Title: The Fault in Our Stars
Author: John Green
Publisher: Dutton Books (Penguin)
Length: 313 pages
Hazel Grace Lancaster is a 16 year old terminal cancer patient. She spends a lot of time reading her favorite novel, An Imperial Affliction, and thinking about death. Her mom, worried that she’s depressed, sends her to a cancer support group. There, Hazel meets Augustus Waters who is in remission from the cancer that took his leg. And while Hazel and Augustus know better than anyone that their lives will end in oblivion, they decide to live while they can.
This novel began with an authorial insistence that a story in and of itself can make an impact. And then it proceeds to prove that statement to be completely true. I laughed, I cried (several times), I loved, I felt closer to life, and I just kept reading. As you know, I’m obsessed with books that make me feel something beyond myself. And this book performed wonderfully.
I’ll admit I was hesitant to read this book at first because it practically screams depressing. And sure, Hazel and Augustus could be terribly depressing and boring. While they do tend to wax a bit existential, when faced with death, instead of being a drag, they’re quirky, deep, and wonderful. They’ll make you reconsider your own perspective on life and death and want to go hug everyone you love.
The love story between Hazel and Augustus can’t be described as anything but epic. Life is a little more precious when death is your third wheel on every date.
While John Green is quintessential YA, I loved that this book didn’t fit the YA mold in one major way: Parents tend to be non-existent or ineffective in most YA. In The Fault in Our Stars, Hazel’s two best friends are her parents, and she worries more about what will happen to them after she dies, than she fears actually dying. Augustus’s parents are also very present in the novel.
This is a book you won’t want to miss. If you’re still on the fence, listen to John Green read the first chapter here: