Author: John Green
Published: January 10th 2012 by Dutton Books
"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."
First line: "Late in the winter of my seventeenth year, my mother decied 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 abundant free time to thinking about death."
Thoughts: I'm not going to lie, I put off reading The Fault In Our Stars for a very, very long time. Everyone kept talking about how it ripped their hearts in two, and I just wasn't ready for that kind of emotional baggage. After several months...okay, half a year, my friend Jess from Gone With The Words finally convinced me to read it (though I still waited 2 months to do so). Regrets? None. I cannot tell you how easily I fell in love with each and every one of these characters. Was it sad? Well, it is mainly about two teenagers with cancer. The better question is, is it worth the read? Yes. An infinity of infinities worth of yeses.
First off, let's talk about Hazel. Hazel is a sarcastic and incredibly brilliant young lady, who has the misfortune of being diagnosed with stage IV cancer. She's been dealing with cancer since she was a young teen, and it's affected her life greatly. Still, even with everything, she still finds a way to have a sense of humor about it.
“I told Augustus the broad outline of my miracle: diagnosed with Stage IV thyroid cancer when I was thirteen. (I didn’t tell him that the diagnosis came three months after I got my first period. Like: Congratulations! You’re a woman. Now die.)”
See what I mean by snarky and brilliant? Anyway, her parents had to pull her out of school, which means having practically no friends and no social life. Her mother actually has to drag her off the couch (No more ANTM marathon for you!) and force her to attend these group meetings for cancer patients at her local church. Enter Augustus Waters. Augustus is suffering from cancer as well and though he knows his infinity may not be as long as others, it still doesn't keep his spirit down. He brings out the best in Hazel, and she does the same to him.
I cannot tell you how much I thoroughly enjoyed reading and watching Augustus and Hazel's relationship bloom. There were times I burst out laughing out of nowhere, thinking about some of the conversations they had together. And though humor is ever so present in this novel, there is also a beauty and sadness to it as well. Some of Green's passages in this novel had me trembling with it's exquisiteness and elegance. I know it's cheesy to say, but my heart melted over and over again. Oooohs and Ahhhhs galore.
“I fell in love the way you fall asleep: slowly, then all at once.”
That's exactly how love feels to me. If I could hug the words off the pages, I would. Heck, if I could hug John Green, I would. Hear that, John Green? I would have hugged you at TLA had your line not been 10,000 miles long.
Back to the book and back to Augustus Waters. Oh, Augustus. Swoon-worthy doesn't even begin to describe him. How he changed me. How I will forever keep him in my heart and never let him go. His wit and passion won me from the beginning and truly left a mark. *siiiiiigh*
Moving on, The Fault In Our Stars also deals with family dynamics and how strong a parent can be when they have no other choice. So many books have dysfunctional families, and I'm so grateful that both Augustus and Hazel had understanding, funny, and caring parents. This book reminds us how strong parents can be when they have to, and how truly fragile the human heart is.
I'm not going to say this is an easy read. It's not. About three fourths of the way into the book, I had to put it down and take a breather. Did I shed a few tears? Yes. Was I angry or disappointed after finishing the book? Absolutely not. In fact, it's quite the opposite. By the end of the book, I felt an overwhelming sensation of both love and hope. I highly recommend The Fault In Our Stars to all fans of contemporary literature. After all, life is short and our little piece of infinity can only be as spectacular as we make it.
“Sometimes, you read a book and it fills you with this weird evangelical zeal, and you become convinced that the shattered world will never be put back together unless and until all living humans read the book.”