Cannonball Read IV

A bunch of Pajibans reading and reviewing and honoring AlabamaPink.

Search Results for: “"the fault in our stars"

Idgiepug’s #CBR4 Review #36: The Fault in Our Stars by John Green

I’m not sure how I missed John Green until now.  A student recommended his books, and I began with The Fault in Our Stars.  It’s been a few weeks since I read it (I’m, ahem, a bit behind on my reviews), and I enjoyed it so much that I’ve worked my way through all of John Green’s books at my public library, except for Looking for Alaska, which is always checked out and has a waiting list.

The Fault in Our Stars focuses on 16-year-old Hazel who has terminal cancer but whose life has been extended by a miracle drug.  Hazel’s mother tries to maintain some semblance of normalcy in Hazel’s world by forcing her out of the house and into college classes and a cancer support group for teens.  Hazel doesn’t necessarily buy in to the whole idea of the support group, but she befriends a boy named Isaac there, and the two of them spend a good deal of time rolling their eyes together.  At one meeting, Isaac brings a friend, Gus, who takes a liking to Hazel pretty quickly.  Hazel has a difficult time dealing with Gus’s attention and giving in to her feelings for him; to her parents she confesses that she feels like a “time bomb” because she knows she has a limited amount of time left and wants to keep from hurting other people when she goes.  This is especially difficult with Gus because he has already lost one girlfriend to cancer.  Eventually, though, the two bond over Hazel’s favorite novel, An Imperial Affliction, which is also about a girl with (of course) cancer.

Obviously, this isn’t what you’d call a feel-good book, but it feels genuine.  The characters are a bit too wise at times, but they are kids who’ve had to grow up fast, and it’s nice to read a novel in which the teenagers aren’t vapid morons and the parents are good people who try hard to love and support their children the best way they know how.  I’m  really glad I picked up this book and finally found my way to John Green; his books are the kind of books I’d want my own kid to read if he were a bit older.

BanannerPants’s #CBR4 Review #7: The Fault In Our Stars by John Green

     I am the only person on the planet who did not like this book. I’ve talked to others who have read this book, and I felt a little differently than the other people . I wasn’t as completely overcome. I didn’t fall in love with it, or whatever positive emotion others had.  It’s actually been months since I’ve read it. I put off reviewing it because I knew I was the only person who didn’t like it. I’m not saying it was all bad; it just wasn’t for me. There was terminal cancer and love and teenagers. Only one of these things interests me, and even then terminal cancer can only hold my attention for so long. Eventually I need it to hold up to its name and end.

It was sad, but dumb. I may be the only one who thinks this, but I’m not backing down from it. Too many things were coincidences and too many things could only happen in a fantasy world. Sure, a fantasy world filled with terminal cancer, but still. Fake make-a-wish foundations and trips to meet reclusive authors are part of a fantasy world. Also, really sweet teenage boys are part of a fantasy world.

There were parts of it I liked. Mostly the words John Green uses and the way in which he uses them. It is a nice, easy, pleasant read. I didn’t have to flip to an index or keep a dictionary next to me to understand it. It’s very accessible. Oh, that’s because it’s for teenagers. Right. I’m not its target audience so I should stop shitting all over it. It was fine.

I know we were supposed to care about all of these people so much. It was a book full of empathetic characters; we’re supposed to root for all of them and hope beyond all hope that a cure for everything is found and they all get to survive forever. Of course, they can’t. They just can’t and I think we’re supposed to be completely devastated at this realization, but we’re naive if we are. It’s not a support group for the common cold and sore throats. It’s a support group for kids with terminal cancer. We’re being setup for heartbreak; you have to really deliver serious heartbreak.

I just didn’t care for it. Also, I’m a bit of a cynic. I do like its title though. It’s fun to say.

Erin is Scrumtrulescent’s #CBR4 Review #09: The Fault in Our Stars by John Green

Speaking as someone who has worked in few different hospitals in a non-clinical capacity for almost ten years, I would say it is easy to forget you work in a hospital sometimes but that would be a total lie. It is just easier to forget you work in one. I encounter patients on a daily basis but they’re not mine, not really. I do not treat them, I cannot help them in any way other than to be friendly, answer any questions they may have, help them change into a gown, and perhaps crack a stupid joke or two to make them smile. I assist with unit patients and have been urinated on, vomited on and have had to clean up body fluids often enough that I barely even notice it anymore. Hell, most of the time I crack jokes about it. There are some days that no matter what I do I cannot forget, and it hits me like a ton of bricks.

