Sunday, February 9, 2014

Book Review: The Fault in our Stars by John Green

It all started with a list on Facebook, much like so many things do.


Leave it to Facebook to give me something else to do. Between Facebook and Pinterest, I can find things to fill up my day related to reading, cooking, arts and crafts, cleaning. . . 

The post that was shared and was probably viral for a few days was "16 Books to Read Before They Hit Theaters this Year" and of course (Of Course!!!) I clicked. I was relieved - because all of a sudden, due to the title, I felt pressured to accomplish this task - that I had read at least a few including:

This is the first of the books that looked interesting to me from the list but there are more, I warn you. . . The Fault in our Stars is a current day love story with elements classics like Romeo and Juliet but with a lot more realism. There are the teenage lovers and the tragedy but with a lot more to offer. As a parent, reading about very sick children (okay, teenagers) was often hard as this could be anyone's son or daughter and it just doesn't seem fair. However, the story was so well written and moving that I just had to continue. The book has many levels and is really an intelligent thought provoking book.

Hazel Grace Lancaster, who narrates this story, is a survivor of Stage IV Cancer. She should have been dead a long time ago - her claim, not mine - but has been around an extra three years due to a miracle drug trial. She is alive but her quality of life is compromised. She is 16 and has to carry around oxygen as her lungs have survived a battle to survive. She is also clinically depressed and lives in a world that her peers can't really understand to relate to her.

At a support group for kids with cancer, she meets Augustus Waters, a fellow survivor that has a sunnier outlook on life. At first Hazel thinks his more positive perspective is because he has a good chance to survive, unlike her temporary holding pattern that she knows will eventually end, but eventually she comes to understand that he has chosen to live his life in a different way than she has.

Of course they fall in love and Hazel begins to see the good in the present day and how life can be cherished. Sounds sappy? It's really not and this book has a whole lot going on. Hazel shares with Augustus a book that she loves (An Imperial Affliction) that is a first person account of a little girl with cancer that ends abruptly and she's dying to know what happens to the girl and her family. Hazel identifies with the story and often imagines what her parents will do when she is gone. Augustus reaches out and arranges a journey for them to try and discover what happens and that is what makes this love story truly special.

I think that this book is supposed to be young adult fiction but I think it was a wonderful book and worth reading.

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