Friday, March 28, 2014

Blogger Book Club March Read: The Fault in Our Stars by John Green

Title: The Fault in Our Stars
Author: John Green
Rating: *****
ISBN: 0525478817
Genre: Fiction - Young Adult - Romance - Contemporary
Summary: From Goodreads: "Despite the tumor-shrinking medical miracle that has bought her a few years, Hazel has never been anything but terminal, her final chapter inscribed upon diagnosis. But what a gorgeous plot twist named Augustus Waters suddenly appears at Cancer Kid Support Group, Hazel's story is about to be completely rewritten."

Thoughts: I have a very hard time coming up with something new and unique to say about this book. It is heart-wrenching, but beautifully honest. Sure, you could look at some of Augustus and Hazel's conversations as rambling, repetitive, and juvenile, but guys, think about their ages. Think about what else they are going through and how they are handling it. I found it easy to forgive that might have been perceived as annoying in other books, because I saw so much wit and beauty in the rest of their stories.

I don't know if you know the whole story, I knew the whole story going in, and I really did not want to read this one. But I decided it would be good for me to step out and challenge myself, and I am so glad that I did.

This book will challenge you. It will probably make you cry. I understand that John Green took some liberties with the depiction of cancer (making up the drug that Hazel was taking), but I also felt as if he accurately described what it was like to have cancer and to be a family stricken by that reality. I came away from the book with more sympathy and more understanding for what so many people go through. I also came away so thankful that I am not stricken by cancer and that I can live a life with an undisclosed ending.

Sometimes we need a couple flawed heroes to show us what life is really about.

Favorite Quote(s): (Oh my gosh, guys, picking out favorite quotes is making me tear up again. This book! It gets inside of you!)

"I fell in love the way you fall asleep: slowly, and then all at once."

"My thoughts are stars I cannot fathom into constellations."

"You don't get to choose if you get hurt in this world...but you do have some say in who hurts you. I like my choices."

"Grief does not change you, Hazel. It reveals you."

"You gave me forever within the numbered days, and I'm grateful."

Discussion Questions: (Please note, though I do my best to keep spoilers out of my reviews, discussion questions are by nature for people who have read the book and may contain spoilers. Read them at your own risk! Also, if you are responding to one of the discussion questions in the comments below, please put SPOILERS at the beginning of any portions of your comment that might ruin the book for other interested parties. Thank you!)

- Augustus' cigarette. What did you all think of this symbol that he carried around? Did you cry when Hazel had to come find him (and call the ambulance) at the gas station because he was trying so hard to take control again and get himself a new pack of cigarettes? I know this annoys some people, but I felt that Augustus' unlit cigarette was Augustus doing exactly what the book kept saying - controlling the killing thing. He could make life worse for himself, he could make his body deteriorate faster, but instead he holds it in his mouth and mocks the killing machine - feeling powerful when everything around him says he's weak.

- What did you think about the way the book ended? How we never get to know for sure the rest of Hazel's story?

- What did you think of Augustus' death being Hazel's 10? I cried. Loss is such a powerful thing - it's hard to feel any worse than you feel when you loose something - I was just amazed that for someone so young she realized so much.

- What do you think about the movie that's coming out? Will you go see it? I won't. The actors they chose just aren't my interpretations of Hazel and Augustus, and I'd rather stick with the ones I fell in love with.

- What did you think of Augustus' desire to do something big or to die an epic death?

- What did you think about the idea that the universe wants to be noticed? Do you think the world works that way?

- What did you think about Hazel's desire to not be a grenade? Is that even possible?

Do you like reading books that make you cry? What are some other beautiful tear-jerkers I should look in to?

The Best of Intentions

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