Published by: Dutton Juvenile on January 1, 2012
Genre: Contemporary, Romance
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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.
It took me a million and one years to finally pick up The Fault in Our Stars. Honestly, I think I put it off for two main reasons: 1) I thought the cover was boring, and 2) I just wasn’t into cancer books. But after reading and LOVING Maybe One Day (an amazing and heartbreaking cancer book), I knew I had to give The Fault in Our Stars a chance.
I love how such a big part of this book was the characters connecting with a book. It’s like a book inside of a book! Hazel and Augustus really bond over her favourite story and dream about meeting the author. I didn’t quite expect that element and I love how it turned out View Spoiler » [(not well, because the author they admired was a dick) « Hide Spoiler] . It gave Hazel and Augustus something to enjoy and strive towards together, and that really helped them build their relationship.
Isaac actually ended up being one of my favourite characters. He’s Hazel and Augustus’s friend and he had to get his eyes removed because of his cancer. I just wanted to hug him so many times throughout the book! He’s such a sweet guy and View Spoiler » [I felt so bad for him because he had to suffer the pain of teenage relationships that think they’ll last forever, but they don’t « Hide Spoiler] .
I kind of feel like an idiot for not guessing the ending (because in hindsight I guess it’s obvious), but man, that shit hit me like a freight train. That’s when the tears came! I won’t say I was drowning in tears, because I wasn’t. I’ve cried harder over other books. But a few tears did some and I was laying in bed sniffling somewhat pathetically. I think part of me is a little disappointed that I didn’t cry more (which might be weird), but oh well. Not every book can turn you into an ugly cryer.
I think the one thing things I didn’t love about this book were the characters. Both main characters (Hazel and Augustus) were a bit… pretentious. They’re the kind of people that over analyze everything and meticulously pick apart common slang, phrases, and traditions. It was a bit funny at first, but it got a tiring after a while, and in general, I’m not crazy about people like that. I’ve encountered a few before and they drive me a bit nuts with their, “Oh you poor, naïve mortal, you can’t speak as well as I can” attitude. I found myself skimming a few of the long, pretentious, “let’s analyze the shit out of this” paragraphs.
And, similarly, I never really saw Hazel and Augustus’s relationship as love. Hazel and Augustus had a great, great relationship, but I mostly saw it as friendship. I didn’t see a lot of sexual chemistry there. They were definitely two people of the same mind, and in that sense they fit together wonderfully, but that was kind of it. No sexual tension, no chemistry, no romance. And I would have been totally okay with that, had Hazel and Augustus not constantly called their relationship “true love” and “an epic love story” and things like that. I think I would have clicked with it better had it just been a wonderful friendship, rather than forced into a romance.
“Everybody should have true love, and it should last as long as your life does.”
I didn’t completely hate the characters though. I loved how kind and selfless Augustus was. If you remove his pretentious side, he’s really an amazing guy. He goes above and beyond for his friends, and that really shined throughout the book. View Spoiler » [And it just made the ending even harder to deal with! I don’t think I would have cried as much as I did (which still wasn’t a lot) had Hazel died instead. « Hide Spoiler]
“That’s the thing about pain,” Augustus said, and then glanced back at me. “It demands to be felt.”
Also there was one thing that totally had me WTFing. I guess the circumstances surrounding the annoying line are spoilery, so I’ll put the whole thing in spoiler tags.View Spoiler » [
The circumstances are: Hazel and Augustus are from America (Indiana), but in this passage they are in the Netherlands. The time is probably… 7 or 8am.
“Would you care for some breakfast?” asked Lidewij.
I started to say that we’d already eaten when Peter interrupted. “It is far too early for breakfast, Lidewij.
“Well, they are from America, Peter, so it is past noon in their bodies.”
Errm.. “It is past noon in their bodies.” Did this book totally just screw up time zones? If it’s 8am in the Netherlands, it would be like 2am in Indiana. The wording makes it sound like Lidewij thinks it would be 1pm in America (and thus lunch time).
Or am I being stupid? I think I read that passage like 5 times trying to figure out if I was missing something obvious. HELP!
Overall I do think that The Fault in Our Stars is a great book, and it’s easy to see why so many people adore it. It’s not one of my favourites, but it’s certainly worth a read and I recommend that everyone give it a shot!