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Customer Reviews

4.7 out of 5 stars
The Fault in Our Stars
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on April 9, 2013
I am not quite finished with the book, but so far, I think it is very well written. It covers a topic that is difficult to talk about and is often avoided. It has been challenging for me to get through; however, I feel like I should add my perspective. I was diagnosed with cancer at 10. I am now 15 years old and a teen-age cancer survivor. I am a volunteer and advocate for pediatric cancer awareness.

This book has gotten negative reviews based on several points:
1) This is from another reviewer: "The characters are not believable. They do not speak like teenagers. They do not even handle situations like teenagers do. So many interactions between Gus and Hazel are interactions which, plain and simple, just would not happen between real, emotional, scared, awkward, virgin teenagers, let alone ones with cancer who have been socially cut off for much of their lives."

*My point-of-view: Have you spent time with any of us? They are believable as teen-age cancer patients/survivors. We may look like teen-agers, but in our heads, we are not. We have had to face our own mortality and make choices we should never have to make. It makes us grow up...quickly. Most of us do not act or speak like teen-agers because that is no longer how we think. After treatment, many of us find the things most teens (and sometimes adults) are worried about are trivial. Society cuts us off, but we are not cut off from each other. These types of interactions do happen. And, it is emotional and scary, but we learn to tell it like it is, without the normal fluff and awkwardness. We find 'normal' where we can and try to live every single day we have because we know that time is an illusion.

2) The parents are not real, not deep characters, and they do not have their own identities.

*My point-of-view: I have seen my own parents (and siblings) and the parents of other friends struggle with this. Many times, they do not have their own identities anymore. Every single minute is spent trying to make it to the next! They try to keep the family together and functioning, in spite of the effects of treatment, fevers and midnight trips to the emergency room, 3 weeks of the month spent in isolation, jobs in jeopardy, birthdays and holidays interrupted, not to mention talks that parents never want to have with their child. I've talked to my mom about this. This becomes their identity. My mom said their jobs become about doing whatever it takes, travelling all over the country (which is very common), researching new studies, and new medicines, all to help us survive and thrive with grace and dignity. It is also their job to prepare, if treatments don't work, to help us die with just as much grace and dignity.

I hope everyone can read this with an open mind and an open heart. Then, reach out to the patients and survivors in your communities. They are wise beyond their years, funny, brave and inspiring.
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on July 25, 2016
The best stories are about memory.

The Fault in Our Stars by John Green is quite possibly the best standalone novel I have ever read and is certainly the most phenomenal book I’ve had the privilege to experience in the year 2013. It is my third favorite story and favorite non-fantasy novel. The title comes from Shakespeare’s Julius Caesar, and it sets the perfect tone for this story written in the first person by Hazel, a sixteen year old girl in the regressive stage of lung cancer who nevertheless is required to cart around an oxygen tank because (as she so perfectly puts it) her “lungs suck at being lungs.” Her mother forces her to go to a cancer patient/survivor group where she proceeds to exercise her considerable teenage snark and wit along with her friend Isaac who is suffering from a type of cancer that eventually requires the removal of an eye.

One day Hazel catches the attention of a boy named Augustus and their romance is as breathtaking and expedient as it is completely genuine and uncontrived. Augustus has recovered from bone cancer that left him with a prosthetic leg, but did nothing to diminish his spirit. She can scarcely believe he’s as perfect as he projects and indeed feels as though she’s found his hamartia or fatal flaw when he puts a cigarette in his mouth. Hazel is of course livid that anyone who survived cancer would willingly place themselves into its way again, but Augustus never lights them using the act as a metaphor of having “the killing thing right between your teeth, but you not giving it the power to do its killing.”

Both of them together have enough wit and snark to drown the world in metaphors and sarcasm with just the barest dash of bitterness for their plight. Hazel whom Augustus calls “Hazel Grace” for most of the novel feels incredibly guilty that she’s allowed Augustus to fall for her as she and her family expect her cancer to return full force at any moment, and yet their relationship parallels the ever moving train of her mortality. So much so that Hazel shares with him that her favorite book is a story by the reclusive author Peter Van Houten called An Imperial Affliction.

