Title: The Fault in Our Stars
Author: John Green
Published: 10th January 2012
By: Dutton Books
First line: Late in the winter of my seventeenth year, my mother decided I was depressed, presumably because I rarely left the house, spent quite a lot of time in bed, read the same book over and over, ate infrequently, and devoted quite a bit of my free time to thinking about death.
Last line: I do.
Fave line: You gave me a forever within the numbered days and I’m grateful (there were many more lines but they would have been plot spoilers!)
Synopsis: Diagnosed with Stage IV thyroid cancer at 12, Hazel was prepared to die until, at 14, a medical miracle shrunk the tumours in her lungs... for now. Two years post-miracle, sixteen-year-old Hazel is post-everything else, too post-high school, post-friends and post-normalcy. And even though she could live for a long time (whatever that means) Hazel lives tethered to an oxygen tank, the tumours tenuously kept at bay with a constant chemical assault. Enter Augustus Waters. A match made at cancer kid support group, Augustus is gorgeous, in remission, and shockingly, to her interested in Hazel. Being with Augustus is both an unexpected destination and a long-needed journey, pushing Hazel to re-examine how sickness and health, life and death, will define her and the legacy that everyone leaves behind.
For the most part I like to write my own brief outline of any book that I’ve read because I think we all tend to come at a story from different angles. The story that I perceive will most likely be completely different to half the reviewers who post their thoughts and I think this makes life more interesting for potential readers of any book.
For TFIOS I decided to stick with the synopsis. Why? One, because I don’t want to write anything that might bias the reader before they get their hands on the book and two, my mouth is too big and I know I’ll give too much away! One thing I will say – I was warned that this would be an emotional read and oh boy, was it! And by emotional, I don’t mean soppy or wretched, but rather it is beautifully worded, it tugs at the heart strings and each chapter will drag you further into the story, so much so that the line between the reality and the story almost blurs.
This is in no small part due to the characters, three teenagers who use their illnesses to get perks, are wise beyond their years and who find themselves trying to find all the answer in what could possibly a cruelly short period of time. John Green’s previous experience working with cancer patients shines through in this tale. Some sections are graphic and difficult to read, made more so by their honesty and accuracy whilst others are so relatable i.e. the overprotective parents and the need for people to use humour to mask the tragedy within which they find themselves.
In amongst all this however, they are still teenagers. They have the same issues as any other teenager embarking upon a relationship, they still have tantrums and still want to do the things that other teenagers do. The relationship that blossoms between Augustus and Hazel is simple and beautiful and the friendship between all three kids just amazing. The roles that surrounding family members play in this tale felt real and natural and by the time you have finished reading it’s almost like you became a member of their combined family too. TFIOS will pull you in and make you laugh, cry, then cry some more but it’ll be worth it, believe me!
5/5 – As I said on Twitter – just wow! Loved it and looking forward to reading more of John Green’s work.