The Fault In Our Stars
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.
I laughed. I cried. I loved it.
I’m not sure there’s much more I can add to that as a review but I will attempt to expand upon it. Hazel has had terminal cancer since she was fourteen, but a miracle drug has managed to stabilise her condition for now. She’s not sure how much she wants to get involve in life as she knows at some point the drug will stop working and she will die. However, when she meets Gus, a survivor of cancer she begins to realise that life may be worth living after all.
The relationship between Hazel and Gus is the core of the story and is wonderfully portrayed as they struggle the reality of their lives. That sounds very heavy and very worthy but the real joy within the book is how much joy and light heartedness there is between the characters: the wonderful banter between them and their friend, Isaac made me laugh out loud many times. Having recently lost my Mum to cancer, I could completely understand the way they coped by making jokes of serious subjects and not letting it frighten you so much.
However, there are some serious subjects covered. Learning that those with serious illnesses are not always the saints they are portrayed but are still human, still more than the disease they have, is heart-breaking. I don’t want to spoil the story as I went in not knowing anything more than what I’ve already said, but I would recommend tissues on standby! As it is so easy to relate to these characters, it makes it so much more emotional when things happen. The growing friendship between Hazel and Gus and even Hazel’s relationship with her parents are a strong grounding that pull you into Hazel’s world and help you realise that yes, she has cancer, but she is so much more than just a cancer patient.
This was easily the best book I’ve read all year – and the balance between the warmth and laughter and the tears is beautifully done: Never venturing too much in one direction or another to completely overwhelm the story. This was the first John Green book I’ve read but I will be reading more. I would recommended this to everyone – even if you don’t think it’s for you. Give it a try as it may very well surprise you!
Recommended for fans of Jodi Picoult and Sophie McKenzie. 10 out of 10