Lisa Vegan's Reviews > The Fault in Our Stars

The Fault in Our Stars by John Green
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's review
Nov 13, 12

bookshelves: fiction, novel, young-adult, reviewed, favorites, gr-a, aaalt, cancer, lt-a
Recommended for: for 12 & all the way up; for kids who know sick kids or who are sick; cancer story fans
Read from November 10 to 13, 2012

First I have to say: Thank you John Green for not letting me down. I was so afraid the end, or even the middle, would greatly disappoint me, but it was close enough to perfect.

Hilarious! Love the humor! The writing style and storytelling is so engaging. The book was very hard to put down.

I love that Hazel is a vegetarian for animal suffering reasons, and that her family celebrates ½ birthdays as I did and do for kids (and I share a birthday with Hazel, and I love sharing birthdays with book characters), and that she is intelligent and articulate, is philosophical, and has a fabulous sense of humor, and that she is honest. I really love Hazel.

I also enjoyed so many of the other characters, major and minor, virtually all of them.

I was worried at some points because it seems as though in every young adult book the main teen characters have to have not just a love interest, but a fully formed, too adult relationship. Here, it turns out, I ended up enjoying the relationship. It felt real for these characters, and it worked.

Most of the book takes place in Indiana and I have a good friend there and have been there and so I enjoyed the setting. Amsterdam and the Anne Frank House make an appearance too, and I loved vicariously visiting; it’s a place I’ve always wanted to go.

I did hate that the Support Group was so Christian, so religious; maybe those kids didn’t mind, but it sure didn’t seem inclusive, and I found myself wondering whether there were alternative support groups available. (Yes, these kids and their situations seemed that real.) I did appreciate the philosophizing about religious matters that Hazel and Gus do.

One thing I admired so much about this book is that it doesn’t glorify cancer or leave out its suffering. To me, that’s crucial when writing about cancer, whether the account is fiction or non-fiction. And it often doesn’t happen.

This book should be on all teen hospital units. I know that those units carefully screen which books they shelve and I have a sinking feeling many might deliberately exclude this one, but that would be a huge mistake. The kids would enjoy reading this book, and anyone who felt like reading it would not be harmed by it.

I always like cancer stories, fictional and non-fiction, so I knew this book would probably be my cup of tea. (This is a mastery issue: ever since I was 11, and saw my mother die from cancer, I have dreaded nothing more than getting cancer, and would not find my own cancer story one bit entertaining. I've since learned to be justly terrified of ALS too, but cancer remains my biggest fear. And fire, but the latter would be a quick story.)

A note: I loved how in the acknowledgments in the back of the book he mentions the book The Emperor of All Maladies, a book I started a while back and am enjoying, though for quite a while I’ve been on page 250 of 571.


I want to add some thoughts, some posted in the comments below but that I want in the review proper:

I did see one plot point coming from afar but another I thought would come did not, and I was grateful for that!!!

Yes, it's hilarious, but no, I am not callous. It's also tragic and sad and powerfully emotional. I felt so many emotions, including infuriated.

This book was so beautifully written.
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Reading Progress

11/10/2012 page 1
0.0% "I'd like to start this book this evening before bed."
11/10/2012 page 22
7.0% "I love the writing style and characters, but really, does every single ya book have to have love interests as a center? I mean, don't some kids still just sporadically date, go to prom, etc.? Does everybody in their teens now have a true love interest that works for both? But so far I'm really liking this story."
11/11/2012 page 64
20.0% "It's hilarious and I love Hazel."
11/11/2012 page 105
33.0% "Loving this book, loving Hazel. (I hope she stays a vegetarian but I'm not counting on it.)" 8 comments
11/12/2012 page 209
66.0% "I am LOVING this book. Adore the humor, adore the characters. I think I know where it might go, and that would be okay, and it's okay if I am wrong. Even if it goes totally downhill, I will always love it up until at least now."
11/13/2012 page 301
96.0% "I can't put down this darn book. Even if the last chapter is the biggest ever disappointment, I think I'm going to have to give 5 stars to this book."

Comments (showing 1-31 of 31) (31 new)

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Lisa Vegan Addendum: I did see one plot point coming from afar but another I thought would come did not, and I was grateful for that!!!

Lisa Vegan Another addendum: Yes, it's hilarious, but no, I am not callous. It's also tragic and sad and powerfully emotional. So many emotions including infuriating.

message 3: by [deleted user] (new)

Put it on my "to-buy" list now. Reading your review, and the comments once more I had to. (:

Lisa Vegan This book was so beautifully written. I don't feel like editing my review because I'm afraid I'll triple its length and have to add spoiler tags, but I'll correct

I have dreaded nothing more than getting cancer since I was 11


since I was 11, I have dreaded nothing more than getting cancer


Lisa Vegan Siiri wrote: "Put it on my "to-buy" list now. Reading your review, and the comments once more I had to. (:"

Good choice, I think, since I don't know your taste in books that well yet. If you read it, Siiri, please send me a link to your review, if you write one. I'd love to read it. Thanks.

message 6: by [deleted user] (new)

Certainly (: I am about to start a book I have just downloaded onto my Kindle but it might easily be that the Green is the next in line. And mine is a fairly short one, with ca. 160 pages in paperback.

