Time for another PBFingers book club book review. I’ve really been loving all the picks for the book club, but this month’s is by far my favorite of the year!
My Quickie Summary
The Fault In Our Stars is about a teenage girl named Hazel who had thyroid cancer when she was 13. At 16, she now suffers from fluid build up in her lungs and is forced to use an oxygen tank to breathe. She goes to a cancer support group for teens and meets a guy named Augustus, who is in remission from osteosarcoma, which left him with only one leg. At first, they just begin as friends, but then they both realize there is something more to their friendship.
However, Hazel realizes that she is probably not going to be around for long. Her diagnosis is terminal and her lungs can’t continue to support her. She’s afraid to become close to Augustus for the fear that she would leave him behind and he would be attached to her.
However, they continue their relationship as Augustus is quite the pursuer and Hazel has few if any other friends that understand her situation. Hazel is obsessed with this book called An Imperial Infliction, which she also gets Gus to love. However, the book ends without an ending because the character in the book apparently dies before it can be finished. Hazel’s one wish is to know how the book ends. Hazel & Gus contact the author of the book, but he refuses to give any details about it unless they are in person.
Gus offers to Hazel for them to use his unused Make a Wish foundation Wish on going to Amsterdam to visit the author, Van Houten, to find out how the book ends. They end up going on the trip, despite Hazel’s poor condition at this point. However, their encounter with Van Houten is disappointing as he is a delusional drunk who didn’t even realize they were coming. None of their questions really get answered, but they still get a wonderful trip in Amsterdam. However, Hazel realizes that Gus does not seem well, and all the sudden she learns that he has cancer again – very badly.
The rest of the book is about their relationship and Gus being consumed by cancer. Gus becomes quite a different person than he was when he first wooed Hazel. Hazel sticks by his side the whole time, even until his death. Although painful, Hazel doesn’t regret the loss that Gus becomes, but is glad that she loved him anyway.
At first, I didn’t love this book. The writing seemed all teenagery and definitely “young adult” genre-like. In fact, the side of my library book had a “YA” sticker on the side of it for “young adult.” But once I stuck with it – I was hooked.
I think it was actually page 111 that got me to say, “Okay, I’m in.” This is where the inspiration for the title is revealed, which is from Shakespeare’s Julius Caesar where Cassius says, “The fault, dear Brutus, is not in our stars / but in ourselves.” Being a Shakespeare loving nerd, I was about floored with this. I LOVE IT.
John Green did a cancer book very well. Reading about cancer never seems fun, but I felt that he had just the right amount of cancer/medical info to make it seem real without making it gross or overly cancer-focused.
I personally loved the sarcasm and seriousness of Hazel’s character. She was never boring. I felt like all the characters were pretty well-rounded, except Issac. But he was just a side character.
I found the twist about Augustus very surprising. It was so interesting that exactly what Hazel feared she would do to him, he did to her. I like the she loved him enough to not let that ruin their relationship.
The only real criticism I have about the book is that so much of it was about a fictional book, “An Imperial Infliction.” When I told my husband what it was about, he was all like “A book within a book? INCEPTION!” It was just odd to be reading about a made up book that, as a reader, I hadn’t read.
I think this is something I want to start doing for all the books I read – keeping track of some of my favorite lines or parts. Here’s a few that I loved.
The whole part about the swing set on pg. 125, “I never saw the swing set again.”
“I like everyone else in that room, would go on accumulating loves and losses while he would not. And for me, that was the final and truly unbearable tragedy: Like all the innumerable dead, he’d once and for all been demoted from haunted to haunter.” – pg. 273
Everything on page 283 when Van Houten is in Hazel’s car. I died. So hilarious.
“It occurred to me that the voracious ambition of humans is never sated by dreams coming true, because there is always the thought that everything might be done better and again.” – pg. 305
“My thoughts are stars I can’t fathom into constellations.” pg. 311
There were probably a lot more, but that’s all I managed to remember.
Overall, I absolutely loved this book & I’d read it again.
Questions for You:
- If you’ve read this, did you love the ending or did you love the ending? The last lines were to die for to me.
- How do you feel about reading about cancer/death? I personally enjoy a good story about the bad things in life as long as it’s painted in a loving, respectful way.