The Fault in Our Stars

The Fault in Our Stars

Our book choice for Christmas 2013 is The Fault in Our Stars by John Green. 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.

Discussion Questions for The Fault in Our Stars

  • John Green derives his book’s title from a famous line in Shakespeare’s Julius Caesar: “The fault, dear Brutus, is not in our stars, but in ourselves, that we are underlings.” (I,ii,139-140). What does the line mean and why does Green use it for the title? Why does he use, “The fault in our stars” rather than ourselves? How does Green’s meaning differ from Shakespeare’s?
  • John Green’s protagonist is an adolescent girl. Is Hazel convincing as a female character
  • What’s the significance of the swing set?
  • Why is An Imperial Affliction Hazel’s favorite book? Why are Hazel and Gus so committed to discover what happens after its heroine dies?
  • Hazel says, “Cancer books suck.” Is this a book about cancer?
  • What did you think of the final line of the book?
  • Metaphor is explicitly discussed at length by characters in the book.
  • What is the significance of Isaac losing his sight? Do you think it is realistic that Isaac would care more about his break up with Monica than his blindness?
  • What is the significance of Gus’s cigarette?
  • what is Augustus really doing when he goes to get a hamburger in the airport?
  • What does Gus’s use of his Wish tell us about his character?
  • Why does Green use Amsterdam as an alternate setting for part of the book? Why Anne Frank’s house?
  • What is the significance of the words “always” and “okay” to the characters? Why do they pick these words?
  • What did you think of the character of Van Houten? What role does he play in the narrative?
  • Do you have a book that feels ‘too special to talk about’?
  • The book is filled with love stories. Which ones did you connect with the most? The least?
  • Why does Augustus write Hazel a eulogy before he dies? Why doesn’t he present her with the ending of An Imperial Affliction instead?
  • Why did Green fill the book with black humour? Did you find it appropriate? Successful?
  • How do Hazel and Gus change over the course of the novel?
  • What was your experience of reading the book? Did you find it sad? Or uplifting?

Individual Comments

DKB: Despite the wide-ranging ratings, this book generated an engaging discussion from the group and there’s more than meets the eye within. It’s impossible not to fall for the two protagonists and the overall authenticity of dialogue and situation outweighs the contrivances necessary to advance the plot. We have yet to read a title so clearly aimed at the Young Adult market but it was not an unworthy first attempt at the genre.

DKB's Rating ★★★☆☆ 

Sue's Rating ★★★½☆ 

Baljit's Rating ★★★★☆ 

Miranda's Rating ★☆☆☆☆ 

Catherine's Rating ★★☆☆☆ 

Anthony's Rating ★★★¾☆ 

John's Rating ★★¾☆☆