February Bookclub Review: The Fault in Our Stars

Friday 28 February 2014 by

The Fault in Our Stars, Penguin, John Green, BookThe Fault in Our Stars by John Green

Published by Penguin

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.

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.

~*~

I don’t read a lot of Young Adult fiction. Not that I dislike it – whenever I do read it, I adore it – but more that I’m so distracted with other genres that I just run out of time. So when the vote came up for February’s Bookclub, and The Fault in Our Stars cropped up, there was a large part of me that was pleased when it won.

John Green’s The Fault in Our Stars tells the story of terminally-ill Hazel. At 16 years old, she has an aggressive form of cancer, and it’s not going away. Instead, she spends one evening a week going to the Cancer Support Group at church, which she doesn’t think much of, right up until the point she meets Augustus Waters.

Augustus Waters is a good-looking, charming 17-year-old survivor of cancer. And he changes Hazel’s life forever.

I have one tip and one tip only for you when reading this: don’t read this in a public place. Perhaps as a sub-tip to this, I would recommend having tissues or someone to hug nearby, because you’re going to cry like a child.

In typical YA fashion, there is nothing fancy or showy-off about the language – it is as prosaic as Hazel, with moments of poetic clarity. Hazel is a fantastic protagonist – entertaining and loveable. Her relationship with Gus feels genuine, though cringey at times (as any teen relationship should be) and it is a story that you can invest in.

I can’t really fault this book – even if the relationship does fall in to the cliché at times. It was a fast pace, with plenty of detail in it, and enough emotion to sink a ship. Green is clever at playing on the heart strings, and does it without any hesitation. But he also creates characters that are charming and worth the investment (and tears), and that is where the strength of this novel lies. It is an uncompromising, eyeball look at an unwinnable situation and the depthless effect of hope, and yet is filled with hope itself.

Don’t expect it to land in the YA pile and stay there – this is a novel for all ages.

What did others think?

Nerissa

I really enjoyed Green’s writing style, it felt very elegant and flowed along nicely. Even though Gus and Hazel don’t talk like average teenagers I felt that their dialogue came across as very natural and never came across as pretentious. One of the things I liked most was the characterisation of Hazel’s parents, they felt real and a true part of the story which you often don’t get in YA fiction.

Something I didn’t like was the character of Kaitlyn as she seemed a little contrived and affected. I have a major pet peeve about “kooky” friends but she was such a small part of the novel that it didn’t bother me too much.

I definitely enjoyed the novel and the characters but I didn’t fall in love with it which I was expecting to as a friend has really hyped it and compared it to a book I do love so I was a little disappointed but it certainly kept me coming back. I didn’t feel it was the most original plot since there are loads of this type kicking around but he is certainly a gifted writer and I will be reading more of his works.

Loralei

LOVED The Fault in Our Stars 🙂

What did you think of The Fault in Our Stars?

March‘s House of Blog Bookclub is horror novel Coldbrook by Tim Lebbon! Tweet your thoughts through the hashtag #HoBBookclub on Twitter or write on the wall on the House of Blog Facebook page.

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1 Comment

  1. Susie Paterson

    I wasn’t really expecting to enjoy the book as it was about such a tough subject, but my heart was stirred and I found I couldn’t put it down. There were a lot of insights about dealing with cancer in teenagers, which I am sure could be helpful for those who experience this in their lives – be they teenager, parent or friend. I have suggested the book to a cancer support charity I used to work for. Thanks for the recommendation!

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