"A reader lives a thousand lives before he dies...The man who never reads lives only one." - George R.R Martin

22 November 2013

Review: The Fault in Our Stars - John Green

Diagnosed with Stage IV thyroid cancer at 13, 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.

My review of The Fault in Our Stars:

“My thoughts are stars I can’t fathom into constellations.”

My thoughts and feelings on this wonderful book are a little hard to explain but I’ll try my best to express my love for this book in this rather lengthy review (sorry!). I absolutely loved and adored it in every way even though it tortured me a little in the process. The Fault in Our Stars was both excruciatingly heartbreaking and amazingly heartwarming. It was an extremely touching story, full of raw emotion but also containing some great laugh of loud funny moments. Throughout this book I was on a rollercoaster of emotions – one minute I was laughing, then smiling like an idiot and then fighting back tears.

I think every individual can take something different from reading this book. I personally see it as a life affirming book; sometimes bad things happen in life and death is inevitable and will touch each of us in our lifetime. What is important is what you do in the amount of time that you have, be it something extraordinary or ordinary. There is no doubt dwelling on death or such bad things; just to live in your life.

The Fault in Our Stars was enchanting, so incredibly gripping and full of feeling. Hazel, our sixteen year old protagonist is dealing with cancer. A miracle drug is keeping her alive along with the help of her oxygen tank but she longs to be able to do all of the things other girls her age can do – without being breathless in the process. Forced to attend a cancer support group, she one day meets Augustus Waters and from then on the story just exploded with emotion, love, fun and sadness. Despite the story’s sad subject matter this book was so funny and so heartwarming; seriously it made my heart melt a little (before stomping on it and breaking it, that is). It isn’t a bleak story nor is it depressing (perhaps a tinsy bit - well, quite a bit at times) but mostly it was uplifting, amusing and just breathtakingly beautiful. I think the following quote from the book sums up the plot of this story perfectly:

“We made the story funny. You have a choice in this world, I believe, about how to tell sad stories, and we made the funny choice.”

The humour is so witty and quite dark but it just completed the story and also reflected the quirky personalities of these truly amazing characters. It emphasised their light hearted and ‘laugh in the face of danger’ attitudes towards life and their situations.

One of the things I enjoyed was how the subplot with Van Housten and his novel tied in with the narrative itself and paralleled it also. Hazel is eager for answers to what happened to the characters after the end of her favourite book. I became attached to Hazel, Augustus and co, and like Hazel I really didn’t want to let these wonderful characters go.

I adored the characters – I laughed, cried and grieved with each and every one of them. They were so realistic, so easy to relate to, imagine and empathise with. What touched me most was the fact that the characters were there for one another through thick and thin – be it cheering them on to destroy a set of trophies, egging an ex’s house for revenge or playing a blind version of a video game. They go to such lengths for one another and the results are sometimes hilarious and so loving.

Hazel and Gus; so incredibly sweet and funny together. Seeing their relationship blossom throughout the course of the novel was so sweet and romantic. Gus was undoubtedly my favourite character. He brought so much to the story, he was the life and soul of the party and had such a big heart. He was so cheeky and charming, so full of laughter and mischief. Gus wants to live an extraordinary life and leave a mark on the world. I loved how this characteristic contrasted with Hazel – she is eager to just be an ordinary girl doing ordinary things – breathe independently, live independently, fall in love etc. I thought she was an amazing character; so intelligent, so determined and so real. Both characters are so different but they come together and change each others lives forever.

Other characters just added another layer of realism and emotion. Hazel’s mother whose world is devoted to her daughter eager to celebrate all holidays (even those from different countries) to spend precious time together. Her father who deals with his sadness in an extremely emotional and touching way. Isaac – possibly the most hilarious but tragic character in the book. His break down was such a cathartic moment and his pain and anger just leaped off the page.

John Green’s writing is superb. It flowed easily and flawlessly and he made the story jump off the page with his poetic prose. All in all, The Fault in Our Stars is a truly beautiful and poetic novel with amazingly realistic characters, a witty and amusing narrative and a wonderfully captivating story.


  1. This book was fantastic! I was so impressed with the character development and how lighthearted the novel was at times for a story completely moulded upon the fact that both protagonists have terminal cancer. Definitely in my top 5 reads of 2013.

  2. John Green's writing is really impeccable and gripping in this book. I need to read all of his books.

    Anyway, Holocene by Bon Iver is the song I can think of the moment that would perfectly capture the message of the book about oblivion.


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