98 of 104 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Put aside any resistance, this is worth reading
I have to admit, even though I'd heard this book was really good, the thought of a young adult novel about teenagers with cancer didn't hugely appeal to me. My initial reactions were also somewhat less than stellar - everyone talks in a razor-sharp, ultra witty way that feels straight out of an Aaron Sorkin or Diablo Cody movie and not even remotely how any 16 or 17 year...
Published 19 months ago by Julia Flyte
30 of 36 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Good, but not great
Given the hype surrounding this book, and my liking of John Green, I have to say I was a little disappointed with this book. The concept itself of two star-crossed lovers is hardly novel, and I didn't find much in this book that hadn't already been done many times before. In this way, the plot was rather boring. I cried when Dobby died in Harry Potter, I wept like a baby...
Published 10 months ago by mrwho
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98 of 104 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Put aside any resistance, this is worth reading,
This review is from: The Fault in Our Stars (Indies Choice Book Awards. Young Adult Fiction) (Hardcover)I have to admit, even though I'd heard this book was really good, the thought of a young adult novel about teenagers with cancer didn't hugely appeal to me. My initial reactions were also somewhat less than stellar - everyone talks in a razor-sharp, ultra witty way that feels straight out of an Aaron Sorkin or Diablo Cody movie and not even remotely how any 16 or 17 year old I know speaks. I feared that it was going to be all style without substance, bouncing along until a requisite tearjearking conclusion.
I was wrong.
This is a book peopled with a group of characters that you really care about. At its core are the star-crossed lovers, Hazel (with terminal cancer) and Augustus (a cancer survivor). They meet at a cancer support group and become close, despite Hazel's desire to avoid becoming a "grenade" in anybody's life - by which she means someone who will unwittingly cause significant hurt through their passing. They are fantastically loveable characters, who flit between deep conversations about the meaning of life and finding refuge in video games and reality TV shows. I loved them both. Still do.
But the book is more than that. It's about coming to terms with the fact that your life will almost certainly never rise above insignificance - yes, you will matter to your family and friends, hey maybe even write a few reviews that people like on Amazon, but ultimately you probably won't make any life changing impact on the world. It's about the way we shrink from people with terminal disease only to laud them when they pass. It's about the impact that terminal diseases have on the families of those left behind. It's about teenagers growing up and learning to take responsibility for their own lives, defining themselves by who they are not what disease they may have.
I don't know if there's anything life changing here, but it's definitely a moving, entertaining and thought provoking book. Pretty hard combination to pull off. Kudos to John Green.
125 of 139 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars As Emotionally Devastating As It Is Exquisitely Written,
This review is from: The Fault in Our Stars (Indies Choice Book Awards. Young Adult Fiction) (Hardcover)This is John Green at his best and oh is that good. The characters are beautifully drawn and heartbreakingly realistic, Hazel Lancaster doesn't represent anything and her suffering and that of her peers isn't meant to make any kind of point. It's just what it is, suffering. Equally so Hazel is simply Hazel, a girl who watches really trashy TV and loves long novels and poetry.
In being just an ordinary teenage girl she really fancies a boy and here is where we come across Augustus Waters, the boy who clenches death itself between his teeth just to prove it doesn't own him.
Through these two characters we are shown every agonizing moment of living with cancer and the fight not only to carry on living but to stop it from consuming your mind and your personality. The book seems to pose the question, if your entire personality has become nothing but the need to fight and survive cancer and there is no longer room for joy or even love, then in what way is that living?.
A large part of this struggle takes place within family circles, the parallel desperation and monotony of having a child with cancer is skilfully and subtly made evident by Green.
Ultimately Green strives to portray his characters not as those fighting cancer are often shown, forced into playing the role of brave and wise soldiers stoically enduring untold suffering. He shows them as they truly are, just people, beautiful wonderful people but people none the less. They have no choice but to keep fighting because they are given no other option and because to admit defeat means death.
It is not their struggle that defines them but who they are in spite of it, managing to live and to love and even have fun and laugh. They use every moment given to them in the most beautiful way possible and that is what makes them exceptional.
P.S. I didn't get a signed copy and I couldn't care less.
33 of 37 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Really enjoyable but very emotional,
This review is from: The Fault in Our Stars (Hardcover)This is an odd book to review. I've read so many positive reviews of this book that my expectations were incredibly high, therefore when I began I was rather disappointed. Don't get me wrong this is a good, interesting, tear jerking book but it didn't blow me away like I expected. The book deals with the harsh reality of cancer and how people with cancer are different to others. It was interesting reading from the point of view from someone with cancer, we got to see the world through her eyes and it really does make you open your eyes to the world. The subject of cancer can be hard for people to talk about so I just want to warn you now that this is what this book is all about and the realisation that the main character will not live as long as others.
