The Fault in Our Stars: No Fault in its Five Stars

Bridget Grenier

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John Green, author of the young adult novel The Fault in Our Stars, has filled this work with a magnificent plot and amazing characters, evoking surges of emotions throughout all of its readers, proving there is no fault in this book’s five stars.

The Fault in Our Stars is a novel that follows the story of 16-year-old Hazel Grace Lancaster, who was diagnosed with thyroid cancer at age 13. Her unfortunate path of life leads her parents to force her into attending a support group at a local church filled with other teens experiencing cancer troubles. Here, she meets leading man Augustus “Gus” Waters. Gus had been diagnosed with osteosarcoma, a form of bone cancer, and had the lower half of his right leg amputated. He is in the process of remission at the time he meets Hazel.  After the two meet and become close, they find themselves in a whole new world. The two find a particular bond in the book An Imperial Affliction by Peter van Houten, which leads them to Amsterdam in order to track down this mysterious writer, courtesy of the “Genies,” a play on the Make-a-Wish Foundation. Here, as well as throughout their adventures in the world, they open up each other to, and they learn that not everything is what one expects it to be.

Throughout the novel, the two teens are not only fighting their cancers, but internal conflicts about living their lives to the fullest, fearing what would come after death, and hurting the people they love. Before meeting Gus, Hazel didn’t care whether she died or not; she thought she had the whole world figured out. However, Gus shows her, to her surprise, that there are people out there who care. Readers are forced to sympathize for them, even though neither one asks for sympathy.

Author John Green animates his characters and their connections to each other beautifully throughout his work. Hazel, Gus, and their good friend Isaac, all give their heart-wrenching, tragic stories with bursts of humor and excitement. These characters have shockingly real and believable personalities. Green makes the reader truly feel like he or she is watching the lives of Augustus and Hazel play out first hand.

Green also takes a creative approach to young adult literature. Often times in young adult novels, characters are going through standard teen character development. However, Green discusses and showcases what happens when characters are pushed to their limits and are forced to grow up before they’re ready, pushing past that vital stage of personal growth and development from a child to an adult. He shows his teen characters in a light many other young adults authors don’t – Green portrays teens who have answers to the question: What happens after that’s all said and done?

TIME magazine named The Fault in Our Stars the number one fiction book of 2012. After its publication in January of 2012 and explosion of popularity, the film rights were optioned by Fox 2000, reported, with Shailene Woodley expected to play Hazel.

As a personal anecdote, the night I finished this book, I learned that my grandfather had hepatocellular carcinoma, a form of liver cancer. He died peacefully three days later. This book truly did teach me lessons to help get me through this awful time with my family and friends.

Stepping away from the personal effect this book had on me that gives it a special place in my mind, The Fault in Our Stars still receives a well-earned five stars.

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