Review of ‘The Fault in Our Stars’ by John Green

Why did I put off reading this YA novel for so long? Maybe because I’m suspicious of books which top the bestseller charts. I don’t want to be disappointed when it turns out they don’t justify the hype. But… if you haven’t read this, for the very same reason, then I say go for it.

First published in 2012, John Green’s sixth novel is basically a romance, but different from any other romance I’ve read. Hazel Grace Lancaster and Augustus Waters meet at a young people’s cancer support group in Indiana. Hazel (who narrates the story) is charmed by his wit and somewhat eccentric nature. She doesn’t think that romance is for her – after all, she has a terminal illness and wheels an oxygen canister around – but Augustus is really interested in her and says she’s beautiful. She’s attracted to him too, and doesn’t mind that he has lost a leg to cancer. She introduces him to her favourite book (which is also narrated by a girl with cancer) and together they hatch a mission to find out some answers about the story from the author, Peter Van Houten.

I already suspected there would be no conventionally happy ending to this novel. It’s realistic, exploring how teens and their parents cope with the certainty that young lives will be cut short, just when the adventures of adulthood should be beginning. The focus, however, is on the relationship between Hazel and Augustus, and also how people with cancer are stereotyped as ‘heroes’, ‘fighters’, ‘survivors’ and (in Hazel’s words) ‘professional cancer sufferers’ at the expense of their individualities. In a way this book is a celebration of life, despite its preoccupation with dying. Hazel finds true love when she is least expecting it and for the moment there is happiness. And I have to mention the dark humour of the characters. Humour is a very human way of coping with situations and the teens shock people around them by laughing at cancer, at their failing organs, at the process of dying. There is nothing they can do about dying… but they can laugh, and they can love.

This book is character-driven and the likeable narrative style holds up the story. In the wrong hands, it could’ve turned out sentimental, grandly tragic rather than bittersweet. I’m so impressed by John Green’s talent and will definitely read more of his books.

33 thoughts on “Review of ‘The Fault in Our Stars’ by John Green”

    1. Thank you Lydia! No, I haven’t seen the film – I prefer to read a book before watching the film based on it. So now I can see the film πŸ™‚

  1. I really appreciate your reviews, it makes me feel like book reading is achieveable dispite learning difficulties & you express your views so well that it’s easy to read your writting 😊

    I’ve seen the movie a few times and I resonate with it because it’s so close to home with the main characters storyline. Had the book version in my wishlist for so long, would like to experience the difference in the written or audio version if they have one xx

    1. Thanks so much Laura πŸ™‚
      If you like the movie version then I’m sure you’d like the book too. There are a few philosophical bits in it, which went over my head… but it’s definitely worth making the effort to read/listen to this book.

        1. I’ve just searched and seen that there’s a study guide book that actually helps to understand The Fault in Our Stars book. The guide is written by Robert Crayola… might get the guide just in case πŸ˜‚

  2. What a wonderful review! A teen once spoiled the story for me, although she told me about the movie not the book. I’m glad you enjoyed the book. I’m still careful about romance (AND YA!), I really don’t see how it can work for me. But I trust you and I’ll think about this book more. At least I’ll know it’s not overly sentimental. ☺️

    1. Thanks so much! Oh dear, sorry the story was spoiled for you. I think you might like the book – you may find a tear in your eye by the end, but there’s definitely nothing slushy or sweet about it. I think a wider range of people can read it, not just those who are into YA πŸ™‚

      1. Ok, just because it’s you who said it, I’ll keep the book in my mind and read it when I’m on the mood for something kind and possibly tear-provoking ☺️

  3. I loved this book, and then I watched the film and I felt it did do it some justice but with some things tweaked as you expected. I had to have a lot of tissues with this book! lol

    1. I also had tissues out… but I have a cold too, LOL. I really liked how, although it was sad, it wasn’t sentimental. Thanks for your comment! πŸ™‚

    1. Thank you! Yeah maybe not a book to read on your way to work as you’d be thinking about it all day πŸ™‚

    1. Thanks for your comment! πŸ™‚
      I was definitely charmed by John Green – if you’ve read any of his others, which one do you recommend I read next?

      1. I have read Turtles All The Way Down, which is an utterly brilliant five-star read and I couldn’t recommend it enough! I have also read An Abundance of Katherines, which was a fun read but a too predictable.

  4. I bought this book recently, but also keep putting it off, cuz “omg, it’s so depressing”… πŸ˜€

    Great review! I’m glad you enjoyed it πŸ™‚

    1. Actually it’s not one of the most depressing books I’ve read, it made me thoughtful though.
      Thanks for your comment πŸ™‚

    1. I know, they seemed slightly unrealistically clever but maybe their experience of serious illness matured them πŸ™‚

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