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The Fault in Our Stars by John Green

The Fault in Our Stars by John Green

‘It seemed like forever ago, like we’ve had this brief but still infinite forever. Some infinities are bigger than other infinities.’

As a big fan of John Green’s novels, it might seem strange that I haven’t reviewed any his books on my blog, yet.

In fact, after I read The Fault in Our Stars, I was so blown away that I never quite knew how I could review such a fantastic novel, and I didn’t feel quite right discussing his previous work before I talked about my all-time favourite. I continued to put off writing this review in the hopes that I could find the perfect way to describe the book, but the fact is, you can’t describe it, you can only read it and fall in love with it the way I and millions of others did.

‘But it is the nature of stars to cross, and never was Shakespeare more wrong than when he has Cassius note, ‘The fault, dear Brutus, is not in our stars / But in ourselves.’

Hazel is a 16 year-old terminal cancer patient whose parents force her to attend a support group to get her out of the house, and socialise with other children her age. There she meets 17 year-old Augustus Waters, an amputee in remission from osteosarcoma – they become friends, and she introduces him to her favourite book: An Imperial Affliction. The book is about a girl with cancer who lives an interesting life, that is until the book ends mid-sentence. Hazel has tried countless times to contact the author but to no avail. However, Augustus has a plan…

‘Tell me my copy is missing the last twenty pages or something.

Hazel Grace, tell me I have not reached the end of this book.

OH MY GOD DO THEY GET MARRIED OR NOT OH MY GOD WHAT IS THIS”’

I loved the plot-line with the unfinished novel, which ultimately creates a brilliant – although somewhat painful – adventure for the teens. The descriptions of Holland are enchanting, and coming from someone who lived there for 3 years, they are also fairly accurate, and for me felt wonderfully familiar.

‘”Do you see that?” I did. There were elm trees everywhere along the canals, and these seeds were blowing out of them. But they didn’t look like seeds. They looked for all the world like miniaturized rose petals drained of their color. These pale petals were gathering in the wind like flocking birds – thousands of them like a spring snowstorm.’

This story may be about children with cancer, but really, it’s not at all: it’s about life. Hazel is a normal teenage girl and Augustus is a normal teenage boy; they just happen to suffer a lot more than most. The characters that John Green creates are so unbearably realistic, and feel so real, that when the book ends you will just be sitting there, wondering what on earth just happened to you.

‘I fell in love the way you fall asleep: slowly, then all at once.’

Ultimately this is a funny, painful, realistic and altogether wonderful book, John Green has truly outdone himself. His style is so unique, it isn’t really comparable to any other YA authors. However, it stands strong alongside my other all-time favourite YA book(s), The Chaos Walking Trilogy. I absolutely cannot wait to see what he brings out next.

Suitable for age 14+

Love From,

Original Book Girl

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The Chaos Walking Trilogy by Patrick Ness

‘Without a filter, a man is just chaos walking.’

The Chaos Walking Trilogy by Patrick Ness

‘”War is like a monster,” he says, almost to himself. “War is the devil. It starts and it consumes and it grows and grows and grows.” He’s looking at me now. “And otherwise normal men become monsters, too.”‘

I feel that the Chaos Walking trilogy can only really be reviewed all together, as a whole.
Each book is so closely linked to the one before, and each time the story begins exactly where it left off.

Todd Hewitt is the last boy left in Prentisstown; a place full of ‘noise’ where the private thoughts of every man and animal are audible. He has been told that all the women were killed by a ‘germ’ released by the native species; the Spackle.
One day Todd stumbles across a patch of complete silence, but that’s impossible, isn’t it?
Soon he begins to uncover the secrets of Prentisstown, and discovers that everyone has been lying to him…
Along with his dog Manchee, he must flee the town and escape the Mayor, only then can he discover the truth about his world.

It is by far one of the best stories I have ever had the pleasure to read. Once you become engrossed in this trilogy, it will take you over. You will find yourself thinking about it day and night, worrying about the lives of the characters you feel for so strongly.
It won numerous awards including the 2009 Costa Book Award, The Guardian Children’s Fiction Prize, the Booktrust Teenage Prize, and many others, and I am not the least bit surprised.

‘It’s not that you should never love something so much that it can control you.
It’s that you need to love something that much so you can never be controlled.
It’s not a weakness.
It’s your best strength.’

This is by no means a light read. It is deep, heavy, engrossing, all-encompassing and beyond brilliant. I did feel a bit overwhelmed in parts, especially by the time I reached the third book, Monsters of Men. There is just so much going on, so many psychological factors, and an awful lot of war, but this just adds to the wonder of these books. They are so detailed, so well thought out, and the characters feel more real than I ever thought possible in a novel. It is an exhilarating read, and frankly, an astounding and heartbreaking three novels.

In the first book The Knife of Never Letting Go, and the second The Ask and the Answer, Patrick Ness occasionally shows huge amounts of ‘noise’ by big overlapping scribbled words on the page. This is such an inventive technique and so effective at making you feel as if you are right there in the middle of story. I have recommended this trilogy to everyone under the sun, and have had many pleased parents come back to tell me how both they and their teenage children have thoroughly enjoyed it.

This is definitely not just a book for children, it is for adults too. So far, I haven’t met a single person, either adult or child, who didn’t enjoy the Chaos Walking trilogy.

I actually want to cover Patrick Ness with huge hugs and kisses for bringing such a brilliant series of books into the world. You genius, you. 🙂

Suitable for age 12+

Love From,

Original Book Girl

N.B. This trilogy was actually recommended to me by the wonderful Lindsey Barraclough, author of Long Lankin.

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Filed under Adult Literature, Children's Literature