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4.6 out of 5 stars
The Fault in Our Stars
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11 of 12 people found the following review helpful
on January 22, 2012
Although middle-aged, I have been a fan of John Green's work since my teenage daughter suggested I read Looking For Alaska. He injects an honesty and youthful vibrancy into his characters that should resonate with readers of any age. I don't think his books to be 'must-reads' but they are well-worth the time and effort.

However, Amazon is not so worthy as praise as it did not deliver a signed copy even though my daughter had me pre-order the book months ago. As well, it was delivered later than other suppliers, even though all indicators point to Mr. Green having signed more than enough copies. The fault, it seems, lies with Amazon.ca. I understand that problems arise, but Amazon should take ownership of their mistake and offer even a slight recompense to the customers they have wronged.
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12 of 14 people found the following review helpful
** This review, as well as many more, can also be found on my blog, The Baking Bookworm (www.thebakingbookworm.blogspot.ca) **

My Thoughts: This is a book that I noticed months ago while perusing the aisles at my local Chapters and it was put on my 'TBR (To Be Read) List' immediately. It's gotten a lot of hype (which may or may not be the kiss of death for a book). In this case the hype is warranted.

This was a touching read. Even though you know it's going to be a sad book (it deals with teenagers with cancer-ravaged bodies) and will, most likely, deal with death it doesn't detract from enjoying this book. You'd think that a book that focuses on a group of teens with cancer would be a huge tear fest from beginning to end but for the most part this book was funny and, in a strange way, uplifting and oh so very touching. Yes, it's a veritable roller coaster of emotions. But it works.

For me, what makes this book stand out are the characters. Not only are Hazel and Augustus well-rounded and completely engaging characters but the secondary characters, including Isaac and the sets of parents, are all complete and give believable voices to the book. It's these characters and their relationships with each other that truly shine in this book.

Let's get back to Hazel and Augustus. I loved Hazel from the first line of the book. Her dry wit,
sarcasm and humour. Loved her. Augustus held his own too and I adored their hilarious banter. He had some amazing lines in the book that I immediately wrote down because they were just 'that good'. Here's some of my favs ...

"Oh, I wouldn't mind, Hazel Grace. It would be a
privilege to have my heart broken by you."

"But, while not all stories have happy endings,
it doesn't make their journey any less beautiful."

"That's the thing about pain... It demands to be felt."

"Some infinities are bigger than other infinities"

"I love you present tense"

Some would argue that 'normal teenagers' don't speak like Hazel and Augustus. I know that I didn't sound quite so cool at that age but, man, would I loved to have been! I will admit that they had a certain "Dawson's Creek/more mature than their years" way of speaking. But, I loved their sarcasm and just their voices in general. {I'm actually a little surprised and impressed at how well John Green got into the head of a teenage girl.}

Hazel, Augustus (and even Isaac) were believable even if how they said what they said was a little mature for them. Plus, these aren't normal teens. These are kids who have dealt with cancer and the threat of death for YEARS. Honestly, I found Hazel and Augustus to have a more quirky feel to them than being too unbelievably mature for their age. These teens, after years of treatments, losing friends to the disease that they themselves have, trying to stay strong for their families and friends ... have accepted their fates. They have cancer. Cancer SUCKS but their cancers don't define or limit who they are. They still have life to live. That's empowering and uplifting.

One of the things that I liked was getting an inside view into the life of a teen with cancer. Hazel was diagnosed with Stage 4 cancer at the age of 13. Since then she knows that death is hovering over her but with the help of a miracle drug she has been able to lead a pretty normal life (even though she has to lug an oxygen tank around with her for when her lungs suck at being lungs). Hazel knows she's living on borrowed time and she hates feeling like an emotional grenade so she tries as hard as possible to minimize the emotional shrapnel that she'll cause her friends and family when she finally dies. Hazel is hunkering down for the inevitable ... until she meets Augustus.

