Book Review: The Fault in Our Stars by John Green

Since finishing my masters in December, my reward has been to go on a book binge. Since then I’ve read… eleven books? I think I’m missing one….

And I have four on reserve at the library that are high on my read-now list!

The Fault in Our Stars, by John Green was a book I picked up while I waited for those four, and it is a treasure. I first encountered John Green on his truly fantastic youtube channel, Crash Course. Do yourself a favor and go watch a couple, but make sure it’s actually John Green and not the other guy (sorry other guy… John’s just better). And no really, go watch one. And just try to stop at one….

The book reads much like John’s youtube channel plays. It’s fast, it’s strong, it’s intelligent. It’s funny, insightful, and provoking.

And this book is the best book I’ve read in the last two years. Maybe… ever. As someone who reads 100+ books a year most years, take that at face value.

The Fault in Our Stars, tells the story of a young woman, Hazel, dealing with cancer and her relationship with a young man, Gus, who has battled through cancer himself. It is a gentle book that screams its message subtly (I’m honestly not sure what that means, but it’s the right way to say it). When I talk to Courtney about it, all I can say is that John has crafted the book with perfect perfection. Every word is exactly the right word. Every placement exactly the right placement. Every emotion, every thought, every moment. John writes this book (present tense because the words are alive in your mind) with a grace and skill reserved for the best writers in their most senior works.

As someone who does a lot of writing, I struggle to put together ten pages of such mastery without drawing blood, and John presents 300+ with the simplicity of an afternoon breeze and the power of an evening thunderstorm. At times the story just pools from the page in a smooth stream and at others the message rages through barely contained chains of control.

This is not just the best book I’ve read in the last two years; it is also the most powerful, complete, provoking, and engaging book I’ve read in the last two years. It’s the first book in years to draw tears and outright pleasure. It’s the first book in years that has left me thinking about it not just a little but constantly.

It’s the first book in years that I’m begging someone else to read so that I can talk about it!

A perfect 4/4 stars from me, and the strongest BUY and READ recommendation I can make. Just thinking about it leaves me enthralled with its richness.

Content Note: The book does include some language. I’d rate it a solid PG-13. There is some sexuality as well, but it is tastefully written. Were I a teacher, this is material I’d present to my 10th grade students (or higher). Were I a college professor, this would be mandatory reading. As a friend, it’s a must read for anyone with any respect for literature.

And yes, the book has been made into a movie. Haven’t seen it yet, but it’s now on my list.

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