"I can't tell you how thankful I am for our little infinity."
"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 recluse: her best 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, was released in June of 2014. There's also what could be considered a companion book, This Star Won't Go Out which is the autobiography of Esther Grace Earl, a young girl with terminal cancer similar to Hazel's situation (many people including news outlets mistakenly claim this girl is the inspiration of TFiOS, but John Green denies this in his foreword for TSWGO).
Tropes present in The Fault In Our Stars include:
Adaptational Attractiveness: Peter van Houten is played by Willem Dafoe in the movie, and unsurprisingly, he's more attractive than the fat and spindly Peter in the book.
Adapted Out: Minor characters like Kaitlyn, Lydia and Gus' sisters are not present in the film. Van Houten gives Augustus' eulogy to Hazel personally, while Isaac fills the slightly comedic relief role. Some other scenes are also cut to improve the flow (and shorten the length) of the film. John Green's cameo as the parent of the little girl who wanted to try on Hazel's cannula was also cut.
California Doubling: Pittsburgh will be used as a substitute for Indianapolis in the movie, due to Pennsylvania offering more generous film-production tax credits than Indiana.
Chekhov's Gun: An Imperial Affliction, as it leads Hazel and Augustus to Amsterdam to met Van Houten.
Complete The Quote Title: from Shakespeare's "The fault, dear Brutus, is not in our stars but in ourselves." Green argues that the fault can be in our stars and not ourselves. Sometimes our downfalls and our weaknesses really aren't our fault. We did nothing wrong and bad stuff still happens... like cancer.
Creator Cameo: John Green was supposed to play the father (it was a mother in the book) whose child wanted to try on Hazel's cannula, but the scene was cut.
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?"
Door Stopper: Not the book itself (a modest 300 pages, hardcover) but In-Universe, An Imperial Affliction is mentioned as being over six hundred pages in length.
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.
Funny Background Event: Isaac beating the crap out of Gus' trophies and egging Monica's car, both of which happen during Gus and Hazel's heart-to-hearts.
Ill Girl: Hazel was diagnosed with Stage IV thyroid cancer at age 13, with tumors in her lungs.
Other examples include Caroline Mathers, Peter Van Houten's late daughter and all the other girls at support group, obviously.
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.
Averted with Gus on a couple of occasions too. And Isaac.
Mood Whiplash: The day after Hazel and Augustus share their first kiss and make love, Augustus reveals that his cancer has returned and metastasized.
Parents as People: Hazel's parents are shown to be very loving and supportive of her but also have their obvious frustrations with the burden her illness has put on their personal lives.
Precision F-Strike: Hazel gives Van Houten one of these before storming out of his living room in the movie.
Reality Is Unrealistic: A few people who reviewed the movie suggested that it was Hollywoodized to some degree due to Augustus's chemo not resulting in any hair loss, but the writers did research and the type of chemo that character would be on in their situation wouldn't result in any hair loss.
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.
"Funky Bones" is located at Indianapolis Museum of Art where Sarah Urist Green, aka The Yeti, is Curator of Contemporary Collections. The author's wife had a major hand in bringing the sculpture to Indy.
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..."