The Fault in Our Stars
Novel by John Green
Published: January 10, 2012 (Dutton Books)
Hazel Grace Lancaster is a 16-year-old girl with terminal cancer. She knows that she is dying, stuck to an oxygen tank and subjected to constant treatments, she goes into a depression. His parents recommend him to go to a support group. Hazel goes to the support group where she meets the only person worth knowing: Issac, a teenager with a strange type of cancer in his eyes that will leave him blind whose best friend is Augustus Waters.
Augustus Waters was a basketball athlete until his leg was amputated to stop the osteosarcoma he had. Since then he uses the metaphor of smoking without smoking, that is, “put the lethal weapon in your mouth and not let him kill you”. Gus lightens the raw truth with its metaphors. He is strong, optimistic and teasing.
Hazel and Gus spend more and more time together but Hanzel prefers not to get involved with Gus because “I am a grenade, one day I will explode and destroy everything in my path and I do not want to hurt you. Okay?”. But every day that passes they realize that there is no time to lament because there is only today and now. The fault lies with the stars because they were not born under it.
Gus decides to do everything possible to fulfill Hazel’s dream of meeting writer Peter Van Houten, author of his favorite book An Imperial Pain that leaves an open ending that Hazel would like to close.
Gus finally gets a trip to Amsterdam to meet the writer Peter Van Houten but before traveling Hanzel must be hospitalized giving the trip a new dimension by having it close to death.
When Hazel and Gus arrive in Amsterdam they find an alcoholic and moody Peter Van Houten who does not want to answer any questions. The agent of Peter apologizes to the couple and offers them in exchange for the bad time a dinner and a hotel that makes the romantic stay.
Gus cancer progresses, Isaac is blinded and Hazel is left bewildered seeing how the spark of life was gradually fading. Until Gus can not walk anymore and asks Hazel to write a speech for her farewell.
Gus unknowingly says goodbye to everyone in the Church of the Heart of Jesus where the support group was made and then die in their fight against cancer.
Hazel and Isaac are devastated by the death of a great friend. They know that Gus wrote some notes before dying and they resolved to find them. Again the agent of Peter Van Houten appears to clarify that Gus effectively left a 3 page letter demanding an end to Peter Van Houten because Hazel deserves that and much more.
It does not matter how long it lasted or was missing. One can count an infinity of numbers, but from zero to one there is a small infinite number of decimals. Gus gave Hazel a small infinity.
Description of the main characters
Hazel Grace Lancaster:
The main character and narrator of The Fault in Our Stars. Hazel is 16 years old and has been dealing for three years with thyroid cancer that spread to her lungs. She meets Isaac and Gus at Support Group and becomes romantically involved with Gus until his death.
Augustus “Gus” Waters:
Augustus, 16 years old, meets Hazel at a support group for youths with cancer. Augustus lost part of his leg to osteosarcoma years before and is believed to be cancer-free, though he has a relapse midway through the book that leads to his death late in the book. He falls quickly for Hazel and they begin dating, though she is scared of hurting him through her illness. Gus is a witty character who loves metaphor, symbolism, grand romantic gestures, and he wishes to die with dignity for something larger than himself.
Isaac is another friend of Hazel and Gus’s from Support Group. He lost one eye to cancer before the book began, and loses another early in the book. He and a girl named Monica seem to be passionately in love when the book opens, but she dumps him shortly before he loses his second eye, which leads to great anger and sadness.
Frannie Lancaster, Hazel’s mother:
Frannie Lancaster obviously loves Hazel very much, but Hazel feels that she is limiting her mother because her mother has had to leave work and devote all of her attention to Hazel and her medical treatments.
Michael Lancaster, Hazel’s father:
Michael Lancaster is incredibly emotionally invested in Hazel’s survival, though he must continue working to support the family. Hazel’s father cries often, leading to more guilt on Hazel’s part that she is going to leave her family devastated when she dies.
Peter Van Houten:
Peter Van Houten is a witty, mean older man and an alcoholic, nothing like Hazel had imagined when reading the book so many times.
Lidewij Vliegenthart is Peter Van Houten’s secretary and, apparently, his caretaker. She arranges for Gus and Hazel’s trip to Amsterdam, leaving Van Houten largely in the dark: she hopes that his meeting fans whom his book has truly touched will distract him from his declining health and habits.
Patrick is the leader of the support group that Hazel, Gus, and Isaac attend. He is a survivor of testicular cancer and uses his story and his time to attempt to inspire other young people to continue fighting cancer and communicating about their progress and feelings with one another.
Kaitlyn is the only of Hazel’s school friends with whom she keeps in touch. Kaitlyn is boy-obsessed and shopping-obsessed, so it is hard for Hazel and Kaitlyn to truly relate to one another; but Kaitlyn keeps conversation with Hazel as light and normal as possible.
Dr. Maria is one of Hazel’s many doctors, one that Hazel especially likes for her honesty and care.
8 new words and their definitions:
Preternaturally: Preternatural means beyond what is normal or natural.
Cannula: A cannula is a tube that can be inserted into the body, often for the delivery or removal of fluid.
Myriad: Myriad means countless or extremely great in number.
Ascertain: To ascertain is to find something out for certain.
Hamartia: A hamartia is a fatal flaw leading to the downfall of a tragic hero or heroine.
Radiation: Radiation is the emission or transmission of energy in the form of waves or particles through space or through a material medium. In the sense it is used in The Fault in Our Stars, radiation therapy refers to a cancer treatment usingradiation to mitigate or kill malignant cells.
Chemo/chemotherapy: Chemotherapy is a category of cancer treatment that uses chemical substances, especially one or more anti-cancer drugs (‘chemotherapeutic agents’).
Tumor: A tumor is a swelling of a part of the body, generally without inflammation, caused by an abnormal growth of tissue, whether benign or malignant. Cancer itself is a malignant tumor in a part of the body due to abnormal cell growth.
Two quotes from the book and an explanation of what the quotes mean or why you think they are important:
Quote: “Everyone wants to lead an extraordinary life.” (Page, 169)
When Augustus was talking to Hazel about life and death, they began to argue a little. Hazel does not agree with Gus and says to him “It’s really mean of you to say that the only lives that matter are the ones that are lived for something or die for something. That’s a really mean thing to say to me.” (Page, 169). Hazel believes that you should live your life for what it is; Gus apologizes saying he was just thinking about himself. Hazel finds Gus’ obsession of dying for something or leaving behind some great sign of his heroism behind very weird. This quote is significant because it shows that Hazel and Augustus don’t agree with each other on everything. They have different views on both living and dying.
Quote: “There’s a great quote in Gus’s house, one that both he and I found very comforting: Without pain, we couldn’t know joy.” (Page, 272)
Hazel begins her eulogy at Augustus’s funeral by saying “There’s a great quote in Gus’s house, one that both he and I found very comforting: Without pain, we couldn’t know joy.” (Page, 272). I think by this Hazel means, if Gus and herself had not gotten cancer and joined the support group, they never would have met. The pain symbolizing their cancer, and joy symbolizing them meeting and spending Gus’s last months together happily. This quote is significant because Hazel is addressing the crowd at Gus’s funeral. During the novel, Hazel used to tease Gus about the religious quotes displayed around his house, but there was one that meant something to both of them and what they’ve gone through.
Your recommendation. Do you think other people should read this book? Why or why not?
Absolutely yes, I recommend it because through the life of a teenager who faces a terminal illness such as cancer, the book teaches that life is not easy but it is always worth living. It shows us the importance of love, friendship and companionship, respect and tolerance and life.