The Fault in Our Stars follows Hazel who has thyroid cancer and has to have an oxygen tank with her at all times. She constantly worries that her lungs will give up on her but at the same time she has come to terms with the fact that she has cancer and will not live for long. At a cancer support group meeting she meets Augustus Waters another person with Cancer. They get to know each other but Hazel won't take it further because she knows that the heartbreak is inevitable. How could she date this guy and then she suddenly gets worse and doesn't make it another week? She knows she's a grenade just waiting to explode. Augustus doesn't care, he likes Hazel too much for that, plus he knows he needs to live his life not shy away from it. To show Hazel how much she means to him, he offers her his one and only wish, together they embark on a journey that will change things for them both.
At the start I really didn't like the characters, they seemed too bland to me and all the same. I kept reading though and soon we saw the personalities shine through. Hazel is interesting. She knows the extent of her cancer and how it effects her but she can't help but stay at home all day. The cancer really sucks all her energy. Her parents want her to get out and be normal. When she meets Augustus they do start hanging out like normal teenagers but they have much more in depth conversations. She was mature but at sometimes immature. I'm still not 100% sure what to think of her. Augustus, I didn't like at the start but he really grew on me. A lot. He knew Hazel was important and he wouldn't let her go. She made him happy and he needed that. He was hilarious and could make anyone smile. I actually really liked his character. Isaac was also interesting, he had plenty of mood swings but he becomes a friend to Hazel when she needs one.
Despite this person not being a main character I think he was brilliant and that was the author Peter Van Houten. He was troubled and slightly eccentric. Even though he was a drunk and a complete ass to Hazel and Gus, it showed you how cancer can effect someone. He didn't have cancer himself but his daughter did. And when she passed away, it tore his marriage apart. He wrote the book An Imperial Affliction to imagine his daughter as a teenager. We see how his life was ripped apart and this is how his behaviour has gotten out of hand, he lost everything. Nearer the end he tries to apologise to the two and at times he really made me laugh. At the end I think he realised the state he was in, but he wouldn't have unless Hazel and Gus hadn't visited him.
Right, The ending of this book is heartbreaking. Alas I didn't cry but it really pulled at my heart strings. I still can't believe what happened. It was the complete opposite to what I expected. The Fault in Our Stars is a book that really makes you think about life and even more so the meaning of life. What does it mean to live, if in hundreds of years no one will ever remember you. Are we born to leave behind a legacy and is there something after death? So many questions are asked and I think the answers are really left for the reader to figure out for themselves. After all, all of our beliefs are different. This is a good book, it had a few problems for me such as the slow beginning and how it took a while for me to like the characters. Apart from that is is a really enjoyable but very emotional book. This book should come with a warning label, that you may cry and your may hurt your brain by thinking way too much!
49 of 56 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars the fault in our stars,
This review is from: The Fault in Our Stars (Indies Choice Book Awards. Young Adult Fiction) (Hardcover)"The fault, dear Brutus, is not in our stars,
But in ourselves, that we are underlings."
- Shakespeare's Julius Caesar, for those wondering about the title.
I do not know where to start with this review. Actually, I will start by saying this review is completely biased as I consider myself to well and truly be a Nerdfighter (Nerdfighters will love the goat soap, and other, references) and, if I didn't live on another continent, I would totally stalk John Green. Nah, I wouldn't, I'm kidding. I'd stalk Hank. I have a humongous crush on Hank.
Anyways. Moving rather swiftly on.
This book is pretty emotional. John Green said on Tumblr that he wanted the reader "to feel all of the things". Well, I felt all of the things. I laughed (well, snorted - I laugh very rarely at books for some reason), I cried (a common occurrence, believe me), I snorted through my tears (flattering, I assure you). My chest ached with stifled sobbing. I couldn't stop myself reading until I had finished the book. And what a book.
It was not purely a Cancer Book. Yes it features a main character with terminal cancer and another who lost a leg to cancer (and a minor character who has lost his eyes because of cancer). But to me it was not a book that was primarily about dying or even living, it was about love. Romantic love, love between family and friends, love for books (Augustus being a bit of a nerd with his book choice and I loved him for it, as did Hazel) and trashy TV and love for living. Cancer did not define these characters.
