The Fault in Our Stars somehow makes the topic of cancer into a light hearted romantic story of two young people who fall in love knowing that time is against them. John Green was able to transform a story that sounds like a Nicholas Sparks knock off for young adults into a beautiful realization of the human condition, what it means to really see someone else, loss, and love in its purest form.
"Some infinities are bigger than other infinities."
Hazel Grace is living with stage 4 thyroid cancer that has spread to her lungs, which forces her to have to carry around an oxygen tank and nasal cannulas everywhere she goes. She goes to weekly meetings for young adults that either have cancer or in remission. This is where she meets Augustus Waters.
Gus had an osteosarcoma but is now cancer free after having his leg amputated and is at the meeting to support a mutual friend of Hazel's, Isaac. Gus approaches Hazel Grace after the meeting is over and explains how much he thinks she looks like Natalie Portman in V for Vendetta and invite her over to watch it. The two exchange their favorite books, The Price of Dawn and An Imperial Affliction.
Not long after, Gus shares that he was able to find the assistant to the writer of An Imperial Affliction, Hazel's favorite book and has used his Make a Wish to plan a trip for them to Amsterdam for them to meet him.
The meeting of Peter Van Houten does not go well. As he is a drunken writer who lives in self pity and claims that he cannot answer any of Hazel's question regarding his novel. After the horribly disappointing meeting, the two go on a tour of Anne Frank's house and share a romantic kiss, which leads them going back to their hotel where they make love for the first and only time.
The next day, Gus confesses to Hazel Grace that his cancer has returned and spread everywhere. Hazel Grace has been worried since meeting Gus that she would be the one to hurt him. Gus insists that Isaac and Hazel have a funeral before he dies so he can hear what they say about him. Hazel tells him how much she loves him and that she would not trade their time together for anything.
Augustus dies 8 days later. Peter Van Houten shows up at the funeral but Hazel is not interested in hearing anything that he has to say. Isaac reveals that Gus was writing something for Hazel, which she assumed was perhaps a sequel to An Imperial Affliction. Hazel learns that Gus had sent the pages to Van Houten, who sends the letter back to Hazel. The novel concludes with Hazel reading Augustus' words. I do not want to paraphrase that letter because it is too beautiful and to synopsize it would be to take away it's beauty.
“I’m on a roller coaster that only goes up, my friend.”
This review has been more of a story synopsis than a review, mainly because I don't want to take away anything from John Green's novel. Yes, yes I know... The Fault in Our Stars has been made into a movie being released soon and it looks like another type of A Walk to Remember and I thought the same thing, but trust me, just go read it.