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on September 5, 2016
I'm not usually one for young adult fiction, but this book absolutely fantastic. It reaches deep inside of me. It’s a story of a quiet tragedy, love, and an undeniable reality. Hazel and Augustus face mortality and so many of the meaningless details of life. It forces them to face who they really truly are. How would they carry on... Terminal disease gives you fear, for yourself, for your loved ones. It causes pain that you are the reason to make your family feel worried and cry at night. Green wrote this sad, tragic, yet beautiful story, it brings tears to my eyes.
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on January 10, 2012
I've read a lot of books, but this is one of my all time favorites; that's not something I can say about very many books. I'll make it simple; I'm a fifteen year old teenage boy. When I usually read a book, I toss it aside and move on to the next one. And, like most teenage boys, I am not very emotional. At the end of this book, I cried. Not just a few tears either; I was full on bawling my eyes out. That's how good this book is. I promise you, unless you have a heart of stone, you will love this book.
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Although his brother Hank might argue that the real "fault in our stars" is that our sun contains limited amounts of hydrogen, which will cause it to eventually run out of the only fuel source capable of supporting its mass against gravity, thereby expanding until its outer shell envelops our tiny planet and consumes it in a fiery death, I think it is more likely that John Green's title refers to a line from Shakespeare's Julius Caesar:

"The fault, dear Brutus is not in our stars, / But in ourselves, that we are underlings." Caesar (I, ii, 140-141)

What does this quote mean and how does it relate to a novel about two kids dying of cancer? I'll explore that below.

The Fault in Our Stars is the story of two 16-year-olds who meet at a cancer support group. Hazel Lancaster, the narrator, is afflicted with terminal thyroid cancer which has ravaged her lungs enough to necessitate the use of an oxygen tank wherever she goes. It is during a support meeting that she is introduced to Augustus Waters, whose leg was claimed by a malignant bone tumor and who soon becomes the object of her affection.

When I learned of the plot of this novel, I was initially a bit turned off. I'm reminded of a comment a friend made when I asked her if she wanted to go see the movie 50/50, upon which she exclaimed "who wants to go see a movie about people dying of cancer?" I couldn't come up with a satisfactory response, and we settled for a two-hour movie about the competitive world of robot fighting (which still caused me to shed a tear). So why would anyone, especially young adults, want to read about "cancer kids?" As Hazel herself states in the novel, "cancer books suck." But "The Fault in Our Stars" isn't about cancer, and it's not about death. Cancer is an important subject in the book, but it's not nearly as important as the characters. The disease is mainly used as a vehicle for moving along the development of Hazel and Augustus. In the absence of teen wizards, dystopian death races, and swooning vampire/werewolf feuds, it allows us to view the protagonists in a more complex setting than the traditional high school drama. It also forces the characters to grow up much faster than they should, which I think is important for Green's audience as well as his needs as a writer. The "young adult" label should not be cause for dismissal to older audiences. As equally evident in his previous novels, Green's writing is not dumbed-down in an attempt to cater to a misguided adult notion of the intelligence of teenagers. While Hazel and Augustus certainly share in the same adolescent interests as many of their peers, their dialogue is written at a level that betrays a deeper level of maturity. Amidst trips to the mall and countless video game sessions, the characters expound on subjects in life that everyone faces. While it might seem strange to hear a 16-year-old use words like "cloying" and "sobriquet," this is par for the course in a John Green novel. And strangely, it works very well (provided you keep a dictionary handy). Even though I initially balked at reading a "young adult" title (I'm well into adulthood), I realized that just because a book is marketed toward adolescents, doesn't mean it can't be enjoyed by those outside that niche. I'm hesitant to make the comparison, but "The Fault in our Stars" bridges the age gap in the same vein as Salinger's The Catcher in the Rye. It contains content and themes thoroughly relatable to a young audience, while being presented in a way that adults will appreciate.

