The Fault In Our Stars

February abm book club selectionHi, everyone. Today we will be discussing The Fault In Our Stars, which was this month's selection for the A Beautiful Mess book club. I hope you enjoyed the book as much as I did! Although I feel almost bad typing that, as so many painful things happen within the pages of this book.

First off, you should know that this discussion (and probably many of the comments to follow) will contain SPOILERS!!!! So if you haven't finished reading the book, I'd highly recommend holding off on reading this until you have.

Personal Thoughts on this Book:

-I had heard this book was geared for the "young reader" audience. I remember this being mentioned to me with just a tiny bit of (I thought) snobbery behind the comment. And I must say, the book is a quick read and, yes, is based on teenage characters. But the subject matter (life + death, infinity, love, etc.) includes such big things to be dealing with at that age. And the characters behave and deal with these realities with way more maturity and wisdom than I think most adults I know (including myself) would.

-I love how self-aware, but also how unashamedly bookish, this book is too. 🙂 Let me explain. Hazel herself states that cancer books suck. But she loves Imperial Affliction, which is a (fictional) cancer book. And The Fault In Our Stars is certainly a cancer book. But the book is also highly aware that it's a cancer book and strives (and in my opinion, succeeds) at being so much more. I also love when an author very plainly and unashamedly loves to reference and nod to literature. This book makes numerous references to great literature such as The Great Gatsby, Ulysses, many great poets, and of course Shakespeare. I have a feeling there are many references that I didn't even pick up on, as I am certainly not the most well-read person in the world. 

-I love when a book surprises you, not because it literally gives no clues to what may happen, but because it causes you to get so absorbed in the story that you ignore said clues. There are SO many foreshadowing examples that basically spell it out for us that Augustus will die first. He always hangs up the phone first.  Both characters press "play" on the in-flight movie at the same time, but Augustus's starts (and ends) first. Hazel is our first-person narrator, and since Imperial Affliction ends with the death of its first-person narrator, it seems unlikely The Fault In Our Stars will. But I was still shocked when Gus tells Hazel about about his diagnosis. I suppose it's because I was beginning to believe, like Hazel, that they would be together until she died (which I was beginning to hope would be at least some years out). John Green, you totally got me!

-I think I cried at least a little every time I picked up this book. A few times I was reading on a plane, and I was trying *so* hard not to cry so I didn't look like a crazy lady to my fellow passengers! Feel free to chime in with your tissue count.

Discussion Questions:

*What do you think about Hazel's initial reason for not wanting to let Augustus into her life? She talks a lot about trying to minimize her grenade effect on the world. She feels she will not be able to stop the pain that will surely come to her parents when she passes, but do you think this is the real reason why she seems to spend most of her time alone or with only her mom? Although a heroic thought–to minimize hurt to those we care about–is this really possible to the degree Hazel would like? Does it then make Augustus less heroic because he knows of his cancer but still chooses to fall more in love with Hazel while on their trip to Amsterdam?

*What do you make of the notion that the universe wants to be noticed? This is something that Hazel and her dad (who cries SO much in the book! He's so sweet-seeming) discuss, and Hazel thinks more and more about it at the end of the book. 

*Probably many of us can identify with Augustus's wish to live for a big reason, or die for epic cause. He often sacrifices his life while playing video games with Isac for the sake of saving others. Is this a good or bad thing to want in life? I mean, is this something any of us can ever control anyway? Augustus seems to be disappointed that his life will not mean something more. But does life ever mean more? I think for me, watching Augustus (and Hazel) discuss and wrestle with this idea reminded me that I ought to always work to take whatever is in front of me and maximize those experiences. As much as any of us might wish for a grander life, we will only get one life (the one we are living now), and we just have to make it the very best it can be. But perhaps that's too easy for me to say, since I don't have cancer and don't have to face death today like Augustus did.

*I'd love to hear your thoughts on Augustus's unlit cigarette. Did you love it? Did you hate it? I thought it was an annoying little quirk at first. Apparently I'm kind of a jerk. 🙂 But then I realized (slowly, because I'm also not that profound of a reader) that this was probably more of a symbol for Augustus. It was his control over his health/life. He was denying death and its power every time he held a cigarette in his mouth but didn't light it. But of course this control is an illusion. One day we feel we have it, and the next day we don't. For Augustus, I guess he probably felt he lost it once he drove late that night to buy cigarettes but then had to call Hazel (and later an ambulance) to help him because he wasn't strong enough to accomplish this task on his own due to his sickness. I cried when Hazel gave him a pack of cigarettes at his funeral.

You do NOT have to discuss these ideas. It's just a jumping-off point. Let us know: Did you like the book? Hate the book? Get bored with the book? Cry your eyes out with the book? Are we all making plans to see the movie together??? 

Thanks for joining me this month! And don't forget that in March we'll be reading The Lowland. xo. Emma

  • Too be honest, I’m part of the small part that didn’t think the book was, how should I put this, “OMG!! THIS IS AMAZING!!!” I thought it was a good read and has plenty of good quotes but not that spectacular. Though after seeing (and shedding a few tears) the trailer, I have this feeling that the movie version will affect me more than the book did.

  • I have to admit, this was the first book in a long time that I devoured in just under 24 hours. I just could not put it down! I think that might be in part down to John Green’s straightforward writing style (which has its positives and its negatives) but also the characters – they were the part that made the book for me. I felt the plot was slightly unstable – I felt like I was counting down the chapters until somebody died, which I wish I didn’t because I wanted to just enjoy the story. I enjoyed Gus’ sentiment that you can decide to do something heroic to make your life memorable, although the action of the novel was a painful reminder that our time on this earth is fleeting and we might not make as much of a mark as we might like. Never the less, this might encourage some readers, inspired by this book, to make a change to their lives to fulfill such wishes. I’m not sure if I will read another John Green as I feel the writing too childish for my tastes, but I will watch the movie – probably only when it comes out on DVD though!

  • I chose the audio book version and listened to it in the car while running errands and found I had to shut it off several times to avoid accidents because of the blurry vision the tears gave my eyes. I loved it and can’t wait for the movie, I just hope they do it justice.

  • i borrowed and read this book a little while back. i must admit, i did tear up every now and then along the way and adored all of the poetry since i had just learned them in class. however, i read TFIO after reading looking for alaska, and at the time it just didn’t compare. still brilliant, as is john green, but it isn’t my favorite book.

  • I’m with you Joan. I read this at my 13yo’s urging and while I definitely enjoy it and was glad I read it, I didn’t think it was the “most awesome book ever” (my teen’s review). 🙂

  • Maybe the desire to have a memorable life is part of what gets this book labeled as “Young Adult”. Many teenagers believe they are invincible and books like this help to introduce the concept that sometimes things happen that may be uncontrollable (like a terminal illness), but that doesn’t mean a life wasn’t meaningful or impactful. Perhaps not on the grand scale that he wished, Augustus’s life and death was incredibly meaningful to his friends and family. Maybe this book could be looked at as a way for readers to be more conscientious of their impact on the people around us every day.

  • I picked it up when it first came out because I watched the Vlogbrothers (John Green and his brother Hank’s youtube channel). I am a very slow reader (we’re talking YEARS to finish a book) but this one I finished in 3 days. I read it in bed, on the school bus, during breaks, at the bus stop on the way home… And cried at all these places too. I was 16 at the time so I felt strongly connected to Hazel and Gus, and all the topics the book is about hit home. I understand Hazel’s wish to stay away from people to avoid hurting them when she dies, because in a very different way, I try to stay away from people to avoid being hurt when they leave and to avoid disappointing them when they realise I’m a horrible person, ha! I also realte to Augustus in the prospect of dying a hero, I feel like if I don’t achieve something great that touches other people’s lives, I would have lived in vain. The very thought of living a meaningless life makes me want to go to bed immediately and sleep the sick feeling away! Even though the characters and their relationship were extremely poetic when I prefer actual, real people and conversations, with things left unsaid and misunderstandings and no super romantic confessions, I was still deeply touched by this book and I will keep my copy forever to hopefully pass it on to my children and grandchildren as I believe it could open their minds to important questions. I even got my book signed by Youtuber friends or John Green’s and hopefully one day he’ll sign it too! I’m very excited about the movie and hope the soundtrack will be good (important expectations here).
    I made my two sisters read it (they are 6 and 10 years older than me), my 24 year old sister bawled her eyes out (my mother walked in her room while she was reading/crying one day and she freaked out!) and my 28 year old sister said it was an awful book, badly written and absolutely not heartbreaking. But then she looooves any opportunity to pretend she’s so cold-hearted, which she isn’t. And she has a Masters in English so she’s used to a different kind of literature anyway. 😉

  • Am I the only one that thought the book was just fine? At 29, I felt too old to read and sympathize with this book–it all felt really predictable to me. Anyone else?

  • I think this book is great for the Young Adult genre – you mention the characters seem so mature for their age, but I think think it’s an accurate and respectful representation of teenagers, who need more credit in our society. (Note: I am definitely NOT a teenager!) And Hazel’s choice to only spend time with her mother is a natural response to a terminal diagnosis, but the author’s point is that everyone deserves to live a full, rich life. Even people whose lives will be shorter than average are entitled to love, joy, romance and all the other emotions that come with deep human connection. Augustus knew that, and taught Hazel that.

  • i loved loved looooooved this book and you are right!
    i tried to hold it in more than half the time.

    when hazel found him in the car and he had just left himself go, that kiiiillllled me!!!!

    when i found out this was feb’s pick, i was ecstatic! since i had just read it and i loved it so i was hoping that you would!!!
    (http://lovewhatyouread14.blogspot.com/2013/09/the-fault-in-our-stars-by-john-green.html)

    John Green is amazing!!!! when you have a chance, please read Paper Towns.
    that was the first book of his that i read. thats where i fell in love.

    im currently about to start the last of his books, Looking for Alaska, and i honestly cant wait to see what its about.

    on another note, if you ever get a chance, please read Where’d you go Bernadette. i loooved that book as well!! (http://lovewhatyouread14.blogspot.com/2014/02/where-you-go-bernadette-by-maria-semple.html)

    young adult books are actually pretty kind of great! (:

    hopefully i see another John Green book on here sometime this year.
    id love to see your thoughts seeing as how you wrote this post better than i do over at my blog!! ;D

    welcome to the John Green world! <3
    -Les
    lovewhatyouread14.blogspot.com

  • Hi Elsie and Emma, and ABM readers 🙂 I’m French and will try to write in English the best I can!
    I LOVED this book. I picked it up because it was a bestseller and I didn’t have any idea what to expect. I just couldn’t close it, and kept reading it in the street after my subway commuting every morning >_< What I loved about the book is John Green's style : direct, and extremely FUNNY. I think he's the best at giving his characters a real voice. We read about them, but we forget that the narrator is fictionnal. I felt the same in Paper town (which is amazing as well, even better than TFIOS, I think - because funnier) I feel that only JD Salinger, before John Green, could give characters a voice of their own. A sense of reality that I've never met in other books. It is particularly striking to me now that I'm reading "Dash & Lily's book of dares". This book is not good at all, because we feel the narrators judgement upon their characters. I don' t like that! Anyway! Thanks for noticing that Gus 's movie ends first, as well as he hangs up first on the phone. It's so interesting! I want to read it again now 🙂 Sorry, my comment doesn't really go anywhere, I just wanted to share my feelings about it 🙂

  • I picked up this book the day it came out since I am a fan of John Green’s books and I also watch the Vlogbrothers on YouTube (DFTBA any fellow nerdfighters!). I had always really loved John’s books but this is the first one that really had an effect on me. I read this book in a day or two because I literally could not put it down. The story was wonderful, the characters were so loveable, and John did a fantastic job making the reader really care about them. Since reading it that first time I’ve tried to convince anyone and everyone to read this book. I am so excited for the movie to come out, because judging by the trailer they did an amazing job.

    Lauren // Lipstick & Lacquer

  • I picked this book up on a whim… I’d been avoiding it because I tend to avoid sad books. But once I got more than a page in, I didn’t put it back down until I was finished (thankfully it was the weekend!). When we found out that Augustus’s cancer was terminal, I started crying. And kept crying. I think I cried for six straight hours until the end of the book. My husband thought I was nuts. It was a good cry though, and a WONDERFUL book.
    Discussion questions:
    Augustus’s unlit cigarette: At first I found this annoying and somewhat contrived. I mean that, if I met somebody who habitually walked around with an unlit cigarette I’d think they were being unnecessarily moribund, although it’s more understandable as a teenager (everything seemed SO much more dramatic as a teen!). As we get to know Augustus, and learn about how he’s cheated death it made more sense that he’d want to continue reminding himself that he had survived death to remind him to enjoy the “now” more and not to dwell on stupid stuff. In a similar way he tried to live for the benefit of others; like giving his wish to Hazel or sacrificing himself in the video games for Isaac.
    Hazel’s grenade effect: I think a patient with a terminal illness would get really tired really fast of being “kid-gloved”. It would be very difficult to make new friends. Old friends may treat you differently, with deference, and I’m sure the patient would feel the change in the tone of their friendship. As Hazel described, the kids in the cancer group were pretty dissimilar, except that they all had cancer. While common backgrounds do help foster friendships, having cancer as the “tent-pole” of friendship may not make for the most stable of relationships. It makes sense to me that she would withdraw into her own small world of people she knew were safe and try not to make new friends or foster relationships.