“My favorite book, by a wide margin, was An Imperial Affliction, but I didn’t like to tell people about it. Sometimes, you read a book and it fills you with this weird evangelical zeal, and you become convinced that the shattered world will never be put back together unless and until all living humans read the book. And then there are books like An Imperial Affliction, which you can’t tell people about, books so special and rare and yours that advertising that affections feels like a betrayal.”

Van Houten’s work is very meta to the larger story at hand being about a girl named Anna who suffers from cancer and her one-eyed mother who grows tulips. But Hazel makes it very clear that this is not a cancer book in the same way that The Fault in Our Stars is not a cancer book. Anna grows progressively sicker and her mother falls in love with a Dutch Tulip Man who has a great deal of money and exotic ideas about how to treat Anna’s cancer, but just when the DTM and Anna’s mom are about to possibly get married and Anna is about to start a new treatment, the book ends right in the middle of a-


This drives Hazel and eventually Augustus up the wall to not know what happened to everyone from Anna’s hamster Sisyphus to Anna herself. Hazel assumes that Anna became too sick to continue writing (the assumption being that her story was first person just as Hazel’s is), but for Van Houten to not have finished it seems like the ultimate literary betrayal.

As terrified as Hazel was to share this joy with Augustus (and god knows I understand that feeling) it was the best thing she could’ve done because they now share the obsession and the insistence that the characters deserve an ending.

The conversations of Hazel and Augustus are not typical teenage conversations, but they’re not typical teenagers. Mortality flavors all of their discussions and leads to elegance such as

“The tales of our exploits will survive as long as the human voice itself. And even after that, when the robots recall the human absurdities of sacrifice and compassion, they will remember us.”

They speak of memory and calculate how there are fourteen dead people for everyone alive and realize that remembering fourteen people isn’t that difficult. We could all do that if we tried that way no one has to be forgotten. But will we then fight over who we are allowed to remember? Or will the fourteen just be added to those we can never forget? They read each other the poetry of T.S Eliot, the haunting lines of Prufrock,

“We have lingered in the chambers of the sea
By sea-girls wreathed with seaweed red and brown
Til human voices wake us, and we drown.”

And as Augustus reads Hazel her favorite book she

“…fell in love the way you fall asleep: slowly, and then all at once.”

The quotes from this story are among the most poignant and beautiful I have ever seen.

“Grief does not change you, Hazel. It reveals you.”

“There will come a time when all of us are dead. All of us. There will come a time when there are no human beings remaining to remember that anyone ever existed or that our species ever did anything. There will be no one left to remember Aristotle or Cleopatra, let alone you. Everything that we did and built and wrote and thought and discovered will be forgotten and all of this will have been for naught. Maybe that time is coming soon and maybe it is millions of years away, but even if we survive the collapse of our sun, we will not survive forever. There was time before organisms experienced consciousness, and there will be time after. And if the inevitability of human oblivion worries you, I encourage you to ignore it. God knows that’s what everyone else does.”

When I finished this I thought to myself, “How am I going to read anything else? How will I find something to match this? How can I pick up another book and not expect it to resonate with this haunting beauty, this tragedy ringed with comic teenage snark and tones that are themselves tragic in their sarcasm like whistling in the ninth circle of hell or laughing uproariously at the monster?” I realized I was lost. I could think of no negative critique unless you count the fact that the two main characters have Dawson’s Creek Syndrome where they’re teenagers who speak as if they were philosophers, but then again Bill Watterson did the same thing with a boy and a stuffed tiger.

You realize the story’s hamartia doesn’t matter. That the fact that the plot may be cliched is unimportant and that dwelling on such trivialities is in and of itself a fatal flaw. This story is so much more than the letters and words on each page. It’s the triumph of morning over night when the night grows ever longer. It’s the dream of hope when you’ve done nothing but dine on despair. It is sad? Yes. It is heartbreaking? More so. Is it worth reading? Has anything sad and heartbreaking not been worth reading? The story of Hazel and Augusts deserves to be read just as the story of Anna, her mother, and dear hamster Sisyphus deserves an ending, and that becomes their exploit to seek out reclusive Peter Van Houten so that the characters can be properly laid to rest and remembered.

