“The Fault in Our Stars” by John Green

The Fault in Our Stars by John Green tells the story of 16-year-old Hazel Grace, who suffers from stage V thyroid cancer that has spread to her lungs. 
The story is told through Hazel’s perspective. Since Hazel is an openminded and intelligent person, it makes the story very interesting. Her unique perspective helps you to see how a person would positively deal with having cancer and not being ’normal’.
I don’t find the characters very realistic. I cannot identify with a person who is suffering from cancer as I have neither felt their pains or worried about immediate death. Since the majority of the characters so far have been cancer patients, I can’t identify with any of them. However, Hazel’s mother seems realistic to me as I can identify with her. Hazel’s mother is constantly worrying about Hazel’s health, as well as all other aspects of Hazel’s life. I have an uncle with down syndrome, and my family and I will always worry about him, like Hazel’s mother worries about her. This makes Hazel’s mother a more tangible character for me.
Another thing I found interesting about the cancer patients was their sense of humor, specifically Hazel, Augustus, and Isaac. Even though all three kids have suffered a lot for someone who is only sixteen, the book is kept light by having humors jokes. For example, when Isaac is discussing his eye surgery that will render him blind he states that he would rather be deaf. The nurse responds by saying that eye surgery can’t do that. Isaac reacts by saying “Thank you for explaining that my eye cancer isn’t going to make me deaf. I feel so fortunate that an intellectual giant like yourself would deign to operate on me.” Even though Isaac is going blind to remove his cancer, he still is able to keep himself from despair by using sarcastic remarks and joking around. I thought it interesting that John Green, the author, would keep a book about cancer patients so light through the use of humor, versus other books I’ve read about cancer patients were it is depressing.
So far, though the book is enjoyable, I have not found it captivating. It is unique but, at least not yet, a page turner for me. However, I feel that there is more to the book than what I read in the first 90 pages, and am curious to find out more about each character and what will happen.


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7 responses to ““The Fault in Our Stars” by John Green

  1. sarahkwartler

    When I began to read this novel, I was on the edge of my seat with hopes that it would not turn into the typical romance tragedy. Unfortunately, it has begun to seem so, meaning a random handsome guy falls in love with girl with some terrible disease that will cause her to die at the end. Yet, I remain obstinate that it will be different and I am pushing aside my pessimistic predictions for now.
    I was expecting the main character, Hazel, to be a depressed person due to having cancer. Hazel’s true personality and attitude is the opposite and I am able to connect my life to hers. Hazel and I are bibliophiles and share the ability to remember passages of our favorite books, as well as being a bit obsessive over them. John Green does a superb job of exhibiting Hazel and Augustus’s love for reading in a slightly unusual way. Rather than having the characters go into deep, brooding conversations, they discuss the novel by text messages. I was not anticipating this since it is exactly what my friends and I do as well! I am unused to seeing this in a novel because I usually stick to my comfort zone of fantasy and historical fiction, whereas The Fault in Our Stars veers more towards realistic fiction. As interesting as it is to find connections between one’s life and a novel, the one trait that distinguishes a terrific book from a lousy one in my mind is perspective. The perspective that a story is told from can cause the story to be more engaging or be excessively boring. John Green’s novel is one that is more on the engaging side since Hazel tells it. Hazel has moments where the dialogue or thought will flow into play script format, often making it humorous. Though Hazel does not describe events in a Jack London way, enough is told to leave the reader room in their imagination to see it play out as a movie rather than to see it as a picture.
    At 90 pages into The Fault in Our Stars, it is still too early to solidify my opinions and predictions. I am learning from the novel that switching to a different genre than I prefer can turn out to be interesting as well. Although I do detest romance novels, the perspective and connections that I can make to the characters actually makes it qualify overall as satisfactory.

