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The Fault in Our Stars by John Green

The Fault in Our Stars (edition 2012)

by John Green

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6,855None527 (4.45)463
deadgirl's review
Death / cancer has never been so beautiful
  deadgirl | Apr 19, 2012 |
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I do love this book, but I'm really not looking forward to the movie. Do I think it will be beautiful and amazing? Yes. Is it also going to make us confront what a pretentious asshat August would sound like when his lines are spoken aloud? Also yes.

The book is beautiful, there is absolutely no doubt of that, and there's something really interesting about telling a story where the end of the journey can only be painful. It's a nice twist to have Hazel deal with someone else's death instead of spending the entire novel navel gazing about her own death. There are a lot of things that John Green addressed well, and overall I was really captured by this book. It's very compelling, and a nice break from his male protagonists whom I don't really care for.
My favorite part is that the book just feels organic and genuinely sad instead of emotionally manipulative and sappy (I'm looking at you Jodi Picoult). I loved Hazel, wish that a boy like August could exist in reality without gaining also being suffiatingly pretentious (try telling someone a cigarette is a metaphor in real life and see how you sound) , and her parents were a treat. Sure there were some problems with the book, but overall I give it a rare 5. ( )
  smg023 | Apr 18, 2014 |
What was all the fuss about? This book did nothing for me. These 3 stars are only for those rare words of wisdom which appeared, in an otherwise average read.

"The dead are visible only in the terrible lidless eye of memory. The living , thank heaven, retain the ability to surprise and to disappoint"

"You don't get to choose if you get hurt in this world,but you do have some say in who hurts you" ( )
  smitha_1988 | Apr 17, 2014 |
read in 2014, ( )
  kape747 | Apr 15, 2014 |
I loved this book. It may be YA, but it has so many elements that appeal to all audiences. First, it may be about cancer, but it isn't sappy (no Nicholas Sparks here!), it feels very real. The author does a very good job of creating characters with cancer, with real emotions; anger, fear, diminishing hope. Secondly, a short review would state that this book is a page turner and a tear jerker, but it is so much more than that. An insight into human nature, with characters you can't help but adore with empathy. It is hard to put down. Lastly, it gives so much perspective. I can imagine many readers, such as myself, walk away from the book a little more grateful for the beauty of life. Highly recommended for anyone! ( )
  Alie | Apr 14, 2014 |
Last night, I crawled into bed at midnight. I'd received notice that a library book I hadn't yet started was due the next day. Since I wasn't quite ready to sleep, I thought I'd read the first chapter and see if it was worth paying a fine in order to finish it. I opened The Fault in Our Stars by John Green.

It's told in first person, from the point of view of a sixteen-year-old girl named Hazel who has terminal cancer. I didn't want to read something depressing nor did I want something falsely sweet. Hazel quickly wiggled into my heart, pulling me along with her brilliant humour, insightfulness, honesty, and truth. I was soon holding my duvet over my mouth to muffle my laughter and not wake my husband. I finally forced myself to shut the book at 2:00 AM.

I looked forward to finishing it all morning, hoping it would not become overly sentimental or callous or religious. It did not disappoint. The characters are beautiful and flawed. They surprise, amuse, and inspire. There are no pat answers to the tragedy of young death, just possibilities and simple, but powerful, realities.

By far, the best book, young adult or not, that I have read in a long time. I so wish I could give it six out of five stars. I am immediately getting John Green's other book. ( )
  Bonnie_Ferrante | Apr 14, 2014 |
Oh my goodness, I have never cried so much in years! Can't even imagine going to a theatre to watch this movie.
  readingtext999 | Apr 14, 2014 |
Overall, THE best book I've read this entire challenge. ( )
  SparklePonies | Apr 11, 2014 |
I did not want to like this book. It had two elements that usually make me skeptical.....Everybody is talking about it. It features characters dealing with a major illness or disability...I may be a bit over sensitive about this, but it makes my skin crawl when an author writes about this topic in a sappy way.

