Wednesday, September 26, 2012

The Fault In Our Stars by John Green

Published: January 10th, 2012
Pages: 318
Age group: Young Adult
Publisher: Dutton Books
Rating: 5/5 

Diagnosed with Stage IV thyroid cancer at 12, Hazel was prepared to die until, at 14, a medical miracle shrunk the tumours in her lungs... for now.

Two years post-miracle, sixteen-year-old Hazel is post-everything else, too; post-high school, post-friends and post-normalcy. And even though she could live for a long time (whatever that means), Hazel lives tethered to an oxygen tank, the tumours tenuously kept at bay with a constant chemical assault.

Enter Augustus Waters. A match made at cancer kid support group, Augustus is gorgeous, in remission, and shockingly to her, interested in Hazel. Being with Augustus is both an unexpected destination and a long-needed journey, pushing Hazel to re-examine how sickness and health, life and death, will define her and the legacy that everyone leaves behind.

Some books just leave you breathless as you hold it against your chest, with so many feelings and questions all wrapped up in one. That's exactly how I looked like when I finished this book. Hazel Grace, our terminal narrator has been on a face-off with Death ever since she was 12. And oh, she definitely knows what's up. One day she meets Augustus Waters, who's also had his share of fights and knockdowns. But there they were, still standing. 

I've had my share of reading books about the terminally ill. But in The Fault in Our Stars, John Green writes with such dedication and compassion that makes you feel for the character. It's something else to think about when these two characters are carrying and wearing Death on their skin and bones at a time in their lives where they deserve to live without that harsh reality. But, Hazel and Gus found each other at just the right time. 

They shared their experiences, they laughed, cried and I sure did a lot of crying and laughing as well. Augustus is a great character and provided a much needed companionship, humor and he reminded hazel to not let the cancer consume her and take away all her hopes and dreams. I loved his bravado and swagger even through his condition, but he also showed his vulnerable side. Another thing I loved was the thought provoking and witty conversations these two have each other that somehow surpasses their young age. To be honest, it baffles and inspires me at the same time. 

John Green did another fantastic job in handling the pace of the novel, and I felt so much for the characters and their voices that touched me. He seems to capture Hazel's struggles and thoughts so wonderfully that it felt like she is one of my best friends. By the end of it, I can't help feeling like I have lost her. That's how amazing the book is to me. 

Some of the sentences that went through my mind while reading this book was "Will I be remembered? Will I leave a mark?". I think those questions really relate to all of us. It made me realize that Hazel and Augustus wasn't on this truly dark, depressing journey of accepting death. In fact, it is the acceptance of life. Life isn't always fair, but life just is and we just have to roll in with the punches and do the best we can. We have to take time and appreciate before it's too late to realize the things we take for granted. 

The Fault in Our Stars is definitely one of my favorite books and taught me a lot. My heart was so touched and yet so exhausted by the end of the story but that's how I know it's a well-crafted one. This book depicts love, compassion, struggles, pain, loss but yet combined with just how strong the characters can be; they still retain who they are. 

From this book I take that the world is not really a wish-granting factory, but we just have to take these numbered days one at a time and keep on trying. 

"You gave me a forever within the numbered days, and I'm grateful.” - Hazel Grace

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