The Fault in Our Stars is a book about (or should I say: “Starring”?) Hazel Grace Lancaster, a sixteen year-old cancer patient who can only live while dragging around a tank with oxygen to help her breathe. Her mother sends her to a support group to help her out of a depression, but it doesn’t seem to help at all, as sitting in a room lying about how you feel isn’t very helpful.
But that changes once a mysterious boy joins the support group. Augustus Waters is a seventeen year-old cancer survivor/ex-basketballer/amputee with a crooked smile and an interest in the girl who is sitting opposite to him. One thing leads to another and the two of them end up dating, reading books together, traveling to Amsterdam to interview a writer, being really disappointed in that writer, having sex, etc. etc.
All of that sounds really cheesy. The poor cancer-patients find their soulmates in the darkest times of their life and they live happily together after a series of minor perils. But that’s the thing about books written by John Green. That DOESN’T happen. Hazel isn’t a hopeless girl who finds love. She’s an independent girl who knows she’s going to die. And she knows that the cancer inside of her just makes her some kind of failed experiment in human evolution. Augustus Waters isn’t a cheeky mysterious lad who has a sad, hidden past. He’s a goofy virgin with only one leg who is obsessed with the metaphorical value of anything he does and sees. In the end, the doctors discover Augustus’ cancer returned to claim more of his body, and he dies. Yet he doesn’t die a heroic death, he doesn’t have a big great last moment with the love of his life, which would be the clichéd ending. He dies scared, he dies in a hospital bed, and he dies while sleeping. All the other characters in the book, including Hazel and Augustus’ parents, Isaac the blind cancer patient, the drunk writer Peter van Houten and his assistant Lidewij Vliegenthart are always surprising, like real people are.
This is why I would recommend this book, and the other books from this writer, to everyone who is even slightly interested in books. One may say this book is a “Young Adult Novel”, therefore not interesting, but I would kindly tell them to shove their opinion straight back in their windpipes, because it’s not built on anything. Besides writing books, John Green is also a famous vlogger on Youtube (together with his brother Hank Green). He knows most of his audience consists of teenagers and young adults, yet the wonderful thing about this man is: he never underestimates their intelligence. And it’s wonderful to see a writer do that, because so many others just seem to discard anything anyone under the age of 21 says.
I give this book a 9/10. While the book is wonderful, in the end, it’s still based on a clichéd story, even if it doesn’t follow that line at all.
And to end this review in his style: DFTBA