The Fault in Our Stars by John Green
Hazel is going through life as a teenager with a terminal illness until her mom convinces her to go to a support group. Here she meets handsome, fun-loving Augustus who shows her she still has a life to live.
|The Fault in Our Stars by John GreenDespite 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. From Penguingroup.com|
Book Club Party Ideas for The Fault in Our Stars
For your book club for The Fault in Our Stars, you could have each member bring a donation for a charity helping kids with cancer. Here are a few suggestions:
- St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital
- CureSearch for Children’s Cancer
- Make a Wish Foundation
- Ronald McDonald House
Hazel’s and Augustus’s visit to Amsterdam can provide the inspiration for decorations. The color scheme can be orange, the national color of the Netherlands. In her hotel room, Hazel was greeted with a wicker basket containing wooden shoes, an orange Holland t-shirt and chocolates (page 157).
In keeping with the Dutch theme, here is a sampling of Dutch Folk Songs:
Book Club Menu for The Fault in Our Stars
For drinks, you can serve Scotch and water the Peter Van Houten way: “We pour Scotch into a glass and then call to mind thoughts of water, and then we mix the actual Scotch with the abstracted idea of water.”
At a picnic, Augustus brought sandwiches made with Dutch cheese. An alternative for your book club party for The Fault in Our Stars is a Dutch cheese plate.
Here is a little more information about the cheeses:
- Gouda, which is named after a city in the Netherlands, is a semi-hard cheese made from cows milk. It has a toffee-like flavor that goes well with fruit, dark bread, beer and wine.
- Edam is a pressed, hard cheese made from cow’s milk. It is similar to gouda, but is has less fat and more flavor. It tastes great when eaten on crackers or bread with fruit such as pears, apples and cherries. It pairs well with a Pinot Noir.
- Meadowkaas is a gouda-like cheese made from cow’s milk. It is only made during the spring when the cows are grazing on meadow grass. It pairs well with sliced pears and walnuts.
Other menu ideas:
- Augustus’s parents were making chicken enchiladas when Hazel first met them.
- In Amsterdam they ate Belgian white asparagus with a lavender infusion, dragon carrot risotto, sweet pea sorbet, green garlic gnocchi with red mustard leaves, and a succulently rich cremeaux surrounded by passion fruit.
Book Club Resources
Ratings at the time this post was published
|Goodreads: 4.55 stars (129,788 ratings)|
|Amazon: 4.8 stars (1765 ratings)|
|LibraryThing: 4.55 stars (165 ratings)|
|My Rating: 4.75 stars. An insightful look into the world of cancer through the eyes of teenagers who know they are going to die young. The Fault in Our Stars is a YA book and reads likes one (lots of “whatevers”) but he captures the teenager’s mind very well. The characters have a great sense of humor which had me laughing through tears.|
Book Club Discussion Questions for The Fault in Our Stars
Here are some excellent discussion questions from The Penguin Young Readers Group:
- During a disagreement regarding Hazel’s attendance at Support Group, her mother tells her, “Hazel, you deserve a life.” Consider the irony of this statement. Why is Hazel so resistant to attending her Support Group? Though she doesn’t acknowledge it, what might be some of the benefits of her attending?
- In what ways does Augustus’s introduction to Hazel’s world complicate matters for her? How does their relationship profoundly change her life?
- Augustus inquires about Hazel’s background and tells her, “Don’t tell me you’re one of those people who becomes their disease.” In what ways do Augustus, Hazel, and Isaac fight to keep cancer from defining who they are? How do they work to prevent it from consuming all aspects of them?
- Though they are intended to inspire and motivate, why does Augustus find humor in his family’s posted “Encouragements”? What can readers glean about him based on his reaction?
- Though her all-time favorite book is An Imperial Affliction, Hazel shares that she doesn’t like telling people about it because “there are books so special and rare and yours that advertising your affection feels like a betrayal.” What do you believe she means by this statement? Do you agree? Have you ever had a personal connection with a work of art? If so, what was it about the work that “spoke” to you?
- Hazel shares that through his novel, Peter Van Houten is the only person who understands what it’s like to be dying and not have died. What is it about his perspective that makes Hazel feel so connected to this author?
- Why does Hazel feel so desperate to find out what happens beyond the ending of An Imperial Affliction. What does this indicate about her need for understanding about what comes “after”? Compare the parent/child relationships in the story: Hazel and her parents and Augustus and his parents. To what extent are the relationships of these characters shaped by the world around them? To what extent do their relationships shape that world?
- After hearing Augustus state that he fears oblivion, Hazel tells him, “…even if we survive the collapse of our sun, we will not survive forever.” How does her pragmatic understanding of the frailty of humanity help her remain grounded?
- Considering Hazel’s and Augustus’s perspectives, in what ways is The Fault in Our Stars a story about things that have been lost? What does each of them find along the way?
Purchase The Fault in Our Stars at your favorite bookseller
|Photo by Ton Keone||John Green is an award-winning, New York Times-bestselling author whose many accolades include the Printz Medal, a Printz Honor, and the Edgar Award. He has twice been a finalist for the LA Times Book Prize. With his brother, Hank, John is one half of the Vlogbrothers (youtube.com/vlogbrothers), one of the most popular online video projects in the world. From Penguingroup.com|
Other Works by John Green
Personal Insights, Favorite Quotes, etc…
Hazel describing a character in her favorite book: “Throughout the book, she refers to herself as the side effect, which is totally correct. Cancer kids are essentially side effects of the relentless mutation that made the diversity of life on earth possible” (page 49). I had to put the book down at this point and really let this sink in.
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