Bryan Podell, English Teacher, Intrinsic Schools
The Fault in Our Stars follows Hazel Grace, a teenage girl battling cancer. In a support group Hazel meets Augustus, who is also battling cancer, and the two immediately hit it off and begin a relatively normal teenage love affair. In the course of their relationship, they bond over a novel by Peter Van Houten whose main character Hazel greatly identifies with, but the novel ends without a clear resolution. Hazel and Augustus become determined to learn the novel’s ending and begin a correspondence with Van Houten.
This novel explores the way individuals use fictional work to comprehend and process their own circumstances. It’s a prime centerpiece for a class discussion on metafiction. Additionally, the novel addresses science, medical research, adolescence, perseverance, self-identity, and growth in times of uncertainty. I have explored this novel with students from a variety of angles and the following ThinkCERCA lessons will help you to do so as well.