Google+ YA Romantics: Just Finished Reading .. The Fault in Our Stars

Friday, February 3, 2012

Just Finished Reading .. The Fault in Our Stars




The Fault in Our Stars
by John Green
Dutton
January 10, 2012
Source: bought from Barnes and Noble
Mature content: CommonSense media discussion here


How do I love John Green books? Let me count the ways...

1. I love the somewhat awkward, whip-smart guy characters.

2. I love the slightly madcap, larger-than-life girl characters who are worshipped from afar by #1.

3. I love the witty, whiplash-inducing dialogue that takes place between #1 and #2.

4. I love that there's usually a quest involved in his books: finding Margo, proving the Theory of Underlying Katherine Predictability,  making sense of Alaska's actions.


The Fault in Our Stars puts a bit of a twist on the usual John Green elements. Hazel, the narrator, takes the role of worshiper. Augustus, who shows up in her Cancer Support group, is the worshipee. Or maybe you could argue that there's mutual worship. He insists she looks like Natalie Portman. She cracks jokes about her cancer meds induced cankles.  He holds cigarettes between his teeth, but doesn't light them. That way he "doesn't give the killing thing the power to do its killing."

When Gus asks Hazel what her story is, she thinks he means her cancer story. (She's thyroid with mets. He's osteosrcoma, NEC.) To the rest of the world, Hazel is Cancer Girl. But Gus wants to know her.

They trade books. (Why can't every courtship include this tradition?) He gives her The Price of Dawn, a book with a "sentence to corpse ratio of nearly one to one." She gives him An Imperial Affliction, a book written by an obscure Dutch author. But the book, about a fictional girl with cancer, ends abruptly, and Hazel is desperate to know how things come out. And so begins this book's quest.

I loved the story of Hazel and Augustus. I love the way Green allows them to transcend their disease and just be regular teenagers, filled with rebellion and snark. I loved the way the quest was incorporated: their transatlantic stalking of eccentric, reclusive Dutch author Peter Van Houten. I loved the literary allusions, from Frost ("nothing gold can stay") to Shakespeare ("the fault, dear Brutus, is not in out stars but in ourselves.")

The quote from Julius Caesar, from which the book draws its title, is an important one. Cassius tries to convince Brutus that our fate does not define us, that we have free will.

The Fault In Our Stars is a sad book, but also a book that celebrates the strength of the human spirit.  Sometimes all we can control is how we choose to face our fate.

30 comments:

  1. This actually sounds like it would be a good book! I didnt really enjoy Looking for Alaska, but your review sounds amazing!! Thanks for sharing!

    Farah @MajiBookshelf

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    1. Hmmm. You could try Paper Towns first. But I loved TFiOS. Thanks for stopping by!

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  2. "I loved the story of Hazel and Augustus. I love the way Green allows them to transcend their disease and just be regular teenagers, filled with rebellion and snark.'

    Yes! EPIC review Jen, REALLY:)You know, I have yet to see a poorly executed review of this book, maybe reading John Green DOES make us smarter:) And yes,I agree, why can't every courtship include an obligatory book trade? I think I may relay that info to my two boys in a few years...

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    1. "Maybe reading John Green DOES make us smarter:)"

      I have no doubt this is true.

      "And yes,I agree, why can't every courtship include an obligatory book trade?"

      One of my favorite parts of the book is how Hazel deconstructs the book that Gus gives her -- which is basically an Xbox game on the page. I was cracking up.

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  3. I loved this book so much!! It's going on my list of favorites for 2012. I fell in love with his writing and have since ordered two more books by him that are on their way to me in the mail :-) this was definitely a 5 star book for me :-)

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  4. Fabulous review. I had seen this book, but wasn't sure I wanted to read it until I read your review. It's now on my tbr list. I haven't read any of his books before, so I might add those as well if I like this one.

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  5. Ack. It might kill me a little but I will have to read this book. Great review!

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  6. I am guilty of judging a book by its cover.. I think I've seen giveaways for this or a different title with the same cover and I didn't enter because I didn't like how it looked.. =/

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  7. This was a really awesome book, and such a fantastic review! My reviews end up sounding gushy (like my review for TFiOS) or just dull. But you've really got a way with words! And yes, swapping books should totally be required with any and all relationships!

    And (I'm really not trying to promote my blog here, just wanting to give more people an opportunity) for those who don't yet have a copy of TFiOS, be sure to check out my giveaway: Two SIGNED and HANKLERFISHED Copies of The Fault in Our Stars by John Green! It ends 02/06!

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    1. No problem. I'm not giving mine away, so everyone go enter this contest!

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  8. I really need to get this book. I keep seeing so many awesome reviews on it. Great review Jen!!

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  9. Love this review! I've read several on this book, and have gone back and forth on whether or not to buy a copy, but this is the first review where I really got a deeper sense of what the book entails. Definitely moving it to the top of my TBR list. :)

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    1. Yay! You won't regret it. It's a very memorable book!

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  10. I've never read a book by John Green. It seems I've been missing out.

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    1. I love his books. Give one a try and let me know what you think!

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  11. I have seen this book around on blogs but never really read what is what about. This sounds like a very interesting read. I am sure writing these characters was tough but it is a very bold topic and I definitely like bold authors. Oh and I agree that courting someone has to include trading books lol. That is a very good way to get to know someone.

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    1. Glad I could clear that up for you. Give it a try!

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  12. For some reason I have never heard of John Green before although every else in the world seems to have. His books never appealed to me, but I have heard such amazing things about this one. This seriously has to be your best review yet, Jen! You have made me actually want to run out to the store at 4 am and buy this book right now!

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    1. That's so sweet of you to say!!
      Why aren't there bookstores open at 4 am???

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    2. Ugh I have no idea! But there totally should be! Or like...4 am delivery. Like order on B&N now and get it delivered within half an hour or its FREE! Like they do with pizza's! hahaha

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  13. I'm embarrassed to say that I have not read any of his book yet, but I have heard a lot about this author. I need to read one of his book soon. This sounds like such a heartwarming story. I agree with you, the tradition of trading books during courtship should be revived. :)

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  14. aww This book does sound so sad yet so sweet and good all at the same time. I have never read anything by John Green but since this has come out I have been hearing he is an amazing writer. I also agree that I love that they exchange books ;-)

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  15. I got my copy of this about a month ago, and I'm really looking forward to reading it. Hopefully I'll be able to get to it soon!

    Dani @ Pen to Paper

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  16. I got my copy of this about a month ago, and I'm really looking forward to reading it - especially now I've read your review!

    Dani @ Pen to Paper

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  17. I read this last year and bawled like a little baby. My first John Green book was Looking for Alaska and I loved how it was able to emit such a response from the readers in a philosophical manner. For this one, I think it was more of a intense and emotional ride. He always writes his novels in a manner that the audience would feel like he or she is interrupting in the lives of the characters. I certainly felt that way. And the endings are usually vague but are just so beautifully done :)

    Great review Jen!:) Loved this part:

    "They trade books. (Why can't every courtship include this tradition?)"

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