, and she thinks she’s prepared for what comes next. But it turns out that loving Augustus is more painful than any life-sucking tumor. Friends, I was undone by this novel. I had the pleasure of being on the Printz Committee that chose Looking for Alaska as the best YA title of 2005, and I have a been a raving fan of John Green’s work ever since. He understands how smart teens are, and never condescends to you in his fiction. (I mean, the man actually mentions Maslow’s hierarchy of needs in this book, a concept I wasn’t familiar with until my college freshman Intro. to Psychology class.) But I was not ready for the sweet, simple power of this story that is more about life, love and the pursuit of awesomeness than it is about cancer. I was not ready for the zen, steady eddie-ness that is Hazel or the articulate, video-game obsessed whirlwind that is Augustus. And once having met them, traveled with them and cried with them, I certainly wasn’t ready to let them go. My one regret about this book is that I read it too fast. I can read it again, but it won’t be like the first time. Hazel, despite her acceptance of her fate, ”liked being a person. I wanted to keep at it.” Thankfully, she always will within the pages of this exquisitely painful and painfully funny novel. Read it soon–just not too fast.

12 Responses to “The Fault in Our Stars by John Green”

  1. For reasons unknown, even to myself, I’m trying to save this one. But it’s calling me and this review doesn’t help.

    Like you, I fell in love with John Green, and being a middle school librarian, when I read Looking for Alaska. I give him to all my 8th grade honor students, especially the girls. He makes them believe in themselves again.

  2. Jen Hubert says:

    Kathy, it’s wonderful. I hope you enjoy it!

  3. Jade says:

    I know what you mean about reading it too fast. I came across the same problem. But the book was so hypnotizing that you don’t even notice that you’ve already read through the majority of it. One thing I did notice that I never really got from another Green book, was that the characters weren’t perfect. Granted, Alaska and Margo and all his others weren’t perfect either, but it was different this time. I actually on occasion found myself disliking something Augustus said or did. But that wasn’t a bad thing, it just made him more human to me. More real.
    That being said, this book is incredible. Definitely one of my favorites from John.

  4. Olivia says:

    Thank you for this. I tried to write something about this book, but I could not find the words. I am grateful to you for providing them.

  5. Thanks for the review. I just bought the book and I plan on savoring it :)

  6. bri black says:

    this was such a good prologe of the book that i think i will have to buy it and read it to my 9th grade class here in cambridge

  7. Becca says:

    Exactly. Exactly. Exactly. Pitch perfect, that one was.

  8. Kim says:

    To me, this book was everything.

  9. booknerd says:

    if your going toblend quotations please please do it right if there is an I in the quate you need to use brackets around the quote. thx – The Booknerd
    ps. i completely agree the only thing i hate about this book is that its to short and i read it to fast

  10. booknerd says:

    srry for my terrible grammer

  11. Ellie says:

    I couldn’t agree more with this article. This is by far my favourite book and finished it in one day and night and ended way to soon. I cryed my eyes our for hours (i cry at the drop of needle, im a total sook), Hazel and Augustus are so cute and right for each other and *SPOILER* then they have to take a turn for the worst and one of them dies!!! its unfair and cruel, but it is honest and unfortunately things like that do happen. I am telling you know that if you havnt read this book, go read it NOW!! you will not regret it, oh and dont read it to fast as the review thing said, im missing it already, make it last :)

  12. Michela says:

    This is one of my favorite books of all time. If you haven’t read it, I definitely recommend it. I fell in love with the character and their personalitlies. Read it! You will weep.

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Jen Hubert Swan
Librarian, Book Reviewer,
Reading Addict