  • I like it but I think it is not that spectacular. It’s well written yeah indeed and a page turner. Although it made me cry, but I was really affected to the live eulogy delivered by Isaac. Really breaks my heart! I think this will be a great movie!!! 🙂

  • as a person that has lived whit canser in my family, I ende up feeling more for the perents of Hazel and Gus and the helplessness they feelt.

    I love the way Hazel and Gus contradick each other. Gus wanting to live a big inprint on the wold and Hazel wanting to shield her friends form the pain her death will cause.

  • Oh gosh! I probably would have had this problem too if I were listening. I sometimes listen to audio books when I run and there are times I’ve had to stop because I was laughing too much or crying a little (depending on the book I’m listening to).

    -Emma

  • I loved this book. I don’t ever read YA fiction either (not saying it’s bad, I just usually read nonfiction) but I have recommended this book to so many people. I wrote a little blurb on my blog post today about my Feb. reads (http://ssmast.blogspot.com/). I cried ugly sobs at the end of this book, also when she gave him the pack of cigarettes.
    I actually thought that was kind of a cute quirk, and was surprised until Augustus cleared it up that he doesn’t actually light it.
    Something I took from this book was really about caring for the dying until the very end. When Hazel sees Augustus in the bed after he’d soaked it, the moment felt so real and true. She couldn’t deal with seeing him this way. The end for Augustus got lonely, with some good days, and bad days like anger, wanting to be alone, etc. I just thought every bit of that part of the story was so real and raw. It just sucks, and I’ve never known it in real life, but can only imagine what it was like from the story.

    I also love books with other booky references, so I got a kick out of the same thing. The quote about the stars, where the title comes from… ugh, just love that.
    Sarah M

  • A great review. I wrote a little mini one myself, over on my blog: http://www.knitmeacake.com/2014/02/28/book-review-the-fault-in-our-stars/

    I have to say, throughout most of the book I was just worried that the last page would end without a proper ending, like in Imperial Affliction. It would have been as devastating as the story itself and I really wanted to know what happens to Hazel. We don’t find out, but understand the rawness of how she’s feeling about losing Gus.

    The trailer for the film has also really impressed me. I avoided watching it before I’d read the book, so I could let me imagination run away with me, but it looks to be as accurate as I imagined the characters. I’m looking forward to seeing it.

    Thanks, and hello from the UK. 🙂

    Leanne x

  • Yes, I agree. I think it’s a hard perspective to remember, that impacting just one life IS a big deal (to that individual) even if you don’t change the whole world by your life.

    Probably most lives that do end up being ‘big’ in the way Gus seemed to wish his was, start off by just trying to impact those closest to you, and it spreads over time.

    -Emma

  • Oh, I love your story. It’s wonderful when a book impacts you like this. So many of the Harry Potter books were like that for me growing up. 🙂 I think partly bc the characters were, at the time a similar age to me. Although… I’m not a wizard or anything. 🙂

    I also love that you made your whole family read it and they all had different perspectives on it. I’m the same age as your 28 year old sister. Although I loved the book. But, I certainly do NOT have a Master’s in English so I imagine that would potentially change my view.

    Thanks for sharing!
    -Emma

  • I thought this book was great. It was so genuine and believable. The part that got me more than anything is when Hazel was talking about how every time she went to the doctor, they asked her how bad her pain was and even when it was at its worst, she said 9. She knew that she’d know a 10 when she was there, but she wasn’t yet. She didn’t know she was saving it for this kind of pain – a loss. Augustus was her 10. That k.i.l.l.e.d. me.

    Ps. I waited to watch the trailer until i finished the book, and haven’t stopped watching it since.

    Pps. I pictured Hazel to look just like Jules from The Interestings, only with shorter hair.

  • It sounds like Joan and Katie (the first two commenters) felt similar, as well as Annabelle’s 28 year old sister. I think it’s always really interesting when a book incites both love and hate.

    Not that you really said you “hated” the book. Don’t want to put words in your mouth (I hate it when people do that to me). I just mean, it’s funny how people can have very opposite reactions to book/song/art work, etc.

    -Emma

  • Absolutely did not see any signs that Augustus would die first, up until I read your notes! I love that about a book club – when it’s able to open your eyes on things you didn’t pick up on. So, thanks Emma!

    I personally loved the book –couldn’t help the tears (on a plane) when Augustus confesses that he lit up like a Christmas tree. Hazel’s mourning really gives you a glimpse of what it feels like to not have your significant other around anymore (when she wants to share her feelings with him and is reminded that’s not possible). And while I agree we should appreciate what we have, Augustus’ desire to accomplish greatness is undeniably human. I think he does achieve something in the end – when he gets Hazel closer to the end of the story…and makes her realize she lived fully during their time together.

    Despite the tragic subject, one of my favorite aspects of this book is the omnipresent, brilliant sense of humor. I laughed/smiled just as much as I cried.

  • Hi Slanelle,

    Thanks for sharing! Your English is excellent. I only know one language so I am always SO impressed by people who know more. I realize it’s much more common outside of the USA but it still impresses me. 🙂

    -Emma

  • I’m glad I’m not the only one who thought this book was fine but not amazing. I think because of the easy and direct style of John Green’s writing I found it hard to really form a strong bond with the characters as I ended up reading it so quickly. The story was sad but because I raced through it I found that it affected me a lot less than other teary reads.

    I do think agree that there may be an element of age (I’m 33), or maybe a reflection of the point that you are in in your life, you are always going to identify most with a character that has similar traits to you. As a new mum, I found the passages between Hazel and her mum by far the saddest.

    Overall, I’m glad I read it but for me, it didn’t merit the hype.

  • First of all, I loved it. I knew it would hit me hard which is why I mentally prepared myself to read it…nothing can prepare you for love lost and death.
    I think Hazel may have felt better SAYING she wanted to lessen her grenade effect, but she was also depressed. It feels better to feel like you’re being heroic and not socializing with others for a REASON, and teens are great at defying what their clear problems are, but she really was depressed. And its ok. Its ok to be depressed and sad and bitter and hateful because you got dealt a SHITTY card in life.
    I think the universe wanting to be noticed hurt my heart. It just hurt. I don’t know what to think of it. But it made me cry.
    I’ve often heard that those with terrible, life ending diseases strive to make their life “worth something.” I think everyone needs to realize, that we all mean something to someone. And that’s impactful. That’s something. We had a family friend die last year of cancer. And she didn’t have much family and had no husband/children. And she said she was glad she could leave quietly without ruining a bunch of peoples’ lives and would soon be forgotten. This broke my heart, because she didn’t realize the impact she had on her FRIENDS by just being the vibrant, exuberant woman she was.
    Honestly, I understood the cigarette thing, but I didn’t like it. It happened too much and was cheesy to me. One small thing that bugged me.

    Loved this! Thank you!!

  • My husband likes to jokingly make fun of me when I cry during books. He’s just too cool for that I guess. 🙂

    I think we had the same thoughts about Gus’ cigarettes.

    -Emma

  • Yes, I saw the trailer a little before finishing the book and it kind of messed with me. As I had my own imaginative ideas about what the characters and world looked like.

    But it looked good. I’m excited to see the film.

    -Emma

  • Yes, Gus’ death being her pain 10 made me cry. I think loss can be so profoundly painful, or at least that’s been my experience (gladly only once in life so far).

    -Emma

  • While I was reading the part about Gus at the gas station, I got a call saying my Grandfather died. I really felt like I was experiencing Hazel’s loss with her. Loss is the worst pain.

  • I’ll be honest, when I first started reading this book and it seemed a little teenage-ish, I was kind of bummed. But then the story just grabs you in and it becomes sooooo much more than that and I loved that it made me think about life and death in a way that I never had before. Towards the end, I cried more times than I care to admit, but it was so hard not to!!

    I loved that Augustus had this want/need to create a life that was so much more than “cancer” and wanted to die and live for a greater cause. It got me thinking one day, that I will probably never have a Wikipedia page dedicated to my life. And that’s ultimately okay with me because I believe that we’re all here on this earth for a reason. I may not do anything in my life that will affect the entire world, but I most definitely will do something that will affect the people close in my life. I believe in the domino effect and eventually will will all affect someone that is “important” or someone that makes a difference to the greater humanity. That, I believe, is what my great purpose is for and I’m okay with that. There are so many people on earth that it’s hard to remember everyone for everything little that they did. Even if we did all remember 14 people, like Augustus suggests, it’s hard to keep in mind every single person that was ever alive.

    xoxo
    Taylor

    http://www.welcomehometaylor.com

  • I’m a youth service librarian and must admit that I’ve been avoiding this book because all the teens warned me it was such a sad story. Every teen I’ve talked to has absolutely loved this book. I read through it quickly with tons of tears and I have to agree with my teens, it’s a great book. John Green has amazing talent. Hazel and Augustus were such well developed characters and the story line was great. I also like that Hazel’s story does not end. Did anyone else want to know how long she lived?? I’m all about nice, conclusive, happy endings. That’s part of my main reasoning for putting off reading this book for so long.

    Emma-I too found Augustus’s cigarette habit a bit silly at firs, but I bawled when Hazel put a pack in his casket. It meant so much to him to have a little bit of control over his life and health-even if it was an illusion. Ugh, I want to go back and read the book all over again!

  • I completely agree. I thought this was a good book, but I didn’t LOVE it like I was told I would. A friend of mine read it a few weeks ago and she agreed with me when I asked her opinion (we are both 24).

    I think Lyndsay really hit the nail on the head when she mentioned above that she didn’t have a strong bond with the characters. Until now I couldn’t figure it out, but that is exactly it! I found these characters adorable and their relationship adorable, but that’s as far as it went.

    However, I find myself really looking forward to the movie. Like someone said above I feel like that will affect me more than the book and I think Shailene Woodley is great. 🙂

  • I am always amazed every time I choose to read a YA book and it turns out better than I expected 🙂 Everyone kept saying, “You have to read this book!” which, to me, is the equivalent of someone hyping up a movie. I usually end up disappointed. However, I was pleasantly surprised to read a new take on the way teens deal with cancer. I felt like there was a good chance that the characters would be immensely scared or angry the whole time. But I didn’t get either of those emotions dictating the entire book or Hazel’s character, so that was great. The book had a fair amount of humor as well, which made the story line less depressing, although sadness is meant to be a key element. As for the unlit cigarette debate, I think it’s Gus’s coping mechanism and a way for him to hold to a piece of life prior to sickness. And you know how cigarettes are filtered? I feel like Gus’s life has its own filter… his body takes in the bad but his mind and heart are pure (especially when it comes to Hazel). I really enjoyed how their friendship progresses and all the ways he shows her he cares.

  • I’m 25 and while I definitely felt this was a “young adult” book, I still enjoyed reading it and getting sucked into the story and the characters. I find that Green’s writing doesn’t specifically suggest this book to be exclusively for teenagers, so it wasn’t difficult for me to read it. I don’t care how young or old you are, a couple of teenagers with terminal cancer falling in love and then one of them dying is heartbreaking, and even though this book contains so much death and talk of death and sadness, it’s not really about death — it’s about life and the people and things that shape us.

    I just posted a little review to my blog, as well! http://mountain-gypsy.com/fault-stars/

  • I thought the book was a good read, but nothing special. I think what made it special is the topic and the viewpoints of life from teenagers who are dying. But the book itself was just okay writing wise, it didn’t capture me in the way that “this is amazing”

  • I felt the exact same! The story was good, but I feel like I could’ve been just fine having never read it. The trailer though! Oh, that had me experiencing all of the feels.

  • When I was in middle school I can remember reading a short story (that I long ago forgot the name of) that talked about us always being embody all of the ages we’ve been to some extent; so when you’re 25 you can still recall your 16 year old self etc…

    I think all of John Green’s book are absolutely amazing for that reason, even as someone in my mid-twenties I can appreciate how perfect some of these lines are for the slightly younger versions of me that I can still connect with. The Fault in Our Stars actually wasn’t my favorite of his, but I still think it’s wonderful.

    Sometimes reading a line that perfectly sums up how you’ve felt at some point has such power to make you feel less alone and give your perspective about how so many people feel and for that reason alone books like this and authors like John Green are important.

    I’ll also throw in that I think Gus’s desire to lead a heroic life is something we should all strive for, though how we define heroic is up to us. Sometimes people want to get after teenagers for thinking they know everything or that they are invincible, but in reality as adults we can miss some really obvious ideas and thoughts by becoming bogged down with life. I love reading YA books every once in a while, it reminds me to be thoughtful and that I can still be figuring out what I want from life.

    If you haven’t read Paper Towns I’d highly recommend it, it was my favorite John Green book.

