Spring Reading: The Fault In Our Stars

The Fault in our Stars Book Review

By: Nick and Alex Maculam, staff writers

 

The Fault in Our Stars is the fourth novel by John Green, published in January 2012. John Green grew up in Orlando, Florida, before attending Indian Springs School, a boarding and day school outside of Birmingham, Alabama. He graduated from Kenyon College in 2000 with a double major in English and Religious Studies. After leaving college, Green spent five months working as a student chaplain in a children’s hospital, and was enrolled at the University of Chicago Divinity School at the time, although he never actually attended. His experiences of working with children with life-threatening illnesses inspired him to later write The Fault in Our Stars.

The story is narrated by a sixteen year old cancer patient named Hazel who is forced by her parents to attend a support group where she afterward meets and falls in love with seventeen year old Augustus Waters, an ex-basketball player.

The Fault in Our Stars opens up with sixteen year old Hazel Grace Lancaster carefully attending a support group for children living with cancer. Hazel was diagnosed with stage four Thyroid Cancer when she was thirteen. At support group she meets Augustus “Gus” Waters, a former basketball star who lost a leg toosteosarcoma, and upon her first words to him he clearly becomes infatuated. Hazel convinces Augustus to read ‘An Imperial Affliction’, her favorite book, and he becomes almost as obsessed with it as she is. Beginning on their first meeting, they both begin their freeing journey to loving each other and themselves.

.           After Hazel is admitted to, and later discharged from the hospital with serious pneumonia, her relationship with Gus deepens. Gus had saved his wish from “The Genies” (a fictionalized version of the Make a Wish Foundation, and decides to use it to fly himself and Hazel to Amsterdam in the Netherlands to meet Peter van Houten, the reclusive author of ‘An Imperial Affliction’.

On their first night in Amsterdam, they are treated to an elaborate meal, courtesy of van Houten. Their meeting with the author goes less smoothly, as it emerges that Lidewij, his assistant, set it up without his full knowledge in the hopes that it would inspire him to give up alcohol and write again. Van Houten is scornful and rude to the teens, and refuses to answer their questions. Distraught by their reception, Hazel and Augustus leave van Houten’s house, accompanied by a disgusted Lidewij. She takes them to the Anne Frank house  where they finally have their long-awaited first kiss.

Afterwards, Augustus reveals that his cancer has returned and has metastasized to several other parts of his body. Even though he starts an aggressive treatment regime when he returns home, he is not expected to survive long. Shortly before he dies, he asks Hazel and Isaac, another friend, to conduct a pre-funeral for him, so that he can hear how they will memorialize him.

Eight days later, Gus dies, and Hazel speaks at his funeral. Instead of the earnest speech she gave to him and Isaac, she repeats platitudes that will reassure his parents. After the funeral, she meets van Houten, who traveled to America to be there. He reveals that his daughter died of cancer. She provided the inspiration for Anna, the main character of ‘An Imperial Affliction’ and his rudeness can be partially attributed to Hazel’s appearance (she had dressed just like Anna). Hazel encourages him to get sober and write a sequel.

She also discovers Augustus had been writing something for her, although the pages were torn out of his notebook. Read the book to find out how it ends.  On a scale of 1-10 we rate this book a 10.

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