The Story of How John Green Ripped My Heart Out and Then Made Me Want More

The Story of How John Green Ripped My Heart Out and Then Made Me Want More

Confession time. 

I have never read a single John Green novel.


Before you stone me for committing YA sacrilege, know that I am in the process of fixing this atrocity. 

The Fault in Our Stars was my featured Reading Regret of 2013—the book I was most ashamed that I hadn’t yet read.

Thankfully, a week later was our holiday party and in the middle of Yankee Swap, the YA Gods took pity on me. A co-worker unwrapped a copy of John Green’s most talked about novel: The Fault in Our Stars. 

Clearly I took the opportunity to steal it, and then glared down anyone who tried to take it from me. 

What I know going in is that everyone says it’s sad… but not just “sad.” Like, unbelievably, ridiculously, heartbreakingly tragic.

Despite the devastation that surely awaits me, I’m excited as I crack the cover. 

I see the dedication: “To Esther Earl.”

I quickly look into Esther’s story and realize I’m in for a doozy of a novel.

Ah, Hazel. One paragraph in, I’m smirking—this girl’s got spunk, and I like it!

Then she says that Isaac is the only redeeming facet of support group. Now I know enough to know this is not Augustus Waters.

AHH—there he is!

When Hazel’s mom forces her to go to Support Group instead of finishing her America’s Next Top Model marathon.

When they first mention her oxygen tank…

“A boy was staring at me.”

When she describes his hair and all I can think of is Effie.

And then he smiles at her when she stares back at him!

Suddenly, I’m in deep. Ten pages into the book and I’m like… 

A 12-year-old with cancer says he’s doing okay and I realize all the dumb things I’ve complained about today.

Every time someone says “okay,” I’m wondering when the famous “Okay?” “Okay.” is coming into play.

Hazel’s best friend is a writer who doesn’t know she exists.

Obligatory pause in reading to Google Peter Van Houten and An Imperial Affliction. It does not exist.

“Goddamn. Aren’t you something else.”

“I decided a while ago not to deny myself the simpler pleasures of existence” = my new mantra. 

When he tells her she looks like Natalie Portman in V for Vendetta.

“Congratulations! You’re a woman. Now die.”

The accuracy of “Having a Voice that Made My Skin Feel More Like Skin.”

Flirting about books!

Isaac breaking all of Augustus’ trophies.

“Maybe okay will be our always.”

Peter Van Houten answers her!!

Hazel’s lungs feel weird and tight and I’m panicking because I’m positive someone dies and I don’t know who.

Realizing that John Green might end this book mid-sentence like An Imperial Affliction. 

Augustus is taking her to Amsterdam! Augustus is taking her to Amsterdam! AUGUSTUS IS TAKING HER TO AMSTERDAM! 

“Lord, I would ride that one-legged pony all the way around the corral.”

“It is the nature of stars to cross, and never was Shakespeare more wrong than when he had Cassius note, ‘The fault, dear Brutus, is not in our stars / But in ourselves.'”

Hazel overhearing her mom say that she won’t be a mom any more.

When he says he’s in love with her… Can I just take a moment to swoon over Augustus? Thanks.


When Peter is rude and horrible and terribly drunk. 

When he insists that the characters have no life after the novel ends. 

They’re kissing!! Kissing in the Anne Frank House!!! 

“We could go to your room.”

Whaaaaat?! Are they gonna?!


John damn Green!! Why does Augustus have cancer? Why is he sick again? 

Thinking about how John Green wrote all of these amazing AIA quotes. 

What vendetta does John Green have against the world that he thinks he has the right to make me feel all the things. 

I just… Nope. Nope. Done. I can’t. I can’t read this terrible book. 

Well, here I am. Crawling back because leaving this book unfinished means that my soul was incomplete.

The “Last Good Day.”

Augustus’ pre-funeral and Hazel’s eulogy to him.

What… he’s… what? Just like that? One page turn, one sentence later, he’s just dead? 

There are so many pages left in this book! What else could possibly happen when the world just ended!!

At the funeral when Hazel whispers, “Okay. Okay.” to him. 

When Isaac relives the moment when Gus told him, “You are going to live a good and long life filled with great and terrible moments that you cannot even imagine yet!” And I can’t even see the page cause I’m sobbing.

Okay. I’m calm. I’m okay.

And then her dad says “I’m sorry Gus died,” and it hits me all over again.

The ripped out pages!!


Where’s the rest of this book?

The attachments, the four attachments, the four pages, writing from Augustus.


I want… I don’t… I… 

It is like the ending of AIA. Not mid-sentence, but not where I thought it was ending!

I had to put the book down and take stock of my life at this point.

I lay in my bed and stared at the ceiling and imagined a world without Augustus Waters. A world I had unknowingly been living peacefully in until I picked up this godforsaken, beautiful book.

When I finally sit up, I remind myself that the world is full of of great and terrible books that I cannot even imagine yet.

And I’m okay. There’s a lot more John Green left for me to read.

Kelly Gallucci
Kelly Gallucci is the Executive Editor of, where she oversees Bookish's editorial content, offers book recommendations, and interviews authors like Leigh Bardugo, V.E. Schwab, and Sabaa Tahir. She's just coming off of moderating an author panel at New York Comic Con. When she's not working, Kelly can be found color coordinating her bookshelves, eating Chipotle, and binging Netflix with her pitbull. She is a Gryffindor.


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