The best stories are about memory.
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on January 13, 2012
Reading this book will possibly be one of the most masochistic things that you will ever do. This is because it is going to cause you real, visceral pain. You are going to cry. I say this as someone who never, ever cries at books, and yet this book brought me to tears. I don't know if I will ever be able to reread this, because it affected me so deeply the first time around that I don't know if I could handle another time. I think the closer you are to the issues in the book, the more it it is going to make you feel. This might be the only place that I would say to exercise caution, because this is not a book where all the problems and sadness are neatly wrapped up by the end. It ends on an incredibly satisfying note, but it is not a happy ending, and so if your life has been closely impacted by cancer at some point then this book might be a little too close to the issue, if this book had come out a couple of years ago I think I might not have been able to read it.

It's not all sadness, though. It also made me laugh out loud, and I got so incredibly invested in the characters that their futures were, for a brief time, intertwined with my own. I cared about what happened to them, on a level that most books can only hope to achieve. The prose is beautiful and incredibly intelligent, like John's other books you feel like you're learning something every time you turn the page. The characters are so witty and wonderful that I wish they really existed in my life.

I was a little bit wary going in, because of all the hype and the way the Nerdfighter community tends to place John's books on such a high pestle that it's amazing he can continuously top the previous ones. This one lives up to everything, though. I think it's his best one yet, because at the heart of everything it made me feel something, and that quality is one that not many other books have been able to attain. I feel emotionally tired after reading it, and it almost seems like it made me a better person on some level.

This book is going to change you. It's breathtaking and heartbreaking and desperately witty, all at the same time, and you should definitely read it. You'll come out of it a different person than when you started it.
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on August 22, 2016
This is, like the title says, the best book. Sure it had some profanity and being only 12 this was the first book that had content like that one part 67% through on page 206 in the hotel. (I really am trying to make this review spoiler free but it is so hard) this book was a good distraction from what was happening at the time. We had lived in the Midwest for 4 years and, because my dad is militarily, had to move to Hawaii. I had to leave all the friends I had made behind. I knew nobody and nobody knew me. This book was a really good distraction from the sadness of leaving all that you know behind and having to start all over. When I got to the sad part of the book, I was doing some late-night reading. We all shared a hotel room so I tried not to cry. It was hard. On the outside I kept a straight face, but on the inside I was bawling my eyes out. :°)
This was also one of the funniest books I'd ever read. I highlighted everything funny, so when I came beck to the book I can look through the notes and laugh till my chest hurts. The the storyline is pretty good, too.
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on June 12, 2016
The Fault in Our Stars by John Green isn't necessarily a literary classic, but that is not to say that you won't become emotionally invested. The main character Hazel is able to entertain you throughout her month or two journey in the book, but until Augustus Waters comes into play, the book seems like something that should probably be sold at a supermarket discount aisle.

Augustus brings life to the unfortunate situation of Hazel who has had cancer since her teens, and basically has been living an absentee life ever since. With his introduction comes introductions to love, true friendship, and even heartbreak, not all hers mind you.

The main issue with this book, is it doesn't seem to really get good until the end, and then the climax happens and it's over. Though it's good enough to keep you interested and reading, it doesn't capture you like a Perks of Being a Wallflower type book where you fall for damn near every character. It very much hits its highs when Augustus is around, and then drops and plateaus when he is absent. Not to say Hazel makes a bad lead, it's just she is like Batman or Louie on FX. It is her associates and how she interacts with them that keep her story interesting, not Hazel herself. She without the rest of them isn't worth the $10 or so dollars I paid for this.

Or rather, I should say: Without Augustus, Isaac, and their stories, this would probably be a boring book about a kid with cancer in which you could easily imagine seeing her fight to the very end. Luckily, as the character wanted, cancer isn't what fully defines Hazel and the rest of the characters we meet; instead, it drives the book forward and allows us to see past pity for people, not even 18, who have already had to fight for their lives and allows us to remember, even those we see as sickly were once considered well. And even if their bodies are sick, that doesn't mean they deserve to be treated as if they are incapable of having lives and making decisions. Cancer, and any ailment really, is just something they live with and just as you wish to follow your dreams and aspirations, so do they. The only difference between them and the currently un-sick is: they are more aware of their mortality.