For every forgettable jerk who comes in limping declaring their leg broken and demanding to be seen before an ER patient because they need to get home in time for their stories, there comes in the nicest person I will meet all year. They will come in for back pain, a headache or some other seemingly common and innocent sounding ailment. They do not remember how long they have had it and did not want to be a baby about it or ask for help. Sometimes it turns out to be nothing, but other times – too many times – I hear a muttered a curse word, a frantic call or two, or sometimes I will just get a look from the technologist doing their study: Cancer. My office disappears quickly when I am forced to call a patient’s wife because he has to be admitted to the hospital and cannot stop crying long enough to get the words out himself.

John Green’s The Fault in Our Stars is a book not just about cancer but two teenagers with cancer no less. Hazel Lancaster, a sixteen year-old with thyroid cancer, meets Augustus Waters at a cancer support group. He is seventeen, gorgeous, smart and is missing a leg thanks to bone cancer for which he is in remission. Even with her omnipresent oxygen tank and swollen face, he makes her feel like any normal teenage girl would feel meeting such a boy. It is something straight out of a Lifetime movie and normally (even despite my ovaries), I am usually not a sucker for such things. While not wholly original or without its faults, Green managed to suck me in almost immediately. His writing is simple and pretty and makes the story much better than it ought to be. I wanted to know everything I could about Hazel and Augustus, and even though I knew their story would not end well, I still was unprepared for just how hard it hit me.

If there is one minor quibble I have about this book, it is that John Green writes lovely and witty dialogue that is entirely too lovely and witty to be coming out of a teenager’s mouth. At some points it is distracting, and this is coming from somebody who absolutely loves Juno. Most of the time, it is so damn delicate or funny or just heartbreaking that you get so distracted from trying not to cry that you totally forgive it. One of my favorite lines in the book is Hazel declaring, “I fell in love the way you fall out of a tree; slowly and then all at once.” Young love, cancer and lines like that. Call me a sap all you want but sometimes you just have to sit back, have a good cry, and enjoy it.

 

PerpetualIntern’s #CBR4 Review #13: The Fault in Our Stars by John Green

I took the advice of all the other Cannonballers on here and picked up this lovely little novel.  It was a quick read but one that managed to accomplish a lot.  The characters were complex and sweet and the relationships were heartbreaking and real.

I won’t spend much time rehashing the plot since there have already been so many reviews.  Hazel is a cancer patient whose lung cancer has gone into retreat, though she must tug around an oxygen tank at all times and her cancer threatens to come back at any moment.  She attends a support group for other cancer kids where she meets the handsome Augustus, a charismatic guy with bone cancer in full remission.  The book follows their relationship through friendship and the bloom of first love.  At the same time, Hazel is obsessed with a book about a young woman with cancer and she uses the novel like a security blanket.  Together, she and Augustus embark on a journey to meet the reclusive author of the book.

I have to say I didn’t love this book as much as the other Cannonballers, though I did enjoy it.  The relationship that spoke to me the most was actually that of Hazel with her mother.  Hazel knows that her cancer will eventually kill her.  She struggles the get her mother to say “WHEN you die” as opposed to “IF you die” and worries so much about her mother’s identity after she’s gone.  Their relationship was honest and real and heartbreaking.  Overall, this book was a good read, and I could see it being great for young adults.

faintingviolet’s #CBR4 review #15: John Green’s The Fault in Our Stars

 

This book. This freakin’ book. I tweeted it as my Friday Read a couple weeks back and the lovely MsWas told me to get the tissues. While I didn’t out and out cry I did want to curl up with a blanket and hug something or someone when I got to the conclusion. But I was warned about that (h/t narfna).

This book has been reviewed a few times for cannonball, but it’s my first experience with John Green, and although this is YA, and to a certain extent reads that way (there’s a lot of  extremely lucky turns of events that are written off as cancer perks. Cancer perks are real but occasionally it felt a bit convenient), it was good times. Green kept me on my toes even when I was pretty sure I knew what was coming. It should be known that this book’s main characters are all cancer patients at various stages and their families. You definitely need to know this before you sign on to read it, because as I said before – you might need tissues or a blanket to get through the end.

