John Green’s Fault in Our Stars is a novel about the amiable Hazel Grace Lancaster, a sixteen year old girl in Indianapolis battling thyroid cancer. She struggles to enjoy and find meaning in life while continuously fighting for her life. Because her mother thinks that she is depressed, she attends a cancer support group. There Hazel meets Augustus Waters, a boy who survived osteosarcoma. Hazel distances herself from relationships with others, knowing her death will ultimately hurt them, until she falls in love with Augustus.
Augustus, or Gus, and Hazel desire to embark on a journey to Amsterdam. Her parents and doctors do not think Hazel is strong enough. Dr. Maria, her primary doctor is empathetic, convinces Hazel’s parents that she must live her life. Her parents finally agree to the trip.
On their trip, Hazel and Augustus discover that his cancer has returned and his health deteriorates. When they return home to Indianapolis, Hazel stops calling him Augustus and starts referring to him as Gus, like his parents. This indicates that Hazel truly loves him even in this difficult situation and continues to stay by his side. The novel highlights issues of Love, Death, Fairness that resonates with the reader.
Fault in Our Stars is narrated by Hazel Lancaster in the first person, allowing the readers to feel as if they are friends having known Hazel for some time. One is able to connect with Hazel through her humor and the attachment to her story. Aside from Hazel’s cancer, she and the other characters are typical relatable teens with authentic emotions. The book portrays an underlying feeling of sadness and fulfillment. In the beginning of the novel, Hazel is in the mall and a little girl comes up to her and asks what's in her nose, Hazel kindly replies in a soothing tone and lets the girl try out her oxygen. Later she dwells on the fact that the girl didn't know any better. I found this part of the novel realistic because it shows how asking someone about their situation is not a bad thing if it it is done in an innocent way.
Hazel and Gus bond over their favorite books and authors including Peter Van Houten, the author of An Imperial Affliction. After reading it Hazel and Augustus the author and later learn he is a “verbose, self-assertive drunkard who pretentiously deflects emotion, intellectualism, and cruelty”. Then tragedy strikes Gus, Hazel reads a letter from Gus to Peter Van Houten in which Gus writes “I got my wish, I suppose. I left my scar.” At first, this quotation points at Augustus’s desire to be remembered after his death. He left his “scar” on
Hazel, suggesting that his love won’t disappear with his death. I found this section intense and rich because after a heartfelt novel full of worries, this quote reassures the readers that even after tragedy one will never be forgotten. I feel that the book allows readers to understand life through Hazel’s eyes giving us the ability to empathize and sympathize.
Hazel struggles to enjoy and find meaning in life while facing terminal cancer. She continuously fights for her life, us to understand how persevering through difficult situations is important. This book demonstrates the characters’ love for each other and how important it is to be able to care for one another.
I recommend this novel to young adults because it is a sincere novel with ups and downs of daily life, teaching us life and love.
Fault in Our Stars by John Green. Dutton Books, 2012. Buy the book here and support Stone Soup in the process!
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