Monday, January 23, 2012

Book Review: The Fault in Our Stars by John Green plus GIVEAWAY:)

The Fault in Our Stars 
by John Green
Dutton Juvenile/January 10, 2012
312 pages
Source: Purchased

Synopsis
Diagnosed with Stage IV thyroid cancer at 12, Hazel was prepared to die until, at 14, a medical miracle shrunk the tumors in her lungs... for now. 
Two years post-miracle, sixteen-year-old Hazel is post-everything else, too; post-high school, post-friends and post-normalcy. And even though she could live for a long time (whatever that means), Hazel lives tethered to an oxygen tank, the tumors tenuously kept at bay with a constant chemical assault. 
Enter Augustus Waters. A match made at cancer kid support group, Augustus is gorgeous, in remission, and shockingly to her, interested in Hazel. Being with Augustus is both an unexpected destination and a long-needed journey, pushing Hazel to re-examine how sickness and health, life and death, will define her and the legacy that everyone leaves behind. (Taken from Goodreads.)



Opening Line:
"Late in the winter of my seventeenth year, my mother decided that I was depressed, presumably because I rarely left the house, spent quite a lot of time in bed, read the same book over and over, ate infrequently, and devoted quite a bit of my abundant free time to thinking about death."

My Take On It

See that sentence above? That is a shining example of why I include the opening line of every book I review in my post. In that one sentence, we the reader instantly get a feel about our protagonist Hazel, thereby setting the tone of what is to come in this book. Yet, it's not a book about death. Cancer, and how Hazel and the other characters in the book deal with it, plays a role to be sure, but this book isn't just about that either. It is about hope and about life. It's not merely about the business of dying, but the business of living. 

I have read all of John Green's works, but this is the first review of one of his books I have ever written. Why the wait? Well, he's sort of a tough act to follow isn't he? I used to waitress and tend bar at a comedy club. And I can tell you that no headlining comedian ever appreciated being outshone by his opening act. So, I guess I always felt that there was no way on this sweet earth that I could ever come up with a review that would do justice to the writing of John Green. And I still feel that way.  But I couldn't not say something in response to a book I think one day may be hailed as Green's finest written work. 

So what is it about John Green? What makes him stand out in the massive sea of authors writing YA literature today? I think it's because no matter whose voice he writes, be it a geeky heartbroken child prodigy with a knack for anagrams; a wayward boarding school student obsessed with the famous last words of people throughout history; the geeky boy next door trying to solve the mysterious disappearance of his neighbor and childhood crush; the awkward boy who tries to act as if he doesn't care but has a larger than life best friend who makes it his mission to prove otherwise; or a seventeen year old terminally ill girl who meets the love of her life in a cancer kids support group she has nearly given up on; no matter whose voice it is, it's authentic. It's someone you or I know, or could know. John Green keeps it REAL. 


Hazel is the first female protagonist Green has written but I didn't even pick up on that right away. Because it didn't matter. Green can write the voice of a teenage girl just as effortlessly and legitimately as that of a teenage boy. Through his words he can transport a reader into the hearts and minds of his characters. 


I nodded. I liked Augustus Waters. I really, really, really liked him. I liked the way his story ended with someone else. I liked his voice. I liked that he took existentially fraught free throws. I liked that he was a tenured professor in the Department of Slightly Crooked Smiles with a dual appointment in the Department of Having a Voice That Made My Skin Feel More Like Skin. And I liked that he had two names. I've always liked people with two names, because you get to make up your own mind what you call them. Gus or Augustus? Me, I was always just Hazel, univalent Hazel. 

And what a cast of character's he creates for us. Hazel, like many of Green's MC's, is the epitome of studious sarcasm. But she's lived so long with her disease it's become all that she is. Until she meets Augustus Waters. What can I say to express the love that I feel for Augustus? Like Tiny Cooper (Will Grayson, Will Grayson) and Hassan Harbish (An Abundance of Katherines), he sort of steals the show. And I am hard pressed to say that I have ever read a more romantic character in a John Green book, or any book for that matter, than Augustus Waters. He seems too good to be true, but then you remember: he's in remission, falling for a dying girl. He doesn't have time for small talk or small sentiments. He is loyal, generous, and kind. And like Hazel, I fell for him too. 


