Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Book Review: Fault in Our Stars by John Green

The Fault in Our Stars by John Green
I need to begin with an embarrassing admission, I have never read a John Green novel.  Why, you may ask? The answer to that is simply, I don't know.  My students rave about him but I have just never gotten around to it.  After reading "Fault in Our Stars" however, I am moving his books up to the top of my "to read" list.
This story is not typical of what I read, I have always (for as long as I can remember) been drawn to paranormal and dystopian type of books.  I am not sure if this book has converted me to a realistic fiction fan, or just a John Green fan.
We follow Hazel, who is not typical 16 year old  for many reasons, the least of which is that she has Stage IV Thyroid Cancer.  At the encouragement of her parents, she attends a support group for kids that are living and dealing with cancer, and while she hates going, it is here that her life is irrevocably changed forever.  It was at support group one week that Hazel ( later to be known as Hazel Grace) meets Augustus Waters.  Who not only understands her, but encourages her to not only live her life, but to be a "part" of life as well.  They form a bond that no one person or "thing" can break, that of true friendship and of love.  We get to follow their journey as they try to be "normal".  I particularly love the character of Hazel. I love that she is honest, honest about her disease and what is going to happen to her, honest about what her future holds and honest, beyond a shadow of a doubt, with Augustus.  It is heart wrenching at times but also beautiful and refreshing to read and the grace with which she uses the word "terminal" makes me wish that I could be that strong.
I absolutely loved this book (which I know is tough to tell), the writing was amazingly simple, yet beautifully complex.  As someone who works with high school kids, I can appreciate and understand her need for an "ending". As was Hazel and Augustus's final adventure, to get the ending they so needed, to know how it will end.  Which, when coming from their perspective, makes the story that much more heartbreaking and wonderful.  This book is one that I highly recommend.

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