Author: John Green
Genre: YA Contemporary, Realistic Fiction/Literary
Diagnosed with Stage IV thyroid cancer at 12, 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. --See it at Goodreads
This is perhaps one of the most difficult reviews I’ve ever had to write. Not because it was a bad read--but because it was such an emotional one that I’m still reeling from it even weeks after reading. The Fault in Our Stars is memorable. The story, the characters…they’re going to live with me forever in my mind.
This was also personal and very relatable. I had cervical cancer--that was treated--when I was twenty-one years old. But it wasn’t even that part that I found relatable with Hazel exactly. It was the thyroid cancer and condition. Since I was eighteen, I was diagnosed with thyroid disease that is a life-long condition. I’m on meds, checked every three-four months with blood work, etc. for threatening signs that include cancer signs. Every other year, I have to get thyroid scans with this weird pill on this crazy machine for extra measure. I’m a “risk”, blah blah blah.
Anyways, not to go off on some long off-topic rant, The Fault in Our Stars hit home is what I’m trying to say. It was realistic. I had it on my shelf for almost two weeks though before I could bring myself to pick it up and read it because I was honestly a bit scared. I didn’t know exactly what it entailed, other than it was about a girl with thyroid cancer, and that the few reviews I had read said it was “tragic” and “heart wrenching”. I kept looking at it and thinking, why do I want to put myself through that?? But finally, I took the plunge, and I’m glad I did.
It’s not all about tears and some sob story that will have you pulling Kleenexes until the box is empty, having wet tissues drowning you on the couch. This is a story about LIFE. Not death. And Hazel and Augustus may just be characters, but they’re inspirations. No matter the situation, the facts, they don’t lay down and wait for it. They live…normally. As if there’s nothing wrong at all. And that’s how it should be.
It’s hard for me to like characters the instant they’re introduced in a novel. Normally, I have to give them a few pages or chapters, get to know them a bit or that sort of thing. I didn’t have to do that here. I liked Hazel immediately during her narration on the first page, and instantly fell in love with Augustus when he was introduced. There was just a connection right away with them. What I also liked is the cleverness and their intellectual conversations. He teaches her new things; she teaches him new things. They both taught me new things. It’s a beautiful, fun relationship that I enjoyed watching blossom throughout.
I was laughing out loud from the first few pages, and from there, many times after. This book brought light and laughter, and so much love. My heart swelled. I don’t care if I sound like some clichéd fan girl right now. I was speechless when I finished--left at a loss of words, and John Green left me hanging at the end too, I couldn’t believe it. I felt it was such an open-ending. I was already crazy with heart-break that I couldn’t believe when I felt like the ending just didn’t seem to…end.
This was my first John Green novel too. I’ve heard many rave on and on about his other work so I guess now it’s time I check it out--because I definitely will. The Fault in Our Stars is on my “Forever Favorites” list officially, and will be recommended to many.