So my friend Chrissi Reads and I end up reading quite a few of the same books. Both of us had TFIOS on the reading list for 2013 and decided to read it at the same time and compare notes.
Diagnosed with Stage IV thyroid cancer at 13, Hazel was prepared to die until, at 14, a medical miracle shrunk the tumours 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 tumours 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.
Thoughts before you started reading The Fault In Our Stars?
CHRISSI: I’ve heard so much about this book. I need to read it and see why people say it’s so awesome!
LUNA: It will be A-MA-ZING (and intelligent).
What did you think of Hazel and Augustus?
CHRISSI: Hazel was really easy to like. I loved her sarcasm during such bad times. I warmed to Augustus as the book went on.
LUNA: I liked Hazel pretty much from the very start although it did wane a bit in the middle of the book. Augustus was more of a problem, the cigarette metaphor put me off at the beginning and sometimes he was just too great (if you know what I mean).
CHRISSI: I think the book improved greatly towards the end. I didn’t cry, but it did tug at my heart strings and made me think more about what sort of mark we leave on the world, if any. Can all individuals make a mark on the world or are some people just forgotten?
LUNA: The last chapter.
CHRISSI: I think the worst bit for me was actually not enjoying it as much as I’d hoped. There was nothing wrong with it as such, I just expected to be more moved and more sucked in.
LUNA: I wasn’t expecting The Fault In Our Stars to be quite so predictable if I’m honest. You know a big part of what will happen before you even start TFIOS because of the type of story it is, but Chapter 13 didn’t impact me because I was pretty convinced by then I knew the ending.
Favourite character / moment?
CHRISSI: I particularly liked the secondary character Peter Van Houten. I thought he was interesting and an example of what can happen to the people that are left behind after a death.
LUNA: Lidewij but Isaac is a pretty close second.
Was TFIOS what you expected?
CHRISSI: I expected more from it. I think I bought into the hype too much and I was pretty ready to be blown away. I’m not saying that I didn’t enjoy reading it or that I didn’t think it was a good book.. it is a good book, but for me it’s not got that ‘Wow!’ moment that I was expecting.
LUNA: In many ways yes but I think all the hype around this book had me convinced it would be one of the best things I’d read this year. It’s a really good book but it’s not as amazing and I was hoping and I think my expectations were a little too high.
That said, John Green books always make great reading and The Fault In Our Stars will be proudly displayed in my bookcase.
Would you recommend it?
CHRISSI: I would recommend this book, but his other books are just as good. (Well, the ones I’ve read so far which are Looking For Alaska and An Abundance of Katherines).
LUNA: I would, but I’d probably recommend Looking for Alaska first, maybe even Paper Towns.