Monday, January 23, 2012

Audiobook Review: The Fault in Our Stars by John Green

Publisher: Dutton Juvenile/Brilliance Audio
Publication Date: January 10th, 2012

Diagnosed with Stage IV thyroid cancer at 12, Hazel was prepared to die until, at 14, a medical miracle shrunk the tumours in her lungs... for now.

Two years post-miracle, sixteen-year-old Hazel is post-everything else, too; post-high school, post-friends and post-normalcy. And even though she could live for a long time (whatever that means), Hazel lives tethered to an oxygen tank, the tumours tenuously kept at bay with a constant chemical assault.

Enter Augustus Waters. A match made at cancer kid support group, Augustus is gorgeous, in remission, and shockingly to her, interested in Hazel. Being with Augustus is both an unexpected destination and a long-needed journey, pushing Hazel to re-examine how sickness and health, life and death, will define her and the legacy that everyone leaves behind.
(Courtesy of Goodreads)

This book was one of my most anticipated releases of 2012.  John Green is an amazing writer, who knows the intricacies and simplicities of the teen mind better than anyone I can think of.  When I heard about The Fault in Our Stars, my first thought was, "How is John Green going to pull off making cancer funny?".  It's not that I wanted him to make cancer funny, but I've grown to expect a certain amount of his particular brand of humor from all his books, and cancer or not, I was expecting it here.  Well, I'm pleased to say that John Green did it; he wrote about about kids with cancer that was not only humorous, but tastefully so.  It was full of the one-liners and observations that John Green is known for, but it also had it's share of very poignant statements, which he is also known for.  An example of one of the one-liners that made me laugh out loud was early on when, after support group, the kids were talking about how the moderator said that they were literally living in Jesus's heart, and Hazel responded, "Someone should tell Jesus. It's gotta be dangerous storing children with cancer in your heart."  I laughed so hard at that comment, but then later on, we get one of those statements that makes you cry, when someone (I won't say who or why because I don't want to give spoilers) says, "Grief does not change you, it reveals you."  How true is that?  I loved the characters and the story was both gut-wrenching and uplifting, often in the same sentence.  This book is a book that everyone should read; not just fans of John Green, not just teens or adult YA fans like myself, EVERYONE!  I think anyone could benefit from reading this book, and I dare anyone to say that it sucks.

This book is by far, John Green's best book yet, and I think the audio experience made it even better.  The narrator, Kate Rudd, was the perfect voice for Hazel and she did a great job of adding emotion and life to the story and characters.  The best part of the audio version though, had to be the pretty lengthy interview with John Green at the end of it.  I always enjoy hearing him speak and this case was no different; for such a young guy, he is very wise.  If you can get your hands on a copy, do yourself a favor and give it a listen.

My Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ +++

Grade Level Recommendation:  Usually, with John Green's books, I say they are definite HS, minimum 8th grade+ reads because he so accurately portrays teens, and quite frankly, older tweens and young teens don't necessarily need exposure to the fact that a lot of behavior parents would never want to believe of their "good" kid would partake in is extremely typical of "good" kids.  They will find out soon enough... This book, though, is different.  First off, the characters, as much as they want to be, are NOT typical teens; they are teens with cancer and struggles that take away much of the joy of being a kid.  Also, this book is pretty tame content-wise, compared to his other books.  There is sex, but it is not at all graphic and is portrayed as a beautiful thing between two people who love each other and who know they don't have time to wait until they are married, or even "adults".  I think the benefits of a 6th or 7th grader reading this book well outweighs some content that some parents might find objectionable.  I would be more than willing to allow my 5th grader to read this, knowing that she would get a tremendous amount of the right kind of insight out of it.  Grades 6 and up (ages 11+). 

1 comment:

  1. I just got this one from the library today! I'm glad to know that you loved it, too! I've never read a John Green book before but this one sounds like a great one to start with. Awesome review!


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