  • I thought this book was great! It’s not one that I will rave about for years to come, but I enjoyed reading it so much! I think the author did a brilliant job of referencing other literary works, like you said. I want to talk some about Peter van Houten….I realllllllly didn’t like him. I think he was a brilliant character and I love that he and his book were completely made up, yet so impactful on both Hazel and Augustus. But I was entirely surprised about his reaction to Hazel and Augustus. I feel like the goodness in him is what made him respond to their letters initially, and then his brokenness is what led him to behave like a complete jerk to a dying teenager (sidenote: freaking love how Hazel handled it like a champ and didn’t play the victim. She’s so awesome!). Anyway, I would have liked for the author to go into a bit more detail about exactly how broken Peter Van Houten was by the loss of his daughter, and the fact that Hazel dressing up like her actually caused him pain as opposed to making him happy that his character had such an impact on a reader. I feel like it was mentioned only briefly, when it had to have meant so much more to Hazel than was narrated because of the way she could relate to the cancer as well as her fear of how her parents would cope when she was gone. That’s all. Sorry it was mega scattered. Final thoughts: Peter van Houten = GRRRRR!

  • i loved it. i think it was more heartbreaking to me on a parental level. although my daughter is only 2 and in perfect health, i couldn’t help but fall apart when it came to hazel and gus’s parents perspective. i mean, i cried over many parts of the book but those are the ones that REALLY got me.

  • I started reading this with only a vague idea of what that book would be about. I try to start a book with low expectations and little to no idea of the plot. Often I choose a book based on the title and one or two lines from the back cover. So this book was a delightful surprise. I do a lot of my reading on my dinner break at work, and I’m really glad this was such a compelling read that I couldn’t put it down and read most at home.

    I really liked how the book touched on loss. Hazel assumed because of her diagnosis that she would be the one causing people to feel loss and pain, so I think she was unprepared (even though she knew it was coming with Gus) to experience loss. I found that to be the most compelling part of the book. Possibly its because I’ve experienced some of those same feelings myself (and isn’t that really what connects us all with books/tv/movies, the ability to connect and relate to the characters on some level?).

  • Before I discuss the book, I want to state that I’m a Junior in High School, thus the same age as the characters which might affect my view in some way.

    I thought it was wonderfully written with memorable characters and quite a lot of scenes in which I cried so hard. I love to read, but lately it has taken me weeks or months to finish a book. I read this book in one afternoon, it was so good! Some of my favorite parts are the ones with Isaac and how Hazel and Gus try to support him and remain good friends with him even through all of their difficult days.

    As for how Gus views death and living for a heroic life, I can relate to that. I think we all want to do something great with our life and fear wasting the precious days we have left. Although I do not have some life-threating illness, I have been in two major car accidents and that really puts life into perspective. After the most recent accident (just a couple months ago), I had a really tough time dealing with the thought that life can end so suddenly. I’ve come to realize that I just have to live my best life today (corny line, but I liked it). I may never do something amazing like find a cure for cancer, but if I work on being the best friend/sister/daughter I can be, I think that accounts for something.

    Hazel thinks she’s a grenade and wants to minimize the hurt she will afflict on others, but I don’t think she can. What if she lived for several more years and just hid herself in her room? Sure, she would minimize the hurt, but I also feel she would waste her last precious years. It’s just my opinion, but I feel like I have to do all I can to show love, hope, and encouragement to the hurting people in this world. By sharing my story with others, I hope to encourage them and help them through their tough time.

    I think my absolute favorite part of the book though was how Gus always tried to do so much for Hazel. He gave up his wish for her and even wrote her eulogy. To me he did live a heroic life. Yes, Hazel was deeply hurt when he died, but I think he did make life better for her when he was alive. Also, every person will have to face losing someone they love. Just because we risk hurting or being hurt by someone doesn’t mean we stop loving people. It’s a risk everyone takes by loving their mom, dad, siblings, boyfriend/girlfriend, wife/husband or even a pet.

  • No no not, it doesn’t (: I have a Master’s in English and I loved the book so much – especially because of all the intertextual references to other books and also, of course, because it is heart-breaking and the characters feel so … real.

    One of the parts I’ve thought about a lot after reading the book is the one where Hazel looks up Gus’ ex-girlfriend’s facebook page. I keep wondering: what happens with all my ‘internet trades’ if I were to die unexpectedly? Would I want to have a facebook memorial wall or would I want someone to delete my profile? I know it’s kind of stupid because I’m young and healthy and hopefully won’t die anytime soon but after reading ‘The Fault in our Stars’ I just have the feeling that I should figure out what I want for my online identity to happen.
    Is that stupid? Does anyone else think about things like that?

  • First off I’d like to say that I am a huge fan of John Green and YA fiction in general. I’m also 21, so I’m closer to the age that this book is geared towards. I personally loved the characters in the book. Even if it’s unrealistic, it’s a brave choice to try to limit the amount of hurt you cause in this world, especially if you sacrifice your happiness at the same time. On the other hand, I think that Gus was just as brave to let himself fall for Hazel. It would be pretty hard to let someone outside your own family see you in the state he was in, but he did it anyway because he wanted to be happy in his last days. I feel like even though he didn’t see it, Gus did live for a big reason and in a big way. He taught Hazel how to love, he was a great friend to Isaac, and to me, that’s just as big as saving the world like Gus wanted to.
    Something that van Houten said about his daughter really stuck out to me: He said she suffered beautifully. I like how there’s examples of characters suffering beautifully (Hazel and Gus) and also characters that aren’t so, well, perfect, like Gus’s previous girlfriend (I know that it says she had a brain tumor that affected her personality, but still, it shows a side that’s so much different than Gus and Hazel).
    Like I said, I really enjoyed this book. It was my second time reading it and I’ll most likely read it again in the future. I agree with a previous poster that you should read Looking for Alaska as well, it is a beautiful book.

  • All this! This was the biggest take away for me. Even with it being classified as a YA book, there is no denying that the theme of being the change where you to whomever is around you is a big deal and it applies to those of all ages. Looking forward to the movie!

  • I read this book for only several hours. Like some people above I find the story just fine, not really amazing but I didn’t hate it. The story didn’t made me cry despite its sad story and Hazel didn’t had a strong impact on me, I find her annoying in some parts but I do somewhat relate to Augustus. I want to eloborate why but I don’t want to spoil the book to those who haven’t read it yet. And that’s all I could really say about this book.

    Actually, I wasn’t even interested on reading any John Green books, I often pass on teen fiction but my dad who read books in his very little free time made me read “Looking For Alaska” and it TOTALLY changed my mind about John Green that is why I read The Fault in Our Stars immediately after it. That book made me reminiscent on my high school days, the 4 characters really had strong impact, I cried on the middle of the book and so much more. I recommend you read it too. Unlike here, I will have a better discussion/review on it 🙂

    Though I admit I am looking forward to see its movie despite my average feeling on the book.

  • I thought that the cigarette thing was the perfect type of affectation a teenager would pick up. Augustus definitely had a persona built up around him. When he was going to buy a pack (and failed), it showed his human weakness, and how something that may have started out as a way to be clever had turned into an emotional trigger, even a crutch.

    I warmed up to Augustus when he texted about the abrupt end of the novel Hazel loaned him “What is this I can’t even!”

  • I feel the same (as a few comments above say) that the story was kind of predictable, somehow I knew how it was going to end. But it was a nice story and the little things/moments (like the story behind Imperial Affliction, the cigarettes in the funeral) that caught me off guard actually made me teared up a bit. And I can’t wait to see the movie, I haven’t watched the trailer yet but from pictures I’ve seen it looks good.

  • I really liked this book, it was a quick and easy read that sparked big emotions. I must admit, in the beginning of the book the dialogue and character quirks (the ‘cigarette’…) did grate on my nerves a little, but I learned to love it all. I kept myself from watching the movie trailer until I was finished so I didn’t get the actors’ faces in my head while I was reading. Can’t wait until it’s released in theaters!

    Also, I am loving this book club. Thanks for getting me back into actually reading this year – it’s felt great! Just ordered Lowland 🙂

  • I also listened to it as an audio book on my way to and from classes this month. What a tear-jerker! The book wasn’t at all what I was expecting, but the characters were well developed and I felt an immediate connection… and a strong dislike for Peter Van Houton’s character. At the end of the story, when it shared his history and explained a bit more about why he is the way he is, I still disliked him. I also felt like cheering for Hazel’s parents – they were strong and supportive of Hazel, regardless of whether she was sick or not.

  • Thanks, Emma! I think she’s pretty awesome, but I’m biased. 😉 She loves books, but she’s at a bit of a difficult age. Most of the younger books are too kiddie and the teen section ranges from 13yo appropriate to high school material.

  • In my review of the book on my blog today I summed it up as “Beautiful, poignant, unexpectedly delightful, and honest.”
    I was not excited about reading this book, I knew that they both died because my sister (who loves these kinds of books) had read it and cried her eyes out. I prefer books like Mr. Penumbra’s 24-Hour Bookstore, usually. But I ended up loving this one. And hating it. But the hate came because I loved it so much and it made me cry so much – I bawled my eyes out after it was over and burst in to happy, grateful tears any time anything good happened in my life for the rest of the day. haha. I felt so stupid.
    I think that Hazel was afraid to be a grenade because, not only was she highly aware that people who befriend her would have to pick up the pieces of their life after she was gone, but because it hurts so incredibly much to be experiencing something wonderful and then to realize it has to end. When Augustus came in to the picture, Hazel had figured out how to be as small a grenade as possible, but befriending him opened up a whole different world of possibilities. There was the risk of becoming more than just friends – which she fought for quite a while. I’m not struggling with cancer, but I can imagine that it would be incredibly hard to cope with the idea that you are dying when you find something that you want to live for so bad.
    I also found it poetically beautiful the way the book ended similarly to the way Hazel’s favorite book ended. It was tragic, yet it made complete sense and was probably better than actually watching the rest of her decline.

  • I just want to thank you for organizing this virtual book club. I often struggle with reading for pleasure, as I find it difficult to find books that hook me in right from the start. The book club gave me a goal; to read a certain book within the time frame of a month, and even though to many that’s a small feat, I feel better about myself for doing it. So thanks for the boost in my self esteem! I’m already several chapters in to one of John Green’s other books, “Paper Towns”.

  • well I’m older than 29 and i really liked it,but I read a lot of Young Adult novels. I don’t feel you have to put an age limit on books.I don’t have to read about only adults my own age in books.That’s the beauty of books,they take you to many different places and show you different aspects of life.

    “…the neat sorting-out of books into age-groups, so dear to publishers, has only a very sketchy relation with the habits of any real readers. Those of us who are blamed when old for reading childish books were blamed when children for reading books too old for us. No reader worth his salt trots along in obedience to a time-table.”
    — C.S. Lewis

  • I read this book a few months back and loved it even though I was crying throughout. I didn’t feel like it was only written for teens; I’m 36. I really enjoyed John Green’s writing. It does deal with really tough topics, but it also has so many laugh out loud moments. It cracked me up when they were writing the ad for the swingset. There were so many sweet, heartbreaking moments.

    For me, the best part of the book was just spending time with these characters. It was worth the tears to struggle along with them through the good and bad.

    I love this book club idea, Emma! 🙂

  • First of all I have to thank you, Emma. I’m a passionate reader of English literature in Germany and through this book club I can finally participate in an American book club! This is really awesome! I just joined this month and ordered already the next book.
    I really loved John Green’s book. I especially loved all those witty dialogues. I loved reading and re-reading them because there always was a hidden deeper meaning to them. They also embraced the English language with all those plays on words which was really nice I think. Great choice! Can’t wait to read the next book!

  • I LOVED this book so much and I cried A LOT. There were a couple nights my husband asked if we were going to have dinner or not as I was too worried about what was going to happen on the next page to stop reading. 🙂 I was also worried that the book was going to end abruptly as Imperial Affliction did, I’m so glad it didn’t. I was happy Greene ended it when he did and didn’t include Hazels death, she was terminal so we all know she didn’t have a lot of time but I couldn’t deal with two deaths in this book.

    I had a feeling Gus was keeping a secret about his diagnosis, but when he said “Hazel Grace, I lit up like a Christmas tree” I lost it. I loved how Gus made fun of her for using her wish on Disney World, like so may others. And this may sound weird but I’m glad they got to have sex in Amsterdam, I feel like they would have been robbed if they didn’t. I liked that Hazel corrected them when they called her his special friend before speaking at his funeral… Girlfriend, I was his girlfriend. I was sad for this book to end but really does make you think about the impact you want to leave when our time in this world is up. Great choice Emma!

  • Great point, Sarah! Thinking of the “Invisible Audience” and feelings of invincibility that teenagers often feel adds an interesting element to how the book is likely interpreted by readers; why adults would place it in the YA category and why teenagers will feel that it resonates within their lives.

