Title: The Fault In Our Stars
Series/ Standalone?: Standalone
Genre: Realist, YA, Romance
I thought I would take a break from all of the dystopia/sci-fi/fantasy I was reading and go for something a little more different. This book has been on my TBR list for so long and I am so glad that I took a risk to read it. It has won so many awards and was number one on the New York Times list, an achievement definitely well deserved.
The story is basically narrated by Hazel, a terminally ill cancer patient who meets fellow cancer patient Augustus or Gus as he is later known. Together, they go on a beautiful road of philosophical and self-discovery. Whilst this concept sounds boring, completely unoriginal and a plot out of a Nicholas Sparks novel, it is anything but that.
What really makes this novel is Green’s incredible writing, He manages to be simultaneously humorous, smart, philosophical and thought- provoking, definitely not an easy feat when he tackles such a difficult topic. The approach to cancer and death using a combination of humour and sorrow results in a beautiful, complex story.
Green’ elaborate ideas of life, existence and his concept of “the side effect” is embodied by the complexity of the two protagonists who are both easy to empathise with. Hazel struggles to form and maintain a variety of relationships because of her illness and the idea of her impending death. In contrast, Gus who appears to be so sure and confident actually ends up being the most vulnerable, making the story even more tragic. How can you not fall slightly in love with Gus? I found him to be a much more intriguing character than Hazel as he broods over clever metaphors, and to some extent, he is one himself.
A lot of people have been saying “it’s not a cancer story”, well in all honesty, it kind of is. It’s the fact that it’s not just a cancer story, it’s so much more than that. On one level, the novel is an exploration of what life is and the way death affects life and vice versa. This is seen even further with the fictional book “An Imperial Affliction” within The Fault In Our Stars “written” by the character Peter Van Outen, the book that Hazel and Gus connect over. “An Imperial Affliction” ends mid-sentence, which perfectly reflects the death of not only the story, but Peter’s own life and how it appears that it ends although he is not the one who has technically died and he has been affected by a cancer case. Wouldn’t it be amazing if John Green did a Jo Rowling and actually wrote the book within the book?!
I honestly don’t think my review can do this book justice, from its writing, narrative, plot, characters and how much it moved me. This is a read that has to be experienced first-hand so definitely go read it!
My Rating: 9/10