Our 2013 Spring Book Club winner!
The Fault In Our Stars by John GreenDespite the tumor-shrinking medical miracle that has bought her a few years, Hazel has never been anything but terminal, her final chapter inscribed upon diagnosis. But when a gorgeous plot twist named Augustus Waters suddenly appears at Cancer Kid Support Group, Hazel's story is about to be completely rewritten. Insightful, bold, irreverent, and raw, "The Fault in Our Stars" is award-winning author John Green's most ambitious and heartbreaking work yet, brilliantly exploring the funny, thrilling, and tragic business of being alive and in love.
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Reading group questions
Richard and Judy ask John Green
A note from John Green
This is an emotional novel, which unflinchingly tackles the big issues – life, death and love. Yet it handles them with care and whit.
The story of Hazel and Gus is simultaneously heart warming, funny, dazzlingly witty and tragic. Which is a tall order, but John Green pulls it off brilliantly.
Hazel is sixteen and has terminal cancer. A new wonder drug has bought her some time, but she knows she is going to die. It’s tough to describe how a young girl feels about that, but Green succeeds in making her super intelligent, with a great sense of humour.
At the beginning, Hazel, who has survived stage four cancer for three years, is unsurprisingly clinically depressed. Encouraged by her doctor and her mother, she goes to a weekly ‘Kids-With-Cancer’ support group.
There she meets the wonderfully attractive Gus. He is eighteen and a cancer survivor. Unlike Hazel, he is officially in remission.
The two of them arte kindred spirits, sharing the same sharp and irreverent sense of humour. They fall in love.
Gus and Hazel are an immensely charming couple, and as a reader you are deeply drawn to them. They spend a lot of time laughing, and you laugh with them.
Yet, at the same time, you never forget the dark side of their daily lives. How long will Hazel live? What is the meaning of her short life?
The Fault in Our Stars is honest, charming, raw and deeply moving.
When I started this book, I worried that the subject matter (teenage kids with cancer) might make it difficult to read. But John Green skilfully avoids sentimentality with his honest, sensitive and intelligent story.
It’s also funny and beguiling, thanks to the two main characters Hazel and Gus. They make a wonderful couple, clever, thoughtful and witty. Their teenage love story is never gauche or awkward, and always totally convincing.
It’s a book that tackles big themes – life, death and love. How having to face up to mortality at barely sixteen is searingly raw, but it can be done – and it has to be. Real-life accounts about children who are looking death in the face are a testimony to that.
Hazel and Gus’s parents are wonderful characters, sharing their children’s ordeals with courage and positivity. Yet we are always aware of their pain (though Green, thankfully, never descends into pathos).
At the end of this story there is the strangest, unexpected twist – and sadly, it is not a happy one.
But The Fault in our Stars, despite its theme of death, brilliantly celebrates life. As Hazel and Gus face the end, they are vital, vivid, in love, and gloriously and intensely happy.
A stunning book.
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