Title: The Fault in Our Stars
Author: John Green
Published: Jan 2012 by Dutton Books (Penguin)
My Rating: 5/5
Diagnosed with Stage IV thyroid cancer at 13, Hazel was prepared to die until, at 14, a medical miracle shrunk the tumors 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 tumors 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.
Having heard so much about how this is absolutely a fantastic book, I couldn't resist seeing for myself. I can just say it's among the best books I've read this year. Really. :')
It's not really your typical morose book focusing only on the cancer patients' problems and medical processes, but about them, as people and what they go through in their lives, living dependent on their parents or caretakers. The protagonist of this book is sixteen year old Hazel Grace Lancaster, a girl who's suffering from thyroid cancer since age 13. She was taken out of school because it wasn't possible to go regularly with all that medication, but her parents do make her life as normal as possible. Hazel dislikes the Cancer kid Support Group where her mom sends her every week, but it's not so bad after she meets Augustus. His cancer is in remission and he's quite good looking and interested in Hazel. Gradually they fall in love with each other and the book's about how they go on about their lives after that.
Alright, reasons why I love this book! One, the characters. Hazel and Augustus, especially, are just the kind of people I'd love to be with. They're literature people, love reading and the kind of 'smart' conversations they have? Totally my type! I wish I could talk like that. They're also pretty strong. It's not just that they have a medical problem so they have to suffer, their lives are shown way beyond that. Falling in love, dealing with loss, making and keeping friends, getting crazy over things they're passionate about. For instance, Hazel has a favorite book that goes by the name of 'An Imperial Affliction', which she's read a number of times and the unique thing about that book is that it ends mid-sentence, leaving the readers baffled and confused (I Googled it, it's not a real book). Even though Hazel understands that it's been that way because the main character dies and it's supposed to show how real life is, it gets over anytime, she can't help wondering what happens to the rest of them. She's written several letters to the author but never got a reply.
When she makes Augustus read the book, they spend time discussing it and eventually they get a chance to visit the author in Amsterdam and the story goes on about how they go there and what all happens. Apart from the practicality and realism in the characters, the way they converse, it's very well written, taking the reader into the psychology, the dreams and aspirations, the troubles and most often, the helplessness people have in certain situations and how they feel when they're in it. Lessons in friendship and most importantly, lessons about life: that it can end in unfathomable ways, and sometimes not the way you expect it to be, that people who love you would do whatever they can to make you feel special, even if they have less time to live, that people are just supposed to be loved. It's philosophical, to some extent and simply, a beautiful book, with a profound ending and something to be read over and over again, from time to time. It's got some really good lines, some of which I'm sharing:
"Sometimes, you read a book and it fills you with this weird evangelical zeal, and you become convinced that the shattered world will never be put back together unless and until all living humans read the book. And then there are books, which you can't tell people about, books so special and rare and 'yours' that advertising your affection feels like betrayal."
"As he read, I fell in love the way you fall asleep: slowly, and then all at once"
"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"
"You don't get to choose if you get hurt in this world, old man, but you do have a say in who hurts you. I like my choices. I hope she likes hers."
Recommended for: Every reader!