"I fell in love the way you fall asleep: slowly, and then all at once."
— Hazel Grace Lancaster
The Fault in Our Stars is the fourth solo novel by author John Green, released on January 10th, 2012 . The book focuses on a girl named Hazel Grace Lancaster, who is a teenage extreme recluse: her only friends are her parents, and her preferred hobby is rereading her favorite book, An Imperial Affliction, over and over. One night, while at a support group (her parents' idea, not hers) she meets gorgeous and philosophical Augustus Waters, who piques her curiosity and gets her thinking again about life, adventure... and love. There's only one snag in this budding romance. Hazel and Augustus met at a Cancer Support Group. Hazel has terminal lung tumors, biding their time against perilous drugs, and Augustus is in remission after bone cancer took his leg.Before the book was released, it reached #1 on the Amazon.com and Barnes & Noble bestseller lists in June 2011, shortly after its title was announced. Barnes & Noble had accidentally released more than a thousand copies prematurely, however, the fandom vowed not to spoil the book for those who had not received copies.A blog where John answers questions about TFIOS is currently available here for anyone who has finished reading the book, and only for people who have finished the book. (It is no longer password-protected, although one still runs a high risk of major spoilers.)A movie adaptation, starring Shailene Woodley as Hazel and Ansel Elgort as Augustus, is set to be released in June 2014.
Tropes present in The Fault In Our Stars include:
Adorkable: Both Hazel and Augustus. Lampshaded by each other multiple times. A more specific example would be Augustus's reaction to flying on a plane for the very first time.
Kaitlyn: "Oh, my God. I've seen him at parties. The things I would do to that boy. I mean, not now that I know you're interested in him. But, oh, sweet holy Lord, I would ride that one-legged pony all the way around the corral."
Kaitlyn: "Sorry. Do you think you'd have to be on top?"
Kaitlyn: "What were we talking about?"
Drives Like Crazy: Augustus; neither using his prosthetic right nor real left foot on the accelerator or brake quite works for him, and he suspects that the examiner who licensed him (on the third try) passed him as a Cancer Kid Perk.
Fluffy Cloud Heaven: Gus says he doesn't believe in this, but does say he believes in "Something".
Freestate Amsterdam: Mostly averted although Augustus and Hazel are served champagne quite openly. It's noted in passing that this was paid for by Van Houten (or by Lidewij with his money), not the Genies.
Ill Girl: Hazel was diagnosed with Stage IV thyroid cancer at age 13, with tumors in her lungs.
Jerkass: Van Houten, by his own admission. Though there may be hope for him after all. Maybe.
Jumping on a Grenade: Augustus enjoys doing this in video games to save the fictional schoolchildren. In a more poetic sense, when Hazel doesn't want him to love her because she is a "grenade" and her death will hurt him, he does anyway.
Lidewij Vliegenthart was supposedly named for Lidewij and Sanne Vliegenthart - two Dutch nerdfighters. Sanne's channel is here.
Isaac, who has to get a surgery that causes him to go blind in order to get rid of his cancer, is named after the Biblical Isaac, who also went blind. ("Isaac" also sounds like "eye-sick," though John Green said this was more a happy accident. "I'm not that punny.")
Men Don't Cry: Averted, Hazel's father bursts into tears in almost every scene he's in. But no one ever makes a negative remark about it.
Mood Whiplash: The day after Hazel and Augustus share their first kiss and make love, Augustus reveals that his cancer has returned and metastasized.
The books based on Gus's favorite video game. Count how many times "Max Mayhem" is brought up after Hazel reads them.
America's Next Top Model
Shrug of God: Van Houten's In-Universe reaction when Hazel and Angustus ask Van Houten what happened to the characters of An Imperial Affliction and he tells them he doesn’t know.
Shout-Out: At one point Augustus muses that it would be awesome to fly in a super fast jet that could follow the sun; John's admitted to being a fan of Phineas and Ferb, and this was the plot of their first special.
Teen Genius: Like many other John Green characters, Hazel and Augustus are insanely philosophical and verbally articulate for their age.
Notably, though, they do get several things wrong. Hazel misunderstands both relativity and the concept of infinity, and Gus says "soliloquy" when he means "monologue." According to the author, this was on purpose, to show that even though they're very intelligent, they are still young and inexperienced.
This is not so much an author's note as an author's reminder of what was printed in small type a few pages ago: This book is a work of fiction. I made it up.
Neither novels or their readers benefit from attempts to divine whether any facts hide inside a story. Such efforts attack the very idea that made-up stories can matter, which is sort of the foundational assumption of our species.
Augustus alludes to this on page 173. "Like, are you familiar with the trope of the stoic and determined cancer victim who heroically fights her cancer with inhuman strength and never complains or stops smiling even at the very end, et cetera?"
"According to the conventions of this genre, he kept his sense of humor until the end, did not for a moment waiver in his courage, and his spirit soared like an indomitable eagle until the world itself could not contain his joyous soul. But this was the truth..."