The Fault in Our Stars by John Green
Extras: Q&A interview with the author.
Short Review: Heart-wrenching and uplifting roller coaster ride. Brilliant reader does justice to this amazing story.
Long Review: Hazel is 16 and she has cancer. This is her story. Life is different when you are young and dying faster than the average person. Hazel is alive thanks to a miracle tumor treatment. She has to tug an oxygen tank behind her everywhere she goes, even to the church basement for a Cancer Kids Support Group. Enter Augustus Waters, another ‘cancer kid’. A tall, handsome, funny cancer kid. The next thing Hazel knows she is starting to have the ‘teenage life’ her mother is always talking about.
Augustus and Hazel do lots of the things that a boy and a girl do when they are figuring out if they like each other. They talk about books. They play video games. They also do things most teens don’t – they deal with cancer and hospitals and their overprotective parents. On the other hand, I guess lots of teens have overprotective parents, so that one isn’t specific to their health.
The reader does a beautiful job bringing us Hazel’s story and giving voice to those in her life. It seems like getting a voice just right for a teenage girl is a challenge to many readers – but this is thankfully not the case here.
This book made me laugh out loud. It made me cry in public, forcing me to hide my tears while riding the subway to work. While there are definitely dark aspects to the story (cancer inherently brings that along), the overall sense is one of treasuring the moments and appreciating the world around you. I don’t know how to tell you anything else without getting into spoiler territory.