Thursday, August 16, 2012

The Fault in Our Stars by John Green

The Fault in Our Stars
John Green
Dutton Books
2012, 336 pgs

Summary from Goodreads

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.

My Thoughts

I didn't review this the first time I read it.  I just didn't have the words.  I don't know that have the right words now, but I feel like I can actually make an attempt.

I can review this like any other book and say that I loved Hazel and Augustus because they were smart and thoughtful and funny.  I can say that the way their relationship developed was entirely natural and drew me into it.  But these statements don't really encapsulate what made this novel great for me.

Augustus frequently says, "I'm on a roller coaster going nowhere, but up".  Obviously that sentence is an oxymoron.  If the roller coaster only goes up, it's not a roller coaster.  What struck me is what a effortless roller coaster The Fault in Our Stars is.  One page you are laughing and then suddenly you're crying and at no point does it feel manipulative (ala Extreme Home Makeover).  It feels true.  Most people have had to deal with illness and death of a loved one and I don't think I'm alone in feeling that humor is the best coping mechanism. 

I loved the contrasting outlooks provided by Augustus and Hazel.  Augustus is some what obsessed by the fact that dying of cancer isn't heroic.  He wants to be remembered.  Hazel is scared of the hurt the people who care about her will suffer when she dies.  She doesn't want to leave scars.  I identified with the struggle between extremes. 

My Rating

9.5 out of 10 stars (Hazel quote - "I'm saving my ten")

Other Reviews

Don't Take My Books Away
All the Books I can Read
Books I Done Read

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