This review is spoiler free.
“As he read, I fell in love the way you fall asleep: slowly, and then all at once.”
Published: 2013, by Penguin Books.
Genre: Young Adult, Fiction, Romance, Contemporary, Realistic Fiction
Contains: Strong Language, Sexual Content, Death, Mental Health, Mental Illness, Trauma
‘The Fault in Our Stars’ follows Hazel Lancaster, a young girl suffering with terminal cancer. She frequents a Cancer Kid Support Group, where people gather around to tell their stories, and it’s there that Hazel meets Augustus Waters.
I’m going to be honest, ‘The Fault in Our Stars’ has never been appealing to me, the plot line not being one I’d regularly read. However, this happens to be my boyfriend’s favourite novel, so I felt like I had to give it a second chance. And personally, I’m pleasantly surprised by what I found.
Hazel Lancaster made for an incredibly insightful protagonist. As someone with no first-hand experience of cancer, it helped me understand the trauma and difficulties that the illness can put a person through. Green uses great techniques with language and metaphor to portray the raw guilt and shame that Hazel goes through on a daily basis, which pushes the reader to feel alongside her. It’s incredibly upsetting, she can be blunt and forceful at times, but that only makes you love her more. She doesn’t sugar-coat her illness for others, she’s tired of it, and everyone is aware of that.
Augustus Waters is a character who is somewhat infamous within the YA community, being known for his dreamy ways with language and romance, and that’s something that I admittedly fell for too. He’s a smooth-talker, that much is obvious, but there was something beneath all of that which made him more appealing to me. His perseverance and inner strength was admirable, allowing the reader to feel alongside him and conjure up that strength beside him. He was hurting, that much was obvious, and yet that acceptance was the strongest thing of all about him.
The writing itself is blunt and raw, allowing the reader to truly get to grips with the themes of the novel and the overall message behind the tale. There’s so much to unpick here, from Green’s talent for metaphors, to the progression of the illness to the sudden climax of the novel. Everything is so painful, so instant, it’s incredibly mirroring to reality. Green doesn’t shy away from the truths of terminal illness, and for that I admire him. Although, the dialogue was a little out of character at times, the teens feeling less like the age they’re depicted as the further the novel progressed, I can appreciate the maturity of these young people.
Overall, I deeply enjoyed this novel. It was a powerful tale that was necessary to be told, and the characters involved will reside in the soft spot of my heart for years to come.