The Fault in Our Stars

by John Green

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Chapter 3 Summary

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That night, Hazel stays up late reading The Price of Dawn, the book Augustus loaned her. It is a ridiculous story full of adventure and killing, but she rather enjoys it. The following morning, she is surprised to be awakened by her mother, who usually lets her sleep as long as she wants because "sleep fights cancer."

Hazel protests that she wants to stay in bed, but her mom, who loves to make a big deal out of the smallest occasions for celebration, reminds Hazel that it is her half birthday. Hazel does not particularly care, but she puts up with her mom’s attempts to make it an exciting thing. She texts her friend Kaitlin and suggests spending the afternoon at the mall to celebrate.

That afternoon, Hazel arrives at the mall early. She buys two sequels to The Price of Dawn and then sits at the food court to wait for her friend. When she spots her mom sitting in a corner reading some papers, she sighs. She wishes her mom could be out with friends or otherwise living her own life. Instead, she is sitting around waiting for her sick daughter, working on cancer-related paperwork. 

When Kaitlyn arrives, she talks all about her latest romance. Hazel does not mention Augustus, reasoning that there is too little to say. The two girls go shoe shopping, but Hazel is not very interested. During their conversation, Kaitlyn uses the word "die" and then stops short, as if it is “a crime to mention death to the dying.” Hazel finds it annoying when people tiptoe around her illness this way. A while later, she pretends to be too tired to continue shopping. 

After saying good-bye to her friend, Hazel enjoys a few rare minutes alone. She sits down on a bench to read the sequel to The Price of Dawn. It is full of blood and death, but she likes the rolling pace of the adventure, which always moves forward no matter what. It has been a long time since she read such a story, and she finds it comforting to know that it will always have another sequel.

At one point, Hazel’s reading is interrupted by a child who is curious about her oxygen tank. Hazel explains that the tube in her nose is a cannula, and it helps her breathe. The child's mother is embarrassed, but Hazel lets the girl try using the cannula to breathe. The girl clearly enjoys this, but Hazel has to take it back almost immediately. She really needs the extra oxygen to get along.

When the child is gone, Hazel reflects that it would be nice if more people could talk to her with so little self-consciousness. Then she returns to her book, noting in amusement that the hero sustains seventeen bullet wounds during the climactic scene. She is sort of disgusted when he survives.

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Chapter 4 Summary