Green's characters always come off a bit stiff to me and start off sounding like pretentious jerks who are trying too hard to grow up, but I always warm up to them and end up relating to them by the middle of the novel. Gus was no exception. However my opinion of him changed as early as chapter 2, and I knew as soon as I heard him have a conversation with Hazel about their counselor's incorrect usage of the word "literally" (a fact that had literally been bothering me since it was mentioned in the first chapter) that I knew we could be friends. The likeability factor of these characters is one of the reasons the rest of the story can be so heartbreaking to follow at times. Even though I was fully aware from the beginning that Hazel's condition is terminal, she doesn't behave in a way that constantly reminds me of that fact. Instead, her sarcastic wit and outlook on life draw me to her as someone I could easily be friends with (if only there wasn't that problem of her being a fictional character). From very early on, I'm sucked into an emotional attachment to the characters in the story that made it very difficult to actually put the book down (and one of the reasons I will probably read it several more times). Returning to the titular quote above, although it is fully explained in the novel, I think the line from Julius Caesar is also appropriate as a title because Hazel does not let her ultimate fate determine the course of her life.

I thought Green's last two solo books, Katherines and Paper Towns, were pretty good, but they didn't capture that sense of awe I felt after finishing his first novel. And again, I think that's because I've seen such a huge change over the years in Green's ability to connect his characters to the reader. The Fault in our Stars returns me to that era and I'm reminded of just how good of a writer he is. I do not know if it will win the same Young Adult Fiction awards Alaska received, but I do know it will be regarded by myself and many more as one of, if not his best work to date. Regardless of their literary interests, I would definitely recommend it to anyone who is a fan of great writing and character-driven stories.

It should also be mentioned that Green personally signed all 150,000 copies of the first printing of this novel. So if you are buying it soon after release, your copy will almost certainly be autographed.

John Green's other novels include:

Looking for Alaska (2005)
An Abundance of Katherines (2006)
Paper Towns (2008)
Let It Snow: Three Holiday Romances (coauthored - 2010)
Will Grayson, Will Grayson (coauthored - 2010)

DFTBA
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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 May 28, 2014
My thoughts: Stunningly beautiful, even the second time 'round.

I've read, The Fault In Our Stars, sometime late of last year and remember knowing how the story was going to end. Now, usually I would have shy away from such premise, but have reading other John Green novels, I knew it was impossible. So here it is, my first impressions and thoughts after have reading it again.

My first impression

As I've mentioned, I knew how the story was going to end, as it does with most cancer-based plots. This is the first book, I have picked up and wanted to read and experience the “filling” – Gus and Hazel's relationship developments – part of the story, rather than wishing for an ending of my like. And, I got what I asked for, self-torture (I knew what I was jumping in to, and cried my eyes out!), a beautiful-numbing romance, and the tragic-realistic part of life. It's these kind of books that has you quietly sitting down in your reading nook, and really think about the things you have and how lucky you are to be able to live the simpler part of life … To embrace the simple things in life.

Augustus Waters: brilliant, witty, charming, and plays an important part in Hazel's life. I was immediately charmed by his wit and his personality. (As I am sure most gals have.) People like Gus, really shines and bring the best out of others.

Hazel Grace: just as brilliant, just as witty, and just as charming! Plays an important role in Augustus Water's life. Hazel, was such a passionate character! Actually, they both were. Their little trip to Van Houton's showcased that, and it had to be one of my favorite scenes.

Though the romance was loving, so was the relationships with Gus, Hazel, and their families. You not only are ripped apart by the problems with Gus and Hazel, but also what their parents had to endure. I could not help but paralleling what would have been if I were in the same situation – how devastated my family would be – to their situation. This was most emotionally-wrecking. That's the thing, how real people are able to make that connection with the characters and plot, is what makes The Fault In Our Stars, so haunting ... and scary.

Second Impression:
Just as heart-breaking yet, lovely as the first.

There is a reason The Fault In Our Stars is a hit and a reason why it is most recommend for teens (and those of all ages) … This books inspires and touches, deeply.
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on February 27, 2013
I'll admit it. I did not believe I would love The Fault In Our Stars. Yes, I'd read all of the rave reviews. But a book about kids dying of cancer? And not only would I love this book, but it was going to make me laugh, too? Well, this doubting Thomas is here to tell you that my answers are a very emphatic YES and YES.

