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This heart-wrenchingly beautiful novel about a teenage girl and boy who meet at a cancer support center has already won emotional accolades from readers and reviewers.
Winner of the 2013 Children's Choice Teen Book of the Year Award
This heart-wrenchingly beautiful novel about a teenage girl and boy who meet at a cancer support center has already won emotional accolades from readers and reviewers.
At the end of the first chapter of The Fault in Our Stars, I was literally laughing out loud over a joke about the "incorrect use of literality," shared between two cancer kids — one terminal, one in remission — shortly after a scene in which the two bond over one's philosophical answer to the other's stated "fear of oblivion" and both learn that a third friend is about to lose a second eye to cancer.
Hazel Lancaster, sixteen, has incurable thyroid cancer, with an "impressive and long-settled colony" of cancer cells in her lungs, but to Augustus Waters — mahogany hair, "aggressively bad posture," and a slight limp from a prosthetic leg nicknamed Prosty — she looks like "a millennial Natalie Portman." But what really brings them together is a joke about their Support Group director's well-intentioned prayer in which he describes the cancer-ridden children as "literally in the heart of Jesus."
"I thought we were in a church basement," says Augustus. "But we are literally in the heart of Jesus."
"Someone should tell Jesus," says Hazel. "I mean, it's got to be dangerous, storing children with cancer in your heart."
Three years (and one near-death experience) removed from high school, Hazel knows she will die soon, and this certainty has shrunk her world to her three best friends: her two parents and Peter van Houten, the reclusive author of her favorite book, An Imperial Affliction. To do otherwise, she feels, is to become a human "grenade" — the fewer people who love her now, the fewer lives she will shatter when she inevitably goes. But Augustus has other ideas, and soon the two are on an international quest to Amsterdam — oxygen tank, Prosty, and parental chaperon in tow — to meet van Houten himself.
Hazel's beguiling voice is utterly believable as a thoughtful, prematurely somber teenager who borrows from Shakespeare, Eliot, Dickinson, Anne Frank, and the fictional van Houten in telling the story of a romance of "the young and irreparably broken." But it's the crackling humor between the two lovers that makes them most human. "You have a choice in this world," says Hazel, "about how to tell sad stories, and we made the funny choice." This book, already a bestseller, is every bit as good as its reputation and easily one of the best of this or any other year.
Amy Benfer has worked as an editor and staff writer at Salon, Legal Affairs, and Paper magazine. Her reviews and features on books have appeared in Salon, The San Francisco Chronicle Book Review, The Believer, Kirkus Reviews, and The New York Times Book Review.
Reviewer: Amy Benfer
Posted January 10, 2012
Let's face it: Cancer is a popular topic among the literary world, both in fiction and non-fiction. For years, authors have penned the tumultuous lives of those affected by cancer, as well as the lives of those who know people with cancer. I have been following Green's work for several years now, and I have been consistently impressed with the work he has done. However, his previous novels have always fallen short of excellence, something that has changed with the Young Adult author's newest outing. The Fault in Our Stars is wonderful. Plain and simple. Too often "cancer books" are downtrodden with overemotional drama that saturates the reading experience with misery. Fortunately, this book changes that. The tone of the book is primarily humorous, as is Green's specialty, and does not dwell excessively on drama. That does not mean, however, that the severity of the characters' situation is ignored. Rather, the cancer is more of a supporting character, always hovering around our narrator, but never entirely interfering with the flow of the story. The cancer simply exists, and while it makes itself known, it does not do so loudly. This offers a nice change of pace for those accustomed to the achingly detailed books about cancer and hospice they might have read in the past. Most importantly, the characters are not the wise and all-knowing cancer kids that is common in many stories of young people suffering with the disease. They offer their perspective, but they are scarcely blatant about it. Hazel, our narrator, offers often amusing observations about the world she lives in as well as the situation she has found herself in, but she is not and does not claim to be an all-knowing book of infinite knowledge. The same is to be said about Gus, our heroic best friend. While the story lacks extravagance, that doesn't stop it from becoming one of the best novels I've read in recent memory. It is a stubborn little book, and will not be easily forgotten like so many other books lining the bookshelves of the present. The prose is quiet and minimal, while still retaining a sort of muted beauty. The dialogue is sharp and witty. The characters are well-drawn out, and you might even find yourself wanting to hug the venerable (and fictional) author Peter Van Houten by the end of the book. In conclusion: Whether you have enjoyed Green's previous works or are familiar with his on-going YouTube phenomenon, you will certainly enjoy The Fault in Our Stars. It's a fantastic book filled with fantastic characters, and is written by a fantastic author. This is destined to be one of the best books of the year, and should not be missed.
