The Fault In Our Stars by John Green
This month’s topic is the YA romance The Fault in Our Stars by John Green. This is the sixth novel for Green, having authored Looking for Alaska, An Abundance of Katherines, Let it Snow: Three Holiday Romances, Paper Towns, and Will Grayson, Will Grayson. Several of Green’s novels have won many awards and been optioned for movies. The movie adaptation of The Fault in Our Stars is set to release on June 6, 2014.
The Fault in Our Stars won Teen Book of the Year from the Children’s Choice Book Awards, was named Fiction Book of the 2012 by Time Magazine, and was the Goodreads Choice Award Winner for Young Adult Fiction in 2012.
From the book jacket: Despite the tumor-shrinking medical miracle that has bought her a few years, Hazel has never been anything but terminal, her final chapter inscribed upon diagnosis. But when a gorgeous plot twist named Augustus Waters suddenly appears at Cancer Kid Support Group, Hazel’s story is about to be completely rewritten.
Insightful, bold, irreverent, and raw, The Fault in Our Stars is award-winning-author John Green’s most ambitious and heartbreaking work yet, brilliantly exploring the funny, thrilling, and tragic business of being alive and in love.
Diva Chat Panel
Janine Savage, Chief Executive Diva
Shay Goodman, Chief Creative Diva
Lauren Schmelz, Chief Operations Diva
Jen Matera, Chief Financial Diva
What was your reaction when you were asked to prepare to discuss John Green’s The Fault in Our Stars for the Diva Chat? Please explain?
Lauren: I first jumpy clapped because The Fault in our Stars was one of my favorite books I’ve read in the last couple of years. Then I started thinking about the book again and all the reasons why I fell in love with it. The relationship between Hazel and Gus, the way he taught her how to live, the emotion the book pulled me into, and mostly the lasting effect it had on me.
Shay: Well, my kids sort of worship at the altar of all things John Green and the Vlogbrothers. They have been telling me for the last couple of years that I need to read his books. So, this discussion gave me the push needed to do so.
Jen: I believe I stomped my foot and said, “No.” Why? Because eight million friends have read this book and each has gushed about the gallons of tears shed while reading it. They’ve all said it’s a wonderful book, of course, just emotional. I’m not a crier, though, and I read to escape into happiness. But I was convinced all my tears would be worth it in the end. I begrudgingly agreed.
In your opinion, did John Green do a good job writing this book from a teenage girl’s perspective?
Lauren: Most definitely. It’s strange to think a thirtysomething man could capture the mind of a cancer-ridden teenager. But he did and he did it so well. It’s one thing to be able to write a character from the same carbon make up as yourself, but to write it in such a total opposite is nothing short of amazing.
Shay: I think he did an excellent job. Hazel Grace felt true to life in all of her pain-filled, teenage glory.
Jen: Actually, yes. I loved the hipster, smart-ass perspective of Hazel Grace. At times it may have seemed a little more grown up than sixteen, but how does a sixteen-year-old with cancer sound, anyway? Probably a lot more mature than most her age.
What was your favorite line in this book and why?
Lauren: This line is so beautiful if you think about it. Forever doesn’t have a limit, and to Gus and Hazel it transcends death.
“You gave me a forever within the numbered days, and I’m grateful.”
Shay: There are so many that were excellent and meaningful lines in the book. I don’t know if I could pick one, but I’ll give it a go. If I had to choose, it would probably be the ending line of the book:
‘You don’t get to choose if you get hurt in this world, old man, but you do have some say in who hurts you.”
Jen: There were probably a dozen lines that I loved, but this one wins:
“As he read, I fell in love the way you fall asleep: slowly, and then all at once.”
Oh, okay, first runner-up:
“I couldn’t be mad at him for even a moment, and only now that I loved a grenade did I understand the foolishness of trying to save others from my own impending fragmentation: I couldn’t unlove Augustus Waters. And I didn’t want to.”
How is the relationship between Hazel and Gus differ from other teenage relationships?
Lauren: Well, it’s smarter for one. I always thought that the average teenager, myself years ago included, didn’t hold as much depth and perception as book teenagers. Which is the appeal for Hazel and Gus to more than just the YA reader in this book. Would this have truly have been such a compelling love story if Hazel and Gus didn’t have cancer? Maybe, but what I think Gus and Hazel have is something that most teenagers will never experience and in turn, they have to live their whole lives in this one small moment. It’s hard to hold another couple their same age in comparison.
Shay: I think that their relationship was a curious mixture of adult and teenager. It was almost as if they were kids playing at being adults while all the while being more mature and insightful than those around them. I guess facing death will do that to a person. For me it was most painful reading about their parents. It was almost as if I could feel their pain and hopes. All the things they wanted their children to experience, even when it was contrary to what a parent would want for a sixteen- and seventeen-year-old child.
Jen: Other than the whole cancer thing? There’s a decided lack of teenage game playing. Neither were able to forge and maintain relationships with healthy friends, and their understanding of each other was at a depth most teens don’t understand.
Out of 5 stars, how many would you give The Fault in Our Stars and who would you recommend it to?
Lauren: I gave it 5 stars and more if I could have. This book isn’t just for young people, it is a book for any age. Hazel and Gus teach you a very good thing about relationships: It doesn’t matter the obstacle, love prevails. It’s an age-old theme but Green wrote it so well. It doesn’t matter how old the characters are, they matter to the reader.
Shay: I’d give it 99 stars. And I would recommend it to everyone. It’s a book that begs to be read. You know, I thought going in: I know what this is about. I know where it’s going. I can handle it. Then there was a point about two-thirds of the way into the book when I had a Jurassic Parkesque type moment and I realized I wasn’t hunting one velociraptor but two. And all I could say was, “clever, girl.” Or perhaps I should revise this to say of the author, “clever, bastard.” I couldn’t help but think that Isaac was representative of the reader: blind but “going to live a good and long life filled with great and terrible moments that you cannot even imagine yet!” But unlike Isaac, I didn’t damn the author for taking my eyes. I damned the author for giving me sight, dim though it was. This story infected me but it wasn’t terminal. I’ll carry the scars of John Green’s words with me forever, and there’s something almost pleasing about that. I was able to choose who hurt me. Hazel and Augustus didn’t have that honor. But maybe that was the point all along.
Jen: Probably 7 or so. Okay, 5. I’d recommend it to romance lovers, like me. I’d recommend it to the later teen years, since there’s ample swearing, sexual references, and mentions of drug use. But I think it’s a great book, even though it made me cry over and over again. All those friends were right. It was worth it.
Fans of the book have high hopes that the movie will be just as good as the book. I guess we’ll find out in June, and maybe we’ll see you at the movies!
I’d like to thank the Divas for participating in the Diva Chat. Their contributions and insights are appreciated.
If you’d like to add your views of The Fault in Our Stars, please leave a comment below. We’d love to know what you think.