However, I loved it!!!! Cancer was not a plot device in this book..it was almost an afterthought. Yes, it hangs in the background and is the force behind how the characters met..but the novel is about the awkward intensity of teenage love...and how special it is (no matter what age you are) to find someone who loves you just because you have the courage to be true to you. ( )
  Laura_Jones | Apr 11, 2014 |
Really excited to finally get to read this book. Waited too long and with the movie coming out it was finally time! I was very happy with it. I don't read many books that make me tear up, but towards the end I did have to let myself cry. I appreciated that it wasn't the normal kind of cancer books that I have come in contact with. I would definitely offer this book to someone for reading, and I feel like anyone would end up enjoying the book. ( )
  SparklePonies | Apr 8, 2014 |
With The Fault in Our Stars coming out as a movie, more and more people are reading it. I read the book before the movie was announced and I'm glad I did! Hazel Grace Lancaster and Augustus Waters meet at a cancer support group and instantly have a connection. Hazel Grace is your average 16 year old girl but she has thyroid cancer and it spread to her lungs. As the book progresses, Augustus' cancer comes back and he passes away. Awhile ago, before I read the book, I promised myself I wouldn't cry, well that didn't happened. I ended up sobbing for the end of the book. This is probably one of my favorite books and I can't wait for the movie to come out so I can see what other people interpreted it as. ( )
  chloelaven | Apr 8, 2014 |
I don't usually read YA books but this one got such great reviews and the storyline intrigued me. You can pretty much know you are going to like/ love this book after the first chapter. The characters are pure, the story is told with enough originality that it doesnt turn into a cliche. ( )
1 vote FAR2MANYBOOKS | Apr 5, 2014 |
The Fault in Our Stars by John Green. (THERE ARE SPOILERS!! LOOK AWAY!)

If I could fill this page with stars—big, giant, hand drawn stars—I would.

This is the kind of book that crawls under your skin and becomes part of you. It’s beautiful—not in an ostentatious I’m Ruler of the Writing World way, (though you are, John Green, you ARE,) but in a gentle, raw, I Will Shove Your Face in this Shit and RIP YOUR HEART OUT until YOU FEEL EVERYTHING. You read correctly, I started that description with gentle.

Following, you will find my musings on The Fault in Our Stars. I can’t promise a review, I suspect it’ll vary between review/idolization/ranting/blubbering/blabbering. I love John Green. I knew this when I read Paper Towns. I knew it when I read Looking for Alaska, but John Green beat the ever-living life out of me with The Fault in Our Stars. (Pun intended.) This is the kind of book you have to walk away from just to get your head on straight again.



The first mistake I made after finishing was to hop on Goodreads to see the other reviews. People are idiots (see, here’s the ranting!). John Green’s characters are multi-faceted. They have depth and range and history and emotions that make them SO REAL. (Who cares if the characters in all his books are similar?) They’re quirky and precocious, and (IDIOT GOODREADS PEOPLE) they’re often wrong. That’s what makes it like crawling inside their bodies and viewing their trials and triumphs from their eyes. They’re not pretentious, they’re human. They’re teenagers, and the exploration of concepts they don’t fully understand is REALISTIC. People complained that they spoke as world-weary adults, but I disagree. You see, the people who bitched about them using concepts out of their (apparently too young, hormone addled, inferior) range, didn’t understand the concepts. Hazel and Augustus got so many things wrong. But you see, dear idiot readers, you didn’t understand the concepts to begin with, so you couldn’t see how Hazel and Augustus used them for comfort and to suit their own needs. Life isn’t about always being right, or always using “concepts” socially acceptable for a (apparently too young, hormone addled, inferior) teenager. It’s like reading a poem. Maybe you see a flower, maybe I see a grave. Neither one of us is wrong, but you’re definitely still an idiot.

Whoa. That was a confusing tangent that I hope at least one person followed.

The point of all that rage is to say that, just because they haven’t experienced (or taken the TIME to experience) intelligent, witty, and the downright authentic youth of today, doesn’t mean they don’t exist. And they (the idiot readers who don’t get it) probably shouldn’t be reading John Green. Because teenagers really ARE like his characters. Maybe not all of them, but a lot.

