Review: The Fault in Our Stars by John Green

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.

All John Green fans were eager and excited to get their hands on one of the most hyped books of 2012. Often labelled a ‘cancer book’, it undeniably includes content on death and philosophical ideas on the afterlife. However, it was the love element between the two fabulous characters of Hazel and Augustus that really touched me.

John Green fans know and expect phenomenal writing and there was no let down there. Chalk full of raw emotion, Green was even able to make me tear up. Yet, I also enjoyed the humour to break up some of the sad moments. For example, when Hazel and Augustus are talking about their ‘make a wish’ wishes, Augustus pokes fun of Hazel for using a wish on Disneyland, telling her “I can’t believe I have a crush on a girl with such cliché wishes.” Another part I loved was when the two put Hazel’s swing set for sale online with the ad ‘Desperately Lonely Swing Set Needs Loving Home’. It has a hilarious description of the swing set that will undoubtedly illicit memories from the buyer. All ads should be written like that!

Overall, Green does provide perspective of what it may feel like to know you are dying (both physically and emotionally) and doesn’t shy away from the uglier aspects. I appreciated that. Without a doubt, it can be a depressing read but I feel like it does capture the tragedy of children with cancer.

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