  • Yep, I loved this book (also wrote a blog post about it~ http://ordinarymiraclesoflife.blogspot.com/2014/02/the-fault-in-our-stars.html) . I think both Hazel and Augustus had important perspectives. Hazel first: Think about it, do we want to hurt the ones we love? Even if the hurt is out of our control (ie. death). I know I would try to protect those close to me. And, I think it would be really hard letting new (even old friends) people in, when you knew your time left was short. Augustus: Personally, I do believe most people live and die for a greater good (whether they are conscience of it or not). That greater good could be big or small. I know my greater good is raising my 3 kids to be moral, hardworking adults. And I want to help people and different causes anyway I can. And for me living for a greater good isn’t about being known and having many people at my funeral, it’s more about if I made someone’s load a little lighter, was able to put a smile on their face or stirred someone else to act and pay it forward. I think Augustus helps us to think about that.
    And the movie ~ I may have to wait until it comes out on DVD. I’m afraid I might just ugly cry through the whole thing 🙂

  • I had heard ALOT about how amazing this book was so I was very excited to read it. I shared this excitement with one of my good friends who is a cancer survivor (she’s only 25). She warned me that cancer was romanticized in the novel. I did enjoy the book and read it in one day BUT I didn’t cry at all. The only time I teared up was when Hazel’s mom was talking about her passion for social work. I found this odd because I’m a crier!! I think my lack of crying was due to the fact that I just didn’t “buy” Hazel and Gus. They didn’t seem “real” to me. They didn’t seem like teenagers at all and I was unable to empathize. I did however loooove Hazel’s parents. Their vulnerability, the way they went through life and how they loved Hazel, ah..so incredible 🙂
    I’m very much looking forward to March’s book club!
    xo, laura

  • This is the first book I have read in less then 3 days….ever. I could not put it down. Young reader or night I enjoyed every second. The relationship with Hazel and Augustus is what really got me. Sick or not it was every teenager wants at that age and how easily it came to them made it even more exciting for me. I felt they were soul mates even if it was for a short time. Their sense of humor also kept me intrigued. I was surprised that Augustus was the one that was going to die first…and yes I cried like a baby through out that part. Could not help myself. Of course through out the whole book I kept hoping for a miracle and that would be together forever. I understood why Hazel wanted to protect him from getting too attached to her to save him from heart break…but I all I wanted was for them to be together. Such a wonderful book and I have been recommending to everyone. Thanks for a wonderful choice.

    Kim Bolyard

  • Right, I completely agree with Tabea! I have an English Degree (just Bachelor’s), and I really thought this book was fantastic! In fact, I thought it was the first YA book I’ve read in a long time – possibly ever – that had elements within it that put it in the same tier as many of the classics I’ve read.

    John Green tackled BIG issues with grace and clarity. His main characters were very well-developed (admittedly, they were a bit beyond their years, but perhaps that sort of internal growth happens when facing such existential crises).

    The symbolism and imagery were spot on. The playground of bones where children would learn to navigate a world where death is ever-present? So good. Just the familiarity that Gus and Hazel have to have with death is incredible. It is a reality for them. It’s almost as if death itself is a character in the book. There was so much to think about!

  • I loved this book. I read a lot: 7 books a week (I know! It’s my favorite thing). It was one of the most interesting reads I’ve encountered in a while. I love the dialogue. My favorite line: “My thoughts are stars I can’t fathom into constellations.” Gorgeous.

  • It’s really interesting to read other people’s perspectives on this book! I read it on the recommendation of some of my older students, and as I am unable to EVER remove my teacher head, I read it a lot through their eyes. I thought it was provoking and profound. Someone said earlier that they felt they were counting down the chapters until someone dies, I’m sure that’s how anyone suffering with terminal cancer must feel each day- wanting to make that day count but perhaps not having the energy or mental strength to ignore the hovering dark cloud and get on with it.

    Plus, I love a witty teen female character, always a good role model. She reminded me a LOT of a friend I was at school with- I think he got the teen girl voice spot on.

    One teensy little thing- I thought Augustus was a bit soppy… That might be just my taste though!

    Cried a lot (unfortunately on the train), and keep recommending it to my students.

  • Thanks for that, Liz! I actually did feel a little weird creepin’ through the teen room at my local library in search of this book, so the quote makes me feel better!

    On a different note, this book was out (just like last month’s selection!) again when I went to get it. I live in a small town where not a lot of people frequent the library, so I’m fairly convinced there’s another ABM book club member in my town! We’ll see if it happens again next month…

  • My favourite part, and the one that I teared up a bit, was when Hazel finds out that her mom had been studying. To me, the whole reason why she wanted to know the end of IA so badly was because she wanted to know what would happen to her mom after her death. Some sort of reassurance, i think she wanted to know that Anna’s mom was ok so she would know that her mom would be ok too. Which is why, when she found out that her mom was studying, it was such an emotional point for me. She then realised that her mom would in some way “move on” and help other people. I absolutely loved that!

  • I had that fear, too, that TFIOS would end the same was as An Imperial Affliction. I do feel like it was wrapped up enough for me – it wasn’t left mid-sentence. Phew!

  • I feel the same way. The characters felt distant to me and their love story was just ‘adorable.’ I really expected the eulogy parts to break me down, but that was really where i felt the distance most. I kept expecting deep revelations at this point in the novel and the eulogies really just felt shallow and obvious. And the fact that Hazel’s speech at Gus’ funeral did not make any statement really disappointed me. I understand her point that funerals are for the living, but i had hoped her eulogy would bring me closer to both her and Gus by shedding a deeper light on their relationship.

    Overall i enjoyed the book, but did not LOVE it. A good, quick read with both witty and tragic parts.

  • While this book wasn’t necessarily my favorite, I did really enjoy it (which I agree is hard to say considering it’s quite a sad and teary book!). I really enjoyed the fact that it was a true example of how a teenager with fatal cancer would live the rest of her life. Green didn’t beautify it nor did he make it the “ideal” ending. It was just what it would be. Though the book was sad, it was also inspiring to live life to the fullest even when there are obstacles in your way.

    I also must thank you for starting this book club, as it has gotten me back into reading! So thanks 🙂

  • The Fault In Our Stars was a quick, enjoyable read. I must admit that Isaac was my favorite character. For me the saddest and most true part of the story was the fact that the characters with cancer would forever be treated as cancer patients except by other cancer patients. What secrets do we keep to avoid being treated differently? I have a terminal illness? My husband is cheating on me? I have tons of debt? Most of us don’t want to be pitied or treated as if there is something wrong with us. Augustus, Hazel and Isaac’s relationships were the most honest because they liked and loved but didn’t pity each other. And to Haley, who hated Peter Van Houten, he suffered from his own kind of “cancer” that he tried to kill with alcohol and he kept everyone at a distance to protect himself from ever having to experince loss again. He may not deserve our friendship but he does deserve our compassion. Sorry, that got long. Having a grand time reading, thank you ABM.

  • So… In my opnion this is a great book, but not an amazing one.
    In regards to the discussion topics: I believe Hazel isolates herself not just because she doesn’t want to be an granade, but because she has the cruel reality notion that she may not be able to live and experience just as the other “healthy” kids and she prefers to cut out herself from the contact than to be deprived by others. And what Augustus does is, as I see, somehow heroic because he gives her this oportunity to experience some of the greatest happenings of life,and the fact that he is a “granade” too, is just a colateral effect to his greatest heroic act.
    The fact that Augustus is disapointed because he wants to have a great purpose, and be heroic is one of the very few things that indentifies him as a teenager… sometimes trough the book I feel that they are so much older than they really are.. like old souls, and for me this spoils the plot a little: I think Green wanted so much to expose the pain that is to have such a treacherous disease that he used the age of the characters to appeal to our emotions and the characters many times does not act and behave as if they really are teenagers.

  • I will say I loved this book – teenager lit or not. I thought it was a sweet love story that reminded me of my first love. I am a mom, so reading this as a mom was a bit hard. I kept thinking “what if this was my daughter” and many nights I ended up going to sleep with a heavy heart and tears in my eyes.

    With regards to the first question – Hazels grenade effect – I can see her point of view. Why form connections when you risk being hurt, as she did by Gus, and your risk hurting. I think it is normal to have that fear and worry about what will happen to your family after you die and to some extent you can distance yourself and maybe make it less painful for others. However, looking at the relationship between Gus and Hazel, I think if we were able to ask Hazel she would share with us that she very much valued her relationship with Gus and the risk of the grenade was well worth it. I also loved what Hazels dad said “It was a privelage to love him” when speaking about Gus. I think this statement highlighted for Hazel that her death is not necessarily a grenade but rather her life is an opportunity to be loved.

  • Interesting interpretation of the characters age. I agree they did not act their age but I more interpreted that to be due to their illness. Cancer or staring death in the face will quickly cause someone to grow emotionally quickly. I felt it fit the characters well to act a bit more grown up. The reality is they are not living a life where they can plan for prom or apply to going away for collge. Their reality is marked by a limited life span and limited options. Or at least this is what I imagined as I read the book.

  • I think it’s important to set the book up as YA so you can get in the right frame of mind to read it. I think I would have been much more absorbed in the characters were I 13 instead of 25. I don’t regret reading it, but I feel too old for the melodrama.

  • I LOVED, LOVED, LOVED the book. I’m surprised to hear people didn’t enjoy it! Some of my favorite quotes:

    “As he read, I fell in love the way you fall asleep: slowly, and then all at once.”

    “You gave me forever within the numbered days, and I am grateful.”

    I cried so much during the live eulogies scene. It was heart-wrenching.

    I love how whimsical and immediate (?) Gus was. He did anything he could think of (the first thing he thought of, it seemed) to make other people happy. For example, he was always by Isaac’s side. When Isaac got dumped, he encouraged him to break the trophies and just let loose so to speak. When Hazel was outside getting emotional about the swing set, he called and said he’d be there in 20 minutes. Just dropped everything and came over. Same concept with the egging of the car: Isaac was upset about his ex, and Gus’s only thought was if someone had 4 dollars so they could go buy eggs. I love that he instantly thought of others’ needs and was able to cheer them up. (Not to mention, LOVED the relationship between Gus and Isaac) So heartbreaking that he was the one to go first :'(

    Great book and thank you 1000 times for recommending it!

  • I loved this book so much I love the style of John Green’s writing. although its story is a bit absurd and the whole idea of beautiful love that lasts literally till the last day, I enjoyed every single page of the book. I cried most of the time and especially at the passage of Isaac’s eulogy. The book was brilliant and very touching. Im glad I read your different aspect on the book. I havent caught such a deep subtext. I saw the new trailer for the movie and I cannot wait to watch it!! Anyway the movie seems to be a bit different though. I probably need to take a huge pack of tissues to wipe tears and blow my nose. I dont want to expect a lot though since movies are usually not as good as books and high expectations bring disappointment.

  • I agree with you on the book, I mean, I cried a lot reading it, but I was also annoyed at times. I thought the book was a good read too, but not amazing. Loved the ending though. My favorite part of the book was when Augustus and his family were all in the back yard at the end of his life, and Hazel came and she was the only one there who still joked around with Augustus, and Gus’s father held Hazel tight and told her something like “I thank god every day for you, kid”. That made me cry for sure.

    But I kind of hated the movie trailer! Miss negativity here today, it seems.

  • I read the book in less than 24 hours as well. I haven’t done that since I was 13 and reading Harry Potter I think. I really enjoyed reading it (and cried a lot as well), but, as many of you already stated, it is kind of childish writing. But I think that does not matter, it made me think in a lot of really -I like to think- mature things. I loved Augustus’ character, and the unlit cigarette thing. I know it seems stupid, but I thought it was intelligent. Like, you want to feel that you have some control over your life and at least doing that, you feel in a way you can. I also found really interesting when Gus says his afraid of oblivion, but not of dying. That is something I’ve been afraid of since I was a little girl.

    I would not say it was one of the best books I’ve ever read, but still I think it was a great read, I enjoyed it, I cried, and it made me think a lot about life/death, which I find useful and inspiring once in a while.

    I am still really young and dreamy, and sometimes reading stuff like this -even if it is “supposed to be for teenagers”- reminds me that even we’re not in control of everything going on in our lives, we can choose to deal with them in the least painful way. I know it can be difficult, but it’s good to think about that once in a while.

    I thought the characters in general were human and real. I did not like Hazel’s dad though, I must say. I like the idea of a really sensitive guy, but I thought it was way too much exaggerated. And Augustus personality can also be way too charming, way too “smart”, but I think it is needed for the story to work the way it does. And then, while he is getting sicker and sicker, you can see the most real and human part of himself, and so you start to like him even more. At least that’s what happened to me.

  • I loved the book! I am however frustrated with Hazels point of view on it. I wanted more, I wanted her to express herself more. I also want to know if she lived through her cancer. Honestly I want to know more about Hazel. Did she live a long life? Did she die? Does she move on? Does she continue to go to group therapy in ‘Literal heart of Jesus?’ I want closure on her life. I thoroughly enjoyed the book and would recommend it to anyone.

  • I just watched the trailer after finishing the book, and I definitely think the movie will be a tear-jerker for me where the book wasn’t. But then i get so wrapped up in the visual of watching people’s emotions, much more than reading them. I’ve been known to cry over commercials :/

    Also, reading through this discussion has definitely made me appreciate the story and the depth of the author WAY more than if i had just analyzed my own response to it. I love that!

