Thursday, October 24, 2013

Book Review: The Fault In Our Stars By John Green


By: John Green

Published:  January 10, 2012


This book is both tragic and funny.  John Green is able to blend the two into such a beautiful story of teenagers in love.  The story involves Hazel and Augustus who meet in a cancer survivor group.  The two of them are typical teenagers who are nervous around the opposite sex, text rather than talk on the phone, and think adults don't understand them.  But, they are also not typical teenagers.  Both are cancer survivors and Hazel has lungs that don't work right and force her to drag her oxygen tank with her everywhere.  Hazel is 16 and takes college courses after getting her GED.  Augustus is 19 and was once a star basketball player until he lost his leg to cancer.  The two of them speak in metaphors and quote books while making jokes about their cancer status.  You can't help but find their relationship absolutely adorable, charming, and yet, heartbreaking.

As I was reading the book, I was at first surprised that it was labeled as a YA novel.  There were plenty of words used in the book that I didn't know.  Also, the theme of the book was a bit adult at times.  It is written for ages 14 and up, but I would recommend it for maybe 16 or even 17 and up.  I know that our son who will be 14 in 6 months wouldn't "get" this novel at this point in his life. The story is told from Hazel's perspective and her vocabulary is abnormal from most 16 year-old girls.  She is quite intelligent and well-read.

Hazel won me over immediately with her witty banter and the way she was completely literal and straight forward regarding her cancer, how she felt, and what she was thinking.  Hazel said the things most of us thought and wanted to say and made me laugh numerous times. One of my favorite lines in the book is when Hazel is about to leave on a trip, she looks down her blouse and says to her lungs, "Keep your sh*t together."

The story of Hazel and Augustus will elicit varied emotions as you travel through the pages.  No, they aren't typical teenagers because they have already lived a life most of us will never live.  Keep that in mind as you turn the pages and struggle with their conversations.  Don't let that take away from the underlying message of the story and the relationship Hazel and Augustus have in a much too short story.  Keep a box of kleenex close by.  

THE FAULT IN OUR STARS is currently be made into a movie which I am super excited about.  It's tentatively scheduled for June 2014 in the US.  See this video clip for more info about the movie.

John Green is an award-winning and best-selling author of many books.  He lives with his wife and son in Indianapolis, Indiana.  For more on John Green, check out his website,

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