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.
In the week leading or so leading up to the publication of The Fault In Our Stars I found myself surrounded by chatter about and anticipation for its arrival. When my copy arrived I resisted the temptation to dive straight in (I had an exam two days later) and instead saved it for when I could sit down and not have to move again until I’d finished reading. I was so pleased with this plan of action, once I’d started I found it almost impossible to put it down, needing to keep reading and find out what happened.
Whilst I knew the basic gist of the plot I really didn’t know what to expect when I started reading the book. I was a little concerned that with the subject matter the book could be quite a dour, difficult read so was very pleased that within the first few pages I was smiling at the wonderfully snarky tone of Hazel, the narrator. It’s hard to talk about the plot without giving away spoilers, but I will say that I loved the mixture of a teen romance with a travel story – I’ve definitely now got another city on my travel wishlist.
I have read a number of reviews of this book already, and many of them touch on the characters and how believable they are or aren’t. I didn’t have a problem at all with that in this book, yes the characters have discussions that tend to be quite deep and meaningful, and they use big words but within the context of the book this all works very well and to me was quite understandable. One thing I really loved was the way that these teenagers switch between dealing with huge, hard to imagine difficulties one minute and then doing really normal teenager things like playing video games the next.
The three main characters Hazel, Augustus and Isaac are all interesting, multi-sided characters. I found it hard to say I really liked any of them, yet I found myself drawn to them all and really caring about what happened to them. I loved the interactions between Hazel and her parents, I found they really struck a chord with me.
All in all I found this book to be touching, and incredibly sad yet wonderfully funny. A wonderful read that I’m going to be recommending.
The Fault in Our Stars is published in hardback and eBook by Dutton Juvenile.