Day 477: The Fault in Our Stars

Cover for The Fault in Our StarsBest Book of the Week!
It seems as if I have read more books lately from which I do not get a sense of the characters’ personalities. I don’t feel as if they could be real people but just projections of the author’s plot. But that is not the case with The Fault in Our Stars, which creates for us some unforgettable personalities.

Hazel Lancaster is a sixteen-year-old with thyroid cancer that has spread to her lungs. Unlike the other kids in the support group her mom has talked her into attending, she doesn’t have any hope of survival. She just wants to live as long as she can. At the group, she meets Augustus Waters, a seventeen-year-old ex-basketball player who has lost one leg to osteosarcoma but has a generally good prognosis.

Hazel is witty, smart, and well read. She is obsessed with a novel called An Imperial Affliction by Peter Van Houten, which is about a young girl suffering from a fatal illness, and literally ends in the middle of a sentence. As she and Augustus discuss their favorite books, Hazel explains that she just wants to know what happened to everyone else in the novel. Augustus decides to use his wish from the Genie Foundation to take Hazel to Amsterdam, where she can meet Peter Van Houten and find out what happened after the novel ended.

This novel is about teenagers falling in love, and rarely has fiction depicted two more appealing people. My one very small criticism is that they are scarily smart and funny, in intelligence reminding me more of Salinger’s Glass family than of normal kids. But Green has got the juvenile speech patterns down.

Frightfully well written, touching, funny, and ultimately sad, this novel has much to offer teens, young adults, and adults. Hazel and Augustus are affectingly human, and even Hazel’s parents, those cumbersome quantities so often ignored or eliminated in children’s or young adult fiction (note, for example, how much we see of Bella’s father in Twilight), are deftly characterized by their affectionate jokey interactions with Hazel.

Again, I feel that my capabilities are stretched here in my inability to adequately express how good this novel is. When I first started reading it, I was afraid of manipulation, as there seem to be a lot of “affliction of the month” children’s books out there right now, but that feeling left me almost immediately.

11 thoughts on “Day 477: The Fault in Our Stars

  1. Naomi February 26, 2014 / 12:08 pm

    I thought this book was wonderful, and have yet to hear of someone who didn’t like it. It truly is a good book for all ages.

  2. literaryvittles February 26, 2014 / 3:36 pm

    I’ve seen nothing but overwhelmingly positive reviews for this book… I think I must be the only person who didn’t like it 😦

    • whatmeread February 26, 2014 / 3:38 pm

      Really? What didn’t you like?

      • literaryvittles February 26, 2014 / 3:59 pm

        I thought it was incredibly corny and pretentious… I’m the type of person who refuses to watch Disney movies on principle, and doesn’t have any desire to go to DisneyWorld, so maybe it was just never going to appeal to me anyway.

      • whatmeread February 26, 2014 / 4:00 pm

        That’s interesting.

      • literaryvittles February 26, 2014 / 4:28 pm

        Yeah… sometimes I feel bad about it because it clearly resonated with a lot of people, so there must be something good in it… it just didn’t work for me ;(

  3. Cecilia February 26, 2014 / 6:20 pm

    I’m glad you enjoyed it so much! I know that you’ve had mixed feelings about YA novels. I did enjoy it but didn’t love it as much as I had expected to, but then again I think it was because I had picked it up after hearing so much hype about it. Have you read his other novels? I’ve heard good things about them as well.

    • whatmeread February 27, 2014 / 7:36 am

      I haven’t read anything else by him. I only picked it up because there was so much buzz about it. I really liked it, but I still only rated it a four on Goodreads, so I didn’t love it. It’s hard to explain the difference.

  4. Carolyn O March 4, 2014 / 10:55 am

    Great review, Kay! Definitely on my list of good YA novels.

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