Review: The Fault in Our Stars by John Green

title:  The Fault in Our Stars

author: John Green

pages: 336

format: Hardcover

isbn/asin: 978-0525478812

buy it: Amazon

5/5 [in the genre]
10/10 [all books I’ve ever read].

recommended for:  Teens.  Parents.  Anyone who wants to be inspired.

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.

the basics
This is not a cancer story.  Yes, the main characters have cancer.  Yes, cancer is mentioned on every page.  But more than anything, this is a story about life.  Love.  Living.  Forgive the sappy start, but I can't help it.  I am 100% obsessed with this book.  From the first page, I connected with Hazel completely.  Saw through her eyes.  Felt her fears.  Laughed with her, cried with her.  I am also 100% in love with Augustus Waters.  He might possibly be the perfect boy--though he's not at all perfect.  Have I told you anything about this book yet?  It's hysterical.  It's sad.  It's your typical teenage love story with the weight of life and death thrown in.  I dog-eared pretty much every tenth page because there were so many brilliant quotes.  One of the top five best-written YA novels of all time.  I'll fight you on that.  This will not be the last time I read it.

plot . 5/5
It's not the plot you'd expect from a "cancer story."  Yes, there are plenty of tragic events.  However, much of the plot focuses on the relationship between Hazel and Augustus and their search for Peter Van Houten, the author of their favorite book.  It's about living.  It's about dealing with the every-day realities of their situation, and what it does to the people around them.  It's about leaving an impression--or choosing not to.  And the end?  I won't spoil it, but it wasn't exactly what I expected.  And it was great for it.  (Although, I almost wish it had ended mid-sentence!  For purely literary snob reasons.)  Basically, I couldn't stop reading this.  And when it was over, I nearly started it again.  And I promise: John Green does not go for cheap thrills.  He doesn't throw in senseless tragedy just to make you cry.  Everything is realistic and fits together.

concept . 5/5
I don't like stories about terminal illness.  Death is my number one biggest fear.  It gives me panic attacks.  It's not friendly.  Stories about cancer are sad and full of cheap tugs at your heartstrings.  Except this one.  John Green is my new hero.  He takes one of the most hopeless, tragic subjects and makes it about more than the disease.  It ties in science fiction, fine literature, movies, video games, art--everything important to a precocious and too-soon-mature seventeen-year-old.  It's layered with symbols without being clunky.  It's whimsical while still feeling real.

characters . 5/5
So I already mentioned my eternal devotion to Augustus Waters.  Basically, he is my soulmate.  He's attractive and knows it, but in a way that's somehow charming rather than irritating.  He's self-aggrandizing and self-deprecating.  Whimsical and seriously devoted.  A romantic and a child.  He's funny, flirty, lives in metaphors, and uses obscure literary and art references in everyday conversation.  I could go on.  Basically, he feels like a real person and brings life to every page.  Don't get me wrong.  Hazel was also amazing.  Her voice is sarcastic, unique, quirky, and nerdy.  She uses "pedophilic" as an adjective.  She quotes T.S. Eliot.  She wants to be a normal girl but she's also very pragmatic about her situation.  She's not annoying or narcissistic though; she's just incredibly quirky.  I'd cast her with a young Zooey Deschanel--and that's high praise from me.  And the other characters?  All unique.  All funny in their own ways.  This could be a secret biography, it's so real.  I'd go on but this is already a long paragraph.  They were all perfect.

style . 5/5
John Green has accomplished something I've longed for, for quite a while.  He's created a young adult novel with literary style.  The writing is MFA-worthy but still completely accessible to younger readers and completely believable as a teenage writer.  It's alternately snarky, witty, and heartbreakingly beautiful.  No words are wasted.  Symbols and allusions are everywhere.  You'd have to read it ten times to figure out half the meanings, but you could read it once and still be moved, inspired, and delighted by it.  It's fast-paced, too, so you're never bored, and full of snappy back-and-forth dialogue.  If the writing were a person, I'd marry it.

mechanics . 5/5
Green plays with grammar and language and literary style in a clever way.  The book is mostly memoir, part diary, part poetry, part letter.  It does things like use unusual dialogue tags (Mom: Me:) to express Hazel's sarcastic view of a scene.  Also, the cover is very pretty and I love that it doesn't have a sad picture of a girl on it.

take home message
The Fault in Our Stars takes a subject that can easily become histrionic, and instead makes it witty, clever, and deeply moving.

Note: I purchased this copy. The price of the book and its origin in no way affected my stated opinions.


  1. This is a lovely tribute to your brother, thank you for sharing. And I can't believe I have never even seen your blog until now!! So many things to read, I'm excited to explore. You are such an interesting and wonderful person. :)

    1. Thanks, Ashlea! I hope you enjoy it. (: You're too sweet.

  2. I came to your blog via a giveaway linky thing, but I gravitated towards this review instead, and I'm glad that I did. I read this book a couple weeks back after much internal debate and it has been stuck in my mind since.

    Your review was amazing. I loved that you shared your own personal story, I know how hard cancer is to talk about in our own lives. Especially those of us who are terrified by death. I completely agree that this is not a typical story about cancer.

    Here's my review, if you're interested.

    Again, amazing review. And you have a new follower in me. :]

    -Kait @ YA Vixens

  3. I want to read this so bad. The thing is, I know it's going to make me cry, a lot, because just reading the description makes me cry -- every single time.

    I'm sorry you never knew your brother. He sounds like an awesome kid.