Review: “The Fault in Our Stars,” John Green

Rating:  4.5/5

The Fault in Our Stars is the second book I’ve read by John Green; the first was Looking for Alaska, which I read last year.  It is narrated by an intelligent, witty, sarcastic teenage girl who has been living for several years with terminal cancer.

I put a lot of thought into how I was going to write a synopsis to start this review, before finally deciding that I wasn’t going to, or maybe that I couldn’t.  This is often described as a love story between teenagers with cancer, but that’s not quite right.  What John Green has done brilliantly here (and in Looking for Alaska) is tell the story of the events that make the teenage characters into the adults that they will be. He does it in The Fault in Our Stars with the limitation that those characters may never become adults.  It is essentially a coming-of-age story for a shortened life.

What makes The Fault in Our Stars enjoyable to read is the narrator’s voice.  It perfectly captures the voice of an intelligent teenage girl.  Another thing that stood out to me was the treatment of the adults in the story.  I find too often with young adult novels that the adults (usually parents) are either conspicuously absent, or present, but severely underdeveloped.  Here, they are fully fledged characters who are important, though not critical to the story.  It’s not the best treatment of adult characters around teens that I’ve seen (that’s in the Harry Potter series), but it is much better than the norm.

Overall, I truly enjoyed The Fault in Our Stars.  It was a relatively quick read, but it was a dynamic story with complex characters.  It made me laugh and cry in the first sitting.  It’s treatment of illness/disability and intelligent teenagers was unlike anything I’ve ever read.