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Saturday, September 6, 2014

Book Review: The Fault in Our Stars by John Green

This book has received so much hype lately, that I had to read it before I saw the movie.  I was honestly a little scared to read it.  I was afraid that it would be too sad for me.  I hate hearing about kids suffering from cancer or a disability.  It's just too much for my heart to take.  The book was sad, but I am so glad that I read it.  I would put this book in the top books I've read in the last five years.

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I always look up books on Good Reads before I read them.  I don't want spoilers, but I don't want to waste my time on a poorly written book.  The Fault in our Stars is one book is one that I wish that I hadn't looked up.  A lot of people mentioned in their reviews that the book wasn't realistic.  Teens don't really talk like that, they said.    

Well, mine does.  He's only 12, but I can imagine him talking just like Gus did in the book.  He's well read like both Hazel and Gus, so he would definitely quote books like they do.  

Even their names allude to their character.  Hazel and Augustus. They are both old names, which means they will be old souls.

This books is a shorter one, so it's a quick read.  It's so well written that the pages just seem to flow together.

Hazel has cancer, but a miracle new experimental drug shrunk her tumors and is, so far, stopping the cancer from spreading.  Augustus is a cancer survivor who lost part of his leg due to the bone cancer.

Living with cancer at 16 is obviously difficult, so Hazel's mother encourages her to join a support group for kids with cancer.  There she meets Gus and hits it off with him immediately.

I know other readers have a problem with their meeting.  They just didn't feel that they could fall in love that quickly.  I don't think they did fall in love that quickly.  They made a connection.  Their stars lined up, they met, and they both felt that they needed to get to know each other better.

One of the first things they realize that they have in common, besides cancer, is a love of reading.  They trade favorite books, and thus begins a beautiful relationship.

Hazel's favorite book is about a girl chronicling her life with cancer.  The book ends abruptly with many questions, and this irritates Hazel.  She's made it her life's mission to find out what happens to the girl, and she's written several letters to the author to find out, but they are all unanswered.

After Gus reads the book, he also tries to find out what happens, and he has some success contacting the author.  The author agrees to meet with them, and they are off on their adventure.

Although their relationship is brief, Gus helps Hazel grow in her life more than anyone else.  He helps her see that even though our destiny is written in the stars, we can write our own story.  We can change some things, and we can choose how we live within our destiny.  We are here on Earth but a little while, and we need to make the most of our infinity, even if our infinity is smaller than other people's infinities.

Some of my favorite quotes from the book:
"As he read, I fell in love the way you fall asleep: slowly, and then all at once."
“My thoughts are stars I cannot fathom into constellations.”
“Some infinities are bigger than other infinities.” 
“What a slut time is. She screws everybody.” 
“Grief does not change you, Hazel. It reveals you.” 
“Without pain, how could we know joy?' This is an old argument in the field of thinking about suffering and its stupidity and lack of sophistication could be plumbed for centuries but suffice it to say that the existence of broccoli does not, in any way, affect the taste of chocolate.” 
“But it is the nature of stars to cross, and never was Shakespeare more wrong than when he has Cassius note, ‘The fault, dear Brutus, is not in our stars / But in ourselves.”  

Yes, that's a lot of quotes.  All of them made me think, and I think all of them are worth sharing.

I hope you enjoy this book as much as I did.

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