Book Review: The Fault in Our Stars by John Green


Title:                  The Fault in Our Stars
Author:             John Green
Format:             Hardcover
Price:                  PHP 695.00
Read Date:      21 January 2012

Synopsis (From Goodreads):
Diagnosed with Stage IV thyroid cancer at 12, Hazel was prepared to die until, at 14, a medical miracle shrunk the tumours in her lungs… for now.

Two years post-miracle, sixteen-year-old Hazel is post-everything else, too; post-high school, post-friends and post-normalcy. And even though she could live for a long time (whatever that means), Hazel lives tethered to an oxygen tank, the tumours tenuously kept at bay with a constant chemical assault.

Enter Augustus Waters. A match made at cancer kid support group, Augustus is gorgeous, in remission, and shockingly to her, interested in Hazel. Being with Augustus is both an unexpected destination and a long-needed journey, pushing Hazel to re-examine how sickness and health, life and death, will define her and the legacy that everyone leaves behind.

Review In A Nutshell:
The Fault in Our Stars is a beautifully written love story, the kind that makes you feel warm all over and never get tired of reading, even if you end up emptying another box of tissue.

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Why, man, he doth bestride the narrow world
Like a Colossus; and we petty men
Walk under his huge legs, and peep about
To find ourselves dishonourable graves.
Men at some time are masters of their fates:
The fault, dear Brutus, is not in our stars,
But in ourselves, that we are underlings.

– Julius Ceasar by William Shakespeare
(Act 1, Scene 2)

This served as the inspiration for the title of the book.

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I discovered John Green last year, 24 September 2011, when I bought An Abundance of Katherines out of yearning to diversify my reading plate.  Since then, I’ve read that as well as Paper Towns and Zombicorns.  I fell in love with his writing style enough for him to become one of those authors on my “must-buy, must-read” list.  Thus, it wouldn’t be surprising for me to pick-up a copy of The Fault in Our Stars as soon as it was released in the country.

The Fault in Our Stars is told from the perspective of Hazel Grace Lancaster, a 16-year old teenager, living with Stage IV Thyroid cancer who exhibited clinical depression 2 years after receiving medical care that prevented her tumors from metastasizing.  A recommendation to join a cancer support group led her to meet Augustus Waters, an ex-basketball player with an amputated leg resulting from a “touch of osteosarcoma” (bone cancer).  Since then, the two share a special friendship with adventures that take them as far as Amsterdam, and discover how meaningful life is despite dealing with the hard and painful side-effects of cancer, or dying.

Reading the synopsis may leave you feel depressed; after all, it does feature teenagers dealing with cancer.  In a way, it is so because The Fault in Our Stars never shied from detailing the struggles of its main characters: Hazel having to always carry her portable oxygen tank or Augustus being unable to drive well given his artificial leg.  Operations, sickbeds, doctors and bodily fluids are told in a nonchalant, almost normal manner.  However, The Fault in Our Stars, at its core, is a beautifully written love story;  it has movie and dinner dates, long phone calls, emails and text messages.  The love shared by Hazel and Augustus is the kind that makes you feel warm all over and never get tired of reading, even if you end up emptying another box of tissue.

Of all his books I’ve read so far, The Fault in Our Stars is perhaps my favorite: I had a hard time putting it down (since I only read when I commute) and it took me around 3 days collectively to finish it (the others, about 14 days at most).  While my reading experience felt like a breeze, its impact was beyond words.  I was greatly reminded about a lot of things: that pain indeed needs to be felt and that simple pleasures enjoyed by those of good health should be cherished and not taken for granted, or much worse, abused.

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My Rating:
5 out of 5 stars (It was really amazing!)

My Two Cents:
Buy it.  It is seriously one of the best YA fiction I’ve ever read.  And it’s definitely worth every peso since John Green signed (yes, signed!) all first print copies of the book.  As proof, here’s a snapshot of my copy:

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Favorite Quotes:
“And if the inevitability of human oblivion worries you, I encourage you to ignore it. God knows that’s what everyone else does.”
– Hazel Grace Lancaster, p. 13

“That’s the thing about pain. It demands to be felt.”
– Augustus Waters, p. 63

“You are so busy being you that you have no idea how utterly unprecedented you are.”
– Augustus Waters, p. 123

“It would be a privilege to have my heart broken by you.”
– Augustus Waters, p. 176

“All representations of a thing are inherently abstract.”
– Hazel Grace Lancaster, p. 178

“But, Gus, my love, I cannot tell you how thankful I am for our little infinity. I wouldn’t trade it for the world. You gave me a forever within the numbered days, and I’m grateful.”
– Hazel Grace Lancaster, p. 260

“You don’t get to choose if you get hurt in this world, but you do have some say in who hurts you. I like my choices. I hope she likes hers.”
– Augustus Waters, p. 313

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Other Reviews:
– The Tenacity of Hope by Natalie Standiford (New York Times)
– ‘The Fault In Our Stars’: Love In A Time Of Cancer by Rachel Syme (NPR)

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4 responses to “Book Review: The Fault in Our Stars by John Green

  1. Pingback: Philippines news: 12 recommended reads from 2012 | Pinas news library

  2. Pingback: 12 recommended reads from 2012 | News| Celebrity News | Philippine News | Tagalog Movies

  3. Saan mo nabili yung book?

    • Hi Mary,

      You can go to any local bookstore to purchase a copy. But I got my signed version from Fully Booked when it was first released in the country. Hope this helps. 🙂

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