  • BTW, forgot to say in my other comment. I usually don’t like too romantic, perfect sappy love stories. But this one felt a bit different. Even though some moments I wish the dialogues were so much more down to earth, some quotes are also great.

    Also, I love reading everybody else’s comments on the book cause every little thing everyone of you writes makes me think more and more about the book. Things I did not see that way before or just a different point of view.

  • I loved this book but for me personally it was one of the hardest books I’ve ever read because I related to it so much. I lost my father this last year to ALS and everything Hazel went through watching someone you love die I went through. I couldn’t put it down and read it in one sitting because I knew if I put it down I wouldn’t pick it back up. I read 2 other of John Green’s books after this and both were good but nothing compared to this book.

  • I’m a high school English teacher, and my students love this book. Whenever I’m trying to get a kid to read independently, I recommend a John Green book. The kids eat them up. I like them too, but like many others have noted, they don’t affect me as much as they affect my students. They really speak to the younger soul.

  • This is my most favourite book ever! I watched the trailer before I read the book (kinda regretting it) and didn’t think it was SO AMAZING, but after reading the book I re watched it and I was crying and crying and can not wait to watch it! I really want to read the book a second time because I love it so much! I just really love all the characters, and the way that John wrote the book, and the metaphors and I guess it made me feel like my small problems aren’t as bad as what other people my age are dealing with. I read the whole book in one night, and cried in my room for hours! I also read “Looking for Alaska” afterwards but I didn’t enjoy it as much – it was still very good but I think it had a bit too much swearing for me! I loved your review + discussion Emma, thankyou so much for writing it! xx Emily (15)

  • I think so many YA books get a bad rep these days. There are so many great YA authors out there (John Green included) that most people are missing out on well written and engaging stories. Who cares who the “intended” audience is- if it’s a good book, it’s a good book!. I personally think we need to reclassify modern literature…

    I too read this book on a plane and tried so hard not to cry! My favorite character was Isaac. I thought it was interesting he focused so much on his ex girlfriend and took that pain so deeply while he was going blind.

  • So I had been meaning to read this for a while and finally took the plunge for this month’s book club. I loved it and recommended it to several people and have even started rereading it already. I don’t even know where to start! One of the many things I found really interesting was Hazel’s desire to minimize the hurt she felt she would cause to her parents. She is so worried with how they will deal with her death and seems to feel guilty for even being alive. And then she goes and meets Peter Van Houten, the author of Imperial Affliction, who turns out to be a total mess/jerk. Later we find out that he lost a child to cancer and sees his daughter in Hazel. The funny part to me was that I didn’t really get the impression that Hazel saw her father in Van Houten. She tells him to deal with his stuff and spread what good he had left to the world. It’s as if after Gus’ death she finally understands how her parent’s feel. That her life is a gift to them no matter how short. And maybe she’s not a grenade because she certainly doesn’t feel like Gus was a grenade to her.
    I loved so much about this book but I think this made the biggest impression on me. Thank you for getting me to finally read it!

  • I was really hoping this book arrived in time for me to participate in this chat, and I’m really excited it did! I read it in one night, and was holding an apple cinnamon waffle my boyfriend brought me and just sobbing on the couch. It definitely affected me. Do I think it was the greatest book ever? No, but it definitely rekindled my love for literature, and I look forward to reading it again at a slower pace to pick up all the nuances and on the relationship between them.

    The idea of being different from those around you, not only in regards to cancer, but also in regards to their intelligence and love for literature and just general life experience as teenagers was central to this book for me. The idea of many infinities resonated, that there is an infinity of numbers between 0 and 1 but also between 0 and 2 and 0 and 5. There are an infinity of moments no matter how long you know or love somebody. The references to shakespeare and poetry made me fall back in love with literature again.

    I liked the unlit cigarette, although I didn’t at first it became a part of Augustus. I also really like what you pointed out about there being so many signs that Gus would go first. I assumed he would, because I think we all expected Hazel to die due to the terminal cancer, versus his higher chance of survival. The universe wants to be noticed.

    This is our only life, and we will affect everyone else’s infinite moments.

    (sorry this is so long)

  • As a 14 year old, I thought I should add my two cents!

    The first time I read it, I was in the “awe” phase, where I thought it was a perfect book. However, upon reading it again, I found it rather arrogant (that the characters were too high and mighty) and that it was too simply thought of. Then, last month, I reread it, and I found it wonderful once again. Sure, it wasn’t a challenge, but I found it beautiful in a way? I dunno, something changed in how I perceived the characters. I could relate to them more, so you I think that you are right in the age bit. Also, something about John Green’s writing style, though it may not be complicated appeals to me.

    Also, I didn’t really *love* the trailer. I’m concerned that the movie will ruin the book for me!

  • I’m 18 years old, and I read the book when I was 17 but I haven’t found one person at one age that didn’t enjoy it. Yes, there are those that turn their noses up at young adult books which frankly, to me, seems ignorant! Just because a book has younger characters doesn’t mean, like you say, it doesn’t deal with mature concepts. I just love John Green’s prose and his characterization. If you’re interested in another John Green read I recommend Looking for Alaska!
    Amber
    Lovely Notions

  • I have been (overly in many cases) emotionally attached to characters in the past. Of course I have, that’s the power of good writing. But this book was something else. I don’t know how to describe the style of his writing but it is just so…raw? Real? That doesn’t seem to cover it. I could see it coming (Gus’s death) and I had to stop reading at intervals to comfort myself saying ‘it can’t be true, it wouldn’t happen, it couldn’t’ but when it did I couldn’t help myself. The book was on the floor and I was sobbing uncontrollably (thank god no one was home) I was so emotionally exhausted by the end of the book. But also knew I had just experienced exactly what john green probably set out to achieve. It was a brilliant but awful feeling. A few months later I read his book ‘looking for Alaska’ and I went on the same emotional roller coaster. Brilliant but awful. I’ve been too scared to pick up another of his books since.

  • I think that Hazel put up a strong exterior, but in the inside she was afraid, afraid of letting on in, especially a guy that she was falling for. She kept fighting, but there were times when I felt like she was giving up. She had a condition that had a time limit for her. She knew that if she let Augustus in, he will hurt him in the end. It also brings up the fact that he’s been with a girl that died. She didn’t want to bring a repeat of pain and sadness to him. She also didn’t want to be forgotten by. I had moments when I wondered how someone can begin to love another once someone is gone. I don’t think it makes Augustus less heroic, it makes him realistic about life. He’s living life in the now, not in the future. Yeah at some point, one of them was going to die, but they had the present and that’s all the matters.

    Fault In Our Stars made me think a lot about that question. I think there are times when people just want to leave the world having something accomplished, having people remember them for years to come. I think Hazel connected os much to Imperial Affliction because she wanted more answers to a book that has ended. She wanted every character to have a purpose. I always related with Hazel in that way that I have so many questions and sometimes not every question has an answer.

    I totally agree. I feel like everyone has a purpose in life. Not everyone is going to make a big difference, but just a small difference counts. If you made a difference in someone’s life, I feel like someone has made their mark on the world was they died. Of course everyone wants to make a big mark like are greatest leaders from the past, but sometimes a memory of a friend can go a long way.

    I love the book! I remember before I read the book, I thought I was spoiled. But thank god the spoiler was false. I remember reading the funeral on the subway and trying hard not to cry at how emotional of a part it was. I got so angry at the author. They flew all the way to Amsterdam to talk to a guy that can give two craps about answering their questions. Because of Fault In Our Stars, I started reading more of John Green books. You should consider Looking For Alaska too!

  • I was still thinking about the book while doing the dishes tonight and realized something else – Hazel really did get the ending she wanted from An Imperial Affliction, even if it wasn’t presented the way she thought it might be.

    I think the reason she was so obsessed with finding the ending was because she wanted to know what would happen to her loved ones after she dies. Essentially, she was wondering if everyone would be OKAY. What would happen once she was no longer alive?

    Her answer didn’t come from Van Houten, but instead from Gus himself (as he had promised!). Hazel was able to see his family after he died, so maybe he did die the hero! She was also able to see what came of Otto Frank after he lost his family, and, finally, Gus’s death prompted a conversation with her parents about what they would do once she was gone. Yes, it would be hard and different, but they would be okay. They had plans. She wouldn’t really be past tense. Her mom would always be her mom and she would help other people work through the same loss that she would experience.

  • I loved Augustus’s unlit cigarette. Absolutely loved it. He wasn’t being insensitive to anyone and he wasn’t harming his health, he was just using it to control one aspect in his life. He says that “You put the killing thing right between your teeth, but you don’t give it the power to do its killing;” the unlit cigarette is the one thing in his life he has control over whether or not it has the chance to kill him. And the metaphor continues until the one night where he wasn’t strong enough to buy his own cigarettes. He lost control over the killing thing and, in effect, was dying.

    This book was overall way better than I thought it would be! I wrote more about it on my blog http://www.caramelandsalt.wordpress.com, but I thought that Augustus’s unlit cigarette was one of the most standout, meaningful metaphors in the book! 🙂

  • Oh my word! I totally didn’t pick up on the foreshadowing that Augustus would die first, so I’m glad you mentioned it. My English Lit professors would be ashamed of me haha.

    I’m really loving this book club!

  • I read this smiling the whole time, and wiping away tears at some points…there were so many touching moments, especially when the characters talk about how close death is for them. That really got to me, because everything can change in one second, you never know. I never expected the author would make Augustus die in the book though! And the letter from Van Houten at the end was so heartwarming too 😀

    I actually really like Augustus’ unlit cigarette. I thought it was such a subtle and unique way to carry and showcase his perseverance and inner strength. Overall, I loved The Fault in Our Stars!

    http://liivingingrace.blogspot.ca/

  • First, I’d just like to say thank you for selecting this book even though someone said TFIOS is more for teenagers rather than adults. I know some adults are wary when it comes to books like this but honestly, there are some pretty great YA novels out there. I’m in my twenties and I have to admit, I enjoy YA fiction just as much as adult fiction. Anyway, onto the book!

    I can see why Hazel was hesitant about letting Augustus into her life and especially so when she started to fall for him. It would be hard to start loving someone and wanting to be with them when you knew you didn’t have much time to do so.

    I do think she wanted to prevent as much pain as possible from the people around her and I think she thought the only way to do that was to keep herself away from them. Hazel knew she was going to die soon. She was worried about what would become of her parents after her death and to add someone else to the list of people she’d be leaving behind was just too much. I think this was also why she was so set on finding out what happened to the other characters in An Imperial Affliction after Anna died. Did the other characters move on after Anna’s death or did they not? Hazel needed reassurance that her family would be okay after she passed away.

    But then she meets Augustus, who wants nothing more than to be a part of her life. As much as she fought against it, I think Hazel finally gave into him (and eventually her feelings for him) because he understood things about her that not many other people would and being with him made her life better. They could talk to each other about anything and could joke around about their sickness. They understood each other and in a way I think they needed one another. Gus felt he needed to help someone in order for him to feel like his life meant something and Hazel needed someone to reassure her that her family would be okay after she died. And in the end, they did those things for each other.
    With Gus passing away first, Hazel got to see how his family and friends coped with his death. Yes, they were hurting but they were going to be okay. Hazel also got to talk with her parents about what would happen to them after she died and that’s when she found out her mom had plans of becoming a social worker to help other families deal with loss. I think it gave Hazel peace knowing that her parents had plans for the future and it was Gus who helped her find that peace.

    And yes, I totally cried when Gus died! Man. I may have to wait for the movie to come out on DVD so that I can cry (and cry and cry and cry!) by myself.

    Overall I really liked this book (as sad as it was!) and it’ll be one that I will think about often.

  • One of the best books I have ever read (which I couldn’t put down until I finished it!) I completely bawled my eyes out and cannot wait for the film although it has been announced that the ending has slightly changed. I know it is to be expected from films but I always get nervous about films changing things too much.

    http://Www.sincerelybrionybea.blogspot.co.uk

  • I cried more then I EVER had in one sitting, and that’s saying something. It really touched something in me, especially because as an 18 year old I have already seen the effects of cancer on a close now 19 year-old friend (I am glad to say she is in complete remission). How much the parents struggled really hit me, because it made me think of my parents and what it may be like to be a parent with a child who has cancer. I did not really notice the subtle hits to Augustus’ death until Emma pointed them out, (probably because I was crying my eyes out!) but I really cant wait to crack open another tissue box and reread it.

    The universe wants to be noticed because we are all apart of this universe, and we all want to be noticed, that is why we fight for life, whether we know it or not.

  • I read this book last fall, so I am a bit fuzzy on the details, but I loved it. I am 17 and am often SO frustrated with YA books. They are usually drama, vampires, romance, whatever. While The Fault In Our Stars was a “romance” book liked that it went deeper and had more meaning. I can’t wait to see the movie! I would love to hear other’s recommendations on books similar to this one…

  • Okay, I will try to keep myself from getting long winded here….

