Fault in Our Stars (Green)

The Fault in Our Stars
John Green, 2012
Penguin Group USA
336 pp.
ISBN-13: 9780525478812 


Summary
Despite the tumor-shrinking medical miracle that has bought her a few years, Hazel has never been anything but terminal, her final chapter inscribed upon diagnosis. But when a gorgeous plot twist named Augustus Waters suddenly appears at Cancer Kid Support Group, Hazel’s story is about to be completely rewritten.

Insightful, bold, irreverent, and raw, The Fault in Our Stars is award-winning author John Green’s most ambitious and heartbreaking work yet, brilliantly exploring the funny, thrilling, and tragic business of being alive and in love. (From the publisher.)



Author Bio
Birth—August 24, 1977
Where—Indianapolis, Indiana, USA
Rasied—Orlando, Florida
Education—Kenyon College
Awards—Michael L. Printz Award (twice);
   Edgar Award for Best Young Adult Novel;
   ture; Corine Literature Prize.
Currently—


John Michael Green is an American author of young adult fiction and a YouTube vlogger. He is also a #1 Best Selling author on the New York Times Bestseller list.

Green grew up in Orlando, Florida, before attending Indian Springs School, a boarding and day school outside of Birmingham, Alabama. He graduated from Kenyon College in 2000 with a double major in English and Religious Studies.

Green lived for several years in Chicago, where he worked for the book review journal Booklist as a publishing assistant and production editor while writing Looking for Alaska. While there, he reviewed hundreds of books, particularly literary fiction and books about Islam or conjoined twins. He has also critiqued books for the New York Times Book Review and written for National Public Radio's All Things Considered and WBEZ, Chicago's public radio station. He lived in New York City for two years while his wife attended graduate school.

Green currently resides in Indianapolis, Indiana with his wife, Sarah, his son Henry, and his dog, a West Highland Terrier, named Willy (full name Fireball Wilson Roberts).

Writing
Green's first novel, Looking for Alaska (based on his own boarding school experience), won the 2006 Michael L. Printz Award presented by the American Library Association, and made the ALA 2005 Top 10 Best Book for Young Adults. The film rights to Looking for Alaska were purchased by Paramount in 2005 and the movie scheduled to be released in 2013.

His second novel, An Abundance of Katherines (2006), was a 2007 Michael L. Printz Award Honor Book, a finalist for the Los Angeles Times Book Prize, and may also be made into a movie in the future.

Green collaborated on a book with fellow young adult authors Maureen Johnson and Lauren Myracle called Let It Snow (2008), which contains three interconnected short stories that take place in the same small town on Christmas Eve during a massive snowstorm. The story that he penned is called "A Cheertastic Christmas Miracle". On November 27, 2009, the book reached number 10 on the New York Times bestseller list for paperback children's books.

Green's third novel, Paper Towns (2008 ), debuted at number 5 on the New York Times bestseller list for children's books, and the movie rights to Paper Towns have been optioned, with Green hired to write the screenplay. Paper Towns was awarded the 2009 Edgar Award for Best Young Adult Novel and the 2010 Corine Literature Prize.

Green collaborated with fellow young adult writer and friend David Levithan on the 2010 book entitled Will Grayson, Will Grayson, and Green appeared on the Smart Mouths Podcast to discuss the book and collaboration.

Before Green's fifth book, The Fault in Our Stars, was released in 2012, he agreed to signed all 150,000 copies of the first printing, as well as his wife and his brother leaving their own symbols, a Yeti and an Anglerfish respectively. The New York Times Best Seller List for Children's Books listed the book at #1 within weeks.

John is also the cocreator (with his brother, Hank) of the popular video blog Brotherhood 2.0, which has been watched more than 30 million times by Nerdfighter fans all over the globe. (Adapted from Wikipedia.)



Book Reviews
This is [John Green's] best work yet. Narrator Hazel Grace Lancaster, 16, is (miraculously) alive thanks to an experimental drug that is keeping her thyroid cancer in check. In an effort to get her to have a life (she withdrew from school at 13), her parents insist she attend a support group at a local church, which Hazel characterizes in an older-than-her-years voice as a "rotating cast of characters in various states of tumor-driven unwellness." Despite Hazel's reluctant presence, it's at the support group that she meets Augustus Waters, a former basketball player who has lost a leg to cancer. The connection is instant, and a (doomed) romance blossoms. There is a road trip—Augustus, whose greatest fear is not of death but that his life won't amount to anything, uses his "Genie Foundation" wish to take Hazel to Amsterdam to meet the author of her favorite book. Come to think of it, Augustus is pretty damn hot. So maybe there's not a new formula at work so much as a gender swap. But this iteration is smart, witty, profoundly sad, and full of questions worth asking, even those like "Why me?" that have no answer. Ages 14–up.
Publishers Weekly