Hazel was a great character. Her narrative appealed to me. It was witty and sarcastic without being mean. I enjoyed reading about her slowly, and then quickly, falling in love with Augustus and how and why she didn't want this (her cancer made her a "grenade" - something sure to hurt those around her) and then why she did. I think my favourite part about Hazel though, was her fondness for her parents. They, particularly her mother who had taken up the full-time role of hovering, as Hazel put it, clearly meant a lot to her and were possibly what helped her keep going.
I also liked Augustus (hello new book crush) a lot and the blind jokes he cracked with Isaac. As un-PC as they may be, there was a certain realism in that gallows humour that I enjoyed.
This book dealt with death. There's no getting away from it. It revolved around three teenagers with various types of cancer. It was a sad book. It was also a book that made me think. Think about courage, life, death. It mainly made me think about what happens to those left behind and what happens next. That was what was, and is, going through my mind as I read the story and as I write this jumbled mess of a review. I had the most hellish racking sobs when I realised who would eventually be left behind and how unfair that was.
Is it perfect? Nope. I found the plot a bit predictable, and ridiculous, if I'm being honest. Nothing came as a surprise, I saw it coming. The characters dialogue got on my wick a few times. The whole book quote thing and philosophising is fine in small doses but I wanted a few more typical teenagery conversations. These were small, minor niggly things though.
But do you know what? I don't care. The above issues didn't really dampen my overall enjoyment of this novel and I stick by my rating for it. I loved this book and I will eagerly await the next John Green novel.
Thank you, John Green, for ruining the next few books I read. They will just not compare to The Fault in Our Stars.
9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Fault In Our Stars,
This review is from: The Fault in Our Stars (Hardcover)oh my god. This book is absolutely amazing. It's literally perfection. I'm sharing this book with my friends and they love it too! I totally recommend it.
12 of 14 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Incredible and breathtaking,
The narrator is Hazel Lancaster, a sixteen-year-old girl with cancer. She has lived with the word `terminal' for quite a few years now, but has recently relapsed to the point where she has had to drop out of school (a Bad Sign) and is attached to an oxygen tank at all times. She doesn't believe she'll last much longer. So she lives a quiet life at home with her parents, reading books and watching America's Next Top Model while she waits for death; she sees herself as a grenade, with just a matter of time until she detonates, and is determined to minimise the impact of her death on those around her by withdrawing in this way. However, her mother makes her go to a teenage cancer support group, and it is there that she meets Augustus Waters. And against her best intentions, falls in love.
What makes this book so special is John Green's narrative skill. Hazel and Augustus are definitely unique characters, with a quirky, witty and sophisticated way of talking and seeing the world. Green does not try to write the generic teenager, so Hazel and Augustus feel very much real and, even though they not average in any way, are incredibly relatable.
Just as it is also not simply a Teenage Book, it is also not just a Cancer Book either. Yes, it is not afraid to fully explore the dark subject matter with both gallows humour and heartbreaking poignancy, and it does not shy away from the medical nitty-gritty or present illness in a Romantic light. It perfectly and poignantly explores the ideas of life and death, what it means to be brave, what happens if you can't find the answers you crave and the question: what is the point of living, or loving, when you know you are going to die? It makes you think, about what it's like for those with cancer and what it's like for those left behind. Hazel believes she is a burden to all who love her - but Augustus helps her see she is a blessing.
It's a book that will have you laughing one minute and racked with sobs the next, and will have you thinking... for a very long time.
30 of 36 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Good, but not great,
This review is from: The Fault in Our Stars (Paperback)Given the hype surrounding this book, and my liking of John Green, I have to say I was a little disappointed with this book. The concept itself of two star-crossed lovers is hardly novel, and I didn't find much in this book that hadn't already been done many times before. In this way, the plot was rather boring. I cried when Dobby died in Harry Potter, I wept like a baby when Amy and Rory left in Doctor Who, but The Fault in our Stars left me feeling rather cold. I felt that Augustus and Hazel had little depth to them, and due to this I failed to connect with them as characters. They seemed, more than anything, to be canvases for Green's philosophical views to be published on, and the problem with this is that if you have disagreements with Green's views, the book feels almost preachy. To me, the passages of this book that most found profound to me either seemed obvious or fundamentally wrong. I don't mean this in an arrogant way, nor do I wish to claim that my views are in any way superior to Green's. All I'm saying is that if you've though about this stuff in the past, 'profound' passages risk no longer being profound. If your views are different to John's, passages can feel preachy (this is too harsh, but I lack a better word), or even annoying. If you've reached similar conclusions, passages can seem obvious. Another problem with canvassing Hazel and Augustus is that it makes the characters less real. Being Augustus's age, I don't deny that teenagers can think philosophically. However, the sheer volume of philosophy and wit that almost bombarded me as a reader felt artificial and prevented me from connecting with the characters. Hazel's obsession with finding out the fate of 'an imperial affliction' 's characters also annoyed me. If we're led to believe that she is this intelligent, and such a deep thinker, I just don't buy that she'd care much about the characters when, from what we hear about the book, they are almost an irrelevance in its larger meaning.
