The Fault in Our Stars
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
-This novel was listened to via audiobook-
Where was I? Aside from under my rock, I mean. I was hesitant to read The Fault In Our Stars for two reasons. One being the rave reviews; a book getting so much hype is usually a bad sign for me where I tend to be the black sheep. And two, books that deal with cancer, or any disease for that matter, often have me paranoid and checking myself for lumps, thus I need time to mentally prepare myself for them, and to put my doctor on speed dial. For those suffering the same hypochondria have nothing to fear, however, as this is much more about the characters, and less about the cancer itself. I did not request an MRI once! As for the hype, I do think it’s the reason that this was a 4 for me and not a 5. My expectations were through the roof for this novel, so while it was definitely good enough to meet them, it wasn’t able to blow my mind. No doubt in my mind that John Green is a fantastic writer. He has a way with words that pulls every single string of your heart into these characters’ lives, even though you know the unstoppable is coming. BUT, that is just the thing, though, I felt like the book was performing to make me cry. Instead of the emotions coming naturally to a story, I felt they were manipulated into it. It reminded me of most Nicholas Sparks or Jodi Picoult books in that sense. Emotional manipulation is nothing new and it’s not necessarily bad, I have simply had my fill of them in the past and thus have become a little immune–or expectant? Therefore, even though I did truly enjoy this as it’s clearly a remarkable novel, I found it more or less the same as other cancer books/movies I’ve come upon. I have read and watched quite a few; If I was new to this emotional formula, I’m sure this book would have swept me into oblivion like the majority of its readers.
Hazel has been living with cancer for a long time, and when she meets Augustus, another cancer kid, things get just a little more happy for her. If you’re as big a character reader as I, let me tell you that character development in this novel is superb. I loved watching these people grow and connect to each other. Developing the main characters don’t take away from the supporting roles either which are just as present and well rounded. This includes the parents which are supportive but realistic in their reactions. I loved that a book with such a dire subject had so many quirky and humorous moments, as well. I got quite a few laughs from the often witty dialogue. The characters also speak very eloquently. While some have mentioned it makes them sound a little unrealistic, I thought it was actually a way to show how something life changing like a cancer diagnosis can mature someone. These kids live their lives like there’s no tomorrow, every single day, because they know that one day soon that will be the truth. This grows people up, this living in fast forward. Hazel was already schooled beyond her years and is doing college courses at 16. It’s true that Green might have gone a little overboard in their speech and they surely do not sound like real teenagers, but I have an inkling this was intentional. Plus I actually found the book even more captivating by how intelligent it all was. The plot, the dialogue, the literary references, the grandiose metaphors, the romance; it makes the book elegant; refined.
I’m sure you have read countless reviews on this novel so I doubt anything I say here will be anything new to add to the slew of opinions. You’ve all been told already that John Green is immensely talented and with this book he pulls out all the stops on your emotions, and that by reading it you’re sure to read something truly worthy of your time. It’s a piece of YA literary art that is deserving of its awards!
|4 Hot Espressos|