'The Fault in Our Stars' by John Green

Book Club Discussion Questions

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"The Fault in Our Stars" by John Green has characters who ask big questions. The tale is an emotional—but uplifting—story of two young people who are trying to find themselves and determine what's important in life while battling a serious disease.

Plot Summary

Hazel Grace Lancaster, a teen with cancer, meets Augustus "Gus" Waters, another teen with cancer, in a support group. The two begin talking, hang out, discuss their experiences with the disease and, eventually, plan—and then go—to Amsterdam, to visit Peter Van Houten, an author who has written a book about a girl who battles cancer. They meet the author, who turns out to be not very nice. They return home, and Gus tells Hazel that his cancer has spread throughout his body.

Gus dies, and, surprisingly, Hazel sees Van Houten at the funeral. He and Gus had kept up a correspondence during which Gus insisted Van Houten attend his funeral. Hazel later learns that Gus had sent several pages he wrote about his cancer experience to Van Houten. Hazel tracks down Van Houten and has him read the pages, in which Gus talked about the importance of being happy with the choices you make in life. As the novel ends, Hazel says she is.

Discussion Questions

Use this guide to help your book club think about some of the themes Green raises. Spoiler alert: These questions contain important details about the story. Finish the book before reading on.

  1. Do you like the first-person style of the novel?
  2. Even though "The Fault in Our Stars" deals with timeless questions, it has many markers of the year it was written—from social media pages to text messages and TV show references. Do you think these things will affect its ability to endure over the years or do the concrete references enhance its appeal?
  3. Did you guess that Augustus was sick?
  4. On page 212, Hazel discusses Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs: "According to Maslow, I was stuck on the second level of the pyramid, unable to feel secure in my health and therefore unable to reach for love and respect and art and whatever else, which is, of course, utter horseshit: The urge to make art or contemplate philosophy does not go away when you are sick. Those urges just become transfigured by illness." Discuss this statement, and whether you agree with Maslow or Hazel.
  5. In a support group, Hazel says, "There will come a time when all of us are dead. All of us. There will come a time when there are no human beings remaining to remember that anyone ever existed or that our species ever did anything...maybe that time is coming soon and maybe it is millions of years away, but even if we survive the collapse of our sun, we will not survive forever...And if the inevitability of human oblivion worries you, I encourage you to ignore it. God knows that's what everyone else does." Do you worry about oblivion? Do you ignore it? Different characters in the novel have different views and coping mechanisms to deal with life and death. How do you?
  6. Reread Augustus' letter that Hazel gets via Van Houten at the end of the novel. Do you agree with Augustus? Is it a good way for the novel to end?
  7. What effect does the mingling of normal teenage problems (breakups, coming of age) with a terminal diagnosis create in the novel? For instance, do you think it is realistic that Isaac would care more about his breakup with Monica than his blindness?
  8. Rate "The Fault in Our Stars" on a scale of 1 to 5.
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Your Citation
Miller, Erin Collazo. "'The Fault in Our Stars' by John Green." ThoughtCo, Apr. 11, 2021, thoughtco.com/the-fault-in-our-stars-by-john-green-361848. Miller, Erin Collazo. (2021, April 11). 'The Fault in Our Stars' by John Green. Retrieved from https://www.thoughtco.com/the-fault-in-our-stars-by-john-green-361848 Miller, Erin Collazo. "'The Fault in Our Stars' by John Green." ThoughtCo. https://www.thoughtco.com/the-fault-in-our-stars-by-john-green-361848 (accessed April 14, 2021).