Despite the tumor-shrinking medical miracle that has bought her a few years, Hazel has never been anything but terminal, her final chapter inscribed upon diagnosis. But when a gorgeous plot twist named Augustus Waters suddenly appears at Cancer Kid Support Group, Hazel’s story is about to be completely rewritten.
Publication Date: January 10, 2012.
Favorite Quote from the Book:
“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.”
Sadly, I did not fall for the hype of this book like so many others. To me, it was an average book. It is not awful, but I do not deem it a favorite like so many others.
One aspect of this book that I can appreciate is John Green’s overall writing-style. Having read Looking for Alaska (and also deeming it an “average book”), I can see how much Green has developed as a writer. The prose in this book is phenomenal and some of the best in Young Adult literature. Sentences and metaphors (which seemed to annoy many people) seamlessly flow together creating a relatively pleasant and easy read for readers.
However, I could not let Green’s beautiful prose distract the content within the book. Mainly, I have an issue between the romance of Augustus and Hazel. Sadly, I would have to label their relationship as the stereotypical “insta-love.” Since Green is such a renowned writer, I never believed he would stoop to writing insta-love in his stories, but I appear to be wrong. In my opinion, I think the novel would have been better if Augustus and Hazel remained friends. For a majority of their relationship, they acted as merely best friends and less like lovers. I feel as though Green included the romance element in the book to make the story more heart-wrenching. In reality, the romance is a distraction for a majority of this plot.
One of the biggest issues Augustus and Hazel face is their battles with cancers. However, one is not completely aware of the severity of their cancers and what exactly their cancers entail. Rather, the book placed a lot of emphasis on the “sick lovers” aspect. When a child is diagnosed with cancer, falling in love is one of the last things on their mind. There’s issues of treatments, finances, and death. These are so overwhelming that a sick child cannot even begin to comprehend or tackle a relationship in the way Augustus and Hazel did. I hate to say this, but it is a rather unrealistic portrayal of children with cancer; I know Green is highly praised for his realistic portrayal of teens, but this just wasn’t cutting it for me.
Additionally, I found the dialogue between Hazel and Augustus to be unlikely for two teenagers. Do not get me wrong, Hazel and Augustus’s conversations are beautifully written and make great quotes, but no teenager talks so eloquently. Admittedly, I cringe for the day when I will read the word “swag” in a young adult book, but at least that’s how many teenagers talk (sadly…). A majority of the young adult population talks in slang, and many do not possess the knowledge or vocabulary that Augustus and Hazel exhibit throughout this book. In my opinion, Augustus and Hazel are “character versions” of Green himself; I have nothing against Green, but there is a slight generation gap between him and teenagers which make his “typical conversations” very improbable to the conversations high school students have.
I do not want people to get me wrong. I appreciate this book. In fact, I firmly believe there need to be more books written about cancers, diseases, and illnesses. Unfortunately, many Young Adult authors write books with perfect characters, perfect worlds, and perfect situations when this is hardly the case in many teens’ lives. Many teenagers struggle with a variety of imperfections, and Young Adult authors should strive to demonstrate the commonality that exists in their problems. After all, reading unites us! However, I think that The Fault in Our Stars, while it details the account of two children with cancer, fails to completely recognize that life isn’t always perfect. I applaud Green for his attempt, and I encourage him and others to continue to write books to the younger generation that demonstrate the imperfections we all face.
Overall, this book is an average contemporary read for me. It is probably not one that I will reread in the immediate future, but I will always appreciate it as it is the first novel that I have read about cancer.
★ ★★ 3/5 stars!
I would recommend this book searching for a contemporary novel detailing illnesses. I would not recommend this book to those wanting to read a beautiful love story as I feel like the relationship between Augustus and Hazel is more of a friendship.
Please note: I read this book in 2013.