Our narrator through the journey is Hazel, she is sixteen and cancer has gone ahead and settled in her lungs. There is a miracle drug (just in the book) that has stopped the growth and for the time being she’s holding steady but required to bring her own oxygen wherever she goes. However, her mother has decided that she’s depressed and with her doctor’s direction, Hazel is forced to attend a support group. Hazel doesn’t want to go, stating that depression is merely a side effect of dying and not to be worried about. But, as it is in the world of fiction, it turns out to have been for the best that she attends.

At support group we meet Augustus and Isaac. Isaac is a known quantity to Hazel. Augustus on the other hand is something new altogether. I appreciate that Green wasn’t afraid to write the meet cute in a cancer support group. Life doesn’t stop just because you have cancer.  On a lark Hazel shares with Augustus her favorite book and they begin their relationship from there.

I won’t devolve into a plot summary. But the relationships these characters share read and ring true. You get it all with them: hope, love, sorrow, tragedy, triumph, humor. The whole deal. 

Green is careful to point out in his Author’s Note that this book is not about anyone, and is strictly speaking a work of fiction. I respect that. I will however point out The Fault in Our Stars was dedicated to Esther Earl, who’s picture reminds me of what I thought Hazel looks like. Her family has set up a foundation in her honor to support cancer families, This Star Won’t Go Out and is worth a visit, particularly if you have some dollars you can afford to donate.

Betsys5Avengers #CBRIV Review #1 The Fault In Our Stars by John Green

John Green’s books never cease to disappoint me. I’ve read them all: Looking for Alaska was a decent first effort, but disappointing. I hated An Abundance of Katherines with a passion, and the beginning of Paper Towns had promise, but ran out of steam in the second act. I did enjoy David Levithan’s half of Will Grayson Will Grayson, I was unsatisfied with Green’s. Unfortunately, The Fault in Our Stars is no exception.

I don’t get it. John Green is similar to Neil Gaiman in that he is an author I’m supposed to—and really want to—like. The premises of his novels sound great (which is why I always run out and buy them), and I love watching his “Vlogbrothers” and “Hank Games without Hank” series on YouTube. He always comes off as funny, honest, inventive, and thoughtful in his videos, and while all of these traits are evident in his writing, it is not nearly enough for me. However, The Fault in Our Stars is easily his best.

I won’t bore anyone with a plot summary, since this book has been reviewed on CBR IV already by people who are much better at writing reviews than I am, but TFiOS is centered on two teenagers who meet and fall in like (and later love) in a cancer support group. Eighteen-year-old Hazel Grace Lancaster has thyroid cancer, and Augustus Waters had a bone tumor that resulted in the loss of a leg (I think. I’m not entirely sure). Green’s first achievement was not making this a story about disease. The characters have universal issues and concerns: overbearing parents, stumbling over condom use during first time sex, video game suckage, and friends who aren’t completely genuine. Yes, Hazel and Augustus are sick, and yes, plot points involve around their illnesses, but TFiOS is not about cancer. It’s about what all John Green books are about: teenagers on the brink of discovering who they are, who they love, how they feel, and, ultimately, how they fit into the universe. Often times, it involves some kind of scavenger hunt, road trip, or foundation. In TFiOS, Hazel and Gus go to Amsterdam in search of their favorite author, Peter Van Houten.

I liked The Fault in Our Stars better than Green’s previous works because of the characters. This is the first time Green has had a female narrator, and I think he is much better at writing well rounded girls than his milksop-y boys. Hazel, Gus, and the supporting players (particularly their friend Isaac, another cancer survivor) are brilliant. They are intelligent, witty, extremely charming, believable, and, okay, a little precocious. They somehow manage to jump of the page and come alive, which is why the ending is…erm…sad, to say to the least.

However, the rest of it kind of fell apart for me. I’m honestly tired of the “Let’s go on a trip to find ourselves!” device, and while I like that John Green dares to be philosophical, he often makes a point, states the theme, or has the characters learn a lesson, only to repeat it over and over (and over) again. The repetition made it extremely hard to finish, and I sort of felt like the book was about twenty pages too long.

That said, I recommend The Fault in Our Stars. It’s far from perfect, but it is an engaging read about two amazing people. A warning: the more sensitive folk among us should keep a box of tissues on hand, just in case.

Doctor Controversy’s CBR4 Review #2 “The Fault In Our Stars” by John Green

John Green takes Nicholas Sparks’ playbook, makes a few changes, and turns out a beautifully funny, yet beautifully sad, work of fiction.

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Scootsa1000′s #CBR4 Review #11: The Fault in Our Stars by John Green

Even though I have a pretty big stack of finished books that need reviews, today I decided to write about The Fault in Our Stars while the tears on my face were still wet.  So many people have already written about this book (and written about the crying), and I don’t really have much to add, but I’ll do my best.

