Book review: The Fault in our Stars

The Fault in Our Stars

John Green

 

“The Fault in Our Stars” was an eagerly awaited read for me. I preordered my copy months ago and when it came out on Jan. 10, it exceeded my expectations. It redefined what I think a good novel is. This is an honest and creative book that’s just as hard and somber as it is hopeful and beautiful. Even the expertly chosen title, derived from a line in William Shakespeare’s tragic play “Julius Caesar” encapsulates the way this book symbolizes how cancer patients are like stars: they shimmer of hope and yet are surrendered to their fate.

“The Fault in Our Stars” is a brutal story that combines being a teenager, learning what falling in love is like and having cancer.

“Having cancer” and “being cancer” are differentiated as 16-year-old protagonist Hazel falls in love with Augustus (Gus) Waters, a remission cancer patient and amputee.

Their characters are both so different, yet intriguing.

Gus must have watched the movie “Crazy, Sexy Cancer” because he seems completely liberated and fearless that parts of his body have tried to kill him, even though he is reminded as he drags around a prosthetic leg every day. This former basketball champion frequently dangles an unlit cigarette between his lips just to taste, but not empower the cancer that lies within it.

Hazel is a bookworm who struggles for every breath as her lungs burn craving oxygen and her cancer spreads throughout her body. She’s utterly entranced and swept off of her feet by Gus.

They are wonderfully flawed characters that are liberated by each other’s quirky habits, and you can tell that they are meant to be together. This makes it frustrating as Hazel doesn’t allow herself to completely indulge in Gus.

Her terminal illness makes her feel like a bomb to everyone around her, and she pushes Gus into “the friend zone” to protect him from the hurt she would cause him when her cancer wins.

I found myself relating to Hazel as I have had people come and go hurtfully from my life, but I cheered her on to give the poor boy a chance. Despite my utter frustration with Hazel’s self-control, watching Gus pine and woo her was probably the most beautiful part of the book (there were so many it’s hard to choose).

Hazel and Gus go on a worldly adventure together thanks to a “Make a Wish” like charity. Their journey provides beautiful moments that shine bright, sad moments that make you wonder and completely surreal moments which make this book, like a star, something we have yet to understand. Gus and Hazel truly grow together on their voyage.

I found this book something to enjoy reading and to enjoy mulling it over in my head for weeks. The literary analyst inside of me likes to summarize this story with a quote from another great English author:

“It is far greater to have loved and lost/Than never having loved at all.” –Alfred Tennyson.

The author, John Green, created an amazing experience for his readers. This book was highly anticipated since Green put videos on YouTube of his first two chapters, and signed all 150,000 pre-ordered books. Green has been on YouTube for more than five years and has created a community of viewers that consists of more than 641,000 subscribers who call themselves Nerdfighters.

This book means a lot to Nerdfighteria (the virtual land of Nerdfighters) because they experienced cancer first hand when Green’s fan and fellow YouTuber Ester Earl died of cancer in August 2010. She has a dedication in “The Fault in Our Stars” and Green says that writing this book would not have been possible without Ester. Green and the Nerdfighters have raised money for Ester’s charity, “This Star Won’t Go Out.”

Green can be found at www.youtube.com/vlogbrothers.

 

I think it deserves: Five out of five stars

The Puyallup Post is the award-winning student news of Pierce College Puyallup in Puyallup, Washington. Copyright The Puyallup Post 2017. Twitter/Instagram @puyalluppost

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Book review: The Fault in our Stars

by Genevieve Huard time to read: 3 min
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