The Fault in Our Stars This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine.

June 23, 2014
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I, like so many others, read and thoroughly enjoyed the book The Fault in Our Stars by John Green. Yet, unlike the multitudes of teenage girls, I didn't think the movie adaptation is that great. Sure, Shailene Woodley portrays Hazel perfectly, and Ansel Elgort as Augustus is quite handsome, but the film lacks the depth and gravity that makes The Fault in Our Stars one of the best young-adult novels of our time.

The story is about two teenagers who have cancer. Hazel has Stage 4 thyroid cancer, while Augustus has osteosarcoma, which requires the amputation of his leg. They meet at a cancer support group and, naturally, fall in love. Hazel is depressed – “a side effect of dying” – and you hear her thoughts and observations of what it is like to be a teenager dying of cancer. She keeps her distance from Augustus, trying to spare him from being hurt when she inevitably dies. Yet, sure enough, several trips to the ER, a few romantic scenes, and an international vacation later, they fall in love. Of course, just when all seems to be going well, tragedy strikes.

The movie is a faithful adaptation of the book. The characters and settings are exactly as imagined; some of the best quotes from the book are even included. Yet, there is a major difference. The book is around 50 percent love story and 50 percent cancer. The movie, however, is more like 70/30. It feels as if the producers were attempting to appeal to date-night moviegoers more than staying true to the spirit of the book. I would have preferred fewer sappy love scenes and more of the inner emotions that Hazel conveys in the book.

I cherish The Fault in Our Stars, not as a romance novel, but as a book about cancer. There are few young-adult novels about what it's like for a kid to live with a terminal illness. Yet, it's something that has affected many families, including mine. I was born with retinoblastoma, a rare childhood cancer of the retinas, which Isaac (Nat Wolff) has in this film.

I spent many years of my childhood in the hospital, surrounded by kids who were not dying of cancer but living with it. I have seen my parents' agony and heartbreak, the kindness of doctors and nurses, and the simple inability of others to understand what you are going through. The Fault in Our Stars, the novel I loved, reflects on all of this. It allows those who have not experienced what I have, and what Hazel and Augustus have, to understand what it means to have cancer. But most of this is lost in the movie. Instead, it's a sappy love story, devoid of the inner emotions that Hazel feels in the book.

If you're a die-hard fan who loves romance, you'll love the movie. Even if you've already read the book, the movie is worth seeing, just to bring it all to life before your eyes. But if you haven't read the book, don't just watch the movie. It doesn't do this story justice.

This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. This piece has been published in Teen Ink’s monthly print magazine.

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Airianna Sixx said...
Dec. 16, 2014 at 10:35 am
In The Fault in our Stars by John Green, Hazel and Augustus meet and fall in love during a cancer support group. The book focuses on being strong and making the most of your life, despite what might happen in the future. The authors purpose is to show that just because you have a disease, doesn't mean you should stop enjoying yourself. I think you should read this book because it was very inspiring to anyone going through a situation where they feel like they should just give up.Hazel Lancas... (more »)
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