John Green’s novel The Fault in Our Stars is one of those novels that forces the reader to feel every single emotion for which they have the capacity to experience. From the start, the reader is shoved into the precarious world of Hazel, the novel’s protagonist, who is a 16-year-old girl with terminal cancer. Thanks to a miracle drug, Hazel’s malignant tumours have shrunk – an event which instills hope for her well-being. Still, the reader witnesses her difficulties in day to day life – her inability to cross a mall food court without her oxygen tank and the feeling that she is like a grenade, waiting to explode and to destroy the lives of those close to her.
One afternoon, Augustus Waters, a 17-year-old cancer survivor, turns up to the Cancer Support Group which Hazels attends. The two become fast friends and though Augustus harbours a romantic interest in Hazel, she is reluctant to reciprocate, for fear of hurting him in the event of her death.
The Fault in Our Stars is a literary masterpiece from beginning to end. The character of Hazel is extremely wise beyond her years, which, although not typical for a teenager, is made believable by Green. In spite of having cancer and all of the struggles that she has to go through on a daily basis, Hazel’s chief desire is to be a normal teenager. She does not want pity and hates people seeing her cry.
The entrance of Augustus changes Hazel’s life, opening her up in a way she hasn’t been able to with anyone else about her diagnosis. Hazel shares with him probably the most important and impactful thing in her life; a novel called An Imperial Affliction, one that she feels every person needs to read. The novel throws the two of them into a journey that involves more than they could have ever possibly imagined: love, tragedy, disappointment, laughter, and the ultimate search for answers. What happens to characters after a book ends?
This novel contains more than just a story about two teenagers living with cancer. Ultimately it’s about the fight to find a forever when you are given fewer days than you want, what it means to be a hero, and how sometimes the fault is not in ourselves, but is indeed in our stars.
To take the words of Hazel, you will fall in love with this novel “the way you fall asleep: slowly, and then all at once.”