  2. ashhuque

    The Fault in Our Stars by John Green Part 2

    As the book progresses I still see nothing original about the story line. The story still continues to seem clique and kind of dull. However I still have hope that is will become better.
    Something that I thought was an interesting idea was Hazel’s belief that she is a ‘grenade’. Hazel says, “I’m a grenade and at some point I’m going to blow up and I would like to minimize the casualties, okay? (Green 99)” It made me realize that when Hazel will die, everyone she as ever interacted it will feel her absence. Hazel is like the grenade, as she says. Her death is like the grenade going off. The damage and debris a grenade creates is the people who will feel the pain of Hazel’s death. Hazel’s grenade idea is an interesting and selfless way to look at her own death.
    As I learn more and more about the personality of Hazel Grace, she intrigues me more and more. I think it is interesting that John Green would construct a character like Hazel. Hazel is a girl who is on an experimental drug that is working successfully to keep her cancer at bay. However, because it is experimental her medicine could fail at any moment. Despite the fact that death may be close by, Hazel doesn’t begin to look at the big picture idea like most of the kids in the book. Kids in the novel, like Gus, who are diagnosed with cancer begin to have revelations of how short life is or how huge epiphany moments. However Hazel begins to have smaller realisations. Like she begins to question why eggs are considered a breakfast food and only given in the morning. I think Hazel is very intriguing because of how she is different. She doesn’t have big epiphanies but instead she notices and questions the smaller things that everyone else overlooks.
    Something I like about the way the character Augustus, or Gus, is written is how caring he is. Gus comes up with this idea that everyone who dies should be remembered. By assigning every person fourteen people to remember no one will be forgotten. However he acknowledges that the chance of that happening is extremely improbable. However, Gus then says, “But we’re disorganized mourners, so a lot of people end up remembering Shakespeare, and no one ends up remembering the person he wrote Sonnet Fifty-five about. (Green 152)” This help put into perspective that there are so many people who have significance to our society that we don’t even know about. For example I can’t name the person who came up with the idea for commercial toilet paper, even though it is used every day. That person had such an impact to our society but I can’t even name him. This thought process reminds me again of Hazel and how she is always questioning the little things that people overlook.
    So far, The Fault in Our Star seems unoriginal and actually kind of boring. However I still have hope that this story will have a twist of some sort so it won’t seem as clique.

  3. sarahkwartler

    The Fault in Our Stars by John Green Part 2
    As this novel has progressed, I have begun to dismiss any hopes of the plot improving. The character, Augustus, has begun to irritate me, while Hazel’s mother’s actions appear unrealistic. Though the writing style remains as intriguing as before with an addition of symbolism, I am becoming rather disappointed.
    Augustus Waters is the focus of this novel’s romance. Hazel is enamored of him for his sweet personality, yet I find him profoundly cheesy. After Augustus receives Hazel’s text saying “okay”, he writes, “I was kidding, Hazel Grace. I understand. (But we both know that okay is a very flirty word. Okay is BURSTING with sensuality.)” (Green 102). Though some people may perceive this text as humorous or cute, I find it to be rather spurious. Augustus’ text seems fake, because it is written in a complete sentence rather than teenage slang.
    Hazel’s mother is an odd figure in Hazel’s life due to her perplexing decisions. Hazel’s mother allows Hazel to accept Augustus’ invitation to go to Amsterdam, despite Hazel having been in the hospital only a short time before. This was confusing since I know that most mothers are a bit overprotective of their children and would be unlikely to let an injured chick out of the nest. Admittedly, the doctors’ ruling that Hazel would be safe to go on vacation may have persuaded Hazel’s mother. However, from my own experiences with injuries, even when my doctor has said that it is fine to move around like normal, my mother still has me rest for a few more days. The fact that Hazel’s mother does not have Hazel do the same is what stands out and makes her mother’s decision unrealistic and confusing.
    John Green’s writing style remained the same as it was in the first quarter of the novel, but I was able to pick up on some symbolism pertaining to Hazel’s oxygen tank. Hazel has breathing issues and carts an air tank around with her wherever she goes. When Hazel takes it off at the airport during the security check, she states that, “Walking through that X-ray machine unencumbered like that, stepping across the Rubicon, the machine’s silence acknowledging that I was, however briefly, a nonmetallicized creature” (Green 141). It appears in this moment that Hazel’s oxygen tank is but a reminder of her frailty, a reminder of the actions that she wishes she could perform but cannot. This moment left me curious as to how long she could last without her tank, yet I was proud of her achievement of not using it for a few moments as well. Unfortunately, Hazel only lasted without her tank for around “ten seconds”.
    My opinion of The Fault in Our Stars is rather mixed because although it is written in an engaging style, it has a semi-predictable plot and slightly unrealistic characters. My only current hope for the novel is that it will continue to wreck my predictions and break away from the typical plot of a romantic tragedy.