Overall, though not the best book I've ever read, it was good enough for me to purchase a 2nd book by author John Green. The Fault in Our Stars may not be a literary classic which will surely become part of our children's or children's children's reading lists, but it remains to be a good read definitely worth spending time with during your commute or during your downtime.
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on November 18, 2016
My thoughts at 25%:
I'm so confused. Why is this book hilarious, with all its witty banter and thoughtful philosophy? Shouldn't I be crying over the depth of the subject matter? Shouldn't I be feeling broken by the abject loss of the power of death - the way it's so all-consuming and doesn't care who it touches or who it hurts? How is it that I keep smiling this delighted smile and laughing gleefully over the way these characters find joy in spite of their suffering? Maybe it's the irony of Hazel's cynicism, I don't know.

My thoughts at 50%:
Okay. The end of Chapter 10? I can't stop crying. Augustus is funny and smart and intellectually stimulating. He's quick and clever and patient and gentle. But he's also a little bit of a smartass and he's impossibly fun. It's brutally endearong, especially combined with Hazel's matter of fact personality, her acceptance of life as what it is and not what she wishes it was. My emotions are so raw right now ... I need a break from the story ... And yet I cannot force myself to take one.

My thoughts at 75%:
I wear glasses because chronic dry eye syndrome gives me progressively horrifying eye fatigue, which blurs everything more and more the longer the day goes on. But right now I'm reading with my glasses off, and everything is a blur, because I can't wear glasses while crying.

My thoughts at 100%:
I finished this book somewhat disappointed. I didn't cry my way through the end, as I had expected to. But I read that last word, closed it out, and promptly burst into tears. For its appreciation of both life AND death, for its humor AND its realistic portrayal of devastation, for its twists AND its inevitable turns ... For its lessons and its inspiration ... Five stars.
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on January 23, 2018
When I first ordered a sample of The Fault in Our Stars, I thought that I really didn’t want to read it. You see it’s a story about a young girl with cancer that has basically given up on life. Then girl meets boy and… well you get the rest of it. I have read books on dying, some which are very good, but at this point, I was just not ready for another. In addition, they were teenagers at that. But, by the time I finished the sample, there was some part of me that felt compelled to read more, so I did.

To me, this is not a book about a disease. It is a story about living with a disease, through the eyes of a teenage girl. It’s a story of love, loss, frustration, deep friendship, faith, death and life. It was an easy and enjoyable read. It was also one of those books that as you near the end, you hesitate to read more because you really don’t want the story to end. But, end it does with hope in the air.
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on October 14, 2016
First off, this is a good book. Expect to shed many tears, even though you kind of know from the onset what is going to happen (and no, I hadn't watched the movie and didn't know). The voices and dialogue of the main characters are usually charming. However, there are some cliche scenes that should have been edited out. They didn't make it into the movie (I watched it afterwards), which shows the director had some sense. Sometimes people overact, which can get annoying. And sometimes the main teenagers' dialogue isn't consistent. They jump from using higher end vocabulary and concepts to typical "um, uh," language at times. Other than these minor annoyances, though, the story is interesting and fun.

The basic plot is as follows: Sick girl meets sick boy. They start to fall for one another. They go on an exciting trip to Amsterdam. One of them gets sicker. Not giving away the ending, but you can see where this is going.

