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Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Audible Book Review: The Fault in Our Stars by John Green

This is a beautifully written and poignant story of brave teenagers falling in love.
The Fault in Our Stars
by John Green
Narrated by Kate Rudd

    LENGTH    7 hrs and 14 mins
    RELEASE DATE    01-10-12
    PUBLISHER    Brilliance Audio

Genre: Young Adult
4.75 of 5.0.

Publisher's Summary
Audie Award Nominee, Best Teens Category, 2013
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.
©2012 John Green (P)2012 Brilliance Audio, Inc.

Hazel is a sixteen year old teen who would love nothing more than to be a “normal” teen. Instead she has lived with cancer for several years and has to have a portable oxygen tank to help support her weak lungs. She resents her condition, resents the goodwill of her parents who watch over her so carefully and resents the youth support group. The support group is their for encouragement but also brings the stark reality of their illness and mortality to the participants.

One of her group friends is Isaac whose cancer will soon cause him to loose his eye sight. He brings a friend to group one day, a hot looking guy named Augustus. Augustus, a confident teen a few years older has lost a lower limb but has been clear of cancer for a few years. He is immediately smitten by Hazel and young love blooms. They share a love of reading and exchange books.

The book that is Hazel’s favorite was about a young girl who had an illness and lived with her intrepid mother. They are helped by the mother’s boyfriend who Hazel isn’t sure is for real or a con. But the book just ends abruptly... presumably when the girl dies. Hazel is obsessed with learning what happened to the mother and boyfriend. The author has never written anything else and now lives a reclusive life in Netherlands. Augustus reads the book and manages to make contact with the author. Then Augustus uses his wish to arrange a trip to take Hazel to Amsterdam to meet the author and try to get answers to her questions. The trip is an adventure and discovery. But there is heartache in store.

This started slowly for me but it soon became engrossing. The writing is incredibly impressive, thought provoking, touching and poignant. The plot deals with cancer which touched home a bit. But it made me see illness issues in a different perspective - both from the viewpoint of the youth and the difficult position of the parent caregivers. It also reminded me of the brilliance of life. This is a YA romance but readable and meaningful for any age.

Audio Notes: Kate Rudd does an excellent job conveying the illness, rebellion, confusion, hopes and angst of teenage Hazel Grace. She handled the other characters perfectly well too, complete with accents. The narration brought the characters to life and made the story a bit easier smoother.

I picked this from my Audible Library.

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