Friday, 7 September 2012

The Fault In Our Stars By John Green

The Fault In Our Stars
Release Date: 3rd May 2012
Publisher: Penguin
Format: Hardcover
Pages: 318
Synopsis: 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.
Review: This is an odd book to review. I've read so many positive reviews of this book that my expectations were incredibly high, therefore when I began I was rather disappointed. Don't get me wrong this is a good, interesting, tear jerking book but it didn't blow me away like I expected. The book deals with the harsh reality of cancer and how people with cancer are different to others. It was interesting reading from the point of view from someone with cancer, we got to see the world through her eyes and it really does make you open your eyes to the world. The subject of cancer can be hard for people to talk about so I just want to warn you now that this is what this book is all about and the realisation that the main character will not live as long as others.
The Fault in Our Stars follows Hazel who has thyroid cancer and has to have an oxygen tank with her at all times. She constantly worries that her lungs will give up on her but at the same time she has come to terms with the fact that she has cancer and will not live for long. At a cancer support group meeting she meets Augustus Waters another person with Cancer. They get to know each other but Hazel won't take it further because she knows that the heartbreak is inevitable. How could she date this guy and then she suddenly gets worse and doesn't make it another week? She knows she's a grenade just waiting to explode. Augustus doesn't care, he likes Hazel too much for that, plus he knows he needs to live his life not shy away from it. To show Hazel how much she means to him, he offers her his one and only wish, together they embark on a journey that will change things for them both.
At the start I really didn't like the characters, they seemed too bland to me and all the same. I kept reading though and soon we saw the personalities shine through. Hazel is interesting. She knows the extent of her cancer and how it effects her but she can't help but stay at home all day. The cancer really sucks all her energy. Her parents want her to get out and be normal. When she meets Augustus they do start hanging out like normal teenagers but they have much more in depth conversations. She was mature but at sometimes immature. I'm still not 100% sure what to think of her. Augustus, I didn't like at the start but he really grew on me. A lot. He knew Hazel was important and he wouldn't let her go. She made him happy and he needed that. He was hilarious and could make anyone smile. I actually really liked his character. Isaac was also interesting, he had plenty of mood swings but he becomes a friend to Hazel when she needs one.
Despite this person not being a main character I think he was brilliant and that was the author Peter Van Houten. He was troubled and slightly eccentric. Even though he was a drunk and a complete ass to Hazel and Gus, it showed you how cancer can effect someone. He didn't have cancer himself but his daughter did. And when she passed away, it tore his marriage apart. He wrote the book An Imperial Affliction to imagine his daughter as a teenager. We see how his life was ripped apart and this is how his behaviour has gotten out of hand, he lost everything. Nearer the end he tries to apologise to the two and at times he really made me laugh. At the end I think he realised the state he was in, but he wouldn't have unless Hazel and Gus hadn't visited him.
Right, The ending of this book is heartbreaking. Alas I didn't cry but it really pulled at my heart strings. I still can't believe what happened. It was the complete opposite to what I expected. The Fault in Our Stars is a book that really makes you think about life and even more so the meaning of life. What does it mean to live, if in hundreds of years no one will ever remember you. Are we born to leave behind a legacy and is there something after death? So many questions are asked and I think the answers are really left for the reader to figure out for themselves. After all, all of our beliefs are different. This is a good book, it had a few problems for me such as the slow beginning and how it took a while for me to like the characters. Apart from that is is a really enjoyable but very emotional book. This book should come with a warning label, that you may cry and your may hurt your brain by thinking way too much!


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