It’s well past midnight on a Friday and I am sitting on my couch bawling. For this, I blame John Green.
I had a general idea of what The Fault in Our Stars was about, what I was not prepared for; however, was how deeply this book would affect me and how, in 313 pages, I would feel so completely connected to two fictional characters. This is not to say The Fault in Our Stars is one of those sappy sad books, it’s not. It’s bittersweet and beautiful; it is a celebration of life.
Those familiar with John Green’s writing will know how masterfully he creates his characters. Looking for Alaska remains one of my favorite books because, again, I felt entirely connected to the characters and their story. The Fault in Our Stars introduces us to Hazel and Augustus, two quirky teens who find each other in a cancer support group. Hazel is a “brilliant young reader with a side interest in horrible television shows.” She is beautiful and brilliant, snarky and sincere. She finds her match in Augustus, a young basketball star who has had his career cut short by a cancer-related amputation.
And wouldn’t it be easy here for John Green to have made cancer the thing that brought our two protagonists together? But it’s not, you see, because these characters are more than their diagnosis. It is a shared love of metaphor, symbolism, dark humor and the novel, An Imperial Affliction, that seals the bond between the two.
Green’s prose is intricate but natural. Reading The Fault in Our Stars feels like listening to your best friend tell a story about her past. Hazel’s voice is not forced the dialogue is genuine and the character’s actions realistic. Because of the natural narrative voice, Hazel and Augustus become more than names on a page, they become friends. Readers will be invested in their story, they will laugh, cheer—and yes, they will cry.
It’s been a long while since a book actually brought me to tears, and there are so many reasons why, but I’m sticking to my strict no-spoiler policy. What I can say is that this book was a treat; it’s one that has stuck with me and one I can recommend without hesitation to readers young, old, and in-between. The Fault in Our Stars is more than a story about two kids with cancer: it is a story of life, of the emotions we all feel, of the hopes and dreams we all share, it is a story of hope and of beating the odds. It will leave you feeling privileged to have shared the journey of two amazing people and will make you appreciate the amazing people you already have in your life. Simply, it’s a story for all of us.
Finally, to John Green, I say thank you, the world is a better place because of your stories.