The Fault In Our Stars by John Green is the story of 16-year-old Hazel, who’s had Stage 4 Thyroid cancer since she was 13. An experimental drug is helping to keep her alive but there’s no cure for her cancer. She attends a support group for kids living with cancer (when her mom forces her to go, that is). One day at support group, she meets a new boy named Augustus Waters. He’s charming & intelligent & there’s an instant attraction. As to be expected, she soon falls for Augustus Waters (as did I!).
To say much more about the story will give too much away. Yes, this is very much a typical “young adult” novel these days but it’s one of the GOOD ones. (What I’m saying is that it’s no Twilight). The characters are strong, which is what I always find most important in a book. Hazel & Augustus are both funny & very intelligent. I liked the relationship between Hazel & her mother and the relationship between Hazel and both her parents seemed realistic. Another good character is Isaac, a boy in the cancer support group and best friend of Augustus. They have a great friendship & keep each other’s spirits up & are both able to maintain a sense of humor through some very difficult times.
Hazel is an avid reader (funny how female characters in young adult fiction ALWAYS are!) and her favorite book is one about a girl her age who also has cancer. The book is called An Imperial Affliction & she shares her love of this book with Augustus, showing how much she trusts him & wants to open up to him. Again, I can’t say any more about this but it’s an important part of the plot & leads to the introduction of who I suppose was one of the book’s more interesting characters.
This book takes a serious subject & I think it handles it pretty well. Those who are suffering aren’t shown as always being “strong & brave”, a point which is made in the book. Because that’s what’s always SAID about people with cancer. Augustus is the one who is able to stay strong for everyone for the longest – I totally fell in love with Augustus Waters! We’ll just pretend he’s not half my age. And fictional…
The only TINY complaint I’d have about the characters of Hazel & Augustus is that they’re TOO intelligent. They don’t talk like teenagers of today. They use full sentences & BIG words & have very deep thoughts. Um… Okay – I admit to not really knowing any teenagers at the moment but that’s not how I see any of them. Don’t they all use txt spk? (Did I abbreviate text speak correctly? I’m rubbish at text speak!). I think this is why young adult fiction seems to be so popular with women of my age (30s). The books are written by people in their 30s so all of us 30-somethings can relate to them. They’re written in a way we WANT to see teenagers or maybe how we saw ourselves when we were teenagers. It was exactly the same way with the characters in The Perks Of Being A Wallflower (which I loved). These books are obviously doing well with actual teenagers too, though, so there must be enough things in these books that they can relate to. Maybe I’m not giving teenagers enough credit. I suppose it’s only the obnoxious and mouthy ones making duckfaces into their camera phones that you notice, not the ones reading quietly in a corner… 😉
Summary: The Fault In Our Stars is an excellent and well-written book with smart, funny, and sensitive characters that felt very “real” (although maybe a little too beyond their years). Although living with cancer at such a young age probably does make you wise beyond your years… I recommend it to anyone of any age who likes this sort of YA fiction. It’s my first John Green book & I’ll happily read more of his books now based on how much I enjoyed this one.
My Rating: 4/5
Now Reading: Wonder by R.J. Palacio