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Customer Reviews

4.7 out of 5 stars
37,914
The Fault in Our Stars
Format: Hardcover|Change
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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 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 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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My sister, Jessalyn, has been talking about this book since basically the beginning of time. I once borrowed it from her, but I was bad and never actually read it. I'm horrible at reading print books, it turns out.

So, when I saw it was on Amazon for only 99¢, I bought it. ...but I never got around to reading it - because I had this thing where I was only reading what was expected of me and not what I wanted to read (it's one of my goals for this year)

Finally, about a month ago, I'm given a giftcard to audible. I see it's one of the whisper sync deals, and I buy the audio version. I am going to freaking finish this book if it kills me!

And I absolutely love reading along with audiobooks, so that totally happened. And it was fabulous.

It's a pretty good book, I don't disagree. But I think I was built up too much, and it was a bit of a disappointment in some aspects. I did really like how it was able to show that it is okay for characters to not be perfect/healthy/happy people. For that, I totally appreciated this story. There are much too many books about that are afraid to use anyone outside of what society views as the norm, and I found this story a sort of relief away from all of that.

Also, I totally cried. I was sitting in my living room listening/reading while my husband was playing Minecraft and my spawn was eating his dinner... and I'm trying hard to hide the fact that there was a large quantity of liquid falling from my eyes. I failed. My cats even noticed, and they came over to give me pity cuddles.

This is a good book. I did really enjoy it. I do someday plan on watching the movie to do a sort of comparison.
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on December 24, 2015
Too many, in this point in history, living in the relative ease & comfort of the "civilized world" have any reason or apparent need to consider the process of dying. We vicariously "experience" such things through books & movies & video games, but assiduously avoid any real life face time with our, personal, mortality.

Be that as it may, every person on this planet - including you - are, in point of fact, going to die. Of that infinite number, some portion will pass suddenly without warning or time to contemplate the journey out of this existence.

But many many others will have some measure of time to press through the odd "Valley of the Shadow of Death" and few will have a comforting friend with depth of insight, clarity, wisdom, unfailing humor that Hazel Grace or Augustus Waters share.

Life is different but not a "less than" life anyone else lives when knowing - unlike others in close proximity - that ones days are finite & ending & how critically important it is suck every ounce of marrow from that life while one has breath & consciousness. To the contrary, life is more vital, deep, focused, in the light of impending eternal darkness.

"The Fault in Our Stars" is appropriate for almost any age reader because everyone will eventually die. But, in addition to that, before any of us pass it is highly likely that we will be touched by death in the loss of someone who passes before we do. Understanding, in some kind of experiential way, even vicariously through the pages of a well written novel - that people are not dead until they stop breathing & we should do them the courtesy of not treating them as ghosts before they pass into the ether.

Spend as much time with them as you can. Let them cry. Let them be angry. Let them be hateful about the injustice of mortality. Laugh & joke & tease with them... dark humor is still humor. Make an effort to bring joy & meaning & purpose to as many days as possible. Sit in silence with them. It doesn't matter that you have no words that don't sound stupid & empty & pointless. It matters only that you care to *be* with them. To call. To text. To care.

Read this book. The movie is awesome but movies simply cannot tell the story any book can. If you don't *like* to read, get an audiobook version. But seriously. This is a story no living person should miss.
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on May 31, 2014
Being the mother of a 19-year-old, I have had plenty of opportunities to read YA fiction as I have read many of the same books my daughter has. When I try to compare this to other novels geared toward this demographic, the books that come closest are the Harry Potter books. Wildly different genres with one group being highly imaginative fantasy and the other nitty-gritty life, but they are on par with each other. The reason I say this is that neither book talks down to their intended audience. They assume young readers are intelligent, thoughtful readers, and can process story lines beyond those that are typical. While The Hunger Games and Divergent are both best selling movies and books, this book is much better than either of those in my opinion.

It was very interesting that when I looked at other reviews, a common complaint was the way the main characters spoke and their advanced maturity level. In direct opposition to this reaction, my first reaction to the book was how WELL John Green captured the teenage mind and spirit. To be frank, the vast majority of teenagers seem largely concerned with Justin Beiber, what they are going to wear, and what celebrities are in the news. However, that is a stereotype that doesn't hold true for all teenagers. During the years of needing to drive my daughter and her friends around because they were too young to drive, I have heard words and phrases come out of their mouths that were very similar to much of the dialogue of the book. One review specifically noted "breakfast exclusivity" as something no teenager would ever say and I can assure you there are teenagers that would think, and say, something exactly like this. I think John Green has done one of the most outstanding jobs of representing the teenager as I have seen the species, up close and personal.

