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The Fault in Our Stars

by John Green

genre: YA, literary fiction

I’m trying a slightly different review style. Please let me know if you liked it or if you want me to return to the old style by leaving a comment at the end of the post.

Synopsis from Goodreads

the fault in our stars by john greenDespite the tumor-shrinking medical miracle that has bought her a few years, Hazel has never been anything but terminal, her final chapter inscribed upon diagnosis. But when a gorgeous plot twist named Augustus Waters suddenly appears at Cancer Kid Support Group, Hazel’s story is about to be completely rewritten.

Initial Thoughts

Cover: No idea what the book is about but it’s been a #1 best seller on Amazon for over 500 days and it was on one of the book lists I pinned even though I don’t remember which one.

There was a brief mention of the book on the radio and a review called it “The most romantic book of all time.” I like romance.

fault-in-our-stars-posterFirst 20%: This is about cancer kids. This is going to be depressing. Oh my gosh, this is the most romantic book of all time. This is not Snow White or Cinderella where the characters have less than 24 hours of contact before they’re engaged. This is better than Beauty and the Beast. It’s believable and the characters have time to fall in love. Possibly the best written YA book I’ve ever read, at least where the character development is concerned. John Green, what is wrong with you that you chose that for your cover? Augustus is one of the most incredible male love interests anywhere.

Full Review

The pacing, accents, and intonation of the narration truly adds to the story. Few books would I specifically recommend the Audible version over the paperback, but this is one of them.  Even though I had an idea what was coming, I didn’t know. It wasn’t the thing I feared most, but it was more heartbreaking than what I feared. Let’s face it: it’s a book about teenagers with cancer, one of whom has been diagnosed as terminal. The chances of a happy ending are slim, but it’s a best selling novel for a reason. There are many books I love, but fewer have me wishing I could write that well. This is one of those books.

The Characters

This is a character driven novel (as opposed to a plot driven novel). I absolutely adore them. Their illness and love of literature has given them an extraordinary vocabulary and imagination when it comes to weaving words together. When writing an ad to try to find a home for the swing set that Hazel is no longer healthy enough to enjoy, she suggests, “Lonely, vaguely pedophilic swing set seeks the butts of children.” How can you not love teens who talk like that? Even the minor characters express themselves in ways that made me smile: “Oh I got over [being dumped], Darling. It took a sleeve of thin mints and 40 mins to get over that boy.”

The romance between Hazel and Augustus gave me goosebumps. It is probably one of the best written love stories of all time. No cliche moments. No romance for the sake of Hollywood. The relationship grows naturally and they spend time just spending time together, thus eliminating The Bachelor Effect (where the romance only works in a vacuum before everyone has to get back to read life).

Book Club Discussions

Hazel claims that bad things have no effect on your enjoyment of the good. She argues that the existence of broccoli doesn’t make chocolate taste better or that by not having any bad weather days, you won’t still appreciate the sun. I disagree. In the winter, we whine for heat; in the summer, we whine for cold.

How many people do you know who doodled instead of listening to the professor or skipped class? Those of us who have never had to fight for the right to go to school may not appreciate it as much as girls in the Middle East who have been denied the ability  to go to school. Even Hazel admits that someone who loses an eight year old to cancer would appreciate the extra eight years of losing a sixteen year old.

5 out of 5 stars

-Eliabeth Hawthorne

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