Let’s start with Hazel. She’s terminal, you know this when you pick up the book. Stage IV thyroid cancer with mets to her lungs. She’s plodding along, not happy, not sad, just kind of there. She doesn’t have a lot of relationships because she knows she’s going to die. Which is both selfless and selfish, depending on who you ask. She’s 16, a part time college student with a GED, because normal school was just too much for her, especially since she carts around an exceptionally annoying third wheel, aka the oxygen tank. She attends a support group, physically, not mentally, and watches a lot of television with her two best friends—her parents.

Then we meet Augustus. He’s 17, a survivor of osteosarcoma, with an amputated leg and a prosthetic replacement. He’s cancer free, but attending support group with his friend, Isaac, who only has one eye and is about to lose the other.

At first, Hazel is very careful with Augustus, keeping their relationship strictly in the friendzone. She compares herself to a grenade, literally a ticking ball of shrapnel, just waiting to explode and maim everyone she cares about.

Hilarity ensues. Isaac goes blind, Hazel goes into ICU. Many cancer jokes are made—and not in the haha cancer is hilarious way (because it’s not hilarious), but Our Lives Suck And The Only Thing To Do Is Laugh. A lot of people were offended by this, I think. But I must refer back to my teenager sentiment. They’re TEENAGERS. And human. We often joke about things are not funny. Sometimes, you have only two choices, laughter or tears. Which would you rather have?

They spend a good portion of the book tracking down the author of the Not a Cancer Book cancer book, An Imperial Affliction, which, according to the character’s descriptions, plays out pretty closely to Hazel’s life. My first clue that something is wrong with Augustus is when he tells Hazel about his Wish and she’s surprised that he still has it after all this time of being cancer free. Whoa. Red light. Not Augustus, please NOT AUGUSTUS.

You pick up a book about a terminal cancer patient, you EXPECT someone to die. (And you’re gonna cry, because you cry when awesome characters die. Also when they have sex…just me? We always knew I was effed up.)


Anyways. They go to Amsterdam and meet the author. He’s an asshole, alcoholic loon. There’s a few small hints of Augustus saying his hip/leg hurts. NO. WHY? WHY AUGUSTUS? It’s in Amsterdam that Hazel realizes that she loves him, or at least admits it. Here is this beautiful boy, who allowed her to hijack his Wish, and complete her dream of meeting Van Houten and demanding the ending to An Imperial Infliction (which she doesn’t technically ever get, unless you count the hamster.).

After Van Houten berates them, insults them, and is generally an asshole, alcoholic loon, they kiss for the first time where Anne Frank hid from the Nazis. I really, REALLY enjoyed this scene. Especially after they both struggle up the stairs (Hazel, with her under-functioning lungs and Augustus with his prostetic leg). The other tourists clap for them. It’s sweet, heartbreaking, and for the characters, a little embarrassing. From here, they go back to Augustus’s hotel room and have sex. I’m not going to sugar coat this. It’s romantic and sweet, but also awkward and nerdy and filled with setbacks from the cancer. There’s the prosthetic, the oxygen tank, etc.

It’s perfect.

Also, Hazel’s love letter to him is priceless…am I right?

Then Augustus tells her that his cancer is back. With mets. Everywhere.


The boy who has been her rock, who was supposed to outlive her, has suddenly inverted fate. The real beauty of the story is from their role reversal. Augustus, who starts out strong and healthy, slowly declines, until Hazel realizes for the first time that she’s the healthier one. It’s a heartbreaking downward spiral. While John Green doesn’t smoosh your face in all the awful, he doesn’t shy from it, either. There’s piss and vomit and tubes and hopelessness.

There are so many things I want to talk about—why I loved this book as a reader and why I LOVED this book as a writer. How the author’s note at the beginning is SO TRUE, especially when you’re an author. How the story is SO REAL, brutally honest, while remaining respectful. It approaches the great questions we all have, Will I Be Remembered? Will I Leave A Mark? It’s humble. Humiliating.

When I say you have to read this book, I mean, YOUR LIFE DEPENDS ON READING THIS BOOK. YOU MUST YOU MUST YOU MUST. I’ve learned so much from John Green, both for writing and life. The Fault in Our Stars kind of turns you sideways, forcing you to look at life from new angles. I kept a notebook next to me while I read so I could take notes.

It’s really that good.

Now, I will share some of my favorite quotes, though truthfully, I wish I could just quote the entire book RIGHT THIS SECOND VERBATIM. I plan on dog earring the pages.

