Paper Towns, Will Grayson, Will Grayson, An Abundance of Katherines, and Looking for Alaska, and I have to admit that my admiration for these stories was not quite enough to inspire me to read The Fault in Our Stars right away. I bought it. I realized it was about kids with cancer, and I shied away.
Ever since the arrival of Miss Madison, I have been a freakazoid about stories involving children and anything remotely not happy stars and rainbows. I used to like Law and Order: SVU; now it makes me sick. Dystopian and apocalyptic novels rocked my world, and now, well they still rock my world, but they also give me horrific nightmares involving my way-too-fragile-for-that-world daughter. Seriously people, I am a mess of paranoia in a world where danger lurks everywhere. Okay, so enough about my mental illness and back to the book.
Once I got over it and started reading, I was hooked. As
always John Green has impressed me with his ability to write a story
filled with unique and believable characters, well crafted language, and
deeply felt emotion. While bittersweet - how can it not be when the
primary characters are teenagers with cancer? - the story does not drown
in tears; as a matter of fact, the characters are very down-to-earth.
Hazel, the protagonist, has known her death was fast approaching from
the moment she was diagnosed with cancer. A lucky shot with an
experimental drug keeps her tumors at bay, but her lungs still aren't
pumping properly so she remains hooked to oxygen. Despite all of this
(because of this?), she is funny and honest and admirably realistic.
Attending Cancer Kid Support Group meetings to appease her mother, Hazel
there meets Augustus, and so begins their relationship with each
other...and with Peter Van Houten, the reclusive author of Hazel's
I highly recommend reading the book to figure out how it
all works out and adds up to quite the reading experience.