"I'm in love with you," he said quietly.
"Augustus," I said.
"I am," he said. He was staring at me, and I could see the corners of his eyes crinkling. "I'm in love with you, and I'm not in the business of denying myself the simple pleasure of saying true things. I'm in love with you, and I know that love is just a shout into the void, and that oblivion is inevitable, and that we're all doomed and that there will come a day when all our labor has been returned to dust, and I know the sun will swallow the only earth we'll ever have, and I am in love with you."


Yeah. Holy. Cow.


Heartbroken friend and fellow gamer Isaac is also really well written and through him we see other facets of Hazel and Gus' personality. I also loved the inclusion of Hazel's parents in this book. Parental figures don't always play a large role in Green's books, but I absolutely adore Hazel's mom and dad. I'm a mom, and this book hit me hard in that regard. The sacrifices that her parents make to give their daughter as normal a life as possible coupled with the guilt Hazel feels for being such a stress and emotional burden on her parents is heartbreaking. But even in that heartbreak, there are still moments of profound hope and joy and love.   

So, in closing, John Green has done it again. I loved this book and chose to write about it because it made me laugh out loud. It made me cry my eyes out. I grinned and I swooned. I ran the full gamut of emotions. And I walked away feeling changed. It's not a book about cancer and loss and death. It's a book about life. Read it.


5/5 stars


Check out the author's website here:


Check out what some other reviewers had to say:
The Book Smugglers
The Allure of Books
YA Bibliophile
Radiant Reads


You might also like:
Looking for Alaska by John Green
An Abundance of Katherines by John Green
Paper Towns by John Green
Will Grayson, Will Grayson by John Green and David Levithan


So, you've heard all the talky talk and you want a copy for your very own? Well you are in luck my friend, because I've got a signed first edition just for you

This is my first giveaway, and I am so stoked to be able to do this with such an epic book!

I don't believe in requiring anyone to follow or subscribe to enter a giveaway. If you liked the review, or had time to check out the blog and liked what you see, thank you and I would love for you to visit again. If you're just in it for the book, that's okay too:) But for those who may want to earn an extra entry you can leave a blog post comment or tweet about the giveaway.

Rules and Conditions:
  •  Open to US entrants only
  • Giveaway ends on February 24, 2012
  • Must be 13 years of age or older to enter
  • Winner will be notified via email and has 48 hrs to respond or another winner will be selected.
  • Please see my Giveaway and Privacy Policy page here.


          




a Rafflecopter giveaway

81 comments:

  1. I'm not entering your giveaway as I already have this one sitting on my bookshelf. I can't wait to read this one though, fantastic review! I find just the synopsis heartbreaking. I can tell this one is going to be very emotional. Thanks for the great review!

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    1. Thank you so much, and I hope you enjoy reading it as much as I did. It is an emotional read, but I think it sends a really hopeful message:)

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  2. My favorite John Green book is Paper Towns....just too funny!

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    1. LOVE Paper Towns! Quentin is awesome and Margo is my hero:) Thanks for stopping by!

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  3. I haven't yet read a John Green book, but I've heard so many awesome things about him lately that I'm looking forward to reading The Fault in Our Stars soon.

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    1. He is such an incredible writer, I hope you will try something of his soon:) Thanks for stopping by!

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  4. What a gorgeous review! It put mine to shame ;) But yes, I LOVED this book so much! My review went up today but it's not nearly as good as yours. I just couldn't find the words to describe how amazing it was!

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    1. Pshht..no way,I just read your review and it ROCKED (as always!) But thanks for the kind words:)

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  5. Love this review!

    I've never read John Green, but I've been hearing amazing things about this book, and I think I'm gonna just have to go buy it!

    p.s: Thanks for stopping by my blog and letting me find yours. I love your review style! :)

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  6. Thank you so much, I have been a fan of your blog for such a long time! I love all the insider dirt you get on what's happening in the publishing world:)You must try out John Green soon, his voice is like no other! Thanks for dropping by:)

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  7. This will be my first John Green book. I hope to develop many favorite characters.

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    1. He is such an amazing author, you won't be disappointed! Thanks for stopping by the blog:)

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  8. I haven't read any John Green books, but I have heard fantastic things about them! Thanks so much for the great giveaway! New follower :)

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    1. Thank you for following, and I hope you get to read some of his work soon, AMAZING writer!

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  9. I've only read Paper Towns but I'm already in love with his writing. Thanks for the amazing giveaway! :D

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    1. LOVE Quentin, and Margo Roth Spiegalman is my hero!Thank you for stopping by the blog and good luck!