Lisa Vegan And this book is a fast read. If you like it even half as much as I did, I think you'll find it hard to put down.

Lindsey This sounds great, but I'm not sure if reading this will make me either more or less scared of the results of the thyroid ultrasound I'm having next month :/ Maybe I will wait :)
I celebrate half birthdays too, Lisa!

Lisa Vegan Lindsey,

That's great re the half birthdays! When I was young, I thought we were unique.

Perhaps you should wait to read the book, but the kind of thyroid cancer Hazel has is seen in children and adolescents, and it's the mets that are the problem. But, if you feel as though it will be more of a pain than a pleasure to read the book, then definitely wait. It's a quick read so it will fit in whenever you want to read it.

I hope your thyroid ultrasound results are entirely benign!

Lindsey Thank you for the good wishes, Lisa!
Hehe, funny when I was young, I thought it was pretty normal to celebrate half birthdays, and then when I got out into the world, I realized not so many people do that :)

message 11: by Lisa (new) - rated it 5 stars

Lisa Vegan Yeah, I was the only one I knew who did, until my friends adopted it for their kids and sometimes themselves.

Petra X I just finished The Emperor of All Maladies. I think it took me about six months.

message 13: by Lisa (new) - rated it 5 stars

Lisa Vegan Petra X wrote: "I just finished The Emperor of All Maladies. I think it took me about six months."

Petra, Now I don't feel so badly. I haven't picked it up for quite a while and might not until January, but I am eager to read the rest of it.

message 14: by Lisa (new) - rated it 5 stars

Lisa Vegan I'm thrilled that this book won the young adult category of the Goodreads Choice Awards 2012: even though there was a ya science fiction and fantasy category too and even though I wasn't thrilled by the majority of the winner. (I did really like a few of them, especially this one.)

Petra X I didn't vote. Can't see the point in voting when we are only 'allowed' to vote on extremely hyped books that have contributed a lot of advertising money whether to this or any other site. It is irrelevant whether I have read or enjoyed the books or not, the playing field is not level.

message 16: by Lisa (new) - rated it 5 stars

Lisa Vegan Petra, Yes, I saw your comments in Feedback, and I do understand your point. I still find it fun. And the problem is, in terms of enough numbers, these are the books well read enough to get the votes. In the first round there were write ins but most didn't get enough votes to make it to another round. And, in my opinion, no matter what other, lesser known and well known, books might be out there, this one is deserving.

Petra X I absolutely agree about the book. But there are many more books that GR could have chosen as competitors that are big sellers but didn't. I feel the site is heavily biased anyway towards romance, fantasy, thrillers etc and that is what is encouraged more than anything. That is the demographic they are appealing to but I'm not in it.

message 18: by Lisa (new) - rated it 5 stars

Lisa Vegan Petra, I unfortunately agree with you, but I don't know which started first, the members' preferences or Goodreads' promotions. It seems to me when the site was newer, there were more literary minded members and now there are more pop lit members. We're still a diverse group though.

message 19: by Lisa (new) - rated it 5 stars

Lisa Vegan Oh, and I think this book is outstanding.

Petra X I think so too it was more literary I am sure. I think that promotions and giveaways have attracted a lot more fantasy/romance readers to the site. I don't mind one way or the other but the poll was just a joke to me. It was almost like a competition to spend the most advertising dollar first, the winners getting into the poll. With the non-fiction there were so few categories really anyway.

message 21: by Miriam (last edited Dec 04, 2012 12:56PM) (new)

Miriam What dipshit said you were callous for enjoying humorous writing? I'm sure it makes things more depressing for individuals with terminal illness when those around them stop laughing and insist on being sad and serious all the time.

message 22: by Lisa (new) - rated it 5 stars

Lisa Vegan Miriam, Huh? Did someone say that?

I've worked with pediatric oncology kids, and kids with other health issues, and what 99% of them want more than anything is to be treated as normal kids and to enjoy life as much as they are able.

message 23: by Miriam (new)

Miriam I was deducing from your edit Yes, it's hilarious, but no, I am not callous.

message 24: by Lisa (new) - rated it 5 stars

Lisa Vegan Oh, thanks, Miriam. Ha! I didn't even remember that. Yes, it's a very funny (and sad) book.

message 25: by Diane D. (last edited Apr 24, 2013 11:25AM) (new) - rated it 4 stars

Diane D. Outstanding review, Lisa. I am glad you read it even though it may have pained you over your Mom having had cancer. There were parts that made me think of my Mom as well, particularly Hazel's constant struggle to breath.

message 26: by Lisa (new) - rated it 5 stars

Lisa Vegan Diane, Oh, I'll send you that info about Esther now. I watched a lot of her videos.

Diane D. I'll watch from home, thanks for remembering.

message 28: by Lisa (new) - rated it 5 stars

Lisa Vegan Diane D. wrote: "I'll watch from home, thanks for remembering."

She is adorable. So is John Green. :-) And I really love this book.

Ronyell Awesome review Lisa!! I really loved this book myself and I also think that some of the hospital units should have this book!

message 30: by Lisa (new) - rated it 5 stars

Lisa Vegan Thanks, Roneyll. Yes, It's stuck with me; I think it's an amazing book.

message 31: by Lisa (new) - rated it 5 stars

Lisa Vegan I liked the movie.

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