  4. ashhuque

    Despite the fact that The Fault in Our Stars by John Green, has been made into a movie, received many awards and positive reviews, I still can’t seem to find anything original or interesting about the book.

    As the book progresses Hazel Grace and Gus manage to convince their doctors to let them go to Amsterdam to meet an author of a book they both adore. When they get there, they discover that the author his extremely rude and unwilling to discuss anything about the novel with them. Hazel and Gus decide to spend the rest of their time in Amsterdam sightseeing. This eventually leads to kissing which evolves into a semi-romantic relationship. However it seems as if the characters themselves aren’t sure of exactly their relationship status.

    However, despite my distaste for the book, I do think the author brought up some interesting ideas through the characters. During one of Gus’s and Hazel’s conversations, Gus says “Everyone wants to lead an extraordinary life. (Green 169)” I agree with Gus, everyone does want to lead a life that is extraordinary. When I was younger I wanted to be a singer or actress because I thought they were cool and famous. Then I wanted to be a teacher so I could teach kids thing. Currently I want to be a doctor to help people. However, in each of my dream jobs, I planning an extraordinary life in some way. Like in my dream to be a singer/actress, I wanted to be someone you see on TV and say “I want to be just like that person;” or in my dream to be a teacher, I wanted to influence kids to become something great later; or in my current dream to be a doctor, I want to help save people’s lives and make a difference. Each of my dreams have an influence on someone else, and in that respect, each of my dreams were extraordinary.

    Another thing I found interesting in the novel was the character Van Houten, who is the author Hazel and Gus both adore. Before going to Amsterdam, Hazel and Gus both describe to the reader how they believed Van Houten was this amazing, kind, witty man, making the reader believe it too. However, when Hazel and Gus both meet Van Houten for the first time, they are disappointed that he is rude, curt, and has memory issues making it difficult to hold a conversation. I thought it was interesting that John Green would write a character like Van Houten. A character in which you hear millions of positive things about only to be disappointed yourself to discover is nothing more than a rude man. Van Houten’s personality is written which such description that it makes me wonder if the author, John Green, had hopes for someone else who turned out to be the complete opposite.

    As the book progresses I am dismayed that a book I have heard such good things about is so dull. There is no hook that makes me want to finish to reading and the events seem mostly predictable. However, despite my negative comments, I am still unwilling to say it is a horrible book because I have not finished it. There is still a little part that hopes that this book will turn to the better as there is one scene that hints a plot twist may, or may not, be coming. This scene is when Gus finally tells Hazel his cancer has returned. I do not know if this is hinting to a plot twist, which I hope it is, so I will continue reading the book with a little hope it will get better.

