Tuesday, May 6, 2014

Book Talk - The Fault in Our Stars

***SPOILERS:  This is my stock spoiler alert warning.  I will give things away, so wait to read this post if you don't want to know what happens!***

After hearing many good things about the book The Fault in Our Stars, I finally got it on my kindle and read it.  I made it through the entire book in like, six hours.  

The book is about a 16 year old named Hazel.  She got cancer when she was thirteen, knowing that it would be the type that would eventually kill her.  She then also gets mets in her lungs and has to use a portable oxygen tank to help her breath.  Eventually she has to start using a BiPap as well, along with taking a drug every day that keeps the mets from getting bigger.  

Because of her cancer, Hazel cannot attend school.  Therefore, Hazel got her GED and now takes classes at a local community college.  She says in the novel that she considers her parents to be her best friends.  Hazel's mom is worried that Hazel doesn't have enough friends her own age, so she makes Hazel attend a group for teens with cancer.  While there, Hazel meets Augustus Waters, a osteosarcoma survivor that Hazel will form a relationship with.

Throughout the novel, Hazel and Gus become very close.  They also spend a lot of time with Isaac, who has eye cancer and eventually goes completely blind.  In one particularly confusing part of the novel, Hazel and Gus go on a trip to Amsterdam with Hazel's mom. They meet an author named Peter Van Houton, who has written a book called An Imperial Affliction - a book which Hazel loves completely.

After returning from Amsterdam, Hazel finds out that Gus has cancer everywhere.  He has been told that he is terminal, and he does die before the end of the novel.  This leads to many things, not the least of which includes Peter Van Houton hiding in the back of Hazels parent's car.

I have read that many people found the book to be rather unbelievable because the characters don't talk like teenagers.  I find this to be a rather endearing thing actually, as well as believable.  Hazel got her GED when she was young, takes classes at a community college and reads a lot.  Gus is also a voracious reader.  So, I find it completely plausible that these teens would be smarter than we all think.  Also, I think in real life, adults discredit teens a lot - they are smarter than we think!

I loved so many things about this book.  I loved:
* The relationship between Hazel and her parents
* The relationship between Hazel and Gus
* Isaac
* The trip to Amsterdam (also on my things I don't like this.  You'll see.)
* Hazel chewing out Peter Van Houton

Now, for the things I didn't like so much:
* Gus's parents knew he was terminal - and they still let him go to Amsterdam with someone they barely knew.  What if something serious had happened to him while overseas?
* Isaac goes blind
* Well, Gus dying!
* Peter Van Houton - he's kind of a jackass.
* The ending - there really was no ending.  All through the book, Hazel and Gus talk about how AIA literally has no ending - it ended in the middle of a sentence.  This book doesn't really end either.  It does end with a complete sentence; however, you do not find out how or when Hazel dies.  You don't find out if she lives long enough to graduate from college, fall in love again or have kids.  So, us readers are left to our imaginations.

Overall, this was a great book.  I am mostly okay with the not an ending because I think it fits, especially in light of the not an ending for AIA.  I would give this book a B+ and recommend it for everyone to read.