Book Review: The Fault in Our Stars by John Green

Goodreads Description:

Despite 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.

My Review

The Fault in Our Stars tells the heart-wrenching story of terminal cancer patient Hazel Grace Lancaster who finally acquiesces and joins a support group at the behest of her well-intentioned parents. There she meets the charming boy, Augustus Waters, in attendance to support his friend Isaac who is losing his sight to cancer. Hazel and Augustus hit it off immediately and he fills her bleak, numbered days with beauty and love.

I loved the romance between Hazel and Augustus.

“May I see you again?” he asked. There was an endearing nervousness in his voice.

I smiled. “Sure.”

“Tomorrow?” he asked.

“Patience, grasshopper,” I counseled. “You don’t want to seem overeager.

“Right, that’s why I said tomorrow,” he said. “I want to see you again tonight. But I’m willing to wait all night and much of tomorrow.” I rolled my eyes. “I’m serious,” he said.

“You don’t even know me,” I said. I grabbed the book from the center console. “How about I call you when I finish this?”

“But you don’t even have my phone number,” he said.

“I strongly suspect you wrote it in this book.”

He broke out into that goofy smile. “And you say we don’t know each other.”

I loved the humor in this book. Here is a bit of dialogue where Augustus and Hazel are talking with Augustus’ family:

“It’s just that most really good-looking people are stupid, so I exceed expectations.”

“Right, it’s primarily his hotness,” I said.

“It can be sort of blinding,” he said.

“It actually did blind our friend Isaac,” I said.

“Terrible tragedy, that. But can I help my own deadly beauty?”

“You cannot.”

“It is my burden, this beautiful face.”

“Not to mention your body.”

“Seriously, don’t even get me started on my hot bod. You don’t want to see me naked, Dave. Seeing me naked actually took Hazel Grace’s breath away,” he said, nodding toward the oxygen tank.

I loved the introspection.

“Without pain, how could we know joy? This is an old argument in the field of thinking about suffering and its stupidity and lack of sophistication could be plumbed for centuries but suffice it to say that the existence of broccoli does not, in any way, affect the taste of chocolate.”

And finally, I loved how a finite number of days can turn into a little infinity when you spend it with someone you love.

“There are infinite numbers between 0 and 1. There’s .1 and .12 and .112 and an infinite collection of others. Of course, there is a bigger infinite set of numbers between 0 and 2, or between 0 and a million. Some infinities are bigger than other infinities. A writer we used to like taught us that. There are days, many of them, when I resent the size of my unbounded set. I want more numbers than I’m likely to get… But, Gus, my love, I cannot tell you how thankful I am for our little infinity. I wouldn’t trade it for the world. You gave me a forever within the numbered days, and I’m grateful.”

I’ve seen a few reviews where the reader believes the language used by the teens in the book is too advanced for the characters to be believable. When I was a teen, intelligence and popularity seemed to have an inverse relationship. You risked being labeled a nerd if you were too smart. To fit in, I suspect many of us pretended to be less competent than we were. It’s sad, but true, at least from my experience. I applaud the way John Green created characters that were witty, erudite teens. Let’s give our young adults books that are intelligent and thought-provoking, books that may have them reaching for the dictionary, but I suspect our youth is far wiser than they sometimes let on.

I loved, loved, loved this book. It’s proof I don’t need a “happily ever after” to enjoy a book. After all, “the world is not a wish-granting factory.”

5 out of 5 stars

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4 thoughts on “Book Review: The Fault in Our Stars by John Green”

  1. Thanks for sharing your thoughts on this book, Melissa! I love that line about broccoli. 🙂 The thoughts on infinity are great, too…reminds me of how being around children and going at their pace can make some moments feel infinite. I definitely need to go read this book now.

  2. “Let’s give our young adults books that are intelligent and thought-provoking, books that may have them reaching for the dictionary, but I suspect our youth is far wiser than they sometimes let on.”

    Hear, hear! It drives me nuts when people say a book is “too hard” or “too complicated” for teens.

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