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This book is not only for the young set. There is great benefit to all who read this. It’s not only about two teens battling cancer; it’s about a lesson to all of us to live our lives every day, every minute. We should be thankful for this time especially if we are lucky enough to find love and be capable of giving. This story is beautiful, funny, heartbreaking and poignant. Gus and Hazel made me laugh, cry, laugh all over again, and cry yet again. I’m still crying!
187 out of 200 people found this review helpful.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted April 22, 2012
I prolonged reading this one. I knew it was going to be good - not only because of the rave reviews I'd been hearing, but also because the subject matter was a tough one to tackle. And yet, I let it sit in my TBR pile for three months, while I stalled and read other books.
cancer touches many lives, and everyone deals with it differently. cancer touched my life in June of 2006, when my mom was diagnosed with late-stage hepatocellular carcinoma (cancer of the liver). It was predicted she'd have anywhere between four to six months, and that was with all the surgeries, chemo, and whatever else they could throw her way. Proving the doctors wrong and opting out of all Western medicines and treatments, she gave us four wonderful years.
In exactly two weeks from today, it will have been two years since my mom passed away. And maybe it's the timing, that caused me to finally pick up THE FAULT IN OUR STARS and start reading the first page of a book, I secretly think I'd been dreading to read all-together.
But what I found amongst those pages, was an exceptional story - and while beautifully written, it was tremendously bittersweet. Anyone who has had even a glimpse into this devastating disease, can completely relate to how raw and heartbreaking this journey truly was.
The relationship between Hazel and Augustus from start to finish, was nothing short of believable - full of emotion, yet flavored throughout with well-timed humor, as the two made their way through such unfortunate circumstances. Neither of them gave credit to their cancer - it simply was what it was, and they both dealt with the hand they were given, in the best way they knew how.
You may have noticed (or not?) that I didn't capitalize the c in the word cancer, anywhere above - and that's because I don't believe it deserves that kind of credit or attention. One day we'll figure out how this horrible disease takes over the human body, metastasizes throughout, and ultimately, takes the ones we love. And we'll stop it. Until then, it's exceptional books like THE FAULT IN OUR STARS that makes you realize, it doesn't matter who you are or what your age is, in the end, cancer affects us all.
John Green is a master at story-telling; a true artist in the way he delivered a journey that could have gone in a non-favorable direction, all too easily. A FAULT IN OUR STARS was an excellent read and a favorite YA contemporary for me - this is one I highly recommend to everyone.
152 out of 167 people found this review helpful.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted June 29, 2011
Dear John Green,
Thank you so much for writing another book.
This will be amazing.
Sorry this is not an "actual" review.
136 out of 355 people found this review helpful.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted January 12, 2012
i just finished this book. it was beautiful, amazing, wonderful, laugh-out-loud hilarious, sobbing-into-a-pillow sad, and just passed harry potter as my favorite book of all time. throughout the whole book i had this aching in my gut like i was being punched repeatedly. there were times that i was crying from laughter, and there were times i was sobbing from sadness. this was john green's best book by far and will be read and analyzed in english classes for years to come. DFTBA.
