The Fault in Our Stars by John Green

Bibliographic info 

Green, J. (2012). The Fault in Our Stars. New York: Dutton Books. ISBN: 978-0-525-47881-2

Genre(s)

Realistic Fiction, Romance, Tragedy

Reading Level/Interest Age

Lexile Reading Level: 850/Ages 14-17

Reader’s Annotation

Hazel and her parents would give anything for her to be a normal teenager. Enter Augustus, the “new kid” and her first romantic interest in years. Can Hazel handle a relationship? Can her cancer?

Plot Summary

Forced by her parents to attend a Teen Cancer Support Group (more for the social than the support aspect), seventeen year-old Hazel wishes should could skip the whole thing and watch America’s Next Top Model on the couch. One week she meets Augustus Waters, a cancer survivor, who attends to support a friend. Hazel is drawn to the guy who won’t stop staring and he invites her to watch a movie. Hesitant to form a relationship due to her disease, Hazel wants to keep things platonic. Augustus charms his way into her heart, especially once he falls in love with Hazel’s favorite book, An Imperial Affliction.  Tormented by not knowing what happens to the characters after the book ends, Augustus convinces Hazel to join him in using his Wish from the Make a Wish Foundation to travel overseas to meet the author. But once they get home, their relationship will never be the same.

Critical Evaluation (SPOILER ALERT)

Green’s writing in The Fault in Our Stars is amazing in multiple ways. He is able to create a perfect balance between comedy and tragedy. This is evident right away when the main character, Hazel, talks about how much “cancer books suck” as well as the way the characters are able to light-heartedly discuss their “cancer perks”. Green creates a beautiful love story while keeping the cancer in the back of the reader’s mind just as it always is with the characters.

The story is told from Hazel’s point-of-view and the reader sees Hazel undergo a major character development throughout the book. She begins as a loner who would rather watch television than make friends because she knows she is dying and doesn’t want to cause pain to anyone she doesn’t have to. However, her mother practically forces her to try and make friends and Augustus begins to chip away at Hazel’s iron wall. She realizes her feelings for him and attempts to shut him out romantically. But once they share the same love of Peter Van Houten’s An Imperial Affliction as well as the desire to question the author himself, Hazel’s wall crumbles and she finds herself hopelessly in love. At the same time her world shatters as she learns Augustus’ cancer has returned and he too is dying. For the first time in the book, it seems the fact that Hazel is dying isn’t what’s at the front of her mind.

After searching tirelessly, it appears that Peter Van Houten’s An Imperial Affliction is not an actual book but yet another literary creation of Green himself. Green’s ability to practically write a second novel within his novel is a talent to envy. He made An Imperial Affliction so believable that someone even made a Goodreads profile for it.

About the Author

“John Green is the New York Times bestselling author of Looking for Alaska,An Abundance of KatherinesPaper Towns, and The Fault in Our Stars. He is also the coauthor, with David Levithan, of Will Grayson, Will Grayson. He was 2006 recipient of the Michael L. Printz Award, a 2009 Edgar Award winner, and has twice been a finalist for the Los Angeles Times Book Prize. Green’s books have been published in more than a dozen languages.

In 2007, Green and his brother Hank ceased textual communication and began to talk primarily through videoblogs posted to YouTube. The videos spawned a community of people called nerdfighters who fight for intellectualism and to decrease the overall worldwide level of suck…Green grew up in Orlando, Florida before attending Indian Springs School and then Kenyon College.” (Green, 2012).

Curriculum Ties

This book could fit in well with themes such as Health and Relationships.

Book-talking Ideas

How did Hazel’s family and friends treat her compared to healthy teens?

Do you think her relationship with Augustus was a good risk to take? Would you have done it?

Challenge Issues

This book might be considered inappropriate by some due to its strong theme of death and dying.

If confronted for this issue I would:

  • Refer to the Library Bill of Rights (Items I, II, and III). http://www.ala.org/advocacy/intfreedom/librarybill
  • Refer to the many excellent book reviews found everywhere from Amazon to Time Magazine.
  • Contact the Office of Intellectual Freedom if needed.
  • Refer to the library’s collection policy.
  • Have an easy to access copy of the library’s Reconsideration Form if a challenge is inevitable.

Why was this included?

I had seen many of the positive reviews about this book and witnessed the frequency it was being checked-out from the library. When I was assigned this book for class, I couldn’t put it down (the first time that’s ever happened with an assignment). I predict this book will stay with its readers for a lifetime. The complex themes, relationships, and characters all intertwined perfectly to create something that I consider to be close to “literary perfection”. Young adults will be able to relate to the characters because the characters are still facing many of the same issues that teens today face (i.e. death, love, and friends) even though they are terminally ill.

References

Green, J. (2012). John Green’s Biography. Retrieved September 6, 2012 from http://johngreenbooks.com/bio-contact/

Metametrics. (2012). The Lexile Framework for Reading: The Fault in Our Stars. Retrieved September 6, 2012 from www.lexile.com/fab

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3 thoughts on “The Fault in Our Stars by John Green

  1. Pingback: Between Here & Forever by Elizabeth Scott « The Secret Bookshelf

  2. Pingback: Don’t Die, My Love by Lurlene McDaniel « The Secret Bookshelf

  3. T. Monet

    Dear John Green,
    I read “The Fault In Our Stars” for the second time now and I just figured out what I think about the book. Of course I love it and it is one of my favorite books. The first time I read it I remember crying at the end. I just got the movie. The book is still better though. You have no idea how many times I had to stop the movie because I couldn’t handle it. That’s when I realized (for me at least) that it hurts more that the last time. The book made me realize it could be worse. Moving to another subject, I want to talk about Van Houten. The argument between him and Hazel made me realize something. Yes, the characters are fictional. Yes, it is impossible NOT to think up a future for them. They are both right. But I understand how Hazel feels. When you’re reading a book, you become so attached to the characters. You feel like you are a part of their lives. I was so sad after the book, I told myself “They are not real. The story isn’t true.” That just made it worse. I want Gus and Hazel to be real. But I don’t want this to happen to them either. I don’t know about you but I sort of thought of a future for Hazel. The thing is, I don’t mean to sound cruel or anything, but I don’t want her to find someone else. I don’t want her to love someone else. This is because I feel like it would hurt Augustus. It sounds crazy, but it is how I feel. I want to thank you for writing this book. Thank you for allowing be to be a part of Hazel and Augustus’s lives. It was a privilege. Thank you so so much.
    Sincerely,
    T. Monet
    P.S I really want you to reply to my email. Thanks! TPeterson30@a50student.org

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