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.
I have an extraordinarily difficult time giving John Green five stars because even though I find his books to be sheer brilliance, I also could not sit down and read them over and over again. They are, ultimately, depressing. As strange as it sounds, they are depressing in a good way, because they make you think about things that you don’t want to think about. In this case, I find themes to be the cruelty of fate, living life to the fullest, courage, and knowing oneself.
There are a million things that one can take out of a John Green book. To a point, I am not certain John Green intends for a lesson to be learned in his novels – the way he reads to me, he writes about topics that infuriates him, and he wants to make the world aware of these things. To describe John Green in a word, judging by any and all of his books, I would call him “passionate”. It seems that the world agrees with the genius behind his latest book, judging by a recent article in Time Magazine. To put it plainly – I may be saying I think that John Green is a genius… but obviously this isn’t something that you (the reader) and the rest of the world don’t already know.
It is important to remember, when reading a John Green novel, that although it was likely discovered on a YA bookshelf, it is still very applicable to adults. In fact, the YA only means that the protagonist is between the ages of twelve and eighteen. His books are very accessible for adults, while remaining interesting to young adults. In fact, I daresay as an adult I get more out of the books than some of my students may, being unable to fully grasp some of the greater challenges of life when still tucked into a nest egg and not having responsibilities greater than a curfew. It is difficult to talk about this book without giving away spoilers. You cannot love any of the characters – they are far too flawed, even if you can pity them. But they are the perfect representations of reality – John Green does not sugarcoat his characters. Not this time.
To any fan of John Green’s – The Fault in Our Stars will blow you away. And if you aren’t a fan… this book may be a good place to start. If you are a weepy person, make sure to have some tissues nearby.
- The Fault In Our Stars By John Green (time.com)
- John Green, we need to talk. (theliteraryphoenix.wordpress.com)
- Causing a Big Stir in the US: The Fault in Our Stars by John Green (Australian Nerdfighters Don’t Wait, Get Your Copy Here Now) (booktopia.com.au)