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“The Fault In Our Stars” by John Green

When I was on Tumblr a few weeks ago, I discovered that John Green had a new book that had just come out. What I also learned, is that it was a brilliant book that challenged the reader both in the language it used, and the ideas that it presented in the novel. I don’t usually buy books that I haven’t read, but I searched high and low in all the Canberra bookstores until I found it. Am I glad that I purchased this book? Absolutely. It was bloody brilliant!

Seventeen year old Hazel has been battling Thyroid cancer since she was twelve. At age fifteen her doctors found a miracle drug that stopped the tumours growth – at least for now. Two years on from her medical miracle, Hazel is trying to lead a semi normal life; going to college, seeing her friends, spending time with her family whilst watching America’s Next Top Model and attending her Cancer Support Group – all whilst tethered to her oxygen tank she fondly refers to as Phillip.

Whilst at a Cancer Support Group meeting, she meets Augustus Waters; every seventeen year old (and 26 year old!) girls dream guy. Smart, funny, incredibly good looking and in Remission, Augustus takes an interest in Hazel. As she spends more time with him, and their fellow Cancer Support Group friend, Isaac (who had recently become blind from his Cancer and then dumped by his girlfriend) Hazel begins to fall hopelessly in love with Augustus. First reluctantly, then completely.

When Hazel learns that Augustus’ health isn’t as good as she was led to believe, she experiences first hand the road that her parents, family and her friends will have to travel down when her miracle drug stops working.

This novel is both beautiful and heartbreaking. I didn’t read any reviews of it before I started reading the book, and some of the twists in the plot were absolutely gut wrenching. It keeps the reader hooked the whole way through with the many ups and downs that Cancer patients endure. I also believe that Green captures the voice of Hazel perfectly – a touch cynical, but still humourous despite having terminal cancer.

Although this book is purely fictional, it’s highly realistic. Having had my grandfather pass away a few weeks ago, and my mother battle Cancer last year, I can honestly say that John Green has captured both life and death accurately. That’s often a difficult thing for a writer to do – I’ve found very few books that have portrayed death so accurately that it’s left me in tears. For me, this was a very emotional book to read and it hit home hard, but upon finishing it last night I discovered that it was also highly rewarding.

It takes an exceptional writer to make the reader feel like a different person after they finish a novel, but Green has achieved that ten fold. Despite its topic, the book isn’t morbid the whole way through as one would expect. It seamlessly brings together both physical and emotional journeys, drama, humour and, of course, romance.

Augustus gives Hazel an infinite love in their numbered days. I can only hope that at some point in my life, I’m lucky enough to have a love like theirs.

Overall rating: 5/5