The Fault In Our Stars
by John Green
Published: 10th January 2012
Published: Penguin Books
“I fell in love the way you fall asleep: slowly, then all at once.”
Despite the tumour-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.
I simply had to dive into this book after reading Looking For Alaska, and I’m really glad I did. I wanted to read this one in particular as it had been chosen to be adapted into a film. I loved how each character was described. I particularly enjoyed how Hazel’s description: she was said to look like Natalie Portman circa V for Vendetta. That image was a clear one for me, and I liked the reference to one of my favourite films/graphic novels.
The blurb is intriguing, I got a sense of the tone of the book from reading it, but I was pleasantly surprised with what I found. I saw the words ‘cancer’ and ‘terminal’ and thought this was going to be incredibly sad throughout. Which, to be fair, it is. What I was pleasantly surprised with was I was laughing – out loud – during this book. Given the nature of the narrative, the humour was somewhat bittersweet.
The author has written the main character incredibly well, she’s feisty, and has this great morbidly funny personality. Although, at times I thought that her voice was a little older than the character, but this added to her characterisation as she’d grown up and developed a lot quicker through her circumstances.
As much as I loved Hazel, my favourite character had to be Peter Van Houten. At times I wanted to be able to climb into the book and slap him, which is why I loved him the most. I love to hate characters and to feel that strongly about one of them. I think it’s a sign of good characterisation and dialogue.
I loved that this book isn’t about her cancer, or her friends illnesses. It’s about love. Simply that. Their illnesses don’t define them as characters, and I really appreciated that when reading this book. I loved that, despite having terminal cancer, Hazel really is just another teenager that watches reality television and obsesses over her favourite book. In terms of the love story, it was lovely. Granted, at times it made me realise how young the characters are but I felt their story would strike a chord with any reader. It is incredibly moving, as they are truly loveable characters.
This is an incredibly sad story, the book deals with death. That’s inevitable, we know immediately that the book has characters with various forms of cancers, at various stages. I stayed up late last night (despite a really early rise for work) to finish this book, and I was sobbing by the end. I found the book thought provoking, it made me think about my beliefs and wondered about the people I’d leave behind – and mainly the mark I’d leave behind. I liked the ending, and that we don’t know what happens to certain characters. This mirrors part of the story, as the characters are desperate to find out unanswered questions about their favourite book, and we’re left with some unanswered questions too.
I’m looking forward to reading some more from this author at another time. I have a feeling he’ll be one of my favourites.
Definitely recommend this book!
If you’d like to get yourself a copy: Amazon link