Book Review: THE FAULT IN OUR STARS – written by John Green
Green, John. 2012. THE FAULT IN OUR STARS. NY: Dutton Books. ISBN 978-0525478812.
THE FAULT IN OUR STARS is the heartbreaking and unexpected love story of two teens from contemporary Indianapolis. Hazel Lancaster, a stage IV cancer patient, reluctantly attends a support group for children with cancer at the urging of her parents and doctor. Augustus Waters, a cancer survivor in remission, attends one of the sessions to support their mutual friend named Isaac as he loses his eyes to cancer. That meeting begins a beautiful and bittersweet friendship between Hazel and Augustus. Their “relationship flourish[s] even as they both face death” (Syme 2012). THE FAULT IN OUR STARS is a “smartly crafted intellectual explosion of a romance” (Kirkus Reviews 2012). Tragic, yet still “brimming with joy”, people of all ages will love this well-crafted young-adult novel (Syme 2012).
Contemporary-realistic-fiction books, written for young people, are a unique genre. In comparison to plot, the character’s “internal journey and emotional growth are far more significant” (Vardell 2008, 158). The plot of THE FAULT IN OUR STARS is true to life and relatable to the reader. However, it is the metamorphosis of Hazel and Augustus generated by the catalyst of their budding relationship that truly makes this book great. Their search for independence and identity, while experience a blossoming romance and crippling illness, has a “personal resonance for the child reader that is meaningful and worthwhile” (Vardell 2008, 159). Hazel’s believable, strong, and independent voice “validates [readers] own search and honors their questions” about love in the face of adversity and death (Vardell 2008, 161).
Reviews: (from John Green’s website: http://johngreenbooks.com/the-fault-in-our-stars/)
- “Green’s best and most ambitious novel to date. In its every aspect, The Fault in Our Stars is a triumph.” –Booklist, starred review
- “Luminous.” –Entertainment Weekly
- “A smartly crafted intellectual explosion of a romance.” –Kirkus, starred review
- A blend of melancholy, sweet, philosophical, and funny. Green shows us true love…and it is far more romantic than any sunset on the beach.” –New York Times Book Review
- “One doesn’t like to throw around phrases like “instant classic” lightly, but I can see The Fault in Our Stars taking its place alongside Are You There God? It’s Me, Margaret in the young-adult canon. Green’s book is also a good example of why so many adult readers are turning to young-adult literature for the pleasures and consolations they used to get from conventional literary fiction.” –Time
- “Green writes books for young adults, but his voice is so compulsively readable that it defies categorization. The Fault in Our Stars proves that the hype surrounding Green is not overblown.” –NPR
- “A pitch-perfect, elegiac comedy…it will linger long and hard in the minds of teens and former teens.” –USA Today
- “An achingly beautiful story.” –SLJ, starred review
- “John Green deftly mixes the profound and the quotidian in this tough, touching valentine to the human spirit.” –Washington Post
John Green is a guest blogger on www.teachingbooks.net (http://www.teachingbooks.net/tb.cgi?aid=73). This site includes a “Meet the Author” audio book reading of THE FAULT IN OUR STARS that could enhance reader’s experience of this moving story. Moreover, the Teaching Books website has supplemental lesson plans and reading guides. THE FAULT IN OUR STARS could also be used to raise awareness of childhood cancer. I have personally run a successful book club featuring this book. The club members constructed tied fleece blankets to donate to hospitalized children through Project Linus (http://www.projectlinus.org/).
Awards: (from John Green’s website: http://johngreenbooks.com/the-fault-in-our-stars/)
- #1 New York Times bestseller
- #1 Wall Street Journal bestseller
- #9 The Bookseller (UK) bestseller
- #1 Indiebound bestseller
- New York Times Book Review Editor’s Choice
- Starred reviews from Booklist, SLJ, Publisher’s Weekly, Horn Book, and Kirkus
Book 2 Movie Trailer:
What to Read to Next:
Chbosky, Stephen. 2012. THE PERKS OF BEING A WALLFLOWER. NY: MTV Books. ISBN 978-1451696196
Green, John. 2006. LOOKING FOR ALASKA. NY: Speak. ISBN 978-0142402511
Kirkus Reviews. 2012. “Book Review: THE FAULT IN OUR STARS.” January 10. Accessed April 20, 2014. https://www.kirkusreviews.com/book-reviews/john-green/fault-in-our-stars/.
Syme, Rachel. 2012. “‘The Fault In Our Stars’: Love In A Time Of Cancer.” NPR. January 17. Accessed April 20, 2014. http://www.npr.org/2012/01/17/145343351/the-fault-in-our-stars-love-in-a-time-of-cancer.
Vardell, Sylvia M. 2008. Children’s Literature in Action: A Librarian’s Guide. Westport, CT: Libraries Unlimited.