Author: John Green
Year of Publication: 2012
Genre: Young Adult
First Line: "Late in the winter of my seventeenth year, my mother decided I was depressed, presumably because I rarely left the house, spent quite a lot of time, read the same book over and over, ate infrequently, and devoted quite a bit of my abundant free time to thinking about death."
Summary: 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.
Source: Back of book.
John Green, New York Times Bestselling Author, is never short on poignant remarks. The author, vlogger, nerdfighter*, former children’s hospital chaplain, and sometimes-historian recently released the young adult novel The Fault in Our Stars with Dutton Books. After signing all 150,000 copies of the first printing of The Fault in Our Stars (henceforth Fault), Green’s dedication to his readers and his fan base (sometimes known as nerdfighteria) has been proven, if there was any doubt to begin with. Fault is an extraordinary, touching, insightful book that will, as Green expressed he hoped, “will make you feel all of the things!”
The first of his novels to be narrated by a female and inspired by both his time as a chaplain and nerdfighter Esther Earl, Fault begins in the seventeenth year of a young woman named Hazel Grace Lancaster. Hazel, diagnosed with cancer in her early teens, is withdrawn and, according to her mother and doctor, depressed. As a result, she begins attending group therapy where she meets Augustus Waters, a boy in remission. Chronicling their time together, Hazel tells about her friends, such as Isaac, her trip to Amsterdam, meeting her author-idol Peter van Houten, dealing with being a “grenade,” falling in love, and how “okay” came to mean so much more.
Like Green’s other novels, Fault is exceedingly clever and smart and, while catching onto inside jokes (mostly from the nerdfighter community) or allusions certainly adds to the novel, the book is accessible and enjoyable no matter your level of obscure knowledge, something Green seems to enjoy packing into his stories. This quality is especially important because it says so much about Green’s attitude toward teens: “Teenagers are plenty smart. I don’t sit around and worry whether teenagers are smart. I mean, most of the people currently reading The Scarlet Letter and The Great Gatsby…are teenagers,” Green wrote on one of his blogs, TFiOS Questions Answered, and reminds his viewers frequently in his videos.
These jokes and clever nods to art, history, and the like will make you laugh and then by the next sentence, you will be crying. The honest, insightful book both breaks and mends the heart at once, reminding the reader of their inherent humanness. Green makes it easy for the reader to become attached to the characters with their clever, if sometimes slightly forgivably unrealistic, dialogue. Meanwhile, his beautifully flowing sentences reminds the reader of the intricate and ornate phrasing of Shakespeare – his play Julius Caesar being the title’s inspiration – though decidedly more readable and modern.
In reading Fault, the reader not only gains a new understanding of themselves and the world around him, but also a whole community of other readers of the book, where Green is just another neighbor. No matter your age, this young adult novel will move you in a way no other novel has before, or, probably, ever will.
*More on nerdfighters can be found at www.youtube.com/vlogbrothers. John Green’s official website is www.johngreebooks.com, and he can be followed on Tumblr at www.fishingboatproceeds.tumblr.com/. For more information on The Fault in Our Stars, visit any of the previously mentioned websites for more links, including Green’s TFiOS Questions Answered blog.
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Other Books by This Author: Looking for Alaska; An Abundance of Katherines; Paper Towns, Let It Snow; Will Grayson, Will Grayson
Author's Website: John Green