“I was left on the shore with the waves washing over me, unable to drown.”

“I thought being an adult meant knowing what you believe, but that has not been my experience.”

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

“My thoughts are stars I can’t fathom into constellations.”

If there is one book you read this year, let it be this one.

John Green is a genius. Some kind of wizard, to be sure.

I love him. ( )
  kacimari | Apr 4, 2014 |
I absolutely loved this book! I loved it so much I read it a second time. Hazel and Augustus are two of my favorite people in the fiction world. John Green's writing is brilliant as well. It was such a poignant yet hopeful read. I recommend it to everyone! ( )
  Niarah | Apr 4, 2014 |
‘But it is the nature of stars to cross, and never was Shakespeare more wrong than when he has Cassius note, ‘The fault, dear Brutus, is not in our stars / But in ourselves.’

The contemporary genre in general has never been my go-to type to read. Personally I like to sit down with a book and open up onto another world. Not necessarily fantasy but I’ve never cared to read about real-life problems that humans have to deal with on a day to day basis. Depression, death, heartbreak and everything along those lines that manage to make life so dreadfully difficult. For this reason, I always avoided John Green’s novels and this one in particular because, who wants to read about a girl that’s dying of cancer? Apparently, me. This was my first John Green novel, yet I can safely say this will not be my last. And the one thing everyone wants to know: I didn’t cry. Okay, I didn’t BAWL but it did come pretty close and for me that’s pretty miraculous.

‘You realize that trying to keep your distance from me will not lessen my affection for you. All efforts to save me from you will fail.’

Hazel Grace Lancaster is a girl who doesn’t expect to live for very long at all. As she puts it so eloquently, “I’m a grenade and at some point I’m going to blow up and I would like to minimize the casualties, okay?” She knows she’s going to die, she knows it’s inevitable that she’s going to cause some pain, but she’s doing the best she possibly can to keep people at a distance so as to not cause any unnecessary pain. Then she meets Augustus Waters. These two meet in a cancer support group and they are two peas in a pod getting along so well so quickly and falling for one another equally as quick. While suffering through the harsh realities of life with cancer, these two add a flair of wit and sarcasm that manages to make the bleakest of subjects surprisingly funny. Regardless of the humor these two imbue into the story, those harsh realities make their expected appearance so as to cause heartbreak and great distress forcing us as the reader back into the tragic reality of the lives they’ve been given.

‘You have a choice in this world, I believe, about how to tell sad stories, and we made the funny choice.’

Hazel and Augustus are the stars of this show but there are several other noteworthy characters as well. Their friend Isaac recently underwent a surgery which made him blind but prior to that he was dealing with the loss of his long-term girlfriend. So after the surgery, Hazel and Augustus take him over to her house so he can egg her car. At one point, Augustus says, “Hazel Grace! Take a picture of this so Isaac can see it when they invent robot eyes.” I rewound that on my audiobook about three times because it was so ridiculous yet so touching how these three bonded together to be there for one another. It made me laugh, it made me smile and it made me sad because of their unfortunate circumstances.

In addition to the strong friendships showcased, there was another surprising addition to this story and that’s a strong parent presence and relationship. It’s often seen in YA fiction the complete lack of parents but not only were Hazel’s parents present, they were a huge and necessary support group for her and it was such a joy to see. It was clear that Hazel’s mother was trying to make her daughter as happy as possible for the short time she had.

“Ohhhhhh,” I said. My mom was really super into celebration maximization. IT’S ARBOR DAY! LET’S HUG TREES AND EAT CAKE! COLUMBUS BROUGHT SMALLPOX TO THE NATIVES; WE SHALL RECALL THE OCCASION WITH A PICNIC!, etc.”

