The Fault in Our Stars by John Green has been a big deal in the bookworld for quite some time now. I had hoped to get it read a
But wow! Now that I've finally read it, I can say: WHAT A BOOK!
The protagonist, Hazel is a 17 year old girl who is suffering from a rare and chronic form of lung cancer. The readers are made aware very quickly that Hazel will not live very long. She refers to herself as a "grenade" and it tears at your soul. On the first page of the book, Hazel begins her story by explaining to us that,
"Late in the winter of my seventeenth year, my mother decided I was depressed, presumably because I rarely left the house, spent quite a lot of time in bed, read the same book over and over, ate infrequently, and devoted quite a bit of my abundant free time to thinking about death.
Whenever you read a cancer booklet or website or whatever, they always list depression among the side effects of cancer. But, in fact, depression is not a side effect of cancer. Depression is a side effect of dying."
Due to her "depression" her mother has her attend group therapy for cancer survivors. It is there that she meets the other major player, Augustus Waters. He has been in remission for a little over a year. He speaks in mostly metaphors and suffers from a hero-complex, in the most endearing way possible.
I don't want to give away any spoilers- but I was *not* expecting the ending. (I definitely shed a tear.) Books that can pull emotion like that out of you are hard to find. I now understand what everyone was making such a big deal about when they talked about the awesomeness of this book.
My favorite thing about this book (and coincidentally, my only critique- but we'll get to that a bit later) is how it was written. There were so many times I had to stop mid paragraph and go, 'Wow! That was _________!' (beautiful, insightful, brilliant, stunning).
I realized that this was a book I was going to mark up with pens and highlighters because there were just too many good lines that stayed with you. They deserved to be remembered.
"Are you crying, Hazel Grace?"
"Why?" he asked.
"Cause, I'm just--I want to go to Amsterdam, and I want him to tell me what happens after the book is over, and I just don't want my particular life, and also, the sky is depressing me, and there is this old swing set out here that my dad made for me when I was a kid."
"I must see this old swing set of tears immediately," he said, "I'll be over in twenty minutes."
"Keep your shit together," I whispered to my lungs.
"You're arguing that the fragile, rare thing is beautiful simply because it is fragile and rare. But's a lie, and you know it."
"You say you're not special because the world doesn't know about you, but that's an insult to me. I know about you."
"Even cancer isn't a bad guy really: Cancer just wants to be alive."
Can you kind of get an idea of what an amazing book John Green penned? I love that despite being teenagers, the characters were intelligent. They were not shallow. They read and they care and they spend time thinking about the deep aspects of life. I would hate to imagine that this is only possible because they face their mortality, but I have yet to read a book about teenagers that portrays teenagers in such an insightful way. It was refreshing to say the least.
Ironically, one of my only issues with this book is that the way it is written makes every.single.character.talk.the.same. There is nothing different about Hazel's dialogue v. Augustus's dialogue v. Hazel's Mom v. Hazel's Dad v. Issac etc. etc. They all speak exactly the same and it's that very thing that will keep me from rating this book 5 stars. But, gah, it pains me! Because it really is an incredible book. But, the lack of variation in voices is noticeable and at times distracting. They were all a bit too similar that it made it hard fall completely into the book and visualize it all as "real." Though I did read the book in one day, so it must not have been too hard.
If you weren't aware, the powers at be have made this book into a movie and I'm excited to see these characters brought to life. I
Who has read this book? What did you think? If you haven't read it, is it on your to-read list? Who plans on seeing the movie?