The Fault in Our Stars

by John Green

John Green--Bio

Green writes for young adults in a natural and sometimes raw way. His appeal is in his willingness to write honestly about the challenges that teenagers face, from drugs, alcohol, and sex to life, love, and death. He won the Michael L. Printz Award in 2006 for the book Looking for Alaska. He and his brother Hank are the Vlog brothers and together they produce and star in videos about literature, history, and science.
How and Why We Read: Crash Course English Literature #1
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Everything is a side effect of dying

Hazel knows she is living on borrowed time. She is matter-of-fact about her cancer and hates all the sugar-coating that goes on in the Cancer Kid Support Group, but she goes to make her mom happy. When she meets Augustus Waters, however, her attitude begins to change. Augustus is a cancer survivor whose attitude is similar to Hazel's, but instead of isolating himself because of the inevitability of death, he chooses to live, and encourages Hazel to live as well. Hazel and Augustus appreciate the same kind of humor and movies and books--they appreciate everything about each other and end up spending most of their time together.


After Augustus reads Hazel's favorite book, An Imperial Affliction by Peter Van Houten, he decides to take Hazel on an adventure of a life-time, one that changes them both forever.


While Hazel's battle with cancer seems like the central conflict in the book, the real conflict is Hazel working through her fear of attachment and living what little life she has left.



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Hazel's worldview

"There will come a time...when all of us are dead. All of us. There will come a time when there are no human beings remaining to remember that anyone ever existed or that our species ever did anything. There will be no one left to remember Aristotle or Cleopatra, let alone you. Everything that we did and built and wrote and thought and discovered will be forgotten and all of this...will have been for naught. Maybe that time is coming soon and maybe it is millions of years away, but even if we survive the collapse of our sun, we will not survive forever. There was time before organisms experienced consciousness, and there will be time after. And if the inevitability of human oblivion worries you, I encourage you to ignore it. God knows that's what everyone else does." page 13


Hazel's outburst during support group shows everyone her perspective, especially Augustus, who is attending the group for the first time that Hazel knows of. Throughout the book, Hazel always recognizes the shortness of life, even shorter for some than for others, and seems to accept that her life will end. It is through her experiences with Augustus, however, that she learns to see things a little bit differently.

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Recommendation

I give the book 5 stars. It is one of the best books I have read in a long time. The character development is realistic--I feel like every character is someone I could come across in life. I appreciate Green's realistic handling of the difficult topic of death--he addresses the issue with compassion and realism. People who appreciate strong character development and a realistic story will appreciate this book.

Works Cited

Allyson, Kara. "Stunning Girl." Flickr. Yahoo, 5 Aug. 2010. Web. 1 May 2013.

Bazooka Joe. "Holland MI Tulips 01." Wikimedia Commons. N.p., 9 July 2011. Web. 1 May 2013. <http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Holland_MI_Tulips_01.jpg>.

Califf, J. K. "-7." Flickr. Yahoo, 20 Dec. 2008. Web. 1 May 2013. <http://www.flickr.com/photos/emerycophoto/3125857562/>.

Green, John. How and Why We Read. Crash Course. YouTube, Dec. 2012. Web. 1 May 2013. <http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MSYw502dJNY>.

Public Domain Pictures. "Purple, Orange, Yellow Tulips, Tulip Green." Pixabay. N.p., 26 Apr. 2010. Web. 1 May 2013. <http://pixabay.com/en/purple-orange-yellow-tulips-tulip-20793/>.

Wollyvonwollery. "Chairs, Chair Circle, Therapy." Pixabay. N.p., 1 Oct. 2012. Web. 1 May 2013.