  5. sarahkwartler

    The third segment of The Fault in Our Stars by John Green included one unexpected plot twist, a continuation of symbolism, a beautiful setting change, and the introduction of the tragedy to this romance.
    The whole reason that Augustus Waters chose to go to Amsterdam was to visit an author named Peter Van Houton who previously promised to tell Augustus and Hazel the ending of his novel. Like Alyssa said in the post up above, the main characters and reader were both expecting this man to be benevolent and witty. Instead, Peter Van Houton insults them and refuses to reveal the ending, “’Like all sick children,’ he answered dispassionately, ‘you say you don’t want pity, but your very existence depends upon it’” (Green 192). This was an unexpected plot twist since not only is Hazel’s idol insulting her for having cancer, but he broke a promise. I was expecting Peter Van Houton be a patient, old man who is pleased to see his work touching the hearts of so many. The fact that Van Houton was the opposite especially after his novel is about a girl with cancer was appalling. This was also one of the few times in The Fault in Our Stars where my predictions were proven wrong.
    Later when visiting the Anne Frank house, Hazel is determined to make it to the top despite the steep stairs. This part revisits the symbolism of Hazel’s oxygen tank since Lidewij carried the tank because Hazel was too weak to. However, refusing to surrender to her breathing issues, Hazel makes it to the top. Once she does so, she feels that her lungs were telling her brain, “-oh, God, we’re dying here” (Green 199). This leads me back to my previous point that Hazel’s oxygen tank is but a reminder of her frailty, a reminder of the actions that she wishes she could perform but cannot since she is unable to breath at the airport without it for more than ten seconds. Yet, I now see that her ability to climb up fourteen steep steps at the Anne Frank house with the air tank disregards the fact that the tank is a reminder of her frailty, since it helped her be strong. Now, I believe that the oxygen tank is like a third lung for her rather than a dead weight.
    In the previous segments of the novel, John Green did not describe the settings to an extreme amount, but once the setting changes to Amsterdam, he does. For instance, “There were elm trees everywhere along the canals, and these seeds were blowing out of them. But the didn’t look like seeds. They looked for all the world like miniaturized rose petals drained of their color. These pale petals were gathering in the wind like flocking birds-thousands of them, like a spring snowstorm” (Green 161). The fact that Green describes Amsterdam more meticulously than Indiana shows that he wanted the reader to take notice of the joy that Hazel was having from the beauty around her.
    In the third segment, the tragedy of this romance is introduced. Gus tells Hazel that, “My cancer is me. The tumors are made of me. They’re made of me as surely as my brain and my heart are made of me” (Green 216). Unlike the revealing of the true character of Peter Van Houton, this was no shocker. Now my suspicion that “Hazel or Augustus will die in the end” has practically been proven correct. Augustus is going to die and Hazel will be depressed after the loss of her beloved boyfriend.
    The third segment of The Fault in Our Stars has had fantastic moments where my predictions were disproved. However, I fear that the novel from now on will stick to the typical plot of a romantic tragedy, meaning that Augustus will die. My only hope for the last segment is that Peter Van Houton will change his mind and write the end to his novel and send it to Hazel and Augustus.

  6. sarahkwartler

    The Fault in Our Stars by John Green tells a classic romantic tragedy with a few twists. However, this does not mean that it was a fantastic book. This novel caused me to care more about the unique writing style and uses of foreshadowing than about the actual plot.
    John Green used text messages, emails, and occasionally pictures as well as narration from Hazel to carry the story along. I did enjoy this difference from the typical composition form of a novel since it allowed the reader to understand the characters’ personalities immediately. Through this writing style, I discovered that I disliked the main characters due to their unrealistic depiction. From the beginning, I was irked at Gus since he acts like a mix between a philosopher and teenager. I found this aggravating since it simply seemed as though Green was trying to create a cool guy that he could kill off so that the reader would feel depressed. Instead, I had the tendency to roll my eyes at Gus’s lines and actions since I doubt that a seventeen year old would ever act like him. I would have believed Gus’s character a bit more had he been in his twenties and studying philosophy at a college.
    Throughout the novel, I frequently analyzed Green’s use of the symbolism of Hazel’s oxygen cart. Green also used video games, cigarettes, and champagne as symbols. The author often used extra description at points to foreshadow that a big event was going to occur and to provide obvious contrast. One example is Gus’s funeral. During the funeral, Green described the setting with more detail than previous scenes, so I knew that something important was going to happen. I was correct, and Peter Van Houton shows up.
    The actual plot of the novel was the boring part since it is a classic romantic tragedy. I dislike being able to predict 97% of what is going to take place in a novel, which I was able to do with The Fault in Our Stars. When I first wrote about the book’s plot, I assumed that the plot would basically be the story of a “random handsome guy falls [falling] in love with a girl with some terrible disease that will cause her to die at the end.” After reading only 90 pages of the novel, my prediction was nearly correct since it was the guy who died of an even worse disease. Alas, I found the main theme was as cliché as the plot. The theme appeared to be that one should “Live life to the fullest” since this is what Gus did before he died.
    Overall, I can see why some would consider this a wonderful novel due to the writing style and foreshadowing. However, being someone who loathes romantic tragedies and predictable novels, I disliked The Fault in Our Stars. For these reasons, I recommend The Fault in Our Stars to anyone who adores romance novels. My opinion of the book grants it a 5/10 rating.

