The Fault in Our Stars

What a great book. While the story line was not one that I would normally enjoy, it’s hard to deny that it was a good read. Let me start by stating the obvious, though: Green is an excellent writer. (Not that my opinion will help put a book on the Canon.) He writes about death as if he was once stricken with a disease and faced an inevitable doom. He writes philosophically, yet without the condescension that might scare a teenager. I’ve always felt that making the abstract concrete was the art of a true genius. Green does this so well as he dives into the fears and questions and anticipations that surround death.

What I find so unique about the book is that it centers around teenagers grappling with death. Not that YA doesn’t deal with death, but not many take on the death sentence of an illness like cancer in such a way that still captures the sincerity of a teenage mind. Those of us in our later years talk about how teenagers sometimes have an immortality complex, and Green does a good job of dismissing this perception, showing the devastating realities of teens who are having to deal with their own mortality.

What are your thoughts? Like it? Didn’t like it? Why? Why not?


22 thoughts on “The Fault in Our Stars

  1. I love all of John Green’s books, and so do students, in my experience. I think part of the reason for that is that he writes about people in an honest way, and he treats teenagers with respect, especially those who often don’t get it, like nerds or those struggling with illness. I taught Paper Towns and for a YA book there was just so much to delve into as a teacher–my former department teacher (an amazing teacher) teaches TFIOS and I sent this post to her so maybe she can share her experience of teaching this book. But, yeah, I’m a big fan, and I can’t wait for the movie this summer.

  2. I enjoyed reading John Green’s The Fault in Our Stars. Green is an excellent writer and I found his thoughts on death and dying to be profound. Although some of the plot I found to be predictable, there were times when I was surprised. Peter Van Houten is by far, the best character in the book. He’s multifaceted and unpredictable. Hazel is obsessed with Peter Van Houten’s novel, An Imperial Affliction, and reads it over and over again because she needs to find out what happens to Anna’s mother after Anna dies. The reason why it is so important for her to find out is because she is worried about what will happen to her parents after she dies. She’s worried they will fall a part. She needs reassurance that they will be alright after she dies. This is why she is so angry when Van Houten refuses to tell her the ending of his novel. A lot of times when someone has a terminal illness, and they are ready to die, they will hang on for the sake of their loved ones. It is not until they feel their loved ones are ready that they will let go themselves. By the end of the novel we see that Hazel gets the closure she has been looking for when her mother tells hers she been taking classes and plans on having a career. Now Hazel is okay with dying. She no longer feels like a grenade.

    I found Van Houten’s letter to Gus to be very symbolic. In his letter he says, “Witness also that when we talk about literature, we do so in the present tense. When we speak of the dead, we are not so kind. You do not immortalize the lost by writing about them” (112). Van Houten wrote a novel based on his daughter’s death, and probably did so to try and immortalize her, but realized he couldn’t. Maybe that is the reason he never finished his novel. I found it interesting that he never did give Hazel (or us) the ending to his novel.

    • I agree that Van Houten is one of the best characters, and what you said about his not being able to finish the novel because he could not immortalize the dead. I particularly like how, upon reading Gus’s letter/plea for a Eulogy for Hazel, he says “Give this to the girl, I have nothing to add.” Gus sums up Hazel and Eulogizes her perfectly so that everyone who kind of knew her (like Van Houten) understands how utterly incredible she is and how much she has, in her short time, impacted others.

  3. I have been a big fan of John Green and his books for several years. TFiOS is easily my favorite book of his. Green portrays cancer patients with such depth and without a usual sense of pity I find writers often resort to. Hazel and Gus’s relationship seems genuine within the story. Green has portrayed their relationship and their respective illnesses without making the two dependent on each other. Green’s writing focused on the love story of two young adults with cancer, rather than focusing on the cancer of two young adults in love. The difference is so important. It brings about an interesting discussion in how the media portrays people with illnesses. TFiOS also brings people with cancer into “person first” naming that the media often neglects.

    As so many people do these days, I have had my own experiences watching a young person I care for go through their cancer experience. My longtime friend was diagnosed in August and died in January, a painfully quick experience. She was not a 16-year-old who had cancer, but an odd personification of the cancer. She lost her identity and is still only remembered for how she died, not how she lived. Green’s portrayal of cancer patients as people and not their illness was so important for me. It’s important in an overall discussion of how our society treats people who illness. I loved this book and have shared it with many people. I think it’s a great story for young people to read and grapple with. Green has posted several videos on his YouTube channel about the book, offering some built in extras for teachers of this book. While I love YA books, I don’t often find many I would want to teach, whether it be whole class or for a small group. TFiOS is one of the few I want to share with everyone I know. I’ve included a link to one of Green’s videos, for those who are interested. It’s a lovely combination of beautiful words about the book and general nerdy-ness.