    I LOVE this book. I have several copies. I teach high school English, and The Fault in Our Stars is by far the most borrowed book in my classroom. Every girl returns it with reluctance- they can’t let go!

    This book is so beautiful. I love how incredibly INTIMATE the relationship between Hazel and Augustus is, despite the fact that the characters look like patients instead of Gossip Girls or Pretty Little Liars. The relationship is intimate on an emotional and mental level, which often gets left out of WB’s depiction of teen culture.

    I also must mention that I become SO ANGRY when people claim that the characters are too mature or too complex to be realistic. I literally spend my entire day talking to fourteen-year-olds. They are complicated. They have a lot of conflicting emotions, and they feel everything so deeply at their age. They’re old enough to wrestle with love and heartache without the thick, protective skin that comes from experience.

    I want to respond to specifically to the question of the unlit cigarette. I think you are absolutely right in your assessment that the cigarette symbolizes the control that Augustus wishes he could exercise over his life. But it also represents what “could have been.” If Augustus was never diagnosed, then he would never understand the value of good health. Perhaps he would have smoked, without a second thought to the effects. (okay, this does seem like a bit of a stretch- Augustus is a pretty level-headed dude.) If you imagine the cigarette this way, then it does imply that Augustus would/could have made worse choices if he didn’t have the experience of cancer. Think of it this way, having cancer actually caused Augustus to be the best version of himself. I’m not really a believer in “everything happens for a reason”: I do believe some inexplicable and terrible things happen to good people. But the complication (because Green proves that life is never simple) in this situation is that Augustus’ identity and perspective on life is a direct result of his terrible experience. To never have been sick would mean to never become the person he is throughout the novel, to never meet Hazel. I believe there is message here about the folly of wishing for something different from life. Instead we should take a page out of Hazel & Augustus’ book and treat each challenge with a positivity and levity (and yet a maturity and seriousness- so many contradictions) that will allow us to make the most of our time with those people who give our life meaning.

  • I also think that it is marketed as YA because their youth is what allows Hazel and Gus to be open to this love despite their illnesses; most adults would be too jaded by their experiences.o

  • Sarah, I totally agree about the movie! I think your experience in reading, rereading, and then re-rereading just proves how complicated the relationship between Hazel and Gus really is! If it were cut and dry romance (think of The Notebook), then there would be no debate about how we perceive the characters. I’m worried this won’t come across in the movie. :/

    However, I am excited to see Shailene Woodley portray Hazel and then Tris from Divergent in the same year- two incredibly strong female characters that couldn’t be more different!

    And hey, thanks for sharing your thoughts with us old ladies- it says a lot about you that you’d spend the time to “give your two cents.”

  • I enjoyed this book. I knew nothing about it before opening the cover or while reading. It was a great book. I might not have enjoyed it as much if I had any clues as to the plot prior to reading it. I cried from Amsterdam to the end. Then I felt slightly emotionally traumatized, but I like it when I get so involved with characters that I feel.

  • I LOVED this choice for the book club. I had been hesitant to pick this one up since I am supposed to be “too old” now for YA books, but I really enjoyed it. I started it before bed one night intending to read only a chapter or 2 and ended up finishing the whole book. I was caught completely off guard by Gus’s death. Like you, I think I just wanted to believe Augustus would be there for Hazel until her death and I ignored all of the warning signs that he would be the one who needed her there for him in his last days.

    As far as the “grenade effect”, I think it may have been easier for Hazel to say she was trying to spare her family and friends the pain of watching her die; however, I think part of the reason she was trying not to get close to people was that it would make it harder for her to accept her own fate. I think that she knew if she fell in love, she would be even more angry about her inevitable fate and her helplessness in the situation.

    Great choice and I am looking forward to next month’s book!

  • I hate this book it tries too hard to be inspirational and dramatic ug so overrated

  • I never even thought about how Augustus dying first was foreshadowed the entire book…. Interesting. Also I really liked Isaac. Especially when he went to the Literal Heart of Jesus with Hazel and Gus to have a pre-funeral. I laughed through my tears haha. I couldn’t stand Peter Van Houten but I suppose that was the point.
    Overall, a really good book. Sometimes it got annoying because the characters would go on and on about something but if you’ve ever watched John Green on Youtube he does the same things. I will read it when I feel like crying my eyes out over a fictional person (sometimes I just feel like doing that.)

  • I adored this book! My husband works for John Green and his brother, Hank. 🙂 As much as I can’t wait to see the movie, I will wait until it is out on DVD so that I can ugly cry in the privacy of my own home while I watch it.

    Okay? Okay. *sob*

  • First about your post:

    I thought a lot about Agustus after reading this book, and how he so badly wants to be the hero but still falls in love with Hazel. And then I read where John Green said “Augustus is a warrior’s name, Gus is a little kid’s name. His hero story is going from Augustus to Gus.” (that’s paraphrased from memory) I never put these things together and it is so true.

    About the comments I read:

    I am sad to see that because a book is YA people will write it off or feel like they didn’t understand it as much as they would have if they were younger. I don’t ever feel like I need to be in a different state of mind to enjoy an adult novel, YA novel, or anything. I think YA has a bad rep that causes some of these opinions, I haven’t seen a book bridge the YA/Adult gap like this one has in a long time.

  • Hi,
    The Fault in our Stars was recommended to me by a 14year old student in my school and as the school librarian I had to read it!
    It was such a moving book real and heartbreaking. I loved The characters in this book so much. I cried so much!!!!
    I read Looking for Alaska straight after it another brilliant book by John Green!!
    Melanie.
    Swansea UK

  • I was recommended this book by my teenage step-daughter, who also claims this is “the most amazing book ever”. Her and her friends challenged each other, who can shed the most tears, whose book was more crinkled? I feel like i missed the boat on this one, i read it cover to cover over a few days, no tears were shed. I will admit that i chuckled through a few moments but honestly, even though this book is “fiction” i couldn’t connect with the characters at all. I wonder if the author had spoken to a teenager before writing this, i know quite a few and none of them speak in that manner at all. Even if kids fighting cancer are wise beyond their years, kids are kids. I don’t think i was able to find the heart warming story in this book because every time Gus made a speech i wanted to throw the book across the room! I did like the small nod toward taking your control of your own destiny with the unlit cigarette but my fondness for that character ends there. I wish this book had been truer to the essence of teens, it is after all aimed at young readers but its another example of “teens” with adult minds.

    I really felt there was something too far fetched the whole time. I wish i had enjoyed this book more but if anyone asks me i will just say enjoy it for what it is, not the greatest thing ever written, not a life changer and maybe see the movie instead!

  • It was an easy read that I felt I needed to finish it in one sitting. There were a lot of cries and “ohhh, that’s not happening right now” kind of reaction for me. Indeed, life’s too short to not spend it with the people we love the most.

  • I have read the book several times now (I always read good books multiple times!) and I love it!
    I can really idetify with Gu`s wish to live for a bigger cause, it is actually something I have been thinking about recently. Even though life probably doesn’t mean “more”, I think we can still make a little difference now. Maybe not one that will be remembered for a very long time, but one that affects the life of others in this moment. This is probably all we get 😉
    I think I also loved the book because of John Green’s use of language (the metaphors etc.). Actually, I read it in my mother tongue first (which is apparently not English) and than again in English: It’s such a huge difference! Lots of the subtle things in the language disappear through translation.
    Oh, and you should totally check out John Green’s homepage! He’s got a long FAQ site, where he answers questions of fans about his book. Here it is: http://johngreenbooks.com/questions-about-the-fault-in-our-stars-spoilers/
    It’s really interesting and I love what he wrote about the last sentence “I do”!

  • I cried a lot while reading this book and had to hide my tears from my lil brothers 😉 I guess i’m not a detailed reader as I didn’t realise that there’s hints that Augustus will die first. But what i want to know is hazel’s future, will she live for a long time or not? I can identify about Augustus wish, i think it’s common for everyone, although it’s not a very good idea,because you can’t die peacefully when in the brink of death you still have so many regrets in this world. In the end this book teaches us that we can’t control what we want in our lives. Everything happens for a reason, when Hazel meets Augustus they probably know they won’t be together because of their cancer. But they tried it anyway because they couldn’t help it, it’s not selfish. About the unlit cigarette, i think it’s cool, in my shallow mind 😉 when i read the book, i could imagined Augustus perfectly and well, i think it’s not annoying . Perhaps the universe wants to be noticed or not, it’s a simple reminder that we’re just humans, a dust in the universe.

  • I really loved this book and, like you, felt that it chose to deal with huge subjects. I think part of the magic of it is that the book deals with ideas too big for itself, or even words. I love how it made you feel like such a tiny piece of the universe but it also gave meaning to these two character’s lives – no matter how small they felt. Definitely one of the my favourite reads in a long time.

    Lisa xo | lisaandfox.blogspot.co.uk

  • I am also part of a book club and this my pick for February. It was a favorite of mine. I read it in one sitting and cried my little eyes out at the end. So moving and such a wonderful read. Part of me dreads the movie coming out because all it’s words have a special place in my heart. Loved to see others enjoyed it as well!

  • I read it, love it and cried my eyes out. It’s my favorite book right now and I can’t wait to get to buy my own copy and I can’t wait that movie of it. And Gus is a great character I like that unlighted cigarette part, it really made me think about things in life.

  • I didn’t find the book exactly sad even if some sad things happens. What I liked the most is the critic to Maslow’s hiearchy of necessities, which I assumed true till I read the book. It is specially revealing and i love when Isaac looses both his sight and his girlfriend and he is far more concerned about the later. For me the book is about understanding that seeking happines or greatness is not defined by our weaknesses. Augustus is the one in the book that knows it and Hazel, as the main character, does the journey from profesional sick person to just person. Van Houten is the opposiite character to Augustus, he has it all, except for his lost daughter, but he is incapable of seeking happines or greatness, even having all the skills. Isaac is a great side character because he is like Augustus but in an unconcius way. Augustus is a bit annoying with his unlit cigarrette and all those metaphores, but I was the same as a teenager so I understand. About the plot, I thougt at the beggining that this book would end like An imperial Affliction, leaving us with unfinished plotsand I’m glad it didn’t. Augustus illness was a shock for me, but was the only way for Hazel to understand that the fear of being a granade thing was nonesense. Unfortunately I couldn’t catch the literature references, because I’m spanish and I have little knowledge of english literature and I just never feel like reading classics. I haven’t seen the trailer yet but a film from this book doesn’t sound very good to me. They will make it soooo sad and i’m glad I didn’t feel sad when reading the book.

  • I’m a John Green fanatic. I’ve read every single book of his, watch his vlogs with his brother Hank religiously, and am an avid watcher of his Crash Courses (he’s actually doing Literature 2.0 right now, so that might be something you guys would be interested in!). Paper Towns used to be my favorite John Green novel until I picked this baby up the week it came out. I bawled for probably the last half of the book (but I’m very touchy when it comes to books). I’ve read this book multiple times, and it never gets old.

    I’m someone that absolutely LOVES John’s obsession with breaking down the manic pixie dream girl/boy. Constantly throughout his books we’re given a person the main character thinks is larger than life, but in the end the MC is shown, or comes to realize, that the person is not a dream or a fantasy in their head brought to life, they are a person. I think that Augustus’ manic pixie dreamness is more of his own doing than Hazel’s beliefs thrust upon him, but the same situation carries out. Augustus is this larger than life character filled with metaphors and dreams of a grandiose life that actually bears meaning, but if you look closely, even in the beginning parts of Augustus’ character we see the cracks and breaks in his part he’s so desperately trying to play. For example, if you carefully read his parts of dialogue, you find him using large words incorrectly. When his cancer comes back full force, it, not Hazel, starts to break down the facade Augustus has tried to create for himself, and we begin to see Augustus for who he really is: Gus, a 17 year old one 1/2 legged boy struggling to live through a really tough thing.

    Something that really interested me was the correlation of Hazel’s obsession with the aftermath of An Imperial Affliction and Hazel’s own life. When my husband read this book (when I begged and pleaded him to do so), he complained relentlessly of her snotty behavior toward Van Houten by traveling all the way to Amsterdam to badger him about what happens after the book. What he didn’t realize is that her reasoning for being so obsessed with what happens afterwards is because that’s what SHE fears in her own life. Throughout the entire book she’s constantly afraid of what will happen to her family and friends after she dies due to her grenade effect, and I thought that her obsession was a clever way of showing just how much her fears upset her.

    I absolutely cannot WAIT for the movie! I was a bit hesitant to get excited because there are so many horrible movie adaptations, but I have faith that John wouldn’t let them create a terrible movie for his amazing book.

  • I loved this book, and I am VERY picky about books! I think that in fact Gus died a heroic death. Heroic my not be the term I am looking for; brave, maybe? He basically had a life sentence on his back. Dying meant that he had to leave Hazel behind to fight her battle on her own, and “knowing” Gus, thats the last thing he wanted. Also I liked how he prepared his friend for his death. When he held his prefuneral, I think that he did so to prepare his friends for his death. Wonderful book, I am SO GLAD YOU PICKED IT!!!!!!

