In The Fault in Our Stars, John Green tells the story of Hazel Grace Lancaster, a teenager living with a cancer that will eventually kill her, and the boy that she falls in love with, Augustus “Gus” Waters. Hazel lives on oxygen tanks and lung machines, as she has stage 4 thyroid cancer that metastasized in her lungs. For the past few years, she has been taking the experimental drug Phalanxifor, which has been her miracle drug, keeping her alive. Gus also has suffered from cancer, losing a leg and a potential basketball career to osteosarcoma, but he is in remission. They meet at a support group that Hazel’s parents force her to attend; Gus was there supporting a friend of his, Isaac, who was losing his eyes to cancer.
At first, Hazel and Gus are just friends; both exchange their favorite books with each other. Gus’s book is a novelization based on his favorite video game, whereas Hazel’s is, what she feels a literary masterpiece, entitled “An Imperial Affliction” – of which she is obsessed. Gus soon becomes obsessed too, and they eventually embark on a journey to Amsterdam to meet the author himself, but at the same time learning one of life’s hardest lessons.
The premise of this book sounds a bit depressing, and at times it is just that, but it is also inspiring. Despite their circumstances, Hazel and Gus fall in love and support each other through the ups and downs of cancer, and in attempts to fulfill last wishes. It is not a novel for the light-hearted, but it is amazing nonetheless. I leave you with a quote!
“I would probably never again see the ocean from thirty thousand feet above, so far up that you can’t make out the waves or any boats, so that the ocean is a great and endless monolith. I could imagine it. I could remember it. But I couldn’t see it again, and it occurred to me that the voracious ambition of humans is never sated by dreams coming true, because there is always the thought that everything might be done better and again.”