The Fault in Our Stars, John Green

Any combination of words I use to describe how much I love this book will be vastly insufficient. That said, I will try my best.

Though this novel technically falls into the category of “Teen Fiction”, it is definitely a book for anyone. One of the side effects of humanness is a struggle to understand our own consciousness, and our relationship with the universe around us. Occasionally we question what sort of mark we will leave on the world once we’ve left it. Usually it’s the type of question one asks when they’re face-to-face with their own imminent death.

Such is the case for Hazel Grace Lancaster, a sixteen-year-old living with/dying of cancer. No stranger to big existential questions, Hazel does face a new dilemma when she meets a “gorgeous plot twist”, Augustus Waters (that’s from the book flap, not me). She starts to question – really question – her right to take other people down in her battle against cancer. Though she’s bound to be the victim, there are also innocent bystanders who will be wounded. With humour and truth, Hazel slowly starts to realize that leaving a mark on this world is inevitable – it doesn’t necessarily mean dying triumphantly or being remembered by many people for hundreds of years – it means scarring those who loved you deeply, when they’re forced to face life without you.

That’s all I have to say before I wrap up this review with a few more words that aren’t mine. I’ll just say this: The Fault in Our Stars is the best book I’ve read all year, and possibly ever (at least that’s how I feel at the time of writing this, when the tears are still sitting, dry on my face). Literary-speaking, it is perfect in every way; the right amount of laugh-out-loud funny mixed with certain turns of phrase so beautiful that I had to read them over 3 or 4 times. This is certainly not a book to be taken lightly (though you will probably finish it in a day or two!). I highly recommend it.

Other thoughts about The Fault in Our Stars:

John Green writes incredible, honest truths about the secret, weird hearts of human beings. He makes me laugh and gasp at the beauty of a sentence or the twist of a tale. He is one of the best writers alive and I am seething with envy of his talent.

–E. Lockhart, award-winning author, as quoted on the cover of The Fault in Our Stars

The Fault in Our Stars is one of the rare books that is able to make you laugh while sobbing throughout the book. It is written with such voice that it is impossible not to relate to Hazel even if it might seem her life to is incredibly different. The writing is beautiful and the characters become your friends. This is a definite must read for anyone willing to be challenged by this moving story.

–Online comment from Elbereth (Seattle Public Library)

My mother was a reader. She was also the victim of a very aggressive and pernicious brain cancer. In the end, she lost the ability to speak. Every year she picked out books for Christmas and birthdays. After her death we found that year’s collection on her shelf in her closet. Those books were her last words to me. Picked out for me and my kids: “Bridge to Terabithia” , Katherine Paterson’s Newbery award winner from 1978. Twenty years later, I have found another book just as wonderful, just a poignant, just as true. “The Fault in Our Stars” by John Green.

–Online comment from canary35 (Whatcom County Library System)

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7 responses

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