Despite the tumor-shrinking medical miracle that has bought her a few years, Hazel has never been anything but terminal, her final chapter inscribed upon diagnosis. But when a gorgeous plot twist named Augustus Waters suddenly appears at Cancer Kid Support Group, Hazel's story is about to be completely rewritten.
Insightful, bold, irreverent, and raw, The Fault in Our Stars is award-winning author John Green's most ambitious and heartbreaking work yet, brilliantly exploring the funny, thrilling, and tragic business of being alive and in love. [ synopsis from goodreads ]
So I have read this book previously and have now reviewed it twice. So this review will be in two parts....
Original review from February of 2012:
Wow. It's amazing how one word can sum up my feelings so completely and, at the same time, be worlds away from describing this book. I honestly think this is my new favorite book. I flew through it, reading it during every moment I could find to spare. I even read it in class a few times which, well, wasn't exactly the best of ideas. Crying heavily in public is never actually a good thing.
I think Augustus Waters will forever be one of my favorite characters. I can't even begin to express what he or this book means to me. I felt as though I actually knew him and grieved every hurt and every pain with both him and Hazel. I have never truly known what it means to die. Of course I've had close friends and family members die. But to think of it in such depth and such detail? Never. But now, well, now I feel as though I know. I feel as though I, too, lived it. And only a really wonderful and amazing writer can truly make you feel that so wholly.
And now I'm crying just writing this review. Though this book is a river of tears and a world of pain, it's really and truly worth it. It's one of those books to read and relive again and again because, although you know how it ends, some pain is worth it.
Somewhere toward the beginning of the book, Hazel says: "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." That's really and truly how I feel about this book. At this moment I feel so completely and totally in love with this book that I plan to sick it on everyone I know.
If you're reading this, stop right now. I'm sending this message into cyberspace. Go. Read. This. Book. Live, love, cry. And, most of all, learn. Because this book is too good to be left on the shelves of time. It needs to be read and a story this wonderful needs to be shared. So go. And enjoy. Because you, too, will fall in love.
New 2016 review:
Reading my original review, I feel exactly the same about this book as I did when I read it originally almost four years ago. It is now and forever one of my absolute favorites. It's a world that I love revisiting, at the start. And even though I know it will break my heart again and I again, I always return.
This time, however, I read it with my book club so I can foster bouts of pain on a whole new group of people. (Shout out to my amazing book club and all the books we sob through together. I love you all so dearly. Especially since I picked this one sooo thanks for putting up with me????)
Anyway, just a few new thoughts about this book....
At some point in this book, Gus talks about how the people who are immortalized are the ones who die nobly. The ones who die in battle and give themselves for a cause. Cancer kids often go unremembered (as is proved by the list they read at the end of every Support Group meeting). And, honestly, I think that’s terrible. Because cancer kids struggle endlessly. Their fight can sometimes last for years. And during those years, they know they’re going to die. That must be one of the hardest battles to fight. And, yet, they’re so often unsung heroes. We don’t like to think about it because it makes us uncomfortable.
So I’m glad this book exists. Even though it, itself, is fictional, the types of people it describes are not. Hollywood tends to shy away from things that aren’t shiny and beautiful. Disabilites are often written out of stories. And, sadly, much of the world tends to take its cues from Hollywood to decide what is right and what isn’t. And the fact that this was made in to a film and that it was so popular really makes me happy. The fact that this book is now so popular makes me so happy. Because maybe it’s the start of recognizing those unsung heroes. I like to hope so.
review originally posted on goodreads