Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Review: The Fault in Our Stars by John Green

Title: The Fault in Our Stars
Author: John Green
Publisher: Dutton Juvenile (January 10, 2012)
Source: Own

From GoodReads:

Diagnosed with Stage IV thyroid cancer at 12, Hazel was prepared to die until, at 14, a medical miracle shrunk the tumours in her lungs... for now.

Two years post-miracle, sixteen-year-old Hazel is post-everything else, too; post-high school, post-friends and post-normalcy. And even though she could live for a long time (whatever that means), Hazel lives tethered to an oxygen tank, the tumours tenuously kept at bay with a constant chemical assault.

Enter Augustus Waters. A match made at cancer kid support group, Augustus is gorgeous, in remission, and shockingly to her, interested in Hazel. Being with Augustus is both an unexpected destination and a long-needed journey, pushing Hazel to re-examine how sickness and health, life and death, will define her and the legacy that everyone leaves behind.

There isn't a lot to say about this book. It is just that good. I wish I had the words to sum up everything that happens in the 318 pages of Hazel & Augustus's story. Beautiful. Haunting. Tragic. Hopeful. Unexpected. There just aren't words.

I knew what I was getting into when I started reading The Fault in Our Stars. It doesn't hide what it is - a story about love and loss and hope and death - told through the eyes of teenagers dying of cancer. Anyone who goes into this book thinking there will be a miraculous happy ending has not read John Green before. You know there will be death, but who dies and when is part of the story.

Even though I have been around cancer for most of my adult life, reading The Fault in Our Stars was surprising in so many ways. Green brilliantly reminds the reader that these kids leading these devastating lives are still people. They still have feelings, thoughts and desires that are completely normal to every other teenager. They still want to experience love. They still have to deal with school. The only real difference is that they know they are not immortal. In fact, they know they are living on borrowed time.

Hazel and Gus have everything going against them, but they have one thing going for them - each other. At it's heart, The Fault in Our Stars is a love story that transcends cancer and death. Every moment they have together is powerful and passionate, and their story is so worth reading. On top of the tragedy, there is so much humor that I found myself laughing outloud several times (and then feeling guilty for laughing at something is such a serious story).

I'd be lying if I said I didn't cry my way through the last 50 pages of this book. I knew what was coming, but that didn't make it any better. Green has proven himself to be a master storyteller and communicator. The Fault in Our Stars reminds us that there is humanity and pain and love and loss in all our stories. Days later, this book is still haunting me. I want to lead a life that makes a difference, even if it only matters to the people closest to me.

Final Thoughts: What more is there to say?

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