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  10. Looking For Alaska! I was always fascinated with Alaska even though she has a tragic fate.

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    1. Alaska, like a lot of John Green's female character's is pretty mysterious, isn't she? My fave character from Looking for Alaska would have to the Colonel:) Thanks for visiting the blog:)

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  11. Hmm, I haven't read any John Green! Maybe this giveaway will change that :) Thanks for this amazing giveaway!
    ~Lauren

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    1. Oh, you must remedy that! He is an unbelievable writer! Good luck with the contest, but if you don't win I really hope you get a chance to read some of his works soon!

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  12. This is shameful but I haven't read any John Green. I have had Looking For Alaska on my shelf for years and I just haven't gotten to it yet.

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    1. I know, it's funny how those books that everyone raves about sometimes sit collecting as much dust as all the others! Thanks for dropping by and leaving a comment!

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  13. Hmmm Looking For Alaska I think!

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    1. that seems to be most people's fave:) Thanks for stopping by the blog Ashley!

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  14. Awesome review!

    And honestly, I'm pretty new to Green, so this would be his the first book of his that I've read. I know, I'm late to the part on this one. :3

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    1. Thank you! And hey, better late than never, right? If you are like me once you read your first Green book, you'll immediately have to go out and read all his others. He's just that good:)

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  15. I'm Lauren. It didn't let me leave that or my email: lauren51990 AT aol DOT com


    I still need to read all of John's books, but I do love Looking for Alaska. It's one of my all-time favorites.

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  16. I haven't read any John Green books =(

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    1. I'm so sorry, I hope that changes soon! Good luck with the contest:)

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  17. I haven't read a John Green book yet. I know, I know. But I recently bought a used copy of An Abundance of Katharines and there's a copy of Looking for Alaska on my campus library's bookshelf that's been calling out my name for months now. I'm sure I'll get to one (or both of them) very soon.

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    1. An Abundance of Katherines was my first John Green book and is still my fave after reading all of them:) Thanks for stopping by and good luck w/ the giveaway!

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  18. I haven't read any of his work before but have heard so many great things about this book. I'm a new follower, love how you have all the upcoming releases on the left hand side, so many are coming out I always forget!
    -Shellie
    Creative Reads

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    1. Thanks Shellie! I'm stoked to be giving a copy away of this amazing book! And thanks for following! I'm going to head to your site and have a look too:)

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  19. Okay, don't hurt me but...I haven't read any John Green yet. I know, I know. It's horrible but I promise I'll read him soon!

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    1. No John Green??? No soup for you! Just kidding, but really I hope you are able to remedy that soon. Lots of libraries carry his books in their YA section, maybe you can find something there:) Thanks for stopping by and commenting!

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  20. Okay, those excerpts sold me. Can't believe I've never read a John Green novel!

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    1. Yep, his writing is just too damn fine not to include in a review! Thanks for stopping by and taking the time to comment:)

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  21. I haven't read anything by John Green. I barely really started hearing about him until this book came out. Then I have heard everywhere how excited people were and how much the love him so I'll definitely need to read one of his books and see. Thanks for the giveaway! This book sounds really good, sweet, and sad.

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    1. It is sad, but it is also funny and hopeful and just lovely. The best part is all of his books are just as good:) Thank you for dropping by and I hope you are able to read something of his soon:)

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  22. Hi! I'm a new follower! I'm not entering because I have read TFiOS, but just wanted to say how much I LOVED this book. It was amazing and I still think about it all the time. I fell in love with these characters. This was my first John Green book and after finishing it, I ordered two more of his books "Looking for Alaska" (which I just recently finished) and "Will Grayson Will Grayson" which I will be reading next. I definitely will be ordering his other books too. I love his writing!! Wonderful review Heather! :-)

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    2. Thank you Amber, I really appreciate your following me and for the kind words about the review. I love john Green too, and am hoping he a very long and prolific career!

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  23. I unfortunately don't have a blog-lol! But I tweet a lot and I love to support the wonderful bloggers! And yes, TFiOS is definitely on my list of favorite YA books! :-)

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    1. I know! I just deleted that comment after I realized you don't have a blog! (Maybe you should though:) Thanks again for the comment!

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  24. Thanks for the giveaway! I've only read WG, WG, but I love how John wrote his Will.

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    1. I love Will, but Tiny Cooper stole the show in that book in my opinion:) Thanks for entering and good luck!

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  25. I've never read any but would love to start!