The Fault In Our Stars is a love story but it’s so much more than that. This is a truly heartbreaking and powerful tale. We’re given such a small amount of time to live as it is yet the characters in this story are given even less. Cancer is a thief, a robber, a purloiner of time. Living life to its absolute fullest is the only thing you can do and these characters did just that. I am highly recommending this book even for those of you who were like me and didn’t care to suffer through the heartbreak of watching fictional characters die. Looking past the heartbreak and suffering you’ll see a hopefulness and a zeal for life that is quite contagious. So, give it a shot, okay? Okay. ( )
  bonniemarjorie | Apr 4, 2014 |
Good story. Moves right along. Excellent look at dying without being sappy. Good down to earth and moving. Really makes you think. ( )
  njcur | Apr 3, 2014 |
Loved it, but now I'm heartbroken too! ( )
  RebeccaClareSmith | Mar 31, 2014 |
I'm not very liberal with my five star reviews. I'm even less likely to write a review, because I feel like I can't do the books I want to do justice with my own words. I feel like both are a big responsibility and so, for one book to get both, says something.

I read this book knowing nothing but that it's about teenagers in love who have cancer and that it's being made into a movie being filmed here in Pittsburgh. And I waited for weeks to be able to get a copy from the library.

When I took it out of the library, the librarian said "This book was so good. I cried so much when I read it." I agree with her. And, if I hadn't known I was going to cry I would have read the book in a single sitting. ( )
  lmm161 | Mar 30, 2014 |
How audacious would it be to write a Young Adult novel about two smart, likeable, compassionate, brave teenagers—both stricken with cancer—and avoid all the sappy clichés, trite stereotypes, and formulaic plot devices that saturate the genre while crafting a beautifully composed, honest, poignant, and unforgettable work of literature? As it turns out, pretty darn audacious—and John Green pulls it off brilliantly.

Hazel Grace and Augustus, the protagonists of this incredible book, are not only impressively crafted characters—they are also persons I would love to know in real life. Although he tackles themes Shakespearean in stature (the title itself is a modification of a line from *Julius Caesar*), Green brilliantly creates very real characters dealing with very real tragedies. He also manages to capture the spirit of 21st-century adolescent in all its complexity. The result is not only one of the best Young Adult novels you will ever read but one of the best novels (period) that you will ever read.

So stop reading this review, and start reading *The Fault in Our Stars*. Right now. ( )
  jimrgill | Mar 30, 2014 |
An excellent book about a young romance with the downside that both Hazel and Gus have cancer. But the book is more about living life fully than dying. I really enjoyed the quirks of the characters, their frank conversations, their relationship with each other and their families and friends. A good book that is just a good story or a good conversation starter about a lot of different topics. I'd recommend this to anyone. ( )
  SparklePonies | Mar 29, 2014 |
This Book is absolutely amazing, I loved it! this has to be one of the best books I have ever read! you must read this book! I'm not going to tell you anything about it you will have to see for yourself :) but it is amazing, I promise you won't be disappointed! ( )
  Librabookworm | Mar 29, 2014 |
Yet another young adult book I picked up in error, but when they’re this good, frankly who cares. A couple of pages in and reading this took precedence over everything else I needed to do. Perhaps what I admire most about it is the way it steers a path straight forward towards philosophy and greater understanding of its subject (in this case terminal illness) rather than plunging over the side into an abyss of cheesiness or exploitative sentimentality. Laughs and tears are guaranteed – often at the same time. Avoiding spoilers, I’d single out the “self-aggrandizing bastard” line and the ensuing paragraphs as an example of this.

The author has nailed the attitude of teenage shrugginess that can be used to mask a range of emotions. And what tremendous skill, for a male author to write a romance from the point of view of a teenage girl. Such a great read. I want to be a teenager again so I have an excuse to read all the rest of his stuff. ( )
  jayne_charles | Mar 29, 2014 |
What should have been a very sad book was infused with joy, humor and hope. Lots to think about. ( )
  busyreadin | Mar 28, 2014 |
Good writing, characters come alive but ultimately another sad love story. ( )
  obedah | Mar 26, 2014 |
This is the first novel i have read from John Green... And i dont really have words for it. It made me cry. It made me smile. And it made me laugh. It was amazing!!!! ( )
  AmandaEmma | Mar 26, 2014 |
Wonderfully "un-sappy" story of a pair of teenage cancer victims who fall in love...full of humor, stirring truths about life and death and ultimately sadness. Realistic presentation of teenagers facing the end of their lives delivers a punch and offers much to think about how we spend our precious time on earth. ( )
  dugmel | Mar 24, 2014 |
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