Friday, April 12, 2013

Book Review: A Fault in Our Stars by John Green

“Sometimes, you read a book and it fills you with this weird evangelical zeal, and you become convinced that the shattered world will never be put back together unless and until all living humans read the book.”
-from Fault in our Stars-

TITLE OF THE BOOK: The Fault in Our Stars
AUTHOR: John Green
READING LEVEL: Young Adult (Ages 14 +)
GENRE: Realistic Fiction

Summary: Hazel Grace Lancaster is a 16 year old three-year stage IV–cancer survivor. In an attempt to get her out of her depression, her doctor sends her to a weekly support group where she meets Augustus Waters, a fellow cancer survivor. Their witty personalities add to their attraction to each other and they fall in love. Hazel is fascinated with a novel about cancer called An Imperial Affliction. Most particularly, she longs to know what happened to its characters after an ambiguous ending. Augustus uses his "wish" for them to travel to Amsterdam, where the book's author lives.

My Star Rating: 4 Stars

My Opinion: Despite the quote I used at the top of this post, I don't think everyone needs to read this book, BUT if you are looking for a feel-good book about cancer, I'd put this close to the top of my list.

The characters of Hazel and Augustus have this fun and witty relationship that gives us a different outlook on the heart-wrenching ideas of cancer and death.  I don't always find sarcasm funny, but John Green finds a way to make it true in this book. He also has a way with language that I found myself keeping track of quotable lines (see below).

By the end of the book, I was convinced that the characters were real and "An Imperial Affliction" was a real book. There's something to be said about a book that entertains and teaches us how to deal with hardship.

Some of my favorite quotes:

“Grief does not change you, Hazel. It reveals you.”

“Some people don't understand the promises they're making when they make them," I said.
"Right, of course. But you keep the promise anyway. That's what love is. Love is keeping the promise anyway.”

“You don't get to choose if you get hurt in this world...but you do have some say in who hurts you. I like my choices.”

“I'm in love with you," he said quietly.
"Augustus," I said.
"I am," he said. He was staring at me, and I could see the corners of his eyes crinkling. "I'm in love with you, and I'm not in the business of denying myself the simple pleasure of saying true things. I'm in love with you, and I know that love is just a shout into the void, and that oblivion is inevitable, and that we're all doomed and that there will come a day when all our labor has been returned to dust, and I know the sun will swallow the only earth we'll ever have, and I am in love with you.”

“There are infinite numbers between 0 and 1. There's .1 and .12 and .112 and an infinite collection of others. Of course, there is a bigger infinite set of numbers between 0 and 2, or between 0 and a million. Some infinities are bigger than other infinities. A writer we used to like taught us that. There are days, many of them, when I resent the size of my unbounded set. I want more numbers than I'm likely to get, and God, I want more numbers for Augustus Waters than he got. But, Gus, my love, I cannot tell you how thankful I am for our little infinity. I wouldn't trade it for the world. You gave me a forever within the numbered days, and I'm grateful. 

LANGUAGE/PROFANITY: Heavy (30+ swear words, sh**, f***, etc.)
SEXUALITY: Moderate/Heavy (Not necessarily explicit, but one sex scene, lots of talk of losing virginity and getting laid)
DRUG/ALCOHOL USE: Moderate (Augustus always has cigarette in mouth, though he never actually smokes it, underage drinking)
INTENSE/SCARY SCENES: Heavy (Not freaky scary, just intense issues with cancer and dying) 
**Robin Approved for 16+**

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