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  26. I haven't read of his books - this will be the first one. I'm not worried about this becoming my favorite of his as I have read amazing reviews about it!!

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    1. Good luck, hope you can read some of his works soon:)

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  27. I actually haven't read any books by John Green. I was unfamiliar with him until the releases of The Fault in Our Stars, but I've heard so many fantastic things about this release.

    Thanks for the giveaway!

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  28. Thanks for the giveaway!!

    I haven't read any John Green books,yet.

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  29. I have such tempestuous relationships with all of John Green's books, that I'm not sure. I loved Alaska, in Looking for Alaska, and then-- well you know what happened. I don't take well to being broken, and yet. And yet...

    I am also terrible at remembering names. My favourite book of his that I've read so far is Looking For Alaska, and I will someday read all of his and own signed copies. So mote it be.

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    1. Yes, I know that feeling well. And a warning: Green will probably abuse you even more when you read TFiOS:) Thanks for dropping by the blog and leaving a comment! If you entered the giveaway, good luck:)

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  30. I haven't read any of these books. I know, shame on me, right? It's totally on my list. I've heard such great things about this book. I think everyone is reading it. (except me) Thanks for the giveaway and the chance to own this book. Great review. I loved reading it.

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    1. Good luck with the giveaway and I hope you can try out some John Green soon:)

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  31. I borrowed this book and LOVED it. I would love to actually have a copy. I have not read any of John Green's other books but this one was fantastic. I laughed, I cried (and I am NOT a crier). For whoever wins this, I hope you enjoy your journey with Augustus and Hazel Grace, they are both wonderful people.

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    1. I wholeheartedly agree!! Good luck with the giveaway:)

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  32. I've actually never read a John Green book before. I know, I know, crazy right?

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    1. Well The Fault in Our Stars would be a great place to start:) Good luck!

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  33. I haven't read any John Green yet :(

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  34. Im sorry to say I've never read anything by John Green *hides in shame* I really don't know why but this book is def on my list! Thanks for the chance!

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    1. For Shame!!:) You really must remedy that soon:) Good luck and thanks for commenting!

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  35. Wow! What an amazing review! I've heard so many great things about this book, but have yet to pick up a copy. Reading your review has totally put this book at the top of my To Do List. Thanks so much for bringing the awesomeness of this book to my attention! Unfortunately, I've never read any John Green books before (actually, I hadn't ever heard of him before news of The Fault in Our Stars), so I can't say who my favorite character is. :( But, thanks for hosting the giveaway! When I try to enter my name and email, no box appears, so I'll leave it here. Name- Olivia; GFC- The Reading Enchantress; Email- monalivia91@gmail.com *New Follower*

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    1. Thank you! I'm glad my review has convinced someone to read more John Green, because he is truly one of the best out there writing today! Sorry the Rafflecopter form was acting up, I've noted your contact info. Good luck:)

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  36. I've never read any of his books, and his name didn't even register on my radar until The Fault in Out Stars...I've been hearing so many great things, and I encountered one book blog that declared it a novel that she would save in a fire. Now I just want to know what the hype is all about. =)

    Thank you for the giveaway~

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    1. Lilian, BELIEVE the hype!It's that good! Good luck in the giveaway and thanks for commenting!

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  37. I still haven't read anything by John Green so I think I'm really left out :(

    I want to read this book badly!!! *cross fingers*

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    1. Well good luck to you then! And check your local library, maybe you can find something of his there to get you started!

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    2. I honestly wish we have a local library here :( books are really scarce in my country >_<

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    3. Oh, I'm so sorry to hear that! I hope you are able to read some of his works very soon:)

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  38. I only just got into John Green earlier this year but TFiOS was the fourth book of his I read. He has totally blown me away!

    I'd have to say Hazel is my new favorite Green character, possibly because she is so unlike all the others he has written. After that though it would be Q. He was so nerdy and adorable I loved him!

    Great giveaway!

    Otherwhere.co

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    1. I was the same way! I read An Abundance of Katherines (still my fave book of his)and HAD to read all the rest as quickly as possible! He is now an automatic read author, I'll always read whatever he puts out there in the future:)

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  39. Out of the John Green books that exist, I have only managed to get my hands on Will Grayson, Will Grayson and Looking for Alaska, and Looking for Alaska definitely had to be my favourite.

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  40. Reading this would be my first, so I don't have a favorite. But I've been told I'd like it :)

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