I just, in the past 24 hours, read John Green’s book The Fault in our Stars. For those of you who don’t know, John Green and his brother Hank are the VlogBrothers on YouTube. I’ve just started watching them and have really enjoyed them. I’ve heard a lot about them before watching but kind of fought it because I figured they’d be overrated. Nope, not at all. I’m a fan. So, yesterday I looked for a John Green book and Stars is the one I decided to read. I’m glad I did. It was a little bit more expensive than I usually do for an e-book but I thought I’d take a chance. Good choice Megan, good choice. I highlighted so much in this book. This is the first book since The Coincidence of Callie and Kayden that I have loved and read super fast. That was at the beginning of the year. So new book love of my life. Definitely fan-girled.
Since this has been a new tradition, here’s the little blurb from GoodReads so you can kind of follow along with me.
Diagnosed with Stage IV thyroid cancer at 13, Hazel was prepared to die until, at 14, a medical miracle shrunk the tumors 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 tumors 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
Major spoilers to come.
First of all for a man, John Green does quite well writing from a 16-year-old’s point of view. It isn’t perfect due to Green being a man and never having felt the feelings of a teenage girl but he did well. Hazel was a little angsty and Gus was the positive motivator in the book. You definitely heard his voice through the whole thing. I think that it helped that Green was a children’s hospital chaplain for a while.
This is categorized as y.a. But I didn’t feel like it was y.a. I felt like it was a book that everyone can read including y.a. readers. Now, this book is not for everyone. There is some romance in it. Gus and Hazel do have sex at one point. (It was tactfully done and it did involve a condom.) But it wasn’t all about the romance. It was about teens living with cancer and knowing people who have died from cancer and knowing people whose lives have been radically changed. Saying that, they don’t talk like normal teenagers. It’s a little bit more grown-up (with still being teenager) and a little morbid and a little intelligent.
I was a little surprised that there was a romance element to this book. (remember I knew nothing of the book before starting) I thought they were just going to be best friends, which would have been refreshing for me, especially after Lurlene McDaniel novels. The romance was sweet and well written. After I figured out there would be romance I thought it would be written like a man, even though the narrator is female. What I mean is not gentle. But it was extremely gentle and like what a girl that age would experience. I liked that the romance wasn’t always a focus. They did love each other. Which is nice. And when Gus gave up his wish for Hazel and him to go to Amsterdam to meet the author and how he told her. I about died.
Let’s talk about the meeting with Van Houten. I feel like Van Houten was a rock star in 2 teenagers eyes and he acted like a rock star. And Van Houten ruined the opinion of 2 good people. But he made a good point that after a book is done, the characters are done, they don’t continue. And Van Houten did redeem himself maybe a little near the end.
I enjoyed that it was correctly written as I in commas were in the right place and all punctuation was right and there were big words. I have friends where I kind of have to dumb done my sentences sometimes so this was a joy.
Complaints. There weren’t many. There was a point where Gus tells Hazel about his girlfriend that died. I felt like that might be forced a little. It was probably written like that but I wasn’t a fan. The other complaint was more about human nature. Gus and Hazel had a friend that had his eyes removed due to cancer and his girlfriend cut him off after. I didn’t like that she did that. But it was probably what a non-cancer teenage girl would have done. I would have pulled away at that age, just not as mean.
Like I said, I highlighted a lot in the book. Here’s some of the things I highlighted.
“Grief does not change you, Hazel. It reveals you.” (Van Houten pg. 178)
“Apparently the world is not a wish-granting factory” (Gus pg. 123)
Spoiler alert: he lives. (pg. 37)
Those were just a few. Go read the book. I’m making every one of you read the book. Do it. Do it now.