  7. ashhuque

    The Fault in Our Stars by John Green is about two teenage cancer patients who fall in love. It was a classic love story that involved small plot twists but overall I did not see much originality to the story. As Sarah has already said, I found the unique writing style of the novel more interesting than the actual plot. Since the novel talks about two modern day teenagers, it makes sense that they would email or text more than anything else. John Green helped carry the dialogue and plot by incorporating this. This made the novel’s writing style different than any other book I’ve read.
    The protagonist of the novel is Hazel Grace, the teenager in love with Gus Walters. I could not relate or connect to Hazel Grace in any way. The personality of Hazel Grace seemed kind of far fetch. I can tell John Green tried to make Hazel Grace sound like an intelligent character, but Hazel Grace just appeared more like an emotional teenage girl. There are very little scenes that refer to Hazel’s intellect, instead there are hundreds of scenes where you see her throwing a tantrum, crying, and just plain emotional. Since there are so many scenes like this it doesn’t really make Hazel sound intelligent, more of just an extremely emotional teenager. This annoyed me because it was just one emotional scene after the next and got boring. Being able to relate to the character is important because it makes the story seem more alive and enjoyable. Not being able to relate in one single way to the protagonist was one of the reasons why I didn’t enjoy the book.
    I completely agree with Sarah when it comes to Gus. His personality seemed split between a philosopher and a teenager. There was no fluency between his “two personalities.” He seemed like two different people at some points.
    While reading the book, I realized that whenever something important was going to happen John Green would point out one of the character’s symbolism, usually Gus’s symbolic cigarettes. For example, when Hazel and Gus firsts meet Gus explains to Hazel the symbolism of having an unlit cigarette in his mouth. “You put the killing thing right between your teeth, but you don’t give it the power to do its killing.” Then again the cigarettes came up when they were on their way to Amsterdam to meet the author Peter Van Houten. The cigarettes came up again when Gus passed out from the pain of cancer on his way to get cigarettes. Finally, Hazel had put a pack or cigarettes in Gus’s casket before she saw Peter Van Houten at the funeral. The cigarettes and other symbolism came up whenever an important part to the plot was going to happen.
    The Fault in Our Stars didn’t have much originality to the plot. It was extremely predictable and not that engaging of the reader. I didn’t find it a page turner and the plot twists weren’t that big or I had already predicted it. The theme of the story seemed to be to enjoy life while you have it; appreciate the little things before they are gone. However this theme wasn’t well portrayed and was extremely cliché. I wouldn’t recommend this book to many people as I found it dry, boring, and predictable. However if I had to recommend it, I would recommend this to kids who liked the Twilight series because I had the same distaste in that series as well. Seeing the similarities between the books (romance story, cancer/being a vampire preventing relationship, etc.) I think people who truly enjoyed the Twilight series and are looking for a quick read should try The Fault in Our Stars. I would give this book 5.5/10 stars.

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