Tuesday, 13 March 2012
The Fault in our Stars Review
Published: January 10th 2012 by Dutton Books
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.
I have very mixed feelings about this book and the characters in it. I've read a lot of reviews and seen a lot of people talking/raving about it on tumblr, so I had the expectation before I read it that it would totally blow my mind and change my world view etc. It didn't. Not that I'm saying I didn't enjoy it...I did enjoy it, if you can call liking a book about kids with cancer enjoying it. I just thought that it was a bit pretentious at times, and when Hazel or Augustus were giving some of their big speeches about the universe and oblivion etc, I have to admit I got pretty lost at times.
I liked Hazel. She wasn't a hero. She was a pissed off teenager, mad at the world and at her terminal disease. Rightly so. I understood her fears of hurting the others around her by dying, and not wanting to get close to people she could avoid hurting. I was torn between not wanting her to get too close to Augustus, (because we all knew what would happen to him, let's be honest) and screaming 'JUST LET HIM LOVE YOU!' at her.
Augustus was sweet and charming and just...*sigh*. What he did for Hazel, his letters to Van Houten. I have to admit he made me cry in many public places.
Isaac was probably my favourite character though. He was another one that didn't even pretend to be the typical strong, heroic cancer kid types. He was sad (though admittedly less about losing his sight and more about losing his girlfiend) but hey, he's a teenage lad, we can forgive him for that. He had a self depreciating humour that I just found adorable. I loved his relationship with Hazel too, and of course his love for Augustus. Oh man, his...let's say speech...turned me into a weeping mess.
If I could sum up this book in one word, it would have to be clever. I liked the parallel between Hazel's story and that of Anna, though I was really expecting it to end in the middle of