Sunday, 15 January 2012

Review: The Fault in Our Stars by John Green

The Fault in Our Stars by John Green
Published by Dutton 2012

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.

Screw what I said in my IMM post; I'm writing and posting this review now. I pre-ordered my copy of TFiOS back in November. After triple-checking that all pre-ordered copies would be signed regardless of location, I pre-ordered. I was ecstatic when my signed copy arrived and I have to say that the book is even more awesome than the whole signed part and John Green's general awesomeness. Okay, that didn't really make sense.

Hazel Grace Lancaster was diagnosed with stage IV thyroid cancer when she was 12 and she's never really thought of herself as more than terminal. After the Miracle shrunk her tumours, she has been living life as normally as possible; studying at her local community college, watching episodes of ANTM and going to cancer kid support group. There, she meets Augustus Waters.

Let me just say that this book is quite possibly John Green's best book yet, although for me it comes in at an extremely close second to Looking For Alaska. This book is not a particularly happy one, as almost all of the primary characters are cancer patients. Hazel was a very intelligent girl for her age. She had a sophisticated way of speaking but at the same time she was very light and humorous. Augustus shared all of Hazel's qualities but I found him to be slightly more peculiar. I found that they had great chemistry and fitted quite well together; it really was quite sweet, with quite a few funny moments. That's also a redeeming quality of this book: one minute, you're laughing, the next you're on the verge of tears and then you're laughing again. With the combination of both Hazel's and Augustus's intelligence, along with others as well, this book was also slightly too clever. I was really immersed in Hazel's story, her thoughts and feelings raising questions that I'm still pondering right now. It really gives you pause for thought. I was pleased to find that Hazel was a fighter when it came to her cancer and so was Augustus; they refused to give up, and I was rooting for them. In my mind, John Green managed to create a story that captured fully what it means to be living on the verge of death and how one might go about living and thinking about it. For this reason, this book was moving, heartbreaking and thoughtful but it was also full of sweet moments. I was certainly not disappointed with my favourite author's latest offering.

5 stars

P.S. I listened to this song while I was reading the book, and I thought it fit quite nicely with the story. If not, then my bad:

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