Ranked among the favorites of “Teen Fiction,” John Green’s The Fault in Our Stars appears five times in the top 100 list. Published in 2012, The Fault in Our Stars is Green’s sixth novel. The title, inspired by nobleman Cassius’ lines in William Shakespeare’s play, Julius Caesar, explores serious themes, such as the insensitivity of the universe, the necessity of human suffering, the reality of death, human existence, and human consciousness. Yet, the protagonist’s wit and sense of humor throughout the first-person narration lightens the seriousness and gravity of the narrative.
The novel is based on the true story of a young teenager, Esther Earl, whose heartbreaking experience in battling thyroid cancer inspired the author. Told from the perspective of Hazel Grace, a sixteen-year-old girl who has been diagnosed with terminal cancer, she is forced to attend a support group by her parents. Subsequently, at the meetings, she meets and falls in love with Augustus Waters, a sixteen-year-old amputee and ex-basketball player who has also been diagnosed with terminal cancer. Augustus attends the meeting to support his friend, who is losing his remaining eye as the tumor in his body continues to spread. Hazel and Augustus develop an immediate connection at the meeting. Eventually, the young lovers confess their affection for one another and vow to support one another even as Augustus and Hazel’s health worsen.
With the novel’s universal themes resonating through the voice of teenage protagonists, adolescent readers can easily connect and identify with the characters. When asked to review the novel, one adolescent reader wrote, “This is THE most amazing book I have ever read. It’s better than Harry Potter. The writing is fantastic, and the philosophical questions it deals with are of amazing proportions. The Fault in Our Stars essentially deals with the meaning of life in one, not terribly long novel. The message of living and loving despite dying are profound and much more worth thinking about than the topics of most other teen (and other) books published today.”
Other novels similar to The Fault in Our Stars that students may enjoy include:
The Butterfly Clues by Kate Ellison
Monsters of Men by Patrick Ness
Losing Hope by Colleen Hoover