"Despite the tumor-shrinking medical miracle that has bought her a few years, Hazel has never been anything but terminal, her final chapter inscribed upon diagnosis. But when a gorgeous plot twist named Augustus Waters suddenly appears at Cancer Kid Support Group, Hazel's story is about to be completely rewritten."
How many times must one read that the rest of the country's bookish folk have "cried all the tears" over The Fault in Our Stars before she caves in and reads it? Almost two years, but I'm glad I finally read it! All I knew was that it was a young adult novel about some teenagers who have cancer. And that a vast majority of the female population proclaimed it is "one of my favorite books ever." Here are the reasons why I finally picked up the book while on a Christmas shopping trip at Target:
1.) Many people whom I consider intelligent and witty absolutely loved the book.
2.) I wanted to read fiction before starting school again (which is today!).
3.) When a book stars kids with cancer, I know it involves death. That fact makes me resistant (because it's sad) yet morbidly curious (to find out how well the characters deal with it).
4.) They say you can't judge a book by its cover, but it doesn't hurt if the cover makes a person want to pick it up and read the inside sleeves.
Okay, so my thoughts. Here we go.
It's a great book. It is mostly about people with a little bit of story tied in -- if that makes sense. Yes, there is a storyline that propels the characters, but most of the action takes place in words between Hazel and Augustus and then in thought between the page and the reader. The book is written conversationally, and I loved that. I think Green does stellar work in presenting teenagers who have more substance than angst and moodiness and sex. Of course, anyone facing terminal cancer gains a wider, more mature perspective. It is refreshing to read a more honest portrayal of teenagers as individuals and how complex they are. Hazel and Augustus are mature and witty. I expected that one of them would symbolize the need to live life with abandon and humor. I was right.
Much like Hazel does in the story, I'm tempted to hunt down the author (in this case, Green) and beg for more answers. I don't want to spoil the story, but because of how important both main characters are, The End isn't the end. What happens after The End? I like that the story is honest and awkward. (It doesn't blatantly use illness and struggle to provide the moral of the story.) And so, I really want to know the rest of the story.
For personal reasons, I feel a closeness (not an interest) to stories of young people who are taken too soon, but surprisingly, I did not sob or even cry with this book. Rather, I felt comforted by some of the uncomfortable moments, with Hazel knowing she's terminal. I remember being young and feeling lost, because no amount of consolation could bring someone back from the grave. I learned that unfortunate situations not only involved tears but humor and pure silence too. And I saw that in Hazel and Augustus. As I read, my brow furrowed with thoughts of "Yes, that is exactly what it's like to be left behind," but I didn't cry. However, that's just me. The rest of the world started crying on page 1!
The Fault in Our Stars is a very well-written piece of young adult literature. I highly recommend it if the synopsis genuinely interests you. I think it falls among the likes of heart-wrenchers like My Sister's Keeper, The Memory Keeper's Daughter, and The Time Traveler's Wife (one of my absolute favorites) -- all books that I loved, so it makes sense that I really enjoyed this one.
** I really hope Hollywood doesn't butcher the story the way that it did the film version of My Sister's Keeper.
"The fault, dear Brutus, is not in our stars,
But in ourselves, that we are underlings."
Julius Caesar by William Shakespeare
Have you read The Fault in Our Stars? What did you think?