Sunday, May 19, 2013
The Fault in Our Stars by John Green
The Fault in Our Stars follows the story of Hazel Grace Lancaster, a sixteen-year-old teenage girl who quotes philosophers, watches America’s Next Top Model, and has a ton of cancer in her lungs.
Due to the latter, she undergoes a bunch of treatment, doesn’t really have friends, and has to go to a weekly Support Group, where the kids with cancer congregate in a depressing church basement to talk about how their lives are awful. At one such meeting, she meets Augustus Waters, a handsome teenage guy who’s in remission. And then they fall in love.
I loved this book. A lot of contemporary YA romances all sound the same; the fake characters, bad dialogue, plots even I could predict. But TFIOS is different, at least to me. It felt real. I loved the characters. The adults were actually realistic, for once. Hazel and Gus were witty, profound, and honest. They were a bit cliché at times, with their dramatic speeches, but I can’t really fault them for that. I don’t open teen romances looking for realism. Besides, this is more than a love story, at least in my opinion.
The setting was awesome; I loved the descriptions. Her life seemed real. From her mom celebrating every possible holiday (“It’s your thirty-third half-birthday, Hazel!”) to Patrick, the support group leader going on and on about how they were in the Literal Heart of Jesus.
Most of all, I loved Hazel’s voice. From the moment I opened the book, I was entranced. She is sarcastic, honest, and genuine. She sounds like me, or like I would if I had cancer. She’s relatable and engaging, with a super-dry sense of humor. As Hazel says, “cancer books suck.” And I’m happy to report that for me, this wasn’t one of them.
TFIOS doesn’t have a perfect ending. It’s pretty awful, actually. But since their lives are basically about trying to survive cancer, isn’t that to be expected? For me, that made it better. John Green doesn’t sugarcoat cancer.
Maybe in a few years I’ll look back and realize that it was all manufactured and contrived and not worth my time like a hundred other YA books are. For now, though, it's one of my favorite books ever. If you haven't read it for some reason, I'd (very) highly recommend it.