  • I wasn’t really impressed with this book. It was worth reading for the sake of knowing what all the hype is about, and I wanted to read another book by John Green. But it annoyed me in many ways. Firstly I didn’t find it hard to put down (until it started getting towards the end), it just wasn’t overly captivating throughout the whole way. Another thing was the bizarre relationship with the author of An Imperial Affliction. To the point that such an unstable man who couldn’t care less about Hazel and Gus, actually came to the funeral. That was plain weird to the point of creepy for me. It still frustrates me to this day. I also found Hazel and Gus to be as stated by Hazel’s dad “weird” in the way they spoke. No teens that I’ve ever met speak in such a ridiculously sophisticated manner analysing everything in such detail. Maybe it’s because they had cancer they thought so much more deeply about life, but even then, it just didn’t fit for me. Having read Looking For Alaska, I found Gus’ character incredibly similar to the main character in that book, also having ridiculously sophisticated speech, and over all, to me both the characters in the two books seem like a work of art rather than real people. It’s the only way I can really accept Gus’ character. John Green is an artist and writing is his art form.
    I’m glad you pointed out the cues, I didn’t pick them out, but when you mention it they are clearly there!
    One thing about the book that stuck with me (of all things) is the questioning of why particular foods have been labelled as breakfast food, and they’re stuck with that label for no real reason. I’ve been eating bacon and egg sandwiches proudly for lunch all week. Without thinking about where during the day they fit best. It’s such a great meal so unfairly categorised.

  • I am going to be reading this over the next few weeks for work! Our university is considering using it for their “freshman book” that the students will all read over the course of their first year, and it will tie into activities they do in several of their freshman-level classes.

    So while I’m going to avoid reading this post today, I’ll definitely come back to it when I’m done!

    Can’t wait to read it!

  • I am going to be reading this over the next few weeks for work! Our university is considering using it for their “freshman book” that the students will all read over the course of their first year, and it will tie into activities they do in several of their freshman-level classes.

    So while I’m going to avoid reading this post today, I’ll definitely come back to it when I’m done!

    Can’t wait to read it!

  • I am going to be reading this over the next few weeks for work! Our university is considering using it for their “freshman book” that the students will all read over the course of their first year, and it will tie into activities they do in several of their freshman-level classes.

    So while I’m going to avoid reading this post today, I’ll definitely come back to it when I’m done!

    Can’t wait to read it!

  • I loved this book! Read it in one day. It made me angry, happy, sad, hopeful. I love a book that can make you feel such a range of emotions. My favorite part of the book was that in the end Gus got to be a hero. He was a hero for hazel and made an impact in her life and in the end Hazel was not a grenade in Gus’ life… instead, she in a small completed his life.

  • I cried solidly for the last 100 or so pages. All done in one morning. I just couldn’t put this book down. I really, really like the idea of the universe wanting to be noticed. It has inspired me to slow down sometimes and just watch my surroundings. Take notice of the people I am standing beside in the elevator or the colour of the sunset when I’m stuck in traffic coming home from work. I wish we could minimize the amount of harm we do to others but controlling that by cutting yourself off from the world I don’t think is the answer.

  • Oh my god, this book. I, admittedly, have read it more than once. (The first time, I finished it in one evening – stayed up until around 4 in the morning to do so, and was trying to muffle my sobs when I finished it so as not to wake up the whole house… so difficult.)

    As far as whether or not Gus’s falling in love with Hazel even further was heroic or selfish … I like to believe that Gus truly loved Hazel – and wanted her to know love. Big love. Heart stopping love. The only thing that matters in the world, love. Isn’t that what everyone’s striving for in the end? To experience a great love in their life? Romeo and Juliet, Tristan and Isolde, Paolo and Francesca – the list goes on of great and ruinous lovers… and even though this is a “young adult fiction” novel, and I’m twenty-six years old… Hazel and Augustus have totally been added to my list of great and ruinous lovers.

    Plus, how disappointing would the book have been if Augustus hadn’t gone balls to the wall in his love for Hazel?

  • I’m a little late to the party, but here are my thoughts. First off, I took my time with this book. I re-read some chapters along the way. I wanted to really get a feeling for the characters. I hated that I couldn’t stand the cigarette in the mouth metaphor. I really tried to ‘get it’ but it just seemed like something Green would put in the book to create a re-occuring theme that you can have control over your life…even though nobody really does. But I just kind of pushed those thoughts to the side and tried to keep his quirk from distracting me from the story. Augustus and Hazel were incredibly thoughtful and loving towards each other. I really enjoyed their relationship with one another. Their cynicism was hysterical to me. They could find humor (in a dark and sick way at times) to make life seem normal.

    Oh and for the record. I took my time with this book because I wanted to believe that they both might be alive by the time I got to the end of the book. Naive, yes. But I just didn’t want to spend hours crying. I spent two hours crying my eyes out, from the time they left Amsterdam to the very end of the book. It definitely had a lasting impression on me and I can’t wait to give it to my mom to read.

  • I had the exact same response to how you felt when Gus died. I threw the book on the floor and left my room to cry in the bathroom. I really went into this book blind, so I really didn’t see Gus’ impending death coming (not in my mind anyway) until I read that he “lit up like a Christmas tree”. I lost it then and there and kept crying till the end.

  • I knew from the beginning that something bad was going to happen. You can’t read a cancer book without thinking that. Truthfully, it was a little slow and I didn’t really get a love-connection vibe from Hazel and Gus…. until Amsterdam. Then I zipped through the book with tears in my eyes.

    *I never got the connection between Augustus dying and his starts and ends. Brilliant.

    *I didn’t really like like the literary references and felt like it brought the book down. It seemed like name dropping!

    *I felt like it was targeted for a younger audience, but the adult themes are still important for the young adult age group.

    *I can’t wait to see the movie. It’s a wonderful excuse for sister bonding time and a good cry.

    Thank you for the book club! I read “The Interestings” too and didn’t finish in time to comment.

  • I, too, thought that the author visiting the funeral was creepy. After the way he treated Hazel, he didn’t deserve to be there.

    I also didn’t like that Gus and her Mother both kept things from Hazel. Gus was secretly writing the author and her mother was finishing her degree. I felt like their secrets where a betrayal.

  • Love.love.love this book. Its the depth of the characters (and their interwoven story) AND the live-in-the-moment message. What I really loved was discovering that Hazel is based upon a real life bright life, Ester Grace Earl. http://tswgo.org/esthers-story.html. And I recently ordered, This Star Won’t Go Out: The Life and Words of Esther Grace Earl via Amazon http://www.amazon.com/This-Star-Wont-Go-Out/dp/0525426361.

    I loved the fake “light up” metaphor by the way 🙂

  • I thought Gus’s idea about nature wanting to be noticed was interesting. I found it a powerful interpretation from the view point of a person living with cancer. I often feel the same way when thinking about natural disasters and such. I have never thought about it in the sense of viruses or cancer. I loved how raw the characters were and how understanding they were of each other.

    I cried a whole lot, the entire last quarter of the book. It was very moving and funny.

    I do appreciate Gus’s ambition to make a mark in the world. I think this is the aim of most everyone. We as humans want to be known. That is one of the main motivations for everything we do, when we are honest with ourselves. I got married to really be known by someone, I write a blog and started a business, partially to inspire people and provide them with great products, but the main reason I do it is because I want to be known and to leave a mark.

    What do you think?

  • I agree, I enjoyed it but felt like I was watching from the outside and not involved in the story, but it might be because I’m older than the characters and not in their situation, but I did fly through the book, it was incredibly easy to read.

  • I don’t think I would have picked up this book if it weren’t part of the book club because a) It’s a young adult book b) I already knew the main character had cancer and someone would probably die in this book and it would probably be sad. That being said, I’m glad I gave this book a try, I enjoyed the writing style, I was surprised by how the book ended (I had guessed that both characters would die in the end) and I found myself looking forward to reading this book more and more as I went along. I finished the book in just 2 weeks! Now on to the questions.

    Q: What do you think about Hazel’s initial reason for not wanting to let Augustus into her life?

    A: I understood Hazel’s reason for wanting to minimize causing additional emotional pain by getting involved in a romantic relationship when she knows that her life is ending, but I found it to be an unrealistic goal. One of the great joys in life is experiencing that first love. I don’t think it made Augustus any less heroic for pursuing love even though he knew he was ill. In fact, I’d say it was more heroic that he was able to take a chance on experiencing romance.

    Q: What do you make of the notion that the universe wants to be noticed?

    A: I agree that we all want to be known and noticed for something. Some people are satisfied with just sharing their lives with a partner while others aren’t satisfied unless they’re famous or known for doing something ground breaking. I think that’s more with human nature rather than universal though.

    Q: I’d love to hear your thoughts on Augustus’s unlit cigarette. Did you love it? Did you hate it?

    A: I too found Augustus’s unlit cigarette to be a bit annoying. I understood that it was supposed to be a symbol, but I found myself wondering why he couldn’t just save himself some money and not buy them.

  • When I got the audio book it was on a whim and I actually had no idea what it was about. When I read the little synopsis on amazon before starting the book I no longer wanted to read it. Not my type of book. But I already had the audio book so I gave it a shot anyways.

    Wow. Just wow. I loved it so much. It was not what I was expecting. The characters were so wonderful, fun, and witty. I knew I’d end up crying eventually but I just really enjoyed the ride. And even at the end when I thought the tears would never stop (I’m an easy crier) something interesting happened that I wasn’t expecting and I was loving it all over again.

    I will say that I saw that Augustus was going to die first coming from a mile away. Actually, the second he was introduced I knew. However, figuring out the twist did not lessen my enjoyment of the book.

    So all in all, I just really loved the characters, the realism of the story, and of course, the literal heart of Jesus.

    Also, this audiobook reading was fantastic. I think it really added a lot to my enjoyment of the book.

    Oh and I loved the unlit cigarette.

  • I went into this book already being a big fan of both Green brothers and frankly I loved it. There were a few times that I had to stop reading because I was crying so hard.

    The hardest part of this book for me was quite personal. I work very closely with nurses that do patient ed for patients that will be starting chemotherapy. My work-wife and I have had many discussions about whether or not we would undergo treatment if we had received a terminal prognosis. Both of us feel that it is worth it if the diagnosis has good outcomes. However if treatment is already palliative, neither of us would want to deal with all of the side effects just to prolong life for a short period. We both feel very strongly about quality over quantity.

    This book made me re-examine all of my thoughts about terminal treatment. It really made me think about how we do what we do for those we love, and not just for ourselves. I can’t completely say how I would react if I had a terminal disease.

  • This book grabbed me from the first sentence, I stayed up till 4:00 a.m. to finish it in one sitting. I love YA writing, I’m 56 but my mind and emotions think I’m still 14!
    I thought the characters were interesting and fairly well developed for a short book. I loved the straight-forward discussions, I imagine that I might be like that with such an illness.
    For me the take home message was live in the moment, and if I only ever make one small part of one person’s life better, then I have done something monumental. I feel that I’m a better person having read it.

  • I know from coming from a background with people I know and people in my family with cancer and other sicknesses that it is hard to let people into your life because you never want to leave anyone heartbroken never knowing when your time may come…. And it is hard to tell people that you are sick or on the edge of your life because you don’t wanted to be treated differently with so much sympathy the relationship is altered. But I think that Hazel Grace brought Augustus into her life because she saw something different in him, after not being in school for a long time and only having Isaac as one of her only friends, meeting someone like Augustus who not only is super hunky (wink wink) but who she could also trust more than anything. Also since he was a survivor (in the beginning) of a cancer too, they can relate and know what it is like to feel like a “grenade”
    Personally I didn’t really like Augustus’ unlit cigarette. I think it signified something that is unhealthy and bad as Hazel pointed out at first seeing it and being shocked because he “ruined it all” (His whole look and everything) But even though it was his staple thing, I think it may have given readers an idea that “Augustus is a super cool guy, that means cigarettes are cool too… let me smoke!” no. But Augustus still of course stole my heart away either way……..
    I am such a fan of John Green’s books, he is such a talented writer and I have to say after reading them all TFIOS is definitely one of my favorite books of all time! (That and Jane Eyre, what can I say.. I’m a romantic haha) I’m also loving reading along with the ABM book club! Can’t wait to read The Lowland on the beach during spring break!! 🙂

  • It was indeed a great book that made you reach for your tissues. Between Hazel and Gus I would definitely say ‘gus was the one who accepted his life with its problems more readily and openly than Hazel did. Hazel almost looks down upon those who don’t have cancer.

    *we just have to make it the very best it can be. But perhaps that’s too easy for me to say, since I don’t have cancer and don’t have to face death today like Augustus did.
    Very true. But not having cancer doesn’t mean we don’t have motivation to live it the very best! I feel we must live for us and those who wish they could live.

    *I’d love to hear your thoughts on Augustus’s unlit cigarette.
    I thought it made Augustus more likable in many ways! He uses it as a metaphor and when he explains it to Hazel he suddenly becomes your favorite.