  4. I’m very open about the fact that The Fault in Our Stars, and Looking For Alaska (both by John Green) were books that majorly impacted how I dealt with a rapid succession of very painful deaths in my life-foremost of these being my Fathers.

    I think the line that sums up the whole book, and a lot of Green’s work is that “Pain demands to be felt.” It’s not something you can numb (as Van Houten tries to do, or even something that illness induced pain can be medicated with) for very long.

    It must be felt, and accepted before one can deal with it either physically or mentally. Green, throughout the book gives us a bunch of different way that pain is felt, and also whether or not it is dealt with -and the effects on the person and the people around them.

  5. *The Fault in Our Stars* is a poignant novel that both young adults and adults will enjoy. I personally loved the novel and was emotionally moved throughout it, particularly at the end. I recommended the book to my housemates who are in their twenties, my cousin who is a teenager, and my mom. It is a novel that is written in a way that adolescents and teenagers would understand, yet is complex and interesting enough that adults would also be captivated by it.

    Hazel is a relatable character who experiences the normal aspects of becoming an adult- falling in love, feeling like one’s parents are always hovering, and maintaining complex relationships- with the expectation that she will never make it to adulthood. Green does a fantastic job of making Hazel’s life one that young adults have experienced while also integrating her story with one of illness. At some points during the novel, one can almost forget that Hazel has cancer and think that she is an ordinary teenage girl. However, at other points the cancer is so dominant that one forgets that she is so young with the way she handles and accepts it. On page 144, she claims that the “physical evidence of disease separates you from other people.” I believe one of Green’s ambitions in publishing a novel such as this one is to decrease the stigmatization of children with cancer. By making Hazel self-aware and engaging, the reader is able to connect to her in a way that is not usually possible in real life with people who have a terminal illness.

    Green’s abilities as an author are endless. Not only does he do a phenomenal job of characterization, but he also develops the plot in a way in which the reader feels all the emotions of the protagonist clearly. When Hazel describes herself as the “alpha and omega of her parents’ suffering,” (pg. 116) or as a grenade, we get a glimpse into how difficult it is for her to live with cancer. She describes her emotions as Augustus reads to her as “I fell in love the way you fall asleep: slowly, and then all at once” (pg. 124). Anyone who has been in love will connect instantly with her as she says this.

    Most importantly, *The Fault in Our Stars* is so compelling that it makes the reader take a step back to reevaluate his or her life after completing it. Hazel and Augustus believe that “You have a choice in this world…about how to tell sad stories and we made the funny choice…” (pg. 209). For me, this line made me reconsider how I handle the situations that life throws at me. Both characters have been living with cancer for most of their teenage lives, yet they have a mostly positive and realistic outlook on life. I believe everyone, regardless of their age, can learn something from that.

  6. I really enjoyed reading The Fault in Our Stars. I think this novel is the perfect example of why we should include YA literature in our classrooms. Throughout the novel, adolescents can see how and why they should be reading. Both Hazel and Gus are shaped by the literature that they read. They attempt to find comfort in it, when Hazel reads the poetry to Gus, and they attempt to use it to make sense of what they are going through.

    I also agree with everything that Krixty said about Van Houten and Hazel’s obsession with finding out the ending of the novel. However, I think it is interesting that by meeting Van Houten she does, in a sense, find out what happens to Anna’s family. Van Houten is essentially a broken man and it appears to be as a result of the death of his daughter. Van Houten states that he was insufferable long before his daughter’s death and that, “Grief does not change you, Hazel. It reveals you” (286) However, I can’t help but think that part of Van Houten’s anger and bitterness comes from that tragedy. In a way, it seems as if his daughter was a grenade to him. When I found out about Van Houten’s daughter, to me, it did end the novel. In my head, it insinuated that Anna’s mother was broken up by her death. I could see why Van Houten would not finish the novel or even discuss the outcome of the other characters. It wasn’t what Hazel wanted to hear.

