06 March 2012

The Fault in Our Stars by John Green

Diagnosed with Stage IV thyroid cancer at 12, Hazel was prepared to die until, at 14, a medical miracle shrunk the tumors 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 tumors 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.

A cancer story but not a cancer story.  A cancer story for those who want a My Sister's Keeper-esque story and something better for those who don't.  Finally, I have discovered just why John Green has gathered such a widespread and loyal fan base full of scary nerds.  I find myself intrigued by his ability to be so in-your-face about a topic where Death is shown in a very brutal form and I am wary because his lack of subtlety is unnerving, too.

Hazel was an awesome main character.  Very set in her own niche.  I would never mistake her for any other of the hordes of characters out there.  Her resignation to forever be a cancer victim coupled with a streak of rebellion to be outside the stereotype made her narration a roller coaster ride of humor and tragedy.

Augustus Waters.  Ah, what a boy.  He's accumulated a fan base all his own, and I can see why.  He was practically the ultimate guy.  The starving artist but not.  Funny, charismatic, and just a bit too all-knowing to make a person uncomfortable.  Almost too profound to be real.  But of course, John Green can't have an Edward Cullen in one of his novels.  Augustus wasn't perfect.  Thank God.

The summary doesn't do the story enough justice, making it sound like Every Other Book out there populating the young adult shelves.  I would never categorize this book in such a prosaic way.  I knew going in--keeping in mind the hordes of Nerdfighters out there, ready to fight me to the death should I dare disgrace the cult--that I wouldn't be able to read it without getting emotionally invested.  Jeez.  I got a little teary-eyed at the end.  There, I admit it.

I loved John Green's style.  Very open and honest, but cutting it short just enough so as not to scare off all the readers.  Oh, and of course I forget the most important thing!  The humor--duh.  If there is one thing I shall carry on into my Alzheimer's days, it is that John Green can make a person laugh.

Book Info:

  • pages - hardcover, 318
  • published - January 2012
  • publisher - Dutton books
  • genre - contemporary fiction
  • received via - Amazon :)
  • rating - 5/5