"Cancer books suck." So says sixteen year-old Hazel, the wise beyond her years narrator of The Fault In Our Stars, and a cancer...victim? No, she does not view herself as a victim. Sufferer? That doesn't seem quite right, either, because she's focused more on living than on the suffering that comes with cancer. Cancer survivor? I think she'd roll her eyes at anything that attempted to add a false feel-good tone to her certain-to-be short-lived life. So I'll go with this - Hazel is a girl who happens to have cancer. She views her cancer through realistic, but never bitter or self-pitying eyes. As Hazel says, "Even cancer isn't a bad guy really: cancer just wants to be alive."

When we meet Hazel, she is attending a support group for kids with cancer. She attends the group to appease her parents, not herself; she views it as a major nuisance, at best. All the talk of death, the discussions of feelings and fears - Hazel wants none of it. But then she meets Augustus, a newcomer to the group. He's missing a leg, but he's got looks and charm to spare, and he immediately intrigues Hazel.

You will be in love with Hazel before you've finished the first ten or twenty pages. And you will root for this young couple, even though you know one or both of their lives are doomed.

One of the many heart-breaking aspects of this book is the suffering of her parents. I don't have children, but I know there cannot be anything worse in this world than watching your child die. In Hazel's case, the watching and waiting has gone on for several years. Her father cannot participate in a discussion regarding Hazel's cancer without sobbing, and her mother has given up her own life to take care of Hazel's. As much sympathy and love as Hazel has for them, she occasionally gets angry. She lashes out at her mother and pleads with her to find something else to do besides taking care of a dying daughter. After all, once Hazel is gone, what will remain for her mother?

OK, that was a lot of dark stuff, and I promised you some humor. How about these two gems?

- Augustus expressed outrage that a 13 year-old Hazel used her "Make a Wish" on a trip to Disney World. Hazel knew it was lame, but softened the blow by adding that she went to Epcot, too.
- Hazel's friend, Kaitlyn, when discussing Augustus: "I would ride that one-legged pony all the around the corral."

The romance between Hazel and Augustus is one of the most beautful I've ever read. So much so that I happily overlooked the fact that their dialogue was unlike any that I've ever heard from any teenager (or most adults, for that matter.)

I kept waiting and waiting for the moment that I would need tissues. I thought I had the outcome nailed early on, based on what I thought was a subtle "clue," but I was wrong. We're pulled along to what we believe is the inevitable conclusion until the inevitable gets flipped on its head. And yes, then it was tissue time.

On a personal note, I visited Amsterdam and the Anne Frank House a year and a half ago. I climbed those same, steep narrow steps in the house that Hazel climbed, hauling her oxygen tank with her. Everything that she described brought back intense memories. If you get the chance to visit Amsterdam, the House is a must-see.
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on February 1, 2014
[This review can also be found at anafichesdelectures.wordpress.com]

“...but there is no shortage of fault to be found amid our stars.”
Green, John (2012-01-10). The Fault in Our Stars (p. 112). Dutton Juvenile. Kindle Edition.

I hesitated many times to pick up this novel, at first, because everyone was commenting that even though it was a profound, unique love story, it was going to be a tough reading; that one has to be prepared to cry. I had just finished reading “Me Before You” by Jojo Moyes (I cried many times), and I was still debating whether I was strong enough to plunge right away.

I took courage, started and let me tell you that it wasn’t what I was expecting. The story was not really about their sickness but rather about their ordinary, normal life with unique circumstances. It portrayed how people with cancer lead a normal life as much as possible and did the best they could everyday.

“You’ll . . . you’ll . . . live your best life today. This is your war now.”
Green, John (2012-01-10). The Fault in Our Stars (p. 216). Dutton Juvenile. Kindle Edition.

The strong sense of ordinary made it extraordinary.The author manages to transform the banality of their reality into a profound, meaningful one surpassing their cancer life threatening situation.

“That’s the thing about pain,” Augustus said, and then glanced back at me. “It demands to be felt.”
Green, John (2012-01-10). The Fault in Our Stars (p. 63). Dutton Juvenile. Kindle Edition.

Hazel and Augustus love reminded me of one of Will’s poem from “This Girl” by Colleen Hoover:

“Sometimes life gets in your way. It gets all up in your damn way.”
Hoover, Colleen (2013-04-30). This Girl: A Novel (Kindle Locations 3253-3255). Atria Books. Kindle Edition.
Augustus offered a hopeful, magic love to Hazel:

“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.”
Green, John (2012-01-10). The Fault in Our Stars (p. 260). Dutton Juvenile. Kindle Edition.

