Monday, February 13, 2012

Book Review - The Fault in Our Stars by John Green

"Despite the tumor-shrinking medical miracle that has bought her a few years, Hazel has never been anything but terminal, her final chapter inscribed upon diagnosis. But when a gorgeous plot twist named Augustus Waters suddenly appears at Cancer Kid Support Group, Hazel's story is about to be completely rewritten." (Inner flap of the book jacket)

This is John Green's fourth book on his own (he has two others that he co-wrote or contributed to), and while I haven't read the others yet, if they are anything like this one I'll eat them up!

In addition to being a writer, John Green is a vlogger with his brother Hank, and he once served as a Hospital Chaplin. This is the book he's being trying to write ever since. The story of teenagers facing death, and how they choose to live their lives.

Facing death is rarely easy, and its some how more tragic when it visits the young. They have had so little life to live after all! Hazel has lived with the specter of death for many years, and wouldn't be alive now if it wasn't for a game changing treatment that granted her some extra time (that the author made up btw). Despite the reprieve she is still stuck attached to an oxygen tank, and struggling to find meaning in what time she has left. She goes to a cancer support group, which tends to be boring and not that helpful, and one day meets Augustus Waters.

Augustus is a charismatic boy who walks with a prosthetic because the cancer took his leg. He's considered in remission, and he goes to the group to support a boy named Isaac who is rapidly losing his eyes to cancer. He reaches out to Hazel, and they begin what will be both a beautiful friendship, and a tragic love story.

I love the little details that John Green puts into this book. At the book signing tour he told us that he wanted Augustus to have a grand name, that could also have a diminutive, because it shows the boy's two sides. On the one hand he's grabbing life by the horns, loves to use big words (that he often misuses), and enjoys grand gestures. On the other hand, the Gus side, he is a boy facing cancer and pain and all the hard things that go with it, including vulnerability. Hazel is an in between color, and Hazel herself is in between. In between life and death, love and fear, joy and pain.

I loved this book. I loved the details. I loved the watching the two main characters dance around love, fearful to put each other through the pain of their own death, although that made me cry. Actually I cried a couple of times during this book. It's so real. As someone who has faced death (both nearly dying myself, my brother's fight with cancer that he's currently winning, and more) I can tell you that the issues these teenagers face are very realistically done, and raw. The pain in this book is raw, but the joy is exhilarating.

If you've ever wondered about how you should live your life, if you face obstacles that would seem to get in the way of you having a full life, this book is for you. Yes, it's painful, but it's also inspiring to watch these two kids with cancer find a way to live their lives, to enjoy it, and even squeeze in a trip to Europe! I give this book 5 out of 5 cups of coffee. Go buy it!

~ Ruthie ~

Ps. Read any good books lately?

1 comment:

  1. This sounds difficult, yet most interesting.
    I'm glad your brother is winning the fight! yay!