The Fault in Our Stars

by John Green

Discuss how you experienced this book. Is it too sad, too tragic to contemplate? Or did you find it in some way uplifting?
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John Green uses the voice of an adolescent girl to narrate his story. Does he do a convincing job of creating a female character?
At one point, Hazel says, "Cancer books suck." Is this a book about cancer? Did you have trouble picking up the book to read it? What were you expecting? Were those expectations met or did the book alter your ideas?
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How do Hazel and Gus each relate to their cancer? Do they define themselves by it? Do they ignore it? Do they rage at life's unfairness? Most importantly, how do the two confront the big questions of life and death?
Hazel considers An Imperial Affliction "so special and rare that advertising your affection for it feels like a betrayal." Why is it Hazel's favorite book? Why is it so important that she and Gus learn what happens after its heroine dies? Have you ever felt the same way about a book as Hazel does—that it is too special to talk about?

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What did you make of the book's humor? Is it appropriate or inappropriate? Green has said he "didn't want to use humor to lighten the mood" or "to pull out the easy joke" when things got hard. But, he said, he likes to write about "clever kids, they tend to be funny even when things are rough." Is his use of humor successful? How did it affect the way you read the book?
Did you guess that Augustus was sick?
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Hazel discusses Maslow's Heirarchy of Needs: "According to Maslow, I was stuck on the second level of the pyramid, unable to feel secure in my health and therefore unable to reach for love and respect and art and whatever else, which is, of course, utter horseshit: The urge to make art or contemplate philosophy does not go away when you are sick. Those urges just become transfigured by illness." Discuss this statement, and whether you agree with Maslow or Hazel.

Even though The Fault in Our Stars deals with timeless questions, it has many markers of the year it was written -- from Facebook pages to text messages and TV show references. Do you think these things will affect its ability to endure over the years or do the concrete references enhance its appeal?

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What affect does the mingling of normal teenage problems (break ups, coming of age) with a terminal diagnosis create in the novel? For instance, do you think it is realistic that Isaac would care more about his break up with Monica than his blindness?

Were you satisfied with the ending?