  7. The Fault in our Stars by John Green is by far one of the best books I have read. He creates an atmosphere that evokes sympathy in the reader due to the condition of the characters. This book was so hard to put down. Page after page Green keeps you engrossed in the plot, leaving you never feeling bored. Right from the beginning Greens characterizations enabled the reader to have a clear cut picture as to what each character was going through. This book is definitely one that I would teach in my classroom. It’s compelling nature and expression of death and dying allows every reader to relate. Green portrayed his characters as real people. Yes they had cancer, but they were people first and sick with cancer second. Many times people lose sight of the fact that at the end of the day we are all people. We are all different in some way, but that what makes life interesting. Going through my adolescence I lost a friend to cancer and also a family member. Green’s writing allowed me to reflect on those losses and make connections as to how I and others around me dealt with the loss. A novel that has a relatability factor is always one that stands out. I feel that young adolescence would find Green’s work interesting and easy to comprehend.

  8. I thought *The Fault in Our Stars* by John Green was a good read. It was sad, it was beautiful, it was everything in between. I agree with you that Green writes about death like he himself had a prolonged brush with it. The book is very philosophical about not only death, but about love. It seeks to redefine it, especially that of first love. Rarely do we hear first love stories from teens when they are going through these devastating ordeals under these mortifying circumstances, and it was certainly inspiring to say the least.

    Although I really did think the book was pretty good, I had a few qualms with it as well. I too thought that the dialogue between Hazel and Gus was a bit ridiculous and unbelievable. Yes, I understand that these young people have had to grow up fast and that both of them are avid readers, but really, who talks like that? Not anyone I have ever known. No adults and certainly no teenagers. It was a tad bit pretentious and forced, Augustus and Hazel constantly trying to one-up one another with their big, clunky words and obnoxious witticisms. I found the mall scene with the little girl unrealistic (p.46-47), and I also felt that Peter Van Houten’s character was quite silly too. I wasn’t really buying it when he came back for Augustus’s funeral at the end, mostly because his behavior was insanely erratic. I don’t know, maybe I’m being too much of a stickler. I know it’s just a story–but as I said above, Green perfectly portrayed the experience of falling in love and also of facing your own (premature) mortality, so I wish he would’ve made these other smaller elements more believable, too.

    Problems aside, I still thought it was a good book. I was up reading until late late in the night, staying awake far more hours than I should have because I was anxious to find out how it ended. I won’t lie, there were parts in the book that totally pulled at my heart strings (see the third to last paragraph of Augustus’s “eulogy” for Hazel that he sent to Van Houten at end of book). All in all, I didn’t love the book, but I didn’t hate it. I mostly just liked it. I guess in the same way that the book says everything yet says nothing at the same time. Good book? Yes. Worth the amount of hype? Eh.

  9. Let me start by saying The Fault in Our Star by John Green was an enjoyable read. The story demonstrated the struggles that an individual with a terminal illness is faced with. Personally, I have yet to experience a colleague who is suffering from a terminal illness. In addition, this is the first story I have read on an individual battling with a terminal illness. The literature forced me to stop and reflect how fortunate I am for my life experiences.

    In the beginning of the book, I felt sorry for Hazel, Augusts, and Isaac. I felt as though no teenage should have to attend support group sessions. As the story went on, I thought support groups were beneficial to meet individuals in similar situations but how the sessions were carried out was poor. Hazel and Augustus would not have formed a special relationship without the support groups. The story, An Imperial Affliction, by Peter van Houten forced Hazel to fight her battle with cancer. Hazel was determined to meet Peter and find out information that went beyond the story. Hazel was also able to relate to the story so closely. I was joyed when Hazel and Augustus were able to visit Peter in Amsterdam, but surprised how van Houten acted while they were there. I would definitely read another book written by John Green and recommend The Fault in Our Stars to young adults

  10. The Fault in Our Stars, by John Green, is a wonderfully written love story. As sad as it is to think about, no love lasts forever. There is always something that comes in the way, whether death, a break up, or growing apart. Love, while the greatest pleasure, can also be the worst pain. Losing love is a pain like no other. You are no longer able to communicate with your past lover. You can no longer share the moments you created together. Most importantly, you can no longer feel the touch of the one who means the most to you. Losing love is the worst pain, and sadly, everyone feels it at some point in their lives.