105 out of 115 people found this review helpful.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted July 3, 2011
John, I love you. And that sounds very cliche and fangirlish, so I apologize. It's been amazing being a part of the insanity and brilliance that is Nerdfighteria, and as a bibliophile and lover of all things involving paper and ink, I so look forward to this book. Counting the days, John, counting the days... For now, DFTBA. Keep writing and inspiring us all, as well as making us laugh. :) You rock, John! -Erin, the hopeless nerdfighter.
63 out of 106 people found this review helpful.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted May 27, 2012
TFIOS is my absolute favorite book, ever, and I am going to TRY and explain why.
A few months ago, I saved up money from Christmas and my birthday to buy books. Lots and lots of books, for me to read on my nook, that i also saved up for. The number 1 item on that list was TFIOS, only because I love the Vlogbrothers, not because I thought this was going to be some life-changing, epic read.
So, i bought the book and my new nook. That day, i read the Lorien Legacies Series and finished The Hunger Games on the next. I saved TFIOS for a very unassuming Tuesday, a week or so after my raid of Barnes and Noble.
Since 2nd grade, I have always wanted to become and author. I wrote stories on these little booklets i made of paper, and my friend colored them in. However, being in 8th grade, people you meet have a habit of asking the same annoying question: What do you want to be when you grow up? People said authors didn't make any money, its a hard field, whatever. Anyways, I definitely started thinking that I would have to find a new aspiration. But then, I read The Fault In Our Stars. That Tuesday, I had Glee Club practice until 5, and I had dinner at my neighbors home, once you factor in homework, i was not free until 8:30 or so. My neighbor was still over, drawing pictures of a character in my own stories, when i finally picked IT up. Needless to say, IT was amazing, and I kicked my neighbor out ( sorry Tulsi!). That was when i read TFIOS. I cried. I laughed. I called my mom at nearly two in the morning, admits crazy tears, to tell her that i loved her. The next day, I fell asleep in class, and I dreamed of my heavenly boyfriend of TFIOS, Augustus Waters. I couldn't explain to my friends why the book was so amazing. It simply wasn't enough to call it the best YA novel i'd ever read. TFIOS was beautiful. I wanted everyone to know how beautiful it was. But, I didn't want anyone to read it. I felt like my friends wouldn't GET it. I felt like it was mine. All of my, very un-literary, friends decided that they too would read TFIOS. i cringed inside. NOOOO! This book was too beautiful for them to butcher and not understand. I felt like my friends, as wonderful as they are, would not understand the complexity in the book. Like they would not understand it, and that they would read it but not see the value of every word. It is one of those books where i feel like, either everyone needs to cry over it because they are mature and smart enough to get it, or no one should read it at all, besides me of course! Anyways, I can't explain enough how wonderful this book really is. You should most definitely read it if you haven't, and please understand how meaningful and beautiful it really is, or else don't read it at all, because then i will shudder inside to think that you didn't appreciate it.
Hazel of my head, I just want you to know that I too would have been driven nuts wondering where the poor hamster went.
50 out of 63 people found this review helpful.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted January 16, 2012
I swear, if John Green were currently 16 I would confess eternal love to him. However, in the mindset of not appearing stalker-esque, I will simply state that he brilliantly captures the wittiness of life embodied through well-developed (and perhaps overestimatedly brillant) characters. It was truly a work of art. DFTBA! :)
48 out of 65 people found this review helpful.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted January 12, 2012
Ever since I first started watching vlogbrothers videos, I was completely enamored by John Green. I read all his previous books and absolutely loved them! I borrowed my sister's copy of TFiOS once she was done and I could not put it down. I literally did nothing but read. It took me about 6 hours to read. I have never cried so hard in my life, and despite its downs, this book has an equal part of ups. I can't think of a book more appropriate to recommend, to anyone. This is a seriously perfect book and there was not fault in this star. :)
37 out of 49 people found this review helpful.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted August 29, 2011
Its JOHN GREEN. I MUST HAVE IT.