An outstanding book that will appeal to both YA and adult reader, as young adult fiction should. Excellent
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on June 2, 2014
The Fault in Our Stars is the memorable and moving story about a group of teens in a cancer discussion group and their valiant goal to leave a mark in this earth. Hazel's father tells her "I believe the universe wants to be noticed. I believe the universe is improbably biased towards consciousness, that it rewards intelligence in part because the universe enjoys its elegance being observed." Simply put, this is a book about the meaning and purpose of life, it is about the impact of our existence, our footprint in time. When Dick Clark of American Bandstand spoke about death, he said he wanted to live as long as he was relevant. This book is about the teens staring death in the face, knowing of it's impending arrival and the question of what was it all for. Both Hazel and Augustus suffer with some form of cancer, they have been robbed a joyous childhood, fun and games replaced by painful treatments and operations. Their lives revolve around the hard work of staying alive and the constant cheerleading from heart broken parents. They are bright and cynical, and understand each other. They fall in love and I don't want to say more, but the depth of their passion, the deep communion of their hearts made the characters come alive. This was a great book. I was not fond of the beginning,but Augustus tenacity won me over and the reader will fall in love with Gus's loyalty and companionship as deeply as Hazel. The ageless yearning of the characters made me forget that they were teens.

Hazel wishes for "a little infinity", the time to savor her budding love with Augustus, knowing instinctively it will end too soon. The dehumanizing treatments strip the patients of their humanity, healthy people distancing from them, remembering only the person who existed before the treatments changed them. Together, Hazel and Augustus carve out a pocket of time to discover the sweet perfection of loving a person so much life seems meaningless with out them. Augustus complained, " I always thought my obituary would be in all the newspapers, that I'd have a story worth telling. I always had this suspicion that I was special." The Fault in Our Stars give a face to the victims of cancer. The story so insightful, the characters moving, yet without pity. This book reminds us that we are all here for a reason, no matter how much time we have, or what we accomplish, rich or poor, successful or not, that a rut in the road of life has been created with a lasting impression that will be there forever.
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on May 2, 2014
I'm not certain if this is a teen/young adult book, but as a 67-year-old grandmother, I enjoyed it. My 13-year-old granddaughter told me that she was reading it because a lot of her friends were talking about it. I want to stay involved in her life, so I put in on my Kindle. I read it during a two-day drive.
I found it to be very interesting and informative. I felt I was reading someone's diary. It provided wonderful insight into how a cancer patient feels about how they are treated by parents, family, friends, and outsiders. Taken from a teenager's point of view, I found it enlightening to know that they can feel 'smother love', cynical about their recovery or remission, and yet still hopeful for a 'normal' life of marriage and children.
The personalities of the main characters are well-defined, but subject to change as the story progresses. We come to understand how the parents' feelings affect the daily lives of their cancer-affected children, and how they come to realize that they must let go and let their kids grow.
It is funny, happy, sad, informative, and will tug at your heart. I shall check out the author and consider more of his books, even if he is a young person's author. Interested in how he researched such a complex story-line.
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on February 21, 2017
I don't know anyone who has read this book and I've not seen the movie(though I want to). So apart from movie trailers,I knew little about the story. Of yes, it's sad and it's right in your face about death, dying, cancer and other ugly realities. But it's not really about those harsh things. It's about really living life, not taking a single day for granted, living every day to its fullest and giving all of yourself to family, friends, strangers, and your partner. It's about finding ways to laugh and love during the hard times. We all are so busy and don't take the time to crush the smell of cut grass or hear the sound of falling leaves. And by loving we are timeless .....No matter how long or short our days on this earth shall be. Beautiful....and a true tear jerker.
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They met in a cancer support group: Hazel Lancaster, a sixteen-year-old victim of thyroid cancer that has migrated to her lungs; and Augustus Waters, seventeen, in remission after bone cancer cost him one leg.

Their eyes connected across the room, and an instant spark ignites between them.

As love stories go, this one might seem unlikely, and as romantic characters, some might question these two. But from the very first page, it was impossible not to sense something special between them.

Narrated in Hazel's first-person voice, we are privy to their intelligent and witty dialogue, with its hint of sarcasm. We learn more about them from these moments than any other back story could offer. The story is set in their home town of Indianapolis, Indiana.

Hazel's favorite novel, which she has reread several times, is called An Imperial Affliction, by Peter Von Houten, and is narrated by a dying woman. Because the story ends mid-sentence, Hazel is obsessed with finding out the ending for the other characters. After Augustus also reads the book, the two of them develop a plan. To visit the author in Amsterdam, compliments of the Wish foundation.

What happens to the two of them in Amsterdam? Are they able to find the answers they seek? What do they do when Van Houten shows them a disappointing flaw in his character? And what unexpected truths does Van Houten later share?

In the final moments of The Fault in Our Stars, we are gripped with the reality of what will surely transpire for these individuals...and for us, since we are now invested in their destiny. From Van Houten's book, Hazel and Augustus have gleaned this philosophy of sick kids as "side effects," a way of accepting their situation:

"Cancer kids are essentially side effects of the relentless mutation that made the diversity of life on earth possible."

These characters are like real people, and as such, have their good days and bad days. Sometimes their frustrations come out like an explosion, while at other times, the characters glean the necessary support from their group and their families to live each day to the fullest. I liked the characters because they are not like the superficial teenagers that are often spotlighted in YA books. For this reason, I enjoyed them and wanted to root for them. The fact that they are unusual does not make them less believable, as some have noted, but makes them likeable.

It is impossible not to feel connected to these two characters and to empathize with how their lives have taken them on a journey they would not have chosen for themselves. But without this journey, they might not have met. Was this destiny the fault of their stars? An unforgettable story that will live on past the final page. 5.0 stars.
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