    As much as I enjoy The Fault in Our Stars, I could not teach it to my class. My students would leave my class saying, “Ms. Stock cried again.” Rest assured it would not be little tears I could pass off as allergies acting up. No, I blubber while reading this novel. While this novel is extremely depressing, I did find light in the message of the work. I saw Green’s message to include appreciating every day you have because it could be your last, appreciate all those who put in effort to make each day with you special because they are the best gift anyone could receive, and I also found that loving someone, while painful, also heals. I want each of these morals presented in my classroom, but I would need to find a novel that incorporates these that also does not have a warning label that says, “Warning: You are paying a tissue worker’s salary by reading this book. You will cry. A LOT.” If you are the type of person who does not mind crying within the safety of your home, read this novel. If you are not afraid of crying in public, read this novel. If you are like me, though, I would not read this to a whole group of high school students who will look at you with some crazy stares while you sit in the corner blubbering into an economy size container of tissues.

    Appreciate what you have. Appreciate each day you have. Appreciate those who love you. Most importantly, always have tissues within reach for the sad, but beautifully written novels, including The Fault in Our Stars by John Green.

    • I’m right on the same page as you with the crying issue, but I think that if I just read the book another four or five times, I’d be able to get through it without turning my cheeks into irrigation channels.
      Not that I think crying is the worst thing, or something that really needs to be hidden!

  11. Well, first of all, it made me cry.

    And it’s funny, although I still have not seen the movie, I know Shailene Woodley plays Hazel so I subconsciously read the book as if it was her voice speaking.

    Hazel’s cancer enhances her meekness and ferocity. It allows the reader to empathize with her on a different level from the start, and I believe Greene did this on purpose. Teens are not, by society as a whole, empathized with from the start. They are judged, overlooked, and told what to do. Greene placed Hazel at 16 strategically in order to emphasize this age groups goodness. In comparison to other YA novels that elevate teen’s ability, Greene does something entirely different. He portrays a 16-year-old girl with genuine, hear-wrenching selflessness. If that’s not ironic, I don’t know what is.

    I found Hazel’s narrative relatable. To my teenage self, she might have been a hero. Greene somehow portrays a girl not yet grown in to her body, comfortable with her plainness and adventurous enough to explore mountains with known volcanic matter underneath. In addition to her go-with-the-flow attitude (sitting passenger seat while a leg amputee drives), I enjoyed her intermittent sarcastic thoughts – mostly because if someone wrote the narrative of my thoughts, it would look quite similar. Needless to say, Greene’s ability to get inside the head of a teenage girl is remarkable.

    Then there’s the aspect of reading. Greene paints a beautiful picture of a young girl’s love for literature that, when planted like a seed in another, blossoms in to petals of relationship, adventure and love.

    From a literary point of view, I was both impressed and disappointed when I discovered An Imperial Affliction was simply and idea constructed to draw out certain essential themes. I wished Greene used an actual book and almost felt he took the easy way out by not doing so. On the other hand, it is a creative feat that allows the book to stand on it’s own two feet. And now that I’m writing this, maybe Greene intended for us to feel a sense of disappointment in order to relate to Hazel’s shitty novel-quest experience.

    I found the character of Peter Van Houten incredibly annoying, as intended by the author. If he stands as proof that “the grass isn’t always greener on the other side” then, I get it. I mean, if her trip to Amsterdam went fantastically, I wouldn’t have liked the book as much anyway. I also saw Van Houten’s interaction with Augustus and Hazel in his flat to be a very mature plot point for this age-group. I think Greene wanted to show Hazel accomplishing “the impossible” in this life in a way that was very obvious. Through that plot point, he also instills revere for literature. For a machine-dependent cancer patient to trek across the globe in order to discover the ending of her favorite novel – I mean, come on.

    And finally, I was struck by Hazel’s relationship with her parents. From my experience and the experience of people I know, being a teenager and having parent’s don’t really go together. Hazel’s cancer gives her empathy for her parents because she realizes how important she is to them. Greene provides another contrasting stereotype here, giving parents a significant place in their teen’s life. I’d assume any parent’s comment to be – what a privilege. I think if I read this as a teen, I might be inspired to treat my parents more kindly.

    • I see exactly where you’re coming from in regards to An Imperial Affliction. Even though I never went out and looked it up to see if it was real, I was curious. But still, I think I’m glad that it doesn’t really exist. Through this imaginary book, Greene fabricated an idea of a remarkably striking piece of literature that touched two young people so powerfully. If he had picked a real book, TFIOS readers would go out and read that book, just as you had hoped to do, and you perceptions of this idea could have been completely shattered.
      He also would have had to do a lot of research on the author in order to nail his character. And then we wouldn’t have a Peter Van Houten, and that would’ve been a shame, because as much as I hated him, I’m really glad that he exists.

