Monday, 16 January 2012
Review: The Fault in Our Stars
Author: John Green
Publication Date: January 10th, 2012
Genre: YA, Realistic Fiction
When Hazel Lancaster was thirteen she was diagnosed with stage IV thyroid cancer, but a miracle and a new drug have bought her some time. However, she still has tumors in her lungs and uses an oxygen tank to help her breath. Now sixteen, Hazel’s best friends are her parents and her greatest obsession is a book called An Imperial Affliction by Peter Van Houten. When Hazel is introduced to Augustus Waters, an amputee who has Osteosarcoma, she realizes that she has become the disease. Augustus is beautiful and interested in Hazel, and he soon comes to share her love for An Imperial Affliction. But when Hazels feels like a bomb about to go off, how can she possibly become close to another person? When Hazel and Augustus are given the chance to visit Van Houten to learn how their favourite book ended, they try and have bit of forever even if there time together might be limited.
What a book! It’s been a few days since I finished, but I’m still not sure exactly how to describe The Fault in Our Stars. I’ve loved all of John Green’s previous books, and with all the hype surrounding his latest it would make sense for it to not live up to anyone’s expectations. I went to the New York book signing and started this book while waiting in line to see John and Hank, and finished it in my hotel room. Despite my excitement, this book managed to surpass any of my expectations. Some books I’ll finish and all I want to do is talk about them. Looking for Alaska is that type of book for me. The Fault in Our Stars is a difficult book for me to actually talk about, because reading it felt like such an emotional (and therefore personal) experience. It’s not exactly like how Hazel feels about An Imperial Affliction, since I can’t relate to Hazel: I’m perfectly healthy and don’t understand what she is going through. This book focuses on the fleetingness of life and how many people want to make their lives and their deaths mean something. I love the themes and the writing, but the characters took the cake. I still can’t stop thinking about them, and I think it’s been a very long time since characters have affected me so much. This is the kind of book that actually makes me hurt, but I just loved it so much. Not only is it my favourite by far of John Green’s books, I’d say it’s tied with The Book Thief for my favourite YA book. The common criticisms of his books are that they are all very similar, but this definitely doesn’t apply for The Fault in Our Stars. The fact that Hazel is a girl is the smallest difference from the other books. You might think that a man writing from a teenage girl’s perspective wouldn’t work very well, but Hazel actually reminded me a lot of a friend in high school. Often books can portray an unrealistic male love interest, but Augustus was wonderful while still being flawed and real. While Looking for Alaska, An Abundance of Katherines and Paper Towns all had well planned out plots, The Fault in Our Stars didn’t have such a strict plotline. It didn’t have as much humour or the epic adventures featured in the other books. While I wouldn’t describe his other books as love stories, that would be the best way to describe The Fault in Our Stars. It was certainly an emotional read, and it needs to be read when you have time to essentially read it straight through, since it was so difficult to put down. I’ve always loved the title, which was of course taken from Shakespeare’s Julius Caesar. I liked the cover well enough from the start, but it looks so beautiful in person. After reading the book, I appreciate the cover even more. The Fault in Our Stars was certainly John Green at his best, and fans of his earlier books will fall in love with this achingly beautiful love story.
“I'm in love with you, and I know that love is just a shout into the void, and that oblivion is inevitable, and that we're all doomed and that there will come a day when all our labor has been returned to dust, and I know the sun will swallow the only earth we'll ever have, and I am in love with you.”