Sunday, 24 May 2015

Review - The Fault in Our Stars by John Green

Yes I have finally read this book, yes I am finally posting my review of it and yes I do feel like the last person on earth to have read it, although of course I'm sure that the latter statement isn't necessarily true. The problem - what put me off reading it for so long - was that there'd been so much hype about how beautiful this book was that I didn't want to read it because then it'd all be over. Also I'm a bit of a hypochondriac and was slightly worried about how I'd cope with it given the subject matter that the book deals with. However, having said all this and having now read the book, I can honestly say that I thought it really was one of the most beautiful books I've ever read, and trust me I've read a lot!

We are first introduced to Hazel Lancaster who has been diagnosed with terminal cancer, which has been prevented from spreading further thanks to a drug which she refers to throughout as "the miracle". She rarely leaves the house which her mum is incredibly concerned about and is particularly reluctant to attend a support group for teens with cancer. However, wanting to please her mum, she goes to the support the group. It is here that she meets Augustus Waters who, with a prosthetic leg following osteosarcoma has been cancer free for several years but attends the support group to accompany his friend Isaac. 

From the moment Hazel and Augustus first meet it is noticeable that they are attracted to eachother and they start to bond, particularly after Hazel shares her favourite book, An Imperial Affliction, with him. The book is about a girl who has cancer and is one that has no real ending to it. For years Hazel has written to the author, Peter van Houten who lives in Amsterdam to try and find out what happened to the characters of her favourite novel. This has not been successful and she speaks of her frustrations about this to Augustus who tracks down the author's agent who invites both Hazel and Augustus over to Amsterdam to meet in person and discuss the book in more detail. Thus we see Augustus use his one wish to get both himself and Hazel from America to Amsterdam in order to see the author. Despite the meeting with the author not, necessarily, being what they both expected, the section of the novel set in Amsterdam was undoubtedly my favourite part and is the part that sticks in my mind the most.

Unfortunately after the trip to Amsterdam when they return to America things take a turn for the worse as we witness one of the two characters cope with seeing the other decline in health. 

As I said at the start of this review I thought that this was a really beautiful book and also one that was incredibly well written by an author who has proven himself to be capable of writing about real-life subject matters superbly. It goes without saying that I would highly recommend this book and will certainly be reading more of this author's work in the future - I've already got two more by him ready and waiting for me on my bookshelf!