For those few who don’t know, TFIOS is the story of Hazel and Augustus, who meet in a teen support group for kids with cancer.  Hazel has terminal cancer in her thyroid and lungs, and always has her oxygen tank hooked up and totes it around with her.  She knows she will never get better and spends her time watching reality TV with her parents and obsessively reading the same book over and over.  Augustus is a cancer survivor (but he did lose his leg to it) and is beautiful and funny.

They bond over books and their quick wit brings them together fast and furiously.  Their love story is beautiful and real.  And so very, very sad.  I had to put the book down a few times when I couldn’t even see the words anymore.

I’ve read that the story and the Hazel character were inspired by a beautiful young girl named Esther Earl (you can read her story here).

And I’m curious to know — based upon the subplot with Peter Van Houten — how many writers get inquiries from fans (who are ill) about how some of their popular series/characters/books will end up.  I’ve read enough Stephen King to know that he was constantly bombarded with questions from readers who would never make it to the end of the Dark Tower, dedicated fans who wanted to know what happened to the characters that they loved, and that he wasn’t able to tell them, because he didn’t always have an answer for them.

I remember seeing this link on the IO9 website a few weeks ago, “Scifi author spoils his entire book series for terminally ill fan”.  The video is heartbreaking and uplifting at the same time, and I thought of it when I finished the story of Hazel and Augustus.  And yeah, the video made me cry, too.

You can read more of my reviews on my blog.

Baxlala’s #CBR4 Review #13: The Fault in Our Stars by John Green

Reading The Fault in Our Stars was like entering some kind of fugue state. I became so engrossed in the characters, it was kind of like watching a movie, but a really good movie, starring people I actually knew and loved. When I finished the book, I looked down and was surprised to find the sofa was covered in tissues because DEAR GOD, THE CRYING.

I mean, it wasn’t like I was unprepared. I read the book because Ashley (narfna) told me to, and when Ashley tells you to read a book, you do it. You just do. And she said I’d cry. I was warned. I picked up both Ready Player One and The Fault in Our Stars on her recommendation and they both blew my mind into itty bitty pieces. The only complaint I have is that I wish I’d read The Fault in Our Stars before Ready Player One because I needed something light and fun to read afterward. Because DEAR GOD, THE CRYING. This was me, during 50% of this book:

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That last one, especially.

The Fault in Our Stars is about two teenagers, Hazel and Augustus, who meet in a support group for kids with cancer. OH WON’T THIS BE A LIGHTHEARTED ROMP? Well, it sort of is, for a while. Hazel and Gus are delightful, really, witty and charming and I wish I’d been friends with them when I was a teenager. Hell, even now. It’s interesting, I just finished reading The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants series, which was great, but this felt so much more real to me. Maybe, I don’t know, because there were no magical pants? IT’S A MYSTERY.

This is no joke, I went into work the day after I finished reading The Fault in Our Stars and as soon as my boss saw me, she said, “Oh my god, sit down! What happened, have you been crying?” And I had to explain that, yes, I had been crying but nothing was wrong, not really, just that MY HEART WAS STOMPED ON BY A MEAN BOOK. I don’t think she really understood how a book made me cry so hard because, you guys, there are two kinds of people in this world: those that cry so hard reading sad books that their eyes fall out and…people I don’t understand.

Anyway, I guess I could have felt ashamed or something because I came into work looking like someone died, but I’m not. I defy you to read this book without weeping. Do you hear that? I DEFY YOU.

sevenstories’ #CBR4 Review #21 – The Fault in Our Stars by John Green

I was a bit hamstrung by the fact that I really loved this. A lot. And I find reviews of books like that super difficult, I’m not particularly pleased with my review but at least I’ve finally written it.

“Diagnosed with Stage IV thyroid cancer at 12, 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 everyone leaves behind.”

Oh my goodness, this book is amazing. I apologise in advance for a review that exists mainly as a long stream of gushing compliments that can in no way successfully show how much I loved this. I will try and form some sensible, well-thought out opinions about why I loved it but I can’t make any promises. A cancer book, but not a ‘cancer book’, so get any thoughts of Nicholas Sparks style tosh out of your head and find yourself a copy of this book as quickly as you humanly can.

You can read the full review on my blog.

First Line: ‘Late in the winter of my seventeenth year, my mother decided 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.’

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