  12. The last time I read this book was about three years ago, and I did so at the request of my best friend, who has since gotten me to read a couple of other Greene’s books. They are all fascinatingly accurate depictions of the adolescent mindset, and I’m honestly fascinated by the ways that he weaves in and out both male and female protagonists. And he does at with engaging, fun language. He has a really firm grasp of the teenage mind, and sometimes I worry that my ability to recognize this is an indication of some immature residue from my own adolescence, which even though society tells me ended a couple years ago, I’m still convinced is ongoing. But that’s the exact concern that made me notice something else about his books.
    At 22, growing up is something that I’m definitely dealing with every day, but I hate the idea that I don’t get to be a kid anymore. I don’t think that childhood, adolescence, and adulthood are mutually exclusive. We just stack new layers of personality on those that exist, and pile new obligations and relationships onto those we’re used to. Sometimes things get lost, sure, but even after starting to pay rent, file taxes, and hang my friends’ “save the date” cards on my fridge, I still watch cartoons, and I still drive with the windows too low and the music too loud. It’s exactly like those reading stages we talked about earlier in the week. Just because we read for information doesn’t mean we can’t keep on reading for unconscious delight.
    I think the entire cast of TFIOS works together to demonstrate this idea. Hazel is a 16 year old college student who schools her parents on matters both literary and philosophical. But she’s also a hormonal, love-struck teenage girl dealing with falling in love for the first time. Just because he’s spent an extensive portion of his time grappling with his own mortality doesn’t mean that Augustus doesn’t play the same kinds of video games that are most often played by foul-mouthed twelve-years-old boys. Van Houten might be a bitter old drunk, but he knows it, and he knows what he used to be. It doesn’t make any of what he’s said or done excusable, but grief is a deep hole to fall into, and by the end of the book, his former self is at least throwing him a rope.
    So yeah, this is a book about cancer, and death, and love. But it’s also a book about growing up young, and I think that’s something that our world could use more of.
    (Side note, I did watch the movie several months back, and it was pretty good. The film-adaptations of Greene’s books have been pretty spot on so far. Would recommend).

  13. The Fault in Our Stars is beautifully written torture. I’m not sure that I have ever experienced a book that made me simultaneously want to continue reading, and quit reading. I remember seeing the movie trailer when it came out and thinking to myself, why would anybody want to watch that? I wouldn’t even read that book. And well here we are. I guess I tend to steer clear of movies/books that do not hide the fact that they will rip your heart out. I would never recommend this book to anyone, but I guess I am glad to have read it as it does offer a very unique view of adolescence.

    John Greene creates characters that give you a seemingly authentic view of what it would be like to face death during your adolescent years. Although refreshing seems to be a demented word to use to refer to the love story in the work, I believe that it is indeed refreshing that Gus and Hazel are hesitant to throw themselves into a romance without considering the consequences it may have on the other. Although their illnesses have forced them to think in this manner, the love story in The Fault in Our Stars is less about a romantic fling and more about the capability that an individual has to leave a permanent mark on your life. Hazel is not your typical selfish teenager, she weighs the consequences of her actions for her parents, friends and Gus before she acts. While this novel allows adolescents a glimpse of death and perhaps how to handle it, it may also give an adolescent an insight into how their actions and companionship can impact those around them.

  14. A Fault in Our Stars Blog:

    I really enjoyed the novel “The Fault in our Stars” by John Green. I thought this was a fascinating read about the inevitable “death.” This book carefully and thoughtfully explicates our immortality as it reminds us at all ages that we are not invincible. I like how the author aligned the story with Hazel Grace’s obsession with her favorite novel “An Imperial Affliction” and their quest to Amsterdam to find the author Van Houten to explain his sudden ending without closure. This was a clever way to show the reader how death can be so abrupt. In addition to the story it lightened the mood of sadness and tears, and gave us a little mystery. I feel like the twist of the two characters seeking out this author was their way of dealing with their own possible demise. I think this story is a great read for grades 9-12 as it puts things in perspective as far as teenagers day to day problems that seem so eminent are actually very insignificant in the grand scheme of life. I would definitely refer this novel to students.

