Hazel Grace was diagnosed with stage four thyroid cancer at the age of thirteen—there is no stage five. She immediately quit school and prepared for the worst, but with the help of a miracle drug, she’s been kept alive living with the unpredictable nature of cancer. At her cancer support group she meets Augustus, who is in remission, with the cancer already having taken one of his legs.
This book is incredibly emotional to read. I, like most people, have been deeply affected by cancer and found The Fault In Our Stars to be accurate and undeniably true. It’s not the typical cancer book—which I usually avoid like the plague—it’s witty, funny and gut-wrenching.
All of Green’s books are YA and he’s said in various interviews that writing adult fiction does not appeal to him at all, and he doesn’t ever want to write it. He worked as a student chaplain in a children’s hospital and that’s when he though of the idea for The Fault In Our Stars. This is probably why his characters are so bright and their situation thought-provoking, because John has met people in similar situations and didn't under-estimate the teenager characters. For a man in his 40’s, he writes ‘teenager’s’ POV very well, as they’re not actually completely ‘normal’ teenagers, they've had to face a lot worse than most people face in a lifetime. Therefore, when people say the teenagers are not realistic enough, or are too insightful—of course Hazel and Augustus are not ‘normal’ teenagers, they undoubtedly have a different perspective on certain aspects in life.
I was completely out of my comfort zone by picking this book up, because when I read YA, it’s usually paranormal and I’m very selective about that. However, once I started reading it was very hard to stop, I’m a slow reader, and I read this in two sit-downs. I do not think it’s over-rated in the slightest, John Green’s writing is funny and astute. It expresses tragedy and humour at the same time without being disrespectful. John Green captivated me and made me contemplate certain matters and empathise with every single character.
Hazel was intelligent and fairly ordinary, which was what made her a realistic and likeable character, because it symbolises the fickle nature of life and the fact that cancer can affect anyone. Like most readers, she had a favourite book--An Imperial Affliction and this later became a large aspect in the book that helped her relationship with Augustus grow. Their relationship was authentic and nicely paced throughout, building on a series of events that made them become closer and understand themselves better, whilst at the same time trying to understand their views on life better.
This book made me cry and laugh-out-loud, it was a truly enjoyable read and I hope to devour more of John Green’s books in the future.