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The Fault in Our Stars
By John Green
ISBN: 978-0-525-47881-2
Publisher: Dutton Books, A Member of Penguin Books
Date of Publication: 2012

Reader’s Annotation:
As Hazel Grace Lancaster continues to deal with her diagnosis of thyroid cancer, she is unexpectedly faced with the possibility of love and a window of happiness.

Plot Summary:
Sixteen year old Hazel Grace Lancaster has thyroid cancer. While she has been able to live with the disease for three years, she is aware that her time is short. As Hazel faces the concept of a limited life, she is forced into group therapy by her parents who are concerned she is falling into a depression. During her time at group therapy, Hazel meets Augustus Waters (Gus) who is in remission from a form of cancer that took away his right leg.

Gus is instantly smitten with Hazel. Hazel finds herself in a struggle as the idea of any relationship seems like a waste when time is limited. The question that now faces Hazel is will the pain be worth it in the end when love and life have expiration dates. As Hazel grows closer to Gus, her life begins to evolve and she begins to understand a life is not just a personal journey but an experience best served with other people.

Critical Evaluation:
Hazel Grace’s story is one that many readers will instantly connect with, even those without cancer. In fact, while cancer is a catalyst for the story, it is not the common theme and is not used as a crutch for the story’s plot. Hazel’s largest problem is the reality past her cancer; what it means to live a life and to have an impact on someone else’s life. This concept, which seems so simple at first, is a powerful one that Green navigates quite well.

Young adult readers will connect with Hazel and Gus’s stories because Green is not condescending in his characterizations. The characters are real and tangible. As they are caught between childhood and adulthood, their inner struggle will connect resoundingly with young readers. John Green’s tale of love and identity is beautiful and achingly haunting. Green understands the teen condition and is joyful in his celebration of life and happiness.

Information about the Author:
From John Green’s Webpage, a graduate of Kenyon College, Green is the author four books, with a co-authorship on a five. He also contributed a short story for the Let It Snow anthology. Green draws inspiration from his surroundings, looking at life questions instead of just plot scenarios.

Green, along with his brother Hank, created the Vlogbrothers YouTube channel, which originally began as a video correspondence between the two brothers. The site http://www.youtube.com/vlogbrothers has over 840,000 subscribers with over 270 million video views.

John Green on Twitter

John Green on Facebook

John Green on Tumblr

Genre:
Realistic Fiction, Romance

Curriculum Ties:
Cancer and Recovery

Booktalking Ideas:
What does it mean to be an impact to the world? To a friend or family member?
What would you discuss with your favorite author if you had an opportunity to do so?

Challenging Issues:
John Green is no stranger to his books being challenged. Looking for Alaska has been questioned in the past due to its sexual content. The Fault in Our Stars has no current challenges. The American Library Association’s Guide to Library Materials Challenges is a great resource if the book is challenged in the future.

Reading Level/Interest Age:
Kirkus Reviews suggests an age range of 15-18.

Why was this book chosen?
I was assigned to read this book as part of my course work for Materials for Young Adults course through San Jose State University. I found that while it was required reading, the emotional impact was far greater than I expected. The characters moved me to tears. When such a book affects a reader through emotions, it seems a waste to hoard the book to oneself. I chose this title because I think Young Adults will appreciate a writer who writes for their mentality. The characters were tangible and dealt with issues that any modern teen faces each day. While the cancer aspect of the story is an important element to the plot and evolution of the characters, the decision to love and to be loved is a universal concept, especially to Young Adults who are experiencing love for the first time.

Reference:
Green, J. (n.d.). John Green’s Biography. Retrieved from http://johngreenbooks.com/bio-contact/

Kirkus Review. (2012). The Fault in Our Stars. Retrieved from https://www.kirkusreviews.com/book-reviews/john-green/fault-in-our-stars/

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