  15. Let me start by saying that I have avoided this book for a very long time. I knew what the story was about, and after basically living in a hospital with my sick mother for months, and being a total hypochondriac, I had no interest in reading it. I didn’t think I could handle it, and because I have always been someone who gets way too attached to the characters in books, I didn’t want to put myself through this beautiful yet tragic story.

    When I learned that it was assigned for this class, I asked Morgan—who had read it previously—if it was going to be way too heart wrenching. And then, I asked her to tell me if someone died at the end, because I just needed to know what I was getting myself in to. She let me know that it was Augustus, and with a deep breath, I decided to sit down and force myself to get through this book.

    After reading, I have so much to say, because it was exactly the opposite of what I expected. I LOVED IT. It was beautiful. The writing was impeccable, the author was honest, the characters were perfectly created, and I felt like I learned something new every few pages. I felt like I was my 16-year-old self while reading this—I could not put it down! The 16 year old in me developed a crush on Augustus, I could relate to the thoughts of the characters, and when I was forced to put the book down to, you know, eat, and live my life…I was just waiting to get back home to finish it.

    I could pick out something amazing from each page, but in order to not write an entire novel here, I will pick out a few points that really stuck with me, and what this book taught me.

    1) I usually hate reading books when I already know how it will end. I used to find it a waste of time. However, I am currently working through a lot of the questions and concepts that most people in their late teens ask—what is the meaning of life and death, how do we handle hardship, etc, and the mere fact that I read this book and fell in love with it even though I knew what the end had in store helped me learn a wonderful lesson—that even though we will all die in the end, it’s worth the journey.

    2) Hazel’s character is absolutely wonderful. She is very mature for her age, probably due to the fact that she wasn’t in school surrounded by typical teens, and she reminds me a lot of myself, cancer aside. On page 33, she says, “My favorite book, by a wide margin, was An Imperial Affliction, but I didn’t like to tell people about it. Sometimes, you read a book and it fills you with this weird evangelical zeal, and you become convinced that the shattered world will never be put back together unless and until all living humans read the book” (Green). As an avid reader my entire childhood until now, I can relate to this, and it reminds me of how I felt when I read You Can Heal Your Life by Louise Hay. This is a great way to explain what it means to be a true reader, and how powerful books can be.

    3) I think the parents were very well developed in this novel, and Green made it so easy to relate to them in the same way I could relate to Hazel. Being 24, I am closer to being a parent than being a 16-year-old girl, but I could still identify with both age groups due to Green’s brilliant writing. When Hazel remembered the moment on page 117 that her Mom said “I won’t be a mom anymore,” it definitely hit me hard as an adult, but also put me in the shoes of a young girl who knows how much pain her illness is causing her loved ones (Green). This was addressed later though—I loved on page 103 when they told Hazel that the joy she brings them is much greater than the sadness her illness gives them (Green). I think this part really helped Hazel understand that she should not feel guilty for her circumstances, and that she can allow people to get close to her, regardless of how much time she has left.

    4) My favorite quote? “I fell in love the way you fall asleep: slowly, and then all at once.” (Green, 125). This seems to also be a quote relatable to death too, in a way.

    5) Augustus is so full of life even though he is dying, and he is so full of wisdom for such a young boy. I loved when he told Hazel how he felt about her on page 153, mentioning that he understands what he is getting himself into and he loves her anyway, and then later he tells her that it would be a privilege to have his heart broken by her (Green). Hazel needed to see that it was okay to grow close, and I think these two events changed her life quite a bit.

    6) I would like to talk more about Augustus’s fears about oblivion. I think this would be a good theme to teach in the classroom, especially because these unanswerable questions need some sort of comforting response for both adolescence and adults. On page 168, Augustus discusses his beliefs and fears and what he wants to leave behind, and I think it would be interesting to hear what students would say they wanted for their life and remembrance.

    Ok… I will stop now because I could go on and on. I love this book so much. I’m making my boyfriend watch the movie with me tonight—let’s hope I don’t cry!