    John Green gave the world a great book!

  • But Shailene Woodley can’t be playing Hazel……. it’s just not fair. I was already angry when I found out that the girl playing TRIS PRIOR would be the same girl who played the crying girl on The Secret Life of an American Teenager. But Hazel too????? WHY???? I enjoyed reading this book so much. You have an amazing taste in books. Thanks Emma!

  • I thought the book was alright, so many people thought it was the best book they’ve ever read which made me skeptical and critical about it. It certainly is a nice story but it did not wow me like it had so many others. I also didn’t cry which disappointed me. Maybe I’m a heartless being, who knows! I thought John Green’s writing matched that of the voice that he was portraying which made it a very quick read but did not impress me the least bit. It was great that he can make it like we are being talked to by a teenage girl but it also felt like it was written by a teenage girl. I read through and thought “wow I could have written in this exact style at 16.” Not sure what that says about Green as a writer, but I was far from thrilled.

  • I appreciate the idea that the universe “wants to be noticed.” I think it’s an interesting paradigm that, in a typical “cancer book,” the protagonist would realize how vast and beautiful and precious life is, right before succumbing to illness. It’s nice to think that we would think that way, but honestly… Would we really? I think I would be too caught up in feeling sorry for myself to even notice what was going on around me, much less come to some grand comclusion about the meaning of life. I found it refreshing that Green didn’t tailor his characters to discover some huge significance of life, or our purpose as human beings, or anything of that nature. The idea of simply noticing what’s around you, rather than just getting caught up in your own situations and feelings, is so much more… Doable, for lack of a better word. I really enjoyed this book.

  • I’ve just started this book. I’m currently on page 330/866 (reading on Ipad). I’m still not convinced by that story. Haven’t cried or laught. Sometimes laugh but that it.

  • I read this about 3 months ago and my memory is rather poor but it seriously made an impression on me.
    I remember starting the book and thinking that it was definitely pitched at a younger audience but something pushed me to read further and I am so thankful I did. The character development throughout the book was brilliant. I loved sharing their journey with them. This was a book that stayed with me for weeks after finishing it. I kept thinking back to each character. Just thinking really.
    I also cried loads. Proper sobbing at some points.
    One thing that I am surprised about is no mention of the meeting with Peter van Houten. This was super hectic for me. The whole conundrum of, people might be jerks but you don’t know what their battle might be so don’t judge versus be kind to everyone you meet because their suffering might be worse than yours.

  • I think it is important to know it is considered YA, and I did because it was recommended by some Grade 9’s, but overall, I think the book was great no matter what your age.
    I am 30 and live half way around the world away from my family, but despite that (or because of it), the relationship between Hazel and her mom became my favorite relationship in all the book and made me call her and beg her to read the book, just so she could no how heroic I think she is.
    I guess everyone connects with books differently, but I liked that there were so many complex relationships, not just boy/girl, but best friends, hero v. reality, parents/dying daughter… I got so wrapped up in all of those, and that is what I enjoyed most.
    Well that, and JG’s writing style. I totally adore the way he writes. I went out and bought up all his books and devoured them all just for more of his quotes and thoughts (although, I still love TFIOS best!)

  • I bought this book a while ago because one of my colleagues kept telling me how good it is. I have to say this book is brilliant, the main character has such an interesting view on the world, this book is telling the world that there’s more to every sick kids than the sickness itself – they too have dream even though their life is short, they can experience what normal people experience too, romance, friendship, rebellious time, etc.

    “You are a side effect of an evolutionary process that cares little for individual lives.” – I think this apply not only to cancer kids, but to everyone.

    🙂

  • Oh I’m so glad :)) I used to translate my posts in English, but it was so much work I couldn’t carry on. I guess it’s a good thing then 😀

  • I read this book in under a day and i loved it. I love that it made me think of each persons point of view each time I put the book down. I thought of how it must of been like to be Hazel and to have a “hottie” fall in love with you when your are feeling at your worse…and Gus wanting to be the strong one for her, but then he is the one who dies first. The book left me with questions like Hazel had after reading the Imperial affliction, did Hazel’s mother ever finish her MSW, when did Hazel die?, did her parents stay together?

    It was thought provoking as it speaks to something that we will all eventually go through, maybe not of cancer, but we all will die and it sucks and its bullshit. I didn’t see the book as a cancer book but rather a story of the stages of grief. Each character was dealing with it in there own way in various degrees. Some were in denial while others like Issac were angry. I loved this book, not for how it was written, but for how it made me think about life.

  • I really enjoyed this book, even though it took me few chapters to get used to how hazel is presented; the way she was written just didn’t appeal to me at first. I posted a book review on my blog today if anyone wants to read it.

    Overall I thought it was a good piece of YA fiction. I really liked Augusts’s unlit cigarette. I think it gives him some level of control over his health, something he doesn’t really have on a day to day basis. By not lighting the cigarette he’s holding something deadly so close to himself but not giving it the power to calm him.

  • I read this book soon after it came out and I was bawling like a baby! I thought the book was so well written and I loved the nods to other literature like you mentioned. I am excited about the movie and I hope that it lives up to the standard of the book. Since John was on set a lot of the filming and he did the film adaptation I think it should

  • Last year around this time, I was looking for books to read, and my friend suggested this one. I looked at the synopsis and knew I couldn’t read it right then- last year around this time, my Stepdad was very near passing away from cancer. I was glad this book was selected now because, though difficult, reading it was cathartic. I know, as I’m sure many readers here do too, the sound of the breathing machine Hazel slept with and the sight of a hospital bed in the living room. I know what it’s like to see parent dying and think to yourself- well, if at 26 I wasn’t an adult before, I sure have to be one now. A year has passed since my Stepdad’s death, and people, understandably so, seemed to have let it drift… death is a hard thing, and people want you to feel better. I get that. But the thing is that for the people closest, it doesn’t really drift; it’s always there. So reading this book was so timely at a time when I was mad, at the world, I guess, for forgetting. I felt somehow like these fictional characters “got me”, and I them, and it also reminded me of the vastly different ways people understand death- and yet somehow, at the core, the general themes are so similar.

    It seems odd to put this out there to people I don’t know, but I read this blog every single day, so perhaps it’s not so odd after all 🙂 So thanks for selecting this book, and thanks also for writing this blog, because it brings me happiness every day.

  • When I started the book, I wasn’t sure if I was going to like it, as I had a bit of a struggle immediately connecting. I was wrong. I ended up LOVING the story and was bawling my eyes out at the end. I definitely want to reread this and take my time to savor it.

  • For me that book was a big disappointment. After reading amazing reviews I was expecting something really moving and I was left with memory of one of my favorites movies “a walk to remember”. I feel like its a different story but the same concept. That’s why I didn’t enjoy the fault in our stars, I felt like it was an easy way to play on people’s emotions. And I get why everyone cry while reading it – two dying teenagers – but there was nothing more to it for me. The only character I liked and could possibly imagine as a real person was Isaac. His desperate need of keeping everything as it used to be is wąsy to relate. Maybe I’ve just put my hopes to high but I’m 17 and I thought it was supposed to be a perfect book for someone my age.

  • I loved the book and thought is was beautifully written. I read it on the beach in Maui and definitely got some looks as I bawled through the ending. But I literally couldn’t put it down! I was intrigued by the characters and thought they were very well developed. And I especially loved that Green developed Hazel’s platonic, almost sisterly, relationship with Isaac, in addition to her romantic relationship with Augustus.

  • I wanted to say something about the writing style (I know, being Italian, the writing itself is not my field of expertise…): I enjoyed it very much because, even being so easy to read, it is written in an extremely elegant and vivid way that I found it incredibly interesting and brilliant! Actually, I loved the book so much that I also bought the italian version for my mother, but unfortunately the translator didn’t catch the style I enjoyed in the original one.

  • I’ve loved the book, and I sure used my fair share of tissues while reading it. 🙂
    I simply adore John Green’s writing. Despite being marked as YA fiction, his books contain so much wisdom that’s valuable for adults, too.
    What I thought of as remarkable was how strong all the characters were! Hazel and Augustus behave so maturely considering their ages. It also moved me how their parents are trying to cope with them having a deathly disease. I imagine it to be the hardest task to care for your child knowing it might not be long until they’re gone forever. It makes my heart ache just thinking about it.

    -Nathalie

  • I agree with most of your comments, especially how the characters are so mature and brave in the ways that they deal with life. The book definitely taught me how cancer patients really feel, and I hope more of them can live their lives like Hazel and Augustus, although I know this has to be FAR from easy. I felt like I was living my life in such a cliche while reading this book, like walking around appreciating everything a little more. Then I realized that’s exactly what I should be doing. I will definitely be seeing the movie 🙂

  • I have just this minute finished the book and my face is covered in tears x I am 32 but I totally loved their relationship and the funny ways they had with each other. I thought it was a really nice easy read and had me totally hooked.

    Did anyone notice, just like Anna that the book ended and we don’t quite know what happened? Like we know she got too sick to keep writing (narrating) a clever little ending I thought.

    Loved it thank you xxx

  • I’ve heard so much about this book that I really want to read it. I read a bit about what you wrote and don’t mind the spoilers. It just made me want to read it more. 🙂

  • I just finished this a few weeks ago and WOW. I ignored for the longest time, but after scrolling past quotes approximately 100 times a day on Tumblr, I had to give it a shot; they’re obsessed with good reason.
    While it was definitely a young adult book, it was extremely well planned and written. It has a way of capturing your complete attention without really trying. The emotions are so real and it captures the reality of cancer without being, well, the “cancer books” that Hazel hates so much.
    My fiancé’s life was almost lost to cancer as a young teen. We worry every time he visits the doctor or starts feeling ill; Green perfectly describes the apprehension that cancer (and all illness) holds on us.

  • I’m a bit late adding my part as the book had 33 people on the wait list! Thankfully I got it last week and it took me a day, and I had to go to work so I really must have raced through it!

    I connected strongly with Hazel’s fear of being a grenade, (this is not a sob story i’m about to share, promise) When I was in a bad car accident as a teenager the strongest memory I have is when I woke up a week later and saw my family and all the message’s people had left. The GUILT that hurting other people accidentally through life and death situations was the most powerful feeling I had at the time, I couldn’t remember the accident so it seemed very secondary to me in regards to how people’s emotions had been hurt. I guess for me it’s not the fear of oblivion (like Gus) but the fear of the mess that gets left behind.

    Also the fear Hazel has of falling in Love due to the terminal situation of her cancer really resonated with me, The thought of me dying and leaving my partner alone is for me, is as worse as him dying on me. I have recommended this book to everyone I have seen in it’s aftermath, my friends, colleagues and even local barista. Fabulous!!

    However, I agree with other commenters, the trailer does not seem…. the best. I guess characters that affect you are very personal to everyone and also very hard to personify.

  • I never chimed in, but I guess it’s helpful for you to know who’s reading along with you. I am! This book was a fast read (except for crying breaks.)
    I’ve dug into Lowland, it’s excellent. (A little more my style, but The Fault In Our Stars really was great.)
    Anyway, thanks for helping me accomplish one of my goals for the year, which is to make time to read again.

  • I guess I`m a bit, or maybe a LOT, late to join in on the discussion, but I ADORED this book. I too had trouble putting it down and finished it in a little over 24 hours (which is saying something, because I have a 3-year-old and 13-month-old…) Although it was not AT ALL what I was expecting, I was pleasantly surprised and REALLY enjoyed it. There were lots of teary moments, but by far the most heart-wrenching for me was when Hazel overheard her mother saying to her father “I won’t be a mother anymore”. Having lost my own mother far too soon, becoming a mother myself felt like I was filling a hole in my heart that had been empty since she died. The thought of losing that piece of my heart again just tears me apart. Even thinking of it now has me in tears all over again.

    I have recommended this book to several people, although always with the proviso that they should be in the mood for a good cry and have a box of kleenex handy… I myself was in a funk for almost a week after I read it, just because the topic was so heavy and the emotions it unearthed took a while to calm down.

  • To be honest, I wasn’t sure at all about this book, it seems to teenagery. BUT, I have to admit, this was a vero good read that I devoured in just few days. At the end of the book I just couldn’t stop crying, the prefuneral was so sad and full of positivity at the same times.

    I really feel related to Augustus, not that I’m sick or something but I do think we are meant to live a great life on earth and leave something behind like great children perhaps!

    Thank you for sharing your thoughts with us Emma !

  • I did really enjoy this book, but like some others have mentioned I didn’t think it was ‘amazing’. I’m not even really sure why. I watch a lot of John Green’s videos on youtube and think they are great and often hilarious, but somehow I don’t feel the same way when reading one of his books…

  • I seem to be a few months out with the book club, but I dont mind. I’ll just always play catch up as I love borrowing books from my library.

    I really loved this book. What a fantastic choice! It really did leave a bit of a dent in my heart afterwards. It reminded me about all the small things in life that are wonderful and that you should not fear life worrying what any actions cost might be.

    It makes me want to drink champagne in spring.