The Fault In Our Stars by John Green

the fault in our starsTitleThe Fault In Our Stars

Author: John Green

ISBN: 978-0-525-47881-2

Publication Date: 2012

Genre: Realistic Fiction and Romance

Reading Level/Interest Age: 15 and up

Plot: Hazel Grace is sixteen years old and is undergoing an internal fight in her own body and this battle is against cancer. The disease had originated in her thyroid and then eventually spread to her lungs. This makes breathing and every other activity hard for her to accomplish but thankfully, she has a handy oxygen tank to lug around with her. Hazel’s parents are struggling to get her through this battle against cancer and send her to the Support Group at a church where other cancer ridden kids gather and share their thoughts with each other. She sees the usuals there – especially her good friend Isaac who is diagnosed with eye cancer – until the disease takes over and allow their souls to rest in peace. There is no wonder why Hazel has a bleak outlook on life, but all that is about to change when Isaac brings his good friend and cancer survivor Augustus Waters to the group.

Critical Evaluation: This particular book covers the issue of coping with a disease that can lead to uncertainties. Hazel has a very bleak and depressing outlook on life because of her disease and disregards all of the usual things that people say to her for encouragement and a hopeful future. However, once seeing her terminally ill love of her life struggling with his cancer, she cannot help but say all the things she’s heard from people in her life. The different turn of events that occur within the story are able to change Hazel’s way of seeing the effects of cancer.  The meeting of Waters allowed her to take on more challenges and also allowed her to share her thoughts and feelings about her disease. When their good friend, Isaac, was forced to surgically remove his eye and be blind forever was an experience that allowed both Hazel and Augustus see the real effects of cancer. The several meetings that she encountered with the author, Peter Van Houtan, that she idolized, each were unsettling but yet she was able to see how a disease had indirectly created an alcoholic mean person. Of course this makes her worry about all the grief that her loved ones will feel after she’s gone. Then after the death of Augustus had come about, Hazel had firsthand experience with the remorse that she’d feared. Although these turn of events may seem continuously negative, the reader can be able to grow along with Hazel and experience all of the hardships that cancer patients must go through.

Reader’s Annotation: Hazel Grace is a terminally ill cancer fighting patient at only 16 years old. Little does she know that the cancer is not the only thing she has to worry about.

Author: Based on John Green’s official website, was raised in Orlando, Florida where he attended Indian Springs School and then went to Kenyon College. Green has become the New York Times bestselling author for his books, Looking for Alaska,An Abundance of KatherinesPaper Towns, and The Fault in Our Stars. He has received many awards such as the 2006 Michael L. Printz Award, the 2009 Edgar Award, and has also been a finalist for the Los Angeles Times Book Prize twice.

Green has joined forces with his brother Hank to produce a number of video blogs to raise awareness about intellectualism and the fight against poverty in developing countries. These two consider themselves Nerdfighters and they upload two videos each week talk about the many different issues that the developing world encounters. The Green brothers have one of the most popular YoutTube channels in online history and have made a dramatic difference to the world that needs help. On Hank’s 30th birthday, they planted thousands of trees around the world in May of 2010 and have raised thousands of dollars to fight poverty.

Curriculum Ties: coping with death

Booktalking Ideas:

  1. How can the different events that occurred in the book affect those without cancer compared to those that do?

Challenging Issues:

  • Sexual content
  • Alcohol consumption
  • Profanity.

Defensive Maneuvers:

  • I would be sure to study and memorize the library’s collection policy.
  • The Library Bill of Rights must also be brought to the challenger’s attention stating that the library is an information institution that provides both information and ideas.
  • Have both good and bad reviews (from respected sources) about the book at hand.
  • Remember to mention the awards and honors that the book has received.
  • Be sure to listen to the person who is challenging the book and do not interrupt them while they are speaking. Try to understand where the patron is coming from when he or she states their concerns about the book.
  • When you respond to the challenger, have a calm and respectable tone informing them that the library must do all that it can to provide intellectual freedom to its patrons, young and old.

Why This Book? Although this book dives into the difficult lifestyles of teens diagnosed with cancer, the emotional and physical struggles that are shown in The Fault in Our Stars can be an eye opening experience for the reader. There are many people who do not see people undergoing chemotherapy and radiation therapy and the side effects of those treatments and Green was able to express this through a teenage girl’s perspective. Many teens may be uninterested in reading nonfiction adult books that discuss these topics, but this particular book can connect with young adults on a whole other level.

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