Despite the tumour-shrinking medical miracle that has bought her a few years, Hazel has never been anything but terminal, her final chapter inscribed upon diagnosis. But when a gorgeous plot twist named Augustus Waters suddenly appears at Cancer Kid Support Group, Hazel's story is about to be completely rewritten.
Insightful, bold, irreverent, and raw, The Fault in Our Stars is award-winning author John Green's most ambitious and heartbreaking yet, brilliantly exploring the funny, thrilling, and tragic business of being alive and in love.
When Bree from All the Books You Can Read and I realised that we were both about to read this book, it seemed like a good book to have a discussion style review about! I hope you enjoy reading our thoughts.
Bree has the first half of the review at her blog so head on over to see our discussion about our emotional reaction to the book and the characters.
Her thoughts are in blue and mine are in black.
Bree: How did you feel about the plot involving the book Hazel is obsessed with?
Marg: I loved the idea of that book (and quoted a section on my blog as a Bookish Quote). I am not, however, sure that I would have liked the book that much given the way that Hazel explained the enigmatic ending!
Heading a little bit into ****SPOILER **** territory now!
I loved that Hazel and Augustus went to Amsterdam (and that Hazel’s mum went with them!). I get a little frustrated with YA books where really young teenagers go tripping all over the place without a parent in sight.
However, I was a bit disappointed with the portrayal of the author, Peter van Houten (was that his name?).
How did you feel about this section of the book?
Bree: I think that was his name, yes. Although I did love that they got to go to Amsterdam, it was a bit of a let down, the interactions with this author, whom Hazel was so desperate to meet. I think it takes a real certain kind of person to treat them the way he did and the attempts made in the end to ‘make the peace’ as such didn’t change anything for me. I do love the idea that Hazel had a book that ‘got her’ and got everything she was going through. I think that sort of connection with a book is important for every reader - not just one in Hazel’s situation! I do like the way in which she spoke about the book, and I liked the ways in which Augustus spoke about the books he was passionate about. Giving each other their favourite novels to read was very cute, especially with the moments and discussions it led to.
I’ve never been overseas so I loved the descriptions of Amsterdam. And like you mentioned, it is nice to see PARENTS playing such a role in a YA novel. Too often there is a grand case of ‘disappearing parents/guardians’ syndrome. To have Hazel’s mother with them on the trip was a lovely, refreshing change from kids going gallivanting all over the place alone!
Marg: I have been to Amsterdam and so it was a nice trip down memory lane for me, although I didn’t go to Anne Frank’s house. Not sure why now but there was a reason at the time.
What did you think of the ending?
Bree: I predicted the ending from very early on (which I think many people will) but that didn’t particularly detract from the emotional impact of it. In a way, like van Houten’s book, there’s a lack of total closure as we’re left unsure of what happened to one of the characters. We can only assume, have a guess, but there’s nothing definitive. And I suppose that was the situation that character found themselves in, so it was sort of fitting. Even though I am the sort of girl who likes a very clear ending!
Did you think the ending was a strength?
Marg: I think so, mainly because whilst it is nice to have all the loose ends tied up, it’s not always necessary to do so. We know what is going to happen with the character you are talking about. It is a question of when, not if, and the reader didn’t necessarily have to be there to sit through that after everything else that we had already read about.
I am definitely looking forward to reading more from John Green now that I have finally read a book by him.
Bree: Same here. I get the hype now!