The novel was not predictable. Whatever you thought you were reading about, it wasn’t. The end was unexpected and tough ending. I don’t want to give anything of the plot but all I can tell you is: this is a great novel, read it, you won’t regret it.

[Message/ Quotes:]

“really, the problem is not suffering itself or oblivion itself but the depraved meaninglessness of these things, the absolutely inhuman nihilism of suffering.”
Green, John (2012-01-10). The Fault in Our Stars (p. 281). Dutton Juvenile. Kindle Edition.

I also recommend “Me Before You” by Jojo Moyes and “The End of Your Life Book Club” by Will Schwalbe.

The movie will be release sometimes this year, in 2014.

Movie Trailer: [...]
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on April 14, 2013
First things, first. I'm not an established fan of John Green. Just a reader who bought the book on the recommendation of all the excited reviews. Read it in a day, and I liked it. Appreciated the writer's craft a bit more than the story.

There's not a ton of story here. Two sick kids enjoy a meaningful transformative romance, adding more depth to their doomed lives. Tragic, pretty, honest, moving. Not a ton of surprises.

John Green is a talented writer. You'll enjoy the author's craft. As most chapters ended, I found myself thinking, "Well done, John." He did an excellent job choosing words, creating rhythm, evoking emotion. He captured both Amsterdam and Indianapolis (the two settings for the story) very well. He makes you feel both the hope and the fear, mixing constantly on nearly every page.

The age of the characters felt about three years off. Instead of 16/17, they should have been 20. In fact, the author makes a point of making the teenage narrator an academically-advanced college student, although we never quite understand why she's taking classes. It was almost as if the author was apologizing to us for having to make these characters four years younger than they should have been. Or, perhaps the author likes using college education as a hope mechanism.

The author's portrayal of the perspective of young people with cancer felt incredibly authentic. Every cynical view felt real. The book holds you accountable for every dumb thing you've ever said, thought, or assumed about kids with cancer. Hazel's use of her "sick kid with cancer's Wish" was brilliant.

If I had one criticism, it's the same one I had after reading PERKS OF BEING A WALLFLOWER. The book feels written for the inevitable movie. The teenage romance at the center of the story is very sweet, and of course, the author makes you love the object of the narrator's affection. Why Augustus had to be "hot" escapes me (do we feel more sorry for good looking kids with cancer?). I guess it's a Team Edward thing... a tragic teenage boy with a hot body resonates more? Nothing difficult to film here - funny scenes, emotional moments, flawed-yet-noble parents, supporting characters with funny lines, and lots of dialogue that will easily transfer to the screen. I suppose that's what most writers have in mind these days. Augustus will make a lovely launching point for the next Zac Efron - every young actor is going to want to be the hot, cool, sensitive, poetic boy with cancer. The young male actor who nails the Isaac role will also do well as the funny, not-as-hot-as-the-main-actor actor. Agents' careers will be made and ruined according to who lands these roles. (Note to young actress, Shailene Woodley - please go more Jennifer Lawrence than Kristen Stewart in this role if you want to stand up next to your inevitably glowing co-star.)

Oh yeah, back to the book. My advice is that it's a good read. Hardly my favorite of the year, but a good use of a lazy Saturday. You'll feel more sensitive for having read it, you'll appreciate good writing, and you'll look forward to the soundtrack. Personally, I look forward to the day John Green writes a more audacious adult story without an eye so keenly trained on the film option.
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on January 2, 2016
I am one of those people that just never really tried to get into reading until I was in my 30's and I finally picked up a book. I knocked out 6 in the next couple of months...this was one of them! This book touched me and made me laugh out loud and also sob uncontrollably even more loudly! This is a book you want to read to "feel" it all again, if that makes sense to you. I read it before the movie, at least three times...and several since. And it still just makes me feel every single emotion to the fullest extent...every time! I HIGHLY RECOMMEND this book to anyone and everyone. As it deals with cancer, and the many things that come along with that, just keep that in mind for your younger readers as a parent, but I'd say any age could and SHOULD read this amazing book! Easily my favorite book I've read. The Fault in Our Stars
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