lip lit: the fault in our stars
The Fault in our Stars is one of those books. A book that’s hype and acclaim is deserved, and one that stays with you days after you have put it down. A book that makes you laugh just as much as it makes you cry and wonder why bad things happened to good (read: fictional) people.
Narrated by 16-year-old cancer sufferer Hazel Grace, she shares the story of her love with Augustus Waters, a fellow cancer patient. Now before you moan or groan thinking that this story is the classic love story with the tragic ending that makes you go ‘awww’ and that’s the end of it, Hazel and Augustus’ time together is really something special. It is the way Green writes these two characters, together and separately, that engrosses you in their journey and causes you to demand they survive and be loved.
With a fairly straightforward plot, the character’s personalities are given time to develop, allowing an in-depth insight into the characters’ lives. The quick banter and morbid humour of Hazel and Gus both entertains and surprises you and creates a sense of realism for these characters. It is the realness of the relationship that makes this novel the tearjerker it is, especially when the protagonists and those around them are forced to consider the possibility of their premature deaths. The way Green deals with topics such as leaving a mark after you pass and writing a eulogy for your partner, with a sophisticated and a no-bullshit attitude, allows for tensions to rise and disagreements to occur, only adding the authentic feel of this novel. These not-so-perfect moments demonstrate a key message communicated through this novel: that they are just two people who have been dealt a really shitty hand at life, but still have the ability to learn to love and find something truly beautiful in each other and themselves.
The personalities of the two characters, especially Gus, creates a melancholic feeling, as he teaches Hazel to make the most of the life she has been given, even when facing her own mortality. They are, as cliché as it may sound, exactly what each other needs. You are reminded constantly that these two characters are plagued by a disease, an antidote to the times where the playful dialogue and romantic dates make it easy to forget. It is this perfect balance Green has struck that makes this novel deserving of the acclaim, and a place in your heart long after you’ve turned the final page.
The Fault in our Stars is not a story about accepting death, rather about accepting life, and making the most out of the life you have been given. Green uses this theme to write a book that has resonated with countless readers and personally made me view the world just a little bit differently. Gus becomes a character that teaches Hazel to live, to love and to let herself be loved. He allows her to grow, to develop in confidence, seek a social life and a life of something other than being a cancer patient. Gus will soon become your favourite character, as he did mine. His humour, often bleak, allows the novel to not dwell on the sadness, and to make light of rather tragic situations (and a novel centering on adolescent cancer, you can bet there are a lot.) And whilst the topic of death is discussed on many occasions, it is the different and succinct perspectives of each character that allows it to not become a bleak and dark place, rather a topic that is debated, seeing the reader begin reflecting themselves.
The Fault in our Stars is an inspiring novel that takes you into a world that may or may not be familiar to you, and absorbs you into the lives of Hazel and Gus, two adolescent teenagers trying to find their way in the world, together. Tied together through a special bond, this novel teaches you to think large, love big, find pleasure in the little things and never take life for granted.
The Fault in our Stars is published by Dutton Juvenile
By Amy Walsh