  16. I thought that this book was extremely well written, however, at first I was very apprehensive to read it. I hadn’t seen the movie, but saw the trailer and knew it would be a tear-jerker, especially because I cry at everything. I was unable to put the book down, and agree that it took away that immortality that all teens feel they have. They believe they’re invincible and their choices will not yield consequences. I think that this novel would be an extremely valuable novel for students and kids to read, it shows them that there are things MUCH more important than being the most popular, most athletic, or even getting the best grades. I think that this novel shows the value of determination, perseverance, overcoming adversity, accepting who you are, and overall being the best version of yourself possible. I think it shows that you don’t know what life holds, but you can’t be afraid (or “fear oblivion”), you have to roll with the punches and make the best of your situation. From what I’ve seen, you either loved high school or didn’t, and I think that this novel would help put things into perspective for a lot of students, I know it did for me.

    • Morgan, I really like your response! I think it would be useful to help students understand how they are not invincible, and that real life outside of high school is serious, intense, beautiful, and devastating. Although Hazel and Augustus and Isaac were all the age of high schoolers, I think they were so far removed from the typical issues that teens face, which hopefully will help students put their high school issues in perspective.

  17. I was not expecting to like this book. Before I read it, I already sorted this book into a category of teenage, sappy drivel. Sappy or not, I really liked it. I found it hard to put down. I didn’t care that Hazel and Augustus were unrealistically precocious; I wanted to know what happened next. And what was more, I already knew what happened next. I watched the movie. Somehow, I was still captivated enough to finish the book in a sitting.

    I think John Green develops the characters artfully. I genuinely cared about all of the characters, which is one of the most important aspects of creating a novel like this. Green writes about death in a way that’s so affecting. How could you not care about quirky, intelligent, vibrant characters like Hazel, Augustus, and Isaac? Then, add to the list that they battle cancer together. It’s moving in a way I didn’t expect.

    By the end of the novel I was sobbing along with the best of them. I was expecting the worst, and just like a kid watching a movie for the fifth time, a piece of me hoped the ending would miraculously change by the time I got there. No! Not Augustus! Not the kid that selflessly gave up his Genie Wish to bring a girl to Amsterdam! Though painful, the ending was still satisfying and memorable.

  18. First of all I just want to say that I did like this book quite a bit. I had heard mixed reviews about it, that it was overrated and that it might make me cry, but I disagree with both of those statements after having read the book myself. I thought the characters were brilliantly created and developed throughout the story. Van Houten goes from what seems like a crazy old man to a man in such pain that he lashes out at others while trying to dilute that pain with the constant presence of alcohol. I also enjoyed the conversational way most of the book is written and I felt there was enough laughter to offset the sadness. I enjoyed the wittiness of Augustas and the resilience of all the characters within the book. I also enjoyed the love story between Hazel and Augustas because I’m a bit of a romantic. I found their adventure together remarkable as well as heroic at times. The fact that these two kids have the courage to be able to enjoy life in the midst of their battle with life threatening illnesses is truly amazing and inspiring.

    This book does a few things for teenagers. For one it shows them what teenagers lives look like who’s world really is coming to an end, or at least an almost certain end when battling cancer. In a teenagers world, they have something different nearly everyday that makes it seem like their world is ending. However, in this book, they get a real and sincere look into the lives of people their age who’s world’s are potentially coming to an end and one who’s does in Augustas. You also get the feel of the pain and suffering that comes from all the people who love their teenagers such as the parents of both Hazel and Augustas as well as Isaac. This has the potential to show teenagers just how important they are to their parents and loved ones alike, even if they did ground them or make them do too many chores that week. The way that Hazel, Augustas and Isaac live their lives is something else that teenagers can take away from this book. Augustas has a prosthetic leg, Hazel has to walk around connected to an oxygen take constantly and Isaac goes blind in order to remove his cancer. All of these things are potential fuel for them to be made fun of or looked at differently in public by everyone including their peers. It’s a lot different than having glasses or maybe having a few pimples that just decided to show up suddenly. These teens have the courage to go out in public regardless of what others may think or say because they don’t allow their disabilities or sickness to define who they are. The last thing this book gives teens is the ability to bounce back, to be resilient and to keep fighting without giving up. You need those characteristics to survive and get somewhere in life. The characters of this book don’t just survive cancer, they live with it and fight it every step of the way. The way they live their lives inspires Van Houten to write again with the help of Hazel and Augustas and their ability to keep fighting. It inspires him to fight through his pain and suffering, realizing that he’s not the only one that’s suffering in this world. I think that’s the last thing this book can do for teens, is that it gives them the realization that no matter how much they may be suffering at that point in time, they’re never alone. There is always someone suffering in this world at the same time and it can give people comfort that they aren’t suffering in isolation, nor are they the only ones out there fighting to survive.

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