Title: The Fault in Our Stars
Author: John Green
Release Date: January 10, 2012
Publisher: Dutton Juvenile
Source: Personal Copy
Rating:3.5 out of 5
Hazel knows she’s going to die. It’s something she’s known for too many of her sixteen years, since her cancer diagnosis. She knows it’s a question of prolonging her life, and not one of curing her cancer. On her parents insistence, Hazel attends a cancer support group, assuming it will be a waste of her time, but it’s there she meets Augustus. For once, Hazel experiences real life, what she should be living through as a normal teenager, but she’s afraid to let Augustus in because she doesn’t want to hurt him. Will Hazel allow herself to enjoy the time she has left, or will she die not knowing the simple pleasures of life and love?
The Fault in Our Stars is the latest novel by celebrated YA author John Green, and I don’t have to tell you that it was accompanied by quite a bit of buzz. This was my first time experiencing this author’s work, so I’ll admit I had very high expectations. Green is an author that everyone seems to love, so I was eager to see what all the fuss was about through this book.
Hazel’s an appealing, heartbreaking character. From the beginning of The Fault in Our Stars, she really captures the reader. Even if she didn’t have a great personality, her frankness about her disease would automatically win her sympathy points, but it’s not just that. She’s fun, and while she acts like any other teenager, she’s got a great sense of humor. I was actually very surprised at how funny and down-to-earth this novel was; I expected to be crying through it, not chuckling. Green did an excellent job keeping the novel lighthearted, even when the subject matter is so grave.
However, I’ll admit I didn’t love The Fault in Our Stars, and the reason for that lay squarely with Augustus. While I appreciated him for giving Hazel something new in her life, he came off as a bit pretentious. I completely understand that teens facing cancer are going to have a different view of life than healthy teenagers. In fact, I’d bet teens with cancer have thought a lot more about their place in the world and the meaning of life than any adult; they have a very good reason to do it. But the dialogue and the way Augustus spoke just didn’t ring true for me. No teenager would actually say, “Pardon the double entendre, my friend, but there’s something a little worrisome in your eyes.” Augustus kept yanking me out of my reverie with the book, and he made it less enjoyable for me.
I can completely understand why so many adored The Fault in Our Stars, but it didn’t quite work for me. That’s not to say I didn’t appreciate it, because I did, and I will definitely be reading more of John Green’s novels. I wouldn’t let my hesitations keep you from reading it, because this novel seems universally beloved. Perhaps with my warning in your mind, you’ll enjoy it more than I did.