Thursday, January 26, 2012

Review: The Fault in Our Stars by John Green

The Fault in our Stars
John Green
Published January 10, 2012
Dutton Juvenile
Purchased Copy
Reviewed by Megan

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.
- Goodreads

I did not know anything about The Fault in our Stars before reading it.  All I knew was that it was about a couple of kids with cancer and that it was written by John Green.  I had no idea that it would be such a beautiful, moving story about so much more than an illness.  At about 1/4 of the way into the book I almost emailed Michelle and told her that I couldn't review it because it was just too perfect.

Hazel is a wonderful character.  She is young but has seen a lot and she's grown afraid of the death that surrounds her and the people she knows best.  Wrongly assuming that it's easier to keep her distance, Hazel spends her time in books.  So when Augustus Waters shows up at the support group meeting in the Literal Heart of Jesus and is sort of amazing for her, Hazel attempts to stay away.  But Augustus makes it difficult.  He sees past her oxygen tank and her illness and treats her like a person.  Finding out that she spent her cancer-wish on a trip to Disney he promptly offers his own wish to take Hazel on a trip to Amsterdam to meet her favorite author.

This isn't the kind of book that one reads and thinks might have a happy ending.  There are subtle hints along the way, aches and pains while climbing stairs or raised voices being heard through closed doors.  But I will admit that I really had no idea how it was going to end.  When I assumed the ending, I assumed it completely backwards so when it all happened it was absolutely heart-breaking.  This book isn't for the faint of heart.  It is raw and real and emotional.  It does not shy away from the tough stuff.  We see people who aren't sick scared by the illness, we see how it drains a person, all the effects that it has. But it done in a beautiful way.  This is a book full of love and about learning to find love even when the situation seems dire.

I feel that this review is very vague, but I am at a loss for words.  I would hope that it was already on your list to read, and if not then I will use this last line to encourage you to definitely add it.  

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