Author: John Green
Publisher: Dutton Books
Year Published: 2012
Hazel Grace Lancaster, 16 years old, once had a thyroid cancer that causes her lungs cannot function properly anymore. Although her tumor now can be tamed by this new medication called Palanxifor, her ability to breathe--as well as to live--depends on her oxygen tank and she still has to take the medicine regularly to tame the tumor. Her mother wants Hazel to keep meeting her friends and interact with them like any normal teenagers so that she pushes Hazel to join the support group.
One day, she meets Augustus Waters, a friend of her friend, Isaac, on the support group. Augustus or Gus once had an osteosarcoma and got one of his feet amputated. But still, he is a hot and sexy boy. It doesn't take a long time for Hazel to fall for this boy's charisma. Seems like Augustus has this same feeling with Hazel so that he asks Hazel for a movie date at his house right after their first meeting.
Hazel loves reading and An Imperial Affliction, a novel about a cancer girl written by Peter van Houten, is her most favorite books. Maybe because the life of Anna--the main character of the book--is so similar to her (Anna also had cancer and Hazel thinks that Peter van Houten really knows the feeling of dying when he described Anna). Too bad, the ending of the book seems undone and Hazel is so eager to ask Peter how the story ends. Peter, sadly, has never been replied any of Hazel's letter. When Augustus finally reads the book, Augustus also feels the same way as Hazel so that he decided to use his wish from the Genie Foundation to bring Hazel to Amsterdam, to meet Peter van Houten.
Going to Amsterdam surely not an easy thing for Hazel, a girl with terminal disease. But finally, she, Augustus, and Hazel's mom are able to fly to Amsterdam. A lot of things happen at Amsterdam--both good and bad: meeting Peter van Houten, going to Anne Frank's house, and also.. Augustus' secret.
The Fault in Our Stars is actually a kind of book that I've been so curious to read for a long time since all I hear about this book are good things only. But sicklit is actually never my cup of tea so that I always failed to buy the book although I've seen it a couple of times in the book stores. Until one day my friend, Gusti, gave it to me. Thanks so much, Gusti!
And after I finally read it, I can definitely feel all the good things that other people have said before. The story in The Fault in Our Stars is actually not about teenage with cancer's romance. It's not like A Walk to Remember by Nicholas Sparks kind of romance. Well, it's true that the romance got a portion too, but in my opinion, the story focuses more to how teenagers with cancer try to live their lives as normal as possible and enjoy every single of it to the max. And romance is a part of it.
Through Hazel's journey, the readers can learn that the most important in life is not how long we live it but how many memories we can make, how many dreams we can reach, and how much we can enjoy every single day of it. Yes, there are definitely days spent in the hospital asking whether the time has come or not, days spent in mourning when one of your friend passed away, but also there are days spent to meet and be loved by a guy like Augustus Waters, days when you fly to other country to meet your most favorite author to ask the question you've been keeping for a long time, and days when you help your blind and broken heart friend to move on and get his revenge. Reading Hazel's journey makes me (and hopefully the other readers too) optimist with the future, no matter how bad my day is right now, I can always have hope that an incredible journey is waiting there for me.
John Green definitely tackles this issue very well. His writing is so poetic and thoughtful so that every single conversation, every single scene, every single character really delivers the message clearly and meaningfully to the readers. I've liked his writing since I read An Abundance of Katherines so that.. yeah, very glad to know him writing a story like this in his signature style. It's not mushy but somehow it touches you right at the center of your heart.
As for the characters, I like Hazel. She's such a clever, witty, and sarcastic girl. But for Augustus, I don't know. I cannot love him as much as my friends do. Instead, I love Isaac more. Isaac, who got blind and got dumped by his girl friend (ouch!). However, I find him more adorable and lovable person than Augustus, the guy full of metaphors who keeps all the secrets on his own, who tries so hard to be remembered.
Finally, the final paragraph of this review. Reading this book will make you appreciate your live more, even when maybe you're also in terminal disease. It brings hope that happiness can be felt by anyone without exception.