I liked the themes and tropes running through the text. It would make a good book for a classroom, besides a personal read. As for its appropriateness for young readers, well, use your discretion. There is a sex scene. Not explicit, but it's there. I thought the author handled it tastefully and believably.
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Why do any of us ever stop reading Young Adult (YA) novels? When my 13-year old daughter made me promise to read The Fault in Our Stars, I shrugged, agreed, and threw it on the pile with all the other books I have promised to read, knowing it would be a while given that my have to list numbers in the double dozens. She kept after me though, and her relentlessness paid off. The Fault in our Stars by John Green, a lovely piece of literature, posing as a YA novel and named Time’s Best Fiction book of 2012 (where’ve I been?), is loaded with rich and fertile subject matter akin to great literary works. Yet while epic life and death themes wax and wane throughout, TFioS retains all those things sacred to teens like swaggy dialogue and biting wit along with the occasional teen tantrum. Result? Texture and comedic relief temper the grand emotions sweeping through this book like so many divergent currents. Hazel Grace Lancaster is dying. She’s been the cancer kid for a few years now, always on the verge of checking out since her lungs seem uninterested in doing the single job to which they have been assigned: providing air to the rest of her body. In Hazel’s world, everyone she meets suffers from some Herculean illness so her life seems not so bad, considering. At a Support Group meeting in the Literal Heart of Jesus (you’ll see), she meets hunky Augustus Waters and his friend Isaac. Augustus has a touch of cancer himself, but is currently NEC (no evidence of cancer). One thing leads to another and then, badda-bing, badda-bang, Hazel and Augustus are hanging out. I can’t say dating because Hazel holds back, knowing she’s going to die soon, and not wanting to bring anyone else down with her; she’s already suffering tremendously over the fact that her pit crew -- mom and dad -- will be out of a parenting job once Hazel’s checked out. Augustus, clever, hot Augustus doesn’t take no for an answer and wins Hazel over with a variety of his many charms and abilities, the most important being making contact with Hazel’s favorite author, Peter Van Houten, who wrote her favorite novel, An Imperial Affliction. Hazel’s own life seems inextricably interwoven with AIA and she is determined to find out the fate of the characters after the heroine dies, leaving the book in mid-sentence, and the rest of the characters to an unwritten fate. Hazel has written to Van Houten repeatedly, practically begging for answers. Knowing may help disentangle some of her tightly strung parts, or maybe she just wants to know for the sake of knowing. But Van Houten’s not talking until Augustus emails Van Houten’s assistant and receives a response. Perhaps because of his touch of cancer, Augustus is one of those rare teens who asks the hard questions such as what does oblivion feel like and how can I avoid it? He realizes what so many of us go to great lengths to avoid -- the knowledge that all life is loss, since even the most fabulous ones end in death and oblivion, so get used to it. The pair travel to Amsterdam using Augustus’s long-unused “wish” (despite his view that “life is not a wish-granting factory”) to meet Van Houten who turns out to be a prick of the highest caliber. It all works out in the end if you consider death a method of working it out. The book is sad, but never mopey and triumphant in a, “yes, oblivion is still waiting around the corner, but deal with it,” kind of way, which is okay, because what I hear Green saying is that even in death there are tremendous amounts of life at stake. Books like TFioS hold the key to the silly, unnerving, unrelenting and magnificent universe without even knowing it, reminding me how I felt as a kid: idealistic and invincible with all the answers. Reading it will bring back all those important, self-aware notions you thought you’d left behind years ago, and give you a fresh clear lens with which to look at them. Oh, and it will help you not forget to be awesome.
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TOP 1000 REVIEWERon April 29, 2016
I don't think I've ever seen another book on Amazon that already has more than 37,000 reviews! The book has definitely moved many people to report their feelings after finishing the book. You cannot read a book about teenagers with cancer without getting emotionally involved. We know from the start that Hazel, who has thyroid cancer that has metastasized to her lungs, isn't expected to survive. She is on a drug that has slowed the deterioration of her lungs and has to drag an oxygen canister around with her. The third paragraph of the book states that "depression is a side effect of dying." Hazel's mother has insisted that she go to a weekly Support Group, which is where she meets Augustus (Gus) who is in remission after having lost a leg to osteosarcoma. They start to hang out together and bond over the shared love of a bizarre novel titled "An Imperial Affliction". I love the witty dialogue between these two teenagers. They have faced impossible struggles but still have a zest for life, and an ability to see the humor in every situation.

Hazel really wants to meet the author of the book, who lives in Amsterdam, and Gus offers to use his cancer kid Wish to take her there. They meet the author, who is a sad old alcoholic who treats them horribly. Hazel is infuriated that he treats them so badly, but she and Gus go on to have a lovely time in Amsterdam nevertheless. Though she'll never get to know the answers to her questions about the book, Gus has given her a memorable experience, and has become the love of her very short life. The sad news builds up after this, and as Gus states more than once "the world is not a wish-granting factory."

If ever there was a book to remind each of us to live in the moment, it's this one.
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