If there is one book you read this year, I would recommend it be “The Fault In Our Stars” by John Green. But I wouldn’t read it in public, and have tissues with you when you do read it. Lots of tissues.
It’s a young adult novel, mostly because the protagonists are young adults. But that doesn’t mean it’s only for young adults.
The novel follows a 16-year-old girl named Hazel Grace Lancaster. Hazel has terminal thyroid cancer. It has spread to her lungs. Her mother convinces her to go to a Support Group to help get her out of the house and over her depression. At the support group Hazel meets Augustus Waters, a handsome and winsome boy a year older than her. Augustus is in remission after losing his leg to osteosarcoma.
Green’s view of cancer is wholly refreshing, honest and blunt. This is a disease that affects almost everyone in some way. A disease that doesn’t discriminate. Old or young — people die from it every day. “A Fault In Our Stars” doesn’t gloss over the sadness of it all, but at the same time Hazel and Augustus are full of life and excitement. The characters are resigned to their fate, but they view it with the irony and sarcasm only a teen can. It’s a novel of life and death, but first and foremost, it’s a novel of love. Green has a wonderful writing style, addressing both the typical day-to-day feelings teenagers have, while at the same time tying in more complex themes of the meaning of our existence in the face of death.
Sometimes the characters, especially Augustus, may seem way beyond their teenage years, but considering how much they’ve been through in such a short time — maybe it makes sense for them to appear older. Cancer isn’t something easy to write about, or even read about, but Green does a good job of tackling the topic with just the right about of honesty and humor.
This book will break your heart, but sometimes that’s not a bad thing at all.
At one point in the novel, Hazel thinks: “I fell in love the way you fall asleep; Slowly, and then all at once.”
That’s exactly how I fell in love with this book.
Five out of five stars