Thursday, 20 June 2013

The Fault in Our Stars by John Green

Publisher: Penguin
Format: Paperback
Published: 3rd January 2013
Number of Pages: 336
Book: For Review*
Genre: Contemporary, Realistic-Fiction, Coming-Of-Age, Romance, YA, YA-Adult Crossover
Recommended Age: 14+
Contains: Swearing, Violence (Albeit Fictional - As In Video Games), Alcohol and Sexual References
No Drug References
Author's Blog: John Green

WARNING: This Is The Rambling Review Of A Fan-Girl.  I Apologise In Advance…

#1 New York Times Bestseller

Despite the tumour-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.

Insightful, bold, irreverent, and raw,
The Fault in Our Stars is award-winning author John Green’s most ambitious and heartbreaking work yet, brilliantly exploring the funny, thrilling, and tragic business of being alive and in love.

“As he read, I fell in love the way you fall asleep: slowly, and then all at once.” 
Hazel is dying of cancer.  Sure, the medication – or, as Hazel prefers to call it, the chemical poison – that has been pumped into her body has bought her some time, but she's going to die anyway.
To add more crap to her already craptastic life, Hazel's mom thinks she's depressed and sends her off to Support Group for kids with cancer.
Hazel isn't best pleased.
Until she walks in to find a gorgeous guy with brilliant blue eyes staring at her.  His name is Augustus Waters.  Things start to look up.
And then her life is changed forever, as she is swept up in Augustus and led to seek out the dreams she'd never thought would be possible.
Her fate is rewritten.
But can it be escaped?
I am so behind on reading The Fault In Our Stars it's almost untrue.  Everyone else seems to have read it millennia ago and then there's me, the idiot, who left it so, so long, missing out on so, so much without even knowing.  My stupidity and slowness is enough to make me cry sometimes.  Because I really am both, for waiting so frexing long to read TFIOS, which is, quite frankly, a modern classic.  Or at least, it should be.  There was a debate of Spinebreakers about whether or not John Green was a legend.  I was firmly in the Hell Yeah side of the argument, as I'm sure anyone who has read any of his books will be.  Because only a legend can have me fall totally and instantly in love with characters, make me laugh one moment and cry the next, make me feel unable to put the book down.  So yeah.  John Green is a total legend.  Don't believe me?  Read the rest of this review.  And then read his books yourself, if you haven't already.
Hazel was someone I loved instantly.  She had the most amazing personality: Quirky, funny, but not overly sunny, y'know?  She, to quote herself, "devoted quite a bit of [her] abundant free time to thinking about death".  She just really made me laugh.   She was also so caring and loving, so real, like someone you could meet in the streets, which made her story even more emotional and stronger and harder, yet at the same time, easier to read.  She was just perfect, really: the perfect, imperfect character for the story. And I loved her.
And Augustus Waters: I am totally in love with him.  I fell for him instantly.  He was amazing.  Wonderful.  Perfect.  So sweet and funny and bonkers.  He always had something to say that would make me smile or laugh.  I, like Hazel, "have an Augustus Waters fetish."
The relationship between Hazel and Augustus – oh it was so perfect!  So utterly believable and real and adorable and so, so perfect.  All I wanted was for there to be some miracle so they could be together forever and ever.
The characters – God!  Green just writes the most amazing characters.  They are all so real and unique and so not conventional.  I loved that – how everyone was their own person.  I loved that.  Some of my favourite characters, other than Augustus and Hazel, were Isaac – he was brilliant – and Hazel's parents – I adored them: they were so loving and amazing and my heart broke for them.  And then there was Peter Van Houten, who was a complete "douchepants" but killed me anyway.
The writing was just stunning.  Hazel and her voice just instantly got inside my head and my heart.  Some had me laughing and some had me on the verge of drowning in emotions and tears.  All stuck inside my mind.  John Green, well, he just has this insane talent for dialogue, for totally believable and natural voices.  And it has so many quotes that just still in my mind, so many I just had to write down so I could read them over and over.
Now, the plot could be called pretty simple overall - there are no Stormtroopers or a guy killing someone every other word.  It's all very much rooted firmly in reality.  And that the devastating knowledge that what these kids are going through is happening to so, so many people everywhere is what makes TFIOS so hard-hitting  and potent and emotional.  And then The Event (as I shall call it)...  Oh.  My.  Freaking.  GOD.  I mean, break my heart more please!
And the emotions... Just, my God.  It was like drowning in feelings, this could.  I could be laughing one minute and have all my heartstrings tugged the next, eyes welling up with tears.  Sometimes, I was laughing through my tears, something that doesn't happen often.  And, by the end, my heart ached and I was physically exhausted.  And I loved it.
I found I could really relate to Hazel.  I haven't had cancer or anything life-threatening, but I do have an illness and I got the whole illness and dealing and the "Professional Sick Person" side of the book.  And Hazel also sounded much older than she was at times, something I also do.  The whole maturity that comes with having to cope with being not only sick but different.  So I really found parts of this book touched me in ways I'm not sure everyone would get, like parts of it were meant for me.  
There are no words to describe this book, no words that can do it justice.  Sometimes it's just that way: you read a book and what you feel is just so strong you simply cannot find the ways to express it.  You just can't find the words that would even begin to describe your insane emotions towards it.  All you can say, in the end, is that you loved it.  You loved it so, so, so much it physically hurt.  You loved it so much you put aside other amazing books to gobble it up in one go, you turned away food and water and NCIS to finish it.  You read it all in one go and were left breathless, without words.  And you can't recommend it enough.  You honestly cannot recommend it enough, even if you rambled on for a million years.  You just look at everyone you meet and you want to say 'Hey, random stranger, have you read TFIOS?  No?!  OMG, read it!  Like, now.  Right, right now.  As in, go to that Waterstones and just buy it.  Ok?'  That is what TFIOS has made me wanna do.  Who knows, next time I'm in town, I might just do it: accost people in the bookshop and force the book on them.  In the meantime, I'm going to do it slightly less aggressively and weirdly to you: If you haven't read this yet, I am begging you - actually begging you - to read it.  Even if you hate contemps or think reading about cancer is too depressing or whatever, please, just read The Fault In Our Stars.  Sure, it's sad and real and it will make your heart ache in ways you didn't think a book could, but it's also beautiful and funny and witty and stunningly brilliant.  John Green: you are so a legend and you deserve a place in some kind of Bookish Wall of Fame.  Hey, that’s an idea...  Maybe I should get started on that...
But I digress.  And I ramble.  And my point is:
The Fault In Our Stars is breath-taking and a book everyone, everywhere should read.
TFIOS will suck you in, have you hooked and will take you on a rollercoaster ride.  IT will make you laugh and cry and will break your heart.  And you will love every second.

Star Rating:
4¾ Out of 5

Read this book if you liked:
 All of John's Brilliant Other Books!
If I Stay by Gayle Foreman

Challenges It's Taking Part In:
Happy Reading

* This book was received from Penguin in exchange for an honest review


Dwayne Johnston said...

Beautiful words, Beautiful story. It might break your heart but read it anyway. Great for teens, parents and people who like excellent books.

Dwayne Johnston (Soapbox Photo Booth Rentals)

Shoshanah said...

I haven't read this one yet either. And it's not because I don't want to (I definitely do!), but more because I'm afraid that I've built it so up, that there's no way it can actually live up to my expectations. But I guess there just one way to really find out!