John's writing is undoubtedly strong. Despite my previous comments, many passages in the book were effective. I was particularly stuck by Hazel's frank way of dealing with death. However, when John he tried to become too philosophical for his own good, this strong writing sometimes lost its way. John's frequent referral to the different sizes of infinity in particularly felt tacked on and unnatural to me. The dialogue similarly also sometimes felt a little lacking. I was especially not a fan of the play-like method of presenting dialogue (the whole Hazel: - Mom: - Augustus: - thing).
I did like this book, despite the overtly negative review. It's just much easier to write negatives than positives, and I don't have the way with words that John does. Thanks for anyone who read this - I'd be interested in your opinions, as I'm sure most of you reading this will disagree with me.
10 of 12 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Mixed feelings,
This review is from: The Fault in Our Stars (Paperback)Hazel was diagnosed with metastatic thyroid cancer at the age of thirteen. Three years later the disease is being kept at bay indefinitely thanks to an experimental new drug. Her days are spent carting her oxygen tank between college, home, and Cancer Kid Support Group. Her treatment regime means that she has little time for friends her own age, and besides, now that she's a Cancer Kid most of them don't know how to behave around her anyway. So she is intrigued to say the least when an attractive and witty young man named Augustus Waters turns up unexpectedly at support group one week.
The predominant niggle that stopped me from really losing myself in this book is that Hazel and Gus just don't come across as realistic teenagers at all. They both have this incredibly verbose, Dawson's Creek-esque way of speaking that is laden with cheesy metaphors. The whole thing is narrated by Hazel, and the insight that that gives into her thought processes and inner dialogue makes her just about relatable, but Augustus feels like he's reading from a script the whole time. I had this sense that for every frank exchange of emotions between them, they had spent five minutes flipping through a thesaurus beforehand. I found this really annoying to the point that it prevented me from becoming emotionally invested with either of the characters.
What it does really well is illustrates how immensely trying it must be to be a sick teenager, be it with cancer or any chronic disease. I believe John Green drew on his experiences of working as a chaplain at a childrens' hospital to write the novel, and he has certainly made plenty of astute and unsentimental observations about the realities of living with illness. At just the age when you should be finding your independence and forging a groove for yourself in the world, you are forced to rely more heavily on the adults around you than ever. A 16-year-old in the UK is legally allowed to get married or join the army but when it comes to making decisions about their own healthcare the law is complex. They can give consent to medical care but if they want to refuse a particular treatment their wishes can be overridden by their parents or doctors. It's no wonder that Hazel talks about herself and her fellow Cancer Kids as feeling experimented on. And she's got the extra burden of guilt of knowing that her parents have to forgo treats and holidays because of the costs of her medication and care.
The tragic relationship between Hazel and Augustus is what this book is all about - there's a slightly strange side-story about taking a trip to Amsterdam to meet Hazel's favourite author, but other than that there is not much plot to speak of. It's for that reason that I think so much of a reader's enjoyment of this novel will depend on their own personal world view and experiences of cancer, illness, and losing loved ones. The subject matter is so emotive that it's bound to provoke an almost visceral response that runs much deeper than any assessment of the words on the page. It wasn't for me, but you can't argue with the widespread acclaim it has received that shows it has tugged on the heart-strings of many.
14 of 17 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The fault in our stars,
This review is from: The Fault in Our Stars (Kindle Edition)I have given this book 5 stars for the fact that it deserves them. It was a heart felt book, and I feel like I was part of the story. I recommend this book to anyone who likes reading, although have a box of tissues beside you if you are a sensitive person like me. Simply amazing!!
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Daughter loved this!,
This review is from: The Fault in Our Stars (Kindle Edition)My 13yo daughter rates this 5 stars, she loved it. Bit of a tear jerker, and she was completely immersed from start to finish.
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The Fault in Our Stars by John Green (Paperback - 3 Jan 2013)