Book Review: The Fault in our Stars by John Green

The Fault in our StarsWhat’s it about?

Despite the tumor-shrinking medical miracle that has bought her a few years, Hazel has never been anything but terminal, her final chapter inscribed upon diagnosis. But when a gorgeous plot twist named Augustus Waters suddenly appears at Cancer Kid Support Group, Hazel’s story is about to be completely rewritten.

Insightful, bold, irreverent, and raw, The Fault in Our Stars is award-winning author John Green’s most ambitious and heartbreaking work yet, brilliantly exploring the funny, thrilling, and tragic business of being alive and in love.

My thoughts

I picked this book for our book club read for March after seeing an awful lot of hype at how brilliant it was on social media sites. I wasn’t sure how it would be received by the other members of the group; fortunately most appeared quite positive.

Told from Hazel’s perspective we get what feels like a real insight into teenagers living with cancer; her relationship with her parents and meeting the love of her life Augustus. John Green does a good job of writing from a teenage girl’s point of view, there’s no denying that and at the start I was thinking this actually reads like teenagers would speak (constant use of like etc). However as I read on, I did feel that Hazel and Gus sounded too old. I mean, would/do 16/17 year olds really speak the way they did in this almost modern day Shakespearean language? There’s also an overuse of the word existential – I had to look up the meaning so what are these kids doing using it?  There were both a little too clever I think to be plausible. Augustus very much reminded me of Heath Ledger’s character in 10 Things I Hate About You – a little bit cocky, a little bit brash but sincere (and devastatingly gorgeous!)

Ok, you know from the start what the book is about, it’s teenagers with cancer it’s not all going to be hearts and flowers (although some of it is). From the heartbreaking scenes of the deteroriation and end of life scenes of one of the main characters to the lighter scenes of Hazel’s and Gus’s dates this will test your emotions and I don’t mind saying it did bring a tear to my eye; but let’s face it, any book with kids suffering and dying is going to make me well up.

“The fault, dear Brutus, is not in our stars / But in ourselves”

Given its subject matter it’s quite easy to get along with and I read it just in a few days. There are some scenes that are more difficult and a little upsetting to read and I was surprised and pleased that the book didn’t have the predictable ending you might and I expected which was a bonus.

Overall, if you’re into YA then this will work for you, otherwise possibly not. My book club members are all women 40+ and I knew it was going to be a risky pick but hey, it was worth a go!

 

Watch the trailer for the movie here

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