"It's not fair," complains 16-year-old Hazel from Indiana. "The world," says Gus, her new friend from her teen support group, "is not a wish-granting factory." Indeed, life is not fair; Hazel and Gus both have cancer, Hazel's terminal. Despite this, she has a burning obsession: to find out what happens to the characters after the end of her favorite novel. An Imperial Affliction by Dutch author Peter Van Houten is about a girl named Anna who has cancer, and it ends in mid-sentence (presumably to indicate a life cut short), a stylistic choice that Hazel appreciates but the ambiguity drives her crazy. Did the "Dutch Tulip Man" marry Anna's mom? What happened to Sisyphus the Hamster? Hazel asks her questions via email and Van Houten responds, claiming that he can only tell her the answers in person. When she was younger, Hazel used her wish-one granted to sick children from The Genie Foundation—by going to Disney World. Gus decides to use his to take Hazel to Amsterdam to meet the author. Like most things in life, the trip doesn't go exactly as anticipated. Van Houten is a disappointment, but Hazel, who has resisted loving Gus because she doesn't want to be the grenade that explodes in his life when she dies, finally allows herself to love. Once again Green offers a well-developed cast of characters capable of both reflective thought and hilarious dialogue. With his trademark humor, lovable parents, and exploration of big-time challenges, The Fault in Our Stars is an achingly beautiful story about life and loss. —Ragan O'Malley, Saint Ann's School, Brooklyn, NY
School Library Journal



Discussion Questions
1. John Green derives his book's title from a famous line in Shakespeare's Julius Caesar: "The fault, dear Brutus, is not in our stars, but in ourselves, that we are underlings." (I,ii,139-140). What does the line mean—and why would Green have used it for his title? Even more important, why would he have altered it to read, "The fault in our stars" rather than ourselves? How does Green's meaning differ from Shakespeare's?

2. How would you describe the two main characters, Hazel and Gus? Do either of them conform, in behavior or thinking, to what we normally associate with young cancer patients? How do the two differ from one another...and how do their personality traits and interests complement each other?

3. How do Hazel and Gus each relate to their cancer? Do they define themselves by it?  Do they ignore it? Do they rage at life's unfairness? Most importantly, how do the two confront the big questions of life and death?

4. Do you find some of the descriptions of pain, the medical realities that accompany cancer, or the discussion of bodily fluids too graphic?

5. At one point, Hazel says, "Cancer books suck." Is this a book about cancer? Did you have trouble picking up the book to read it? What were you expecting? Were those expectations met...or did the book alter your ideas?

5. John Green uses the voice of an adolescent girl to narrate his story. Does he do a convincing job of creating a female character?

7. Hazel considers An Imperial Affliction "so special and rare that advertising your affection for it feels like a betrayal." Why is it Hazel's favorite book? Why is it so important that she and Gus learn what happens after its heroine dies? Have you ever felt the same way about a book as Hazel does—that it is too special to talk about?

8. What do you think about Peter Van Houten, the fictional author of An Imperial Affliction? This book's real author, John Green, has said that Van Houten is a "horrible, horrible person but I have an affection for him." Why might Green have said that? What do you think of Van Houten?

9. Green once served as a chaplain in a children's hospital, working with young cancer patients. In an interview, he referred to the "hero's journey within illness"—that "in spite of it, you pull yourself up and continue to be alive while you're alive." In what way does Green's comment apply to his book—about two young people who are dying? Is theirs a hero's journey? Is the "pull yourself up" phrase an unseemly statement by someone, like the author or any reader, who is not facing a terminal disease?

10. What did you make of the book's humor? Is it appropriate...or inappropriate? Green has said he "didn't want to use humor to lighten the mood" or "to pull out the easy joke" when things got hard. But, he said, he likes to write about "clever kids, [and they] tend to be funny even when things are rough." Is his use of humor successful? How did it affect the way you read the book?

11. After his chaplaincy experience, Green said he believed that "life is utterly random and capricious, and arbitrary." Yet he also said, after finishing The Fault in Our Stars that he no longer feels that life's randomness "robs human life of its meaning...or that it robs even lives of people who don't get to have full lives." Would you say that the search for meaning—even, or especially, in the face of dying—is what this book explores? Why...or why not?

12. How do Hazel and Gus change, in spirit, over the course of the novel?

13. Talk about how you experienced this book? Is it too sad, too tragic to contemplate? Or did you find it in some way uplifting?

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