If you haven't read any of John Greens books, heres all you have to know:
THEY ARE AWESOME.
John Green is more commonly know as one of the two 'vlogbrothers' from youtube. If you want further reason to buy this, go check out their channel.
I have yet to find a book of his that I haven't thoroughly enjoyed. An Abundance of Katherines, Looking for Alaska, and Paper Towns... They all were just so well written and made you never want to stop reading.
The first book of his you should read? Paper Towns or Looking for Alaska.
The second book? Paper Towns or Looking for Alaska.
The third book? An Abundance of Katherines.
The fourth book? THIS ONE.
Why is this one the fourth one?
IT HASN'T BEEN RELEASED YET. You should be reading all the other ones while you wait for this one to come out.
I can see it now... Pure genius.
35 out of 60 people found this review helpful.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted January 25, 2012
As a middle school teacher, 8th grade, I am always reading and searching for outstanding YA books to share with my students. The way Mr. Green writes is so enthralling that you are hooked after the 1st sentence. I love that his books appeal to boys and girls alike.
The Fault in Our Stars is yet another outstanding read. Once i started I couldn't stop and read it from cover to cover in one sitting! Believe me, you will do the same!
Thank you Mr. Green for another story I can recommend and share with my students!!
32 out of 35 people found this review helpful.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted July 25, 2012
This is coming from a guy: I have never realized I was still able to cry like a 2-year-old. Hence, this book is insanely good. So do read this.
29 out of 32 people found this review helpful.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted February 2, 2012
I am truly puzzled by the consistent 5 star ratings on this book. Perhaps I am not familiar with Green's writing, but I found it both difficult and annoying to read such unintelligible dialogue, such as the obnoxious overusage of the word 'whatever,' mixed with the polar-opposite of far too advanced vocabulary of his 16 and 17 year old characters. I kept revisiting with the feeling that they were walking and talking dictionaries who would sometimes relapse into a state of stupor. It is this factor that made this book honestly hard for me to read. However, putting that aside, the book did have some amazing and epiphanous moments.
22 out of 72 people found this review helpful.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted July 2, 2011
Dear John (haha, punny)
I am VERY excited to get your new book! I'm pre ordering NOW *clicks button* so I can get my signed copy.
~A loving NerdFighter
22 out of 49 people found this review helpful.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted July 20, 2011
Posted March 13, 2013
Five years ago i was lonely. I met my best fiend "ben". Ben helped me get through the horror of fourth grade. In the beginning of fifth grade, Ben was diagnosed with stage four lung cancer. I was heartbroken. Every day I would bring him homework and we would talk and talk. Two months after his diagnosis Ben died in his sleep. I was lost. I cried for days and days. My parents didnt know what to do with me. His funeral was probably the hardest thing i have ever gone through. 5 days after the funeral I got a call from his mother saying he d left me a note. It simply said I Love You. This struck me as an amazing emotiin from a ten year old boy.
Thank you, Mr. Green for bringing Ben back to life for me. This is truly the story ofsomeone who died too young.
12 out of 14 people found this review helpful.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted January 11, 2012
I read the book cover to cover on the day I got it, and it was amazing! I just couldn't seem to put it down once I started to read it. Congratulations to John Green for writing what will undoubtedly be the best book of 2012! If you want a book that will make you laugh the loudest, smile endlessly, and cry tears of sad happiness, get this one. I think it's safe to say that I now have a favorite book!
12 out of 17 people found this review helpful.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted September 15, 2011
it Is So great That after amazing Reads like katherines, paper Towns, And (especially To me) Alaska, that John green still has So Much More To write. There Is always Anticipation each Time He announces more amazing stories He has To tell. some authors Write A book And Do really well, But they then Cant live Up To It The Next time. john Green Is unique In That His first books Are remarkably meaningfuland well written, His compilation books With Other authors Are just As great. And Still his newest, the Fault In our Stars, does not fall short. i cannot Wait.
12 out of 18 people found this review helpful.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.