The one and only thing that I felt detracted from me giving this a full on "5 star review" was the addition of the book storyline (a book that Hazel and Augustus are infatuated with). It broke away from their relationship and, I feel, bogged down the storyline too. It may also stem from the fact that I just didn't 'get' the book.

This is a book about the strength of the human spirit, the bravery and resilience of a bunch of teens who were dealt a really tough lot in life. It shows the nastiness of cancer and the strength we gain from connecting with others. It reminds us that we can still make a huge impact on the lives of our loved ones even if we may not be around long enough to make an impact on the world at large.

Here's a quote from the book that sums up how I feel about this book:

"I fell in love the way you fall asleep. Slowly. Then all at once."

Oh yes. This book got to me slowly and totally captivated me before I knew what was coming.

Highly recommended.

My Rating: 4.5/5 stars
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on February 5, 2015
I liked this book. To be honest, I did feel manipulated a bit, but I still think it's a good read and an important book.
The bad:
The characters are somewhat flat and not quite believable. They sort of seem to have only one side to them. The story is not always believable and oftentimes clichéd.
The good:
Subject. This is not a love story as many see it it(I saw many reviews saying that this book is very average as a love story, and I agree). The main character in this book is cancer. Families dealing with their kids' terminal illness. Kids dealing with what they can't overcome. This is very real and an everyday occurrence for some. If I saw this book as a love story, I would not give it more than 2 stars. But the topic, I believe, is very important - and the families under pressure are true to life. The parents who don't have any life outside of their child's cancer. Children outside of normal children's life activities. And author gets it right, I think. And yet there is light, and I would not call it a depressing read - it was very uplifting, actually. So, this makes it a 4 stars book for me. Plus, it is engaging and light hearted.
This is not a Great Literature (so it is not a 5 star), but I would definitely recommend it.
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EDITED: now I know why I disliked this book so much. It romanticizes cancer, it makes it about a romantic relationship instead of the focus on her sickness. You don't know how cancer can affect a person until you've been put through it yourself.

I did a poll on my blog for the book that I should read next and this one was the winner. I have to admit I haven't been as excited to read this only because it was clearly a tear jerker. Any book that deals with realistic scenarios, I try to steer clear from. Only because It gets me so sad. I hadn't even heard of John Green until I started blogging and everyone was buying his book the day it released so here I was reading my first ever John Green book.

After fully investing my time in reading this one, I knew that August and Hazel were going to be the mature and responsible teens characters that everyone has been raving about. And you just know that it won't end well for one of them, and then they can't be together. See, that's the thing, I thought this book would be so incredibly moving and touching, and at certain points it was. When they're simply just being together and talking to one another, that's where the wonderful quotes are from.

But I also did have issues with it. I found their voice to be so incredibly mature and pretentious. These characters talked like adults. Their vocabulary is impeccable and impressive and I had to grab the good 'ole dictionary to find out what they were saying. I know this is a YA book but I know when I was a teen I wouldn't have grabbed a book like this (partially because there were none). I needed books that were addicting, that were almost fluffy and fun. This wouldn't have grabbed my attention at all, and kudos to the teens that love this. It just wasn't for me. It was predictable, and I felt the ending up so suddenly, stopping and going in the middle and then finally slowing to an end.

Overall, I did enjoy The Fault in Our Stars, but I guess I was waiting to be mind-blown..Damn those high expectations!
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There has been so much buzz about John Green’s The Fault in our Stars, even before the movie was set to come out. Green apparently has a HUGE following, the kind of following you see at comicon really, so the buzz extends far beyond the book. I’m actually surprised this is the first I’m really hearing about all of this, and the first book of Green’s I’ve read, but curiosity has killed my natural response to avoid all things popular and I’ve decided to see what all this noise is about.

I definitely fell into the witty banter right away. I love books that move quickly like this with whip-smart dialogue and sarcastic interaction. It mimics conversations I have with friends and makes me really open to these new characters. I mean, I’m meeting them for the first time, after all, and this makes a great first impression.

