Author: John Green
Published: January 10th, 2012 by Dutton Books
Genre: Romance, Realistic YA, Drama
Hazel Grace was diagnosed with Stage IV thyroid cancer three years ago. She can’t perform any kind of strenuous or physically demanding activities; not just because her doctors and parents forbid it, but also because she literally can’t. Walking up the stairs or even standing for long periods of time exhausts her. Not to mention the constant nuisance of dragging around an oxygen tank because her lungs aren’t dependable enough to work on their own. Hazel fears her mom is devoting her entire life to her needs, and her dad can’t seem to address the cancer issue without choking up. Hazel knows she doesn’t have long. And she wonders if her family and friends will be able to move on when she’s gone.
Because her parents are concerned for her mental state, Hazel is coerced into attending regular group therapy sessions. This is nothing more than a chore for her, and hearing the sob stories over and over again grates on her nerves.
However, at one seemingly usual meeting, she is introduced to Augustus. He is handsome and charming, and has taken an interest in her...
Sounds like the usual cancer/love story mash-up? Well, yes…and no. The plotline itself lacks in originality, but dang it, John Green is an amazing author. He can churn out a great book from an overdone storyline. Kudos to him.
Now, I have heard the complaint from others that The Fault in Our Stars is unrealistic because “the characters are way to smart for normal teenagers.” First of all, they are cancer kids. I'm fairly certain that they have considered their places in the world much more extensively than that of the average teenager. And thinking such existential thoughts usually generates questions, which then require answers, and this leads to the pursuit of knowledge. I think this would segregate them from the masses in the Great Venn Diagram of Average Teen Intellect....if such a diagram exists....*she says awkwardly*.... (shut up; I'm making a point).
Secondly, why would anyone care if the characters’ dialogues are dripping with unrealistic wittiness? Don’t we read books to escape reality? Admittedly, Augustus’s semi-existentialist mindset may befuddle those who have not contemplated life as much as him. It may annoy some, and give others headaches. However, because of his state, we will allow him to continue such thinking. (Cancer Perk!)
The Fault in Our Stars is one of the very rare cases wherein I don’t hate the female protagonist. Hazel is awkward, but she can still get out coherently formed sentences that are actually an amusing and non-lame attempt at humor. Her significant other is not the only witty one. Which is great, because for once, there’s a sensible reason for Prince Charming to like said protagonist other than the fact that he just does.
Overall, The Fault in Our Stars was a great book. Not perfect by any means, but then, the world would explode into a million tiny pieces and be sucked into a swirling vortex of a black hole if anything were ever perfect (because the Universe can't handle it; much less our tiny little noggins).
John Green's newest novel is appropriately one of the best-selling YA books of 2012. You’d be a fool to pass it up. *review cross-posted on Goodreads http://www.goodreads.com/review/show/265822075
I've rated The Fault in Our Stars: