The Fault in Our Stars by John Green


I have never liked romantic novels because they have always seemed to be a bit far-fetched and distant. I have always been more of a fan of historical and drama fiction in which romance might be just one of the many elements. So when I picked up The Fault in Our Stars, my expectations were not very high. I would not say the book exceeded my expectation but yes it is definitely one of the good novels that I have read in recent times.

Cover of The Fault in Our Stars

The Fault In Our Stars is based on the lives of Hazel Grace Lancaster and Augustus Waters, both teenagers who are battling with cancer from a very young age. During one of her cancer patient support group meeting, Hazel meets Augustus who takes an immediate liking for her. During their first meet itself, they decide to read each other favorite novel, while Augustus recommends Hazel The Prince of Dawn, Hazel tells him to read An Imperial Affliction, which is her favorite book. The reason why Hazel likes this book is because she feels it mirrors her life as a cancer patient in the perfect manner. She is however stricken by the ending of the book as it does not provide any sort of closure to the reader. She is also intrigued by the author of the book, Peter Van Houten who seems be living an extremely private life in the city of Amsterdam, away from any kind of publicity and media attention. Through a wish granting charity organisation for cancer patients, Augustus is able to arrange for a trip to Amsterdam for himself, Hazel and her mother so that she can meet the author of her favorite book. But when they arrive there, they realize that Van Houten has no intentions of entertaining them. Disappointed they return home but not before Hazel and Augustus fall deeply in love with each other. A cruel twist of fate happens when Augustus’s cancer returns and he is admitted to the hospital. As his condition worsens, the dynamics between this couple changes completely. From here, the novel has a couple of rapid twists and turns which ends with Hazel discovering the true meaning of love, loss, pain and recovery.

There are many things about this book that is really commendable and amazing. The first and foremost is the style of writing that John Green employs and it becomes very easy to understand why he one of the most popular writer of young adult fiction books. Though he does falter a bit in making his characters seem relatable, he makes you question a lot of things about your life. He has very nicely interspersed humor with tragedy, something that is not very easy to do when you are writing a tragic love story. In short, the author has a way of stringing together words and sentences that can pull at your heartstrings in the most magical manner. Another amazing fact about the book is the fact that it helps you empathize and understand the kind of lives people suffering from terminal disease go through on a daily basis.In addition, it also helps us to comprehend the amount of agony and torture that their family and friends go through when someone they love is diagnosed with such problems. And lastly, what I also liked about the book are the small important lessons about life, mortality, pain and suffering that are cleverly woven into the story.

In the end, I may not have really fallen for the characters of Augustus and Hazel, but I did to a great extent sympathize with their situation and difficult choices that they had to make. A deeply heartfelt and engrossing read, I would definitely recommend A Fault in Our Stars to anyone who has had to suffer because of any kind of terminal disease or has had to watch a friend or family member battle with it. It will definitely encourage them and strengthen them in their fight. It is also is good recommendation for those who like Young Adult Fiction (YAF) and want to explore more books in this genre. (Though considering its immense popularity, I am sure that you would have already read it).

About John Green

 

Quick Facts
Date of Birth: August 24, 1977
Place of Birth: Indiana, United States of America
Education: Kenyon College, 2000

Born in Indiana to Mike and Sydney Green, John Green is today an established and well-known author of young adult fiction. He attended Lake Highland Preparatory School and graduated from Kenyon College in 2000 with a double major in Religious Studies and English. His first novel, Looking for Alaska won the Michael L. Printz Award in 2006 and his second novel, An Abundance of Katherines was a 2007 Michael L. Printz Award Honor Book and a finalist for the Los Angeles Times Book Prize. However, Green won both critical and commercial acclaim for his 2012 novel A Fault in Our Stars which got rave reviews in both the New York Times and Time Magazine as well. Other novels by the author include Let It Snow: Three Holiday Romances (with Maureen Johnson and Lauren Myracle), Paper Towns, Will Grayson, Will Grayson (with David Levithan) among other short stories. In addition, Fox 2000, a division of the 20th Century Fox has optioned the rights to adapt The Fault in Our Stars into a movie with Shailene Woodley (Hazel) and Ansel Elgort (Augustus) in the lead roles. The film released on June 6, 2014. In India, it will release on July 4, 2014 so you have some time to catch up on the book as well. 🙂

When asked about his inspiration for A Fault in Our Stars, the author said and I quote, I could never have written this if I hadn’t known Esther. She introduced me to a lot of the ideas in the book, especially hope in a world that is indifferent to individuals, and empathy. She redefined the process of dying young for me. Walking out of the hospital in 2000, I knew I wanted to write a story about sick kids, but I was so angry, so furious with the world that these terrible things could happen, and they weren’t even rare or uncommon, and I think in the end for the first ten years or so I never could write it because I was just too angry, and I wasn’t able to capture the complexity of the world. I wanted the book to be funny. I wanted the book to be unsentimental. After meeting Esther, I felt very differently about whether a short life could be a rich life. (Esther Earl was one John Green’s friend who died of thyroid cancer at the age of 16)

In addition, John Green is also an avid YouTube video blogger (vlogger) and creator of online educational videos. In 2014, the author was included in Time magazine’s list of the 100 most influential people in the world. He currently lives in Indianapolis with his wife, Sarah Urist Green.

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(Note: All images have been taken from Google. In case they have created/clicked/edited by you, please let me know so that I can credit you for it.)

Final Verdict
3.5/5
Considering that I do not like YAF, I still did enjoy this book to a great extent simply because of the author’s crisp, efficient and clear style of writing. John Green is a very gifted author and I look forward to reading more of his works. The world of Augustus and Hazel might seem a bit implausible, but there are many small yet important lessons in the story for everyone. Especially the most important being that though we cannot control our situations, we can always choose the manner in which we react to them.

 So did you like The Fault in Our Stars? What did you feel after reading the book? Feel free to comment below and let me know what you felt about the book.

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