Hazel, Isaac and Augustus have a beautiful chemistry together. And like anyone else who has been exposed to his charms, I couldn’t help but be swept up in Augustus’s crooked smile and whimsical existence. If I was only to meet one other person in life, he is the kind of person I’d want them to be. And the way he sees Hazel, doesn’t everyone want someone to see them like that?

It probably isn’t hard to see her like that, though. Hazel is awesome. And I don’t mean because of how she handles her sickness or how strong she is (though both are admirable), she’s great because of how real she is. She treads lightly, she has her expectations in check, she doesn’t ever seem to take anything for granted or expect anything different just because she was dealt a poor hand. A lot of people could learn a lot from her.

There isn’t anything overly extraordinary about this story; it’s about teens who deal with real issues. People do that all the time, doesn’t mean you always need to write a book about it. But Green weaves a hopeful dreaminess throughout the story that changes this into something much more extraordinary than it seems on paper. And while some of the content is bleak, I love how the characters embrace the bleakness and how bluntly death and their personal doom are spoken about. It’s a very honest approach, there’s no sugar coating, but there’s hope hiding in all that honesty.

It’s so easy to make other literary pieces a star in your book, but it takes some imagination and additional work to make up a whole other fictional piece for your own piece of fiction. Green has not only created An Imperial Affliction, a book which serves as Hazel’s bible, and whose author is a large component of the story as well, but Green also created a series of books based on a video game (the fictional game based on Counterstrike) that he came up with just for this book. I love when authors pour that much of themselves into their work, going beyond what they could have gotten away with.

Be warned: if you haven’t read this book yet, don’t go onto the internet until you’re done. The internet is full of spoilers. Not even half way through the book, I managed to spoil some major plot points for myself all because I jumped on the bandwagon a little too late. That usually takes the fun out of books for me, but there was just too much charm in this to give up on it so soon.

The Fault in our Stars is a short and bittersweet story of two teens coming of age, uncertain whether they will ever actually see themselves come of age. I can see what all the hype is about and why people are falling in love with this everywhere. It brought me to tears and I kick myself for not picking it up sooner. I can’t wait to see the movie, where I will likely bawl some more. (originally posted on citygirlscapes.com)
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on July 28, 2014
Since the film is now out in theaters, I thought it was about time I read the book that had everyone so excited. And so, another book was added to my already too-full bookshelf.

The Fault In Our Stars by John Green is a contemporary YA following our main character, Hazel as she tries to live her life as a normal teen despite having cancer. During one of her many painfully dull trips at the cancer support group, a gorgeous boy catches her eye. She doesn't know it yet, but Augustus Waters will change her life.

What I am going to say next will probably earn me an inbox full of hate mail but here goes: This book disappointed me.

Not to say that it wasn’t good. I actually quite enjoyed it but hearing about it and seeing the numerous TFIOS decorated tissue boxes everyone was putting together to go see the film, I thought I was going to read something that would change my life.

In my opinion, I would have enjoyed the novel much more if the premiss would have been less about the book they read, An Imperial Affliction. AIA had its place in TFIOS. I understand it was a big part of Hazel and it was a book she felt she could relate to but I felt as though the story focused a bit too much on it.

Though it wasn’t life-changing read I thought it would be, I can’t deny that John Green is an amazing writer. I loved how he portrayed his characters. They both main characters were fun, quirky, witty, and normal teens. Too often do I read cancer-related novels where the characters are defined by their illness. This wasn’t one of them. Obviously, cancer affects pretty much every aspect of their lives but Green has done a great job in making sure his characters also had a personality of their own and were ones I could relate to.

I also loved the relationships between the characters. Whether it was Hazel and her parents, Gus and Hazel with their friend Isaac, or Hazel and Augustus, they all felt genuine and natural to me. I’m also happy to say that there was no insta-love (which is something that is very recurrent in YA).

