As part of the Summer Lovin’ read-a-thon I decided to finally read The Fault in Our Stars, and today the read-a-thon asks me to share with you a story that’s tugged at my heartstrings – cue TFioS. At the end of the review is my read-a-thon spine poetry challenge attempt 🙂
…I fell in love the way you fall asleep: slowly, and then all at once”
Standalone or Series? Standalone
Published: January 10th, 2012
Author’s Site: http://johngreenbooks.com/
Goodreads Blurb: 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 when a gorgeous plot twist named Augustus Waters suddenly appears at Cancer Kid Support Group, Hazel’s story is about to be completely rewritten.
Several people recommended I read this book, and when I heard it features teens with cancer I had mixed feelings. A worthy topic, but I wasn’t sure I wanted to read a book guaranteed to make me weep
I’m proud of my fellow bloggers for not sharing the intricacies of the plot. I’ll follow suit, as the blurb says the story is about Hazel and is told from her point of view. She has terminal cancer and expects one day to follow on pretty much like the other, all the same until her death, but then she meets Augustus Waters. These two characters have an impact on each other, and this is explored in a thought-provoking, tragic, yet humorous way.
Although the pace seems relaxed – just as in life – when you look back you’re amazed just how much ground’s been covered. The scenes are pulled forward by the friendly back and forth between Hazel and Augustus. Mostly they’re like a friendly pair of tennis buddies tapping a ball back and forth for practice, and every now and then they challenge each other and the interactions become more empassioned, with each of them landing an ace now and then (forgive me I’ve been watching Wimbledon!). It’s a page-turner thanks to the discoveries Hazel and Augustus make about themselves and others.
Hazel and Augustus are fantastic, and that’s all I’ll say about them so you can discover them on your own. Hazel’s parents are so easy to like, her mother’s amazingly strong and supportive. I enjoyed reading about these loving parents, and even Augustus has parents that are there for him – their biggest fault is an addiction to inspirational quotes. Endearing is the word that springs to mind, and for most of the people in the support group I’d say they’re well-meaning, but it’s so easy to understand why Hazel and her ‘sigh’ partner Isaac, feel like sighing in group meetings. The characters are wonderfully realistic, from Hazel to the eccentric author she idolises, there are complexities in their personalities which are brought to life with just a few keywords and actions.
The degree of realism in TFioS makes it immersive. The reader enters a realistic world, filled with love, despair, hope, disappointment and surprises both pleasant and awful, our senses are called upon to experience what the characters experience.
“That’s the thing about pain,” Augustus said, and then glanced back at me. “It demands to be felt”
I’m so glad I got this as an audiobook, Kate Rudd’s an excellent narrator, and I was able to listen to TFioS on the move. Still, I far more enjoyed listening to it when seated and giving it all my attention – it’s the sort of book to which you want to give all your attention. It’s a poignant story, populated with realistic characters who evoke emotions with their acute observations and witty dialogue. It reminds us how vulnerable we are, and how strong.
Back to the read-a-thon…
Today’s interactive challenge is called book spine poetry. I don’t have the physical books for the three spines that sprang to mind (Across the Universe —– Glow —- The Fault in Our Stars) So here’s my attempt with what’s on my shelf 🙂
I haven’t read a single thing by John Green yet. *hangs head in shame*
I keep meaning to (okay… maybe not!), but the premises for his books never seem to do it for me. Cancer, for instance, is the one thing I’ll try my mighty hardest to avoid having to read about. I promised someone that I’ll read Looking for Alaska this summer though, so if it goes well, I guess I’ll finally jump onto the bandwagon. 😉 I’m really glad you liked this book, Katja. Fantastic review!
Thanks Sam, hope Looking for Alaska goes well for you. TFioS is my first John Green novel, I was surprised how much I enjoyed it.
I was wary of reading TFiOS, too, but despite how often it made me tear up, I’m glad that I gave in to Ally’s pleas to read it.
I love your poem, and the spine colors coordinate so perfectly together! 🙂
Oh, I hadn’t noticed the spine colo(u)rs! 🙂 I think this book was a good reminder that stepping outside of my comfort zone from time to time can be good.
Thanks for visiting my blog! 🙂
I listened The Fault in Our Stars too and liked the narrator very much, though I didn’t find the book worthy of all the hype but still it was good ^^
You’re welcome and thanks for stopping by in turn 🙂
I have not read any John Green book, nor do I plan to. However, I am happy that this book which focuses on something so devastating has won the hearts of many. From your review, I would look forward to the realism of it.
Your poem is so dark! A graveminder watching over lovely bones. You brought me chills, Katja!
I should have happier titles on my shelf! Thank you 🙂
I loved the characters so much too!
You and me both, I liked everyone, even the flawed and the briefly touched on yet still so important folk – including the poor assistant in Amsterdam and well-meaning Patrick
I’ve read some of Greene’s work, and I’ve met him. He’s a nice, thoughtful guy. Haven’t yet read Fault, and I’m kind of leery too. But you pointed out that there is also humor, love and even hope amongst the sadness. As far as that alluring book pile, I really like the type font on the Graveminder book! Reminds me of old skeleton bones, but in a sophisticated style.
A friend of mine travelled to one of his talks with her son, she thought he was great with his fans
I’m so glad you liked TFiOS, It’s one of my favourite books although I’m curious to try the audio book now!
I loved your poem, it has a really nice rhythm when I read it aloud, and even though it’s book spine poetry, you still managed to use alliteration and sibilance, amazing!
Wow, Chantelle, thanks so much.
Sounds like me, when I love a book I want it in nearly every format, e-book, hardcover/paperback, audio.
I love the Fault in Our Stars so much. And love the book spine poetry. I used In The Shadow of Blackbirds in mine as well lol
Thanks, I love what you did with your poem. a blazing heat before all the smoke and ash
My sister-in-law was mentally-challenged and died of breast cancer a few years ago. But first, doctors put the woman, a shy, kind and loving person who was mentally age 10, through chemo although it did no good. After all her hair fell out, and she was near death, she asked her mother in front of us, “When I die, will you miss me?” That’s true tragedy.
I’m so sorry to hear this Lexa. Must have been so heartbreaking for all her loved ones, and the suffering she had to go through.
Great review Katja! (and I love your book spine poem) I haven’t read TFiOS yet, it’s on the list but I always hold back because I know I’ll be a wreck by the end of it, if everyone else’s reactions are anything to go by. Glad you enjoyed it 🙂
I look forward to your review when you do get round to it 🙂
I am so glad you finally read TFioS, Katja! ❤ It is definitely a heart-strings-puller. I also really love your book spine poetry! I wish I was as creative as you!
– Emma @ Books Forget Me Knot
What a beautiful poem, Katja! I love it. I wanted to use In the Shadow of Blackbirds so much, but I couldn’t figure out how to work it in. But you did 🙂
That quote from TFiOS….man, so true.
Jenn @ Book Beats
my spine poetry
If you take out Shadow of Blackbirds, that’s one pretty awesome colour scheme going on. Lurve it!
Aah! And TFiOS! I was in trauma for a week just silently crying inside.
Wonderful review, Katja! <33
I’m so glad that The Fault in Our Stars left such a great impression with you Katja! I’ve been meaning to read it for a while now, but I’ve been too scared to give it a try, it sounds absolutely gorgeous though! 🙂
This is one of those books that I definitely have heard lots about and need to read very soon. 🙂 Great review!
I loved your spine poetry too. 😀
I haven’t read it but I heard it was so good! Tearjerker at its finest but really so good. My friend even made a playlist for this. It was heartfelt. Hope to read it this year!
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