Despite TFIOS not living up to its hype in my eyes, I felt as though it was a great read. However, I believe I would have enjoyed it even more had I not expected so much from it and I do think it’s a wonderful book to add to your collection. Okay? Okay.
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on March 13, 2013
I am an avid reader. And, I'm a school librarian. So, believe me when I say that I have read a great variety of books. None has touched me like The Fault in Our Stars has. In fact, this is the first time a book has moved me enough to motivate me to write a review. I had read very little in terms of reviews prior to purchasing this book. I had only read that it was very good; I had no great expectations really. I was merely familiarizing myself with a library book so that I could make recommendations to my students. Something I had done many times before, with many different books. But, this time was different. The Fault in Our Stars touched me like no other book ever has before. I fell in love with Hazel and Augustus, both individually, and as a couple. We can all learn something from the way in which they handled their difficult situations. They are truly an inspiration, and their love story was one not rivaled in many novels. I loved this book beyond belief, and it is now my personal mission to get everyone I know to read it. The world needs to know Hazel and Augustus. If we could all be a bit more like them, the world would be a better place. In the words of John Green, the world is not a wish granting factory. If it were, I would wish for more books like this.
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10 of 12 people found the following review helpful
on January 24, 2012
Someone said the cry to laugh ratio is 1:1. Indeed, and I FELT ALL THE FEELINGS ;)
This book deserves all the raving reviews and more. I'm in awe of it's existence.
I want the entire universe to read this book.
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on September 30, 2014
I was initially introduced to this book by friend who had highly recommended it. I then heard a movie had been released based on the novel, so I figured it was worth a try. Needless to say, it's one of the best book I've ever read. John Green was able bring the relationship between Hazel and Gus to life, and he did it in a very genuine way. As I sometimes have difficulty understanding the full extend of all messages in a book, I also downloaded the reference guide as added help.
(http://www.amazon.ca/Fault-our-Stars-Readers-Analysis-ebook/dp/B00LNDX104/ref=sr_1_3?ie=UTF8&qid=1412118265&sr=8-3&keywords=the+fault+in+our+stars+reader)
I saw a couple out there on amazon, and this one helped me get a much better understanding of the story. You can add me to John Green's fan list. 5/5 stars.
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12 of 15 people found the following review helpful
on October 14, 2013
What to say about this book. It's probably more of a 3.5 than a three, first of all.

First I will be completely honest: I resisted reading this book. When the internet started going nuts about it and I got the gist of what it was about, I kind of wrinkled my nose and had no interest in reading it.

I guess it was partly the summary, and my lack of desire for depressing books at the time - I mean, when you read a book about kids with cancer you have to know what you're getting into, right? There are only so many places a plot like that can go.

Reading this, I feel surprisingly neutral about it. The writing in terms of characterization is good, there's no doubting that. In particular Augustus charmed me just as fast as he charmed Hazel. That's what happens when I read a book that's first person, I find - although I'm in someone's head, I feel more connected to who *they* feel connected to than to the main character themselves.

There's a lyrical sense to some parts of the book, which I quite enjoyed. The problem is that for everything I read that was lyrical and moving, there were other bits that struck me as pretentious and... Well, I'm going to go with hipster, for lack of a better description. At times the kids didn't not sound like any teenagers I can imagine, and I have taken into account the fact that they have cancer.

I won't deny that my eyes welled up a couple of times during this book. So why am I dissatisfied? I guess I am just left with a vague feeling of having read a book that is slightly manipulative, and falls into the tropes that are quite common when dealing with stories (whether in movies or books) about people who have cancer. It's one of those things where I wonder whether the charm of Augustus' character and the nature of the story arc are what carry the book in spite of the slightly unbelievable prose and pretentious flair.

At any rate, at least now I can say that I've read it, lest anyone try to tell me I can't criticize it without reading!
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