This is a SPOILER FREE review of the Fault in Our Stars by John Green except for the last paragraph (I have a warning before the spoiler)!
There are two things you should know about me at the outset:
1. I am not a very patient person
2. I do not like stories whose sole purpose seems to be to Make You Cry. For example- most stories involving animals & anything by Nicholas Sparks (full disclosure- I have never actually read a Nicholas Sparks book, but have several friends who have & who have cried every time and I have seen the Notebook. I bawled for ten minutes after that movie ended)
The first one is important because I was one of the Lucky (?) ones who got an early copy of John Green's new novel The Fault in Our Stars. When it came in I vowed to wait as long as I could to read it. I did, however, open it to see if my copy had been doodled in by John's brother or wife (I got a Hanklerfish!). My every intention was to wait until Jan 10, the official release date. I almost made it. I started Sunday & ended up staying up waaay past my bedtime to finish it.
On the second point- I know there are people who love those kinds of stories. I am not one of those people. I feel like a lot of those books are overly melodramatic just to get the tears flowing.
THIS IS NOT ONE OF THOSE BOOKS!
Sure, the characters have cancer and sure, there were a few tears, but it is handled with well and not in a stab-you-in-the-heart-and-twist kind of way.
The Fault in Our Stars is a story about Hazel. She has cancer and, as the book flap says, Hazel has been nothing but terminal. She meets a cute boy named Augustus at her Cancer Support Group & her outlook on life begins to change.
John Green has been one of my favorite authors since I read Looking for Alaska and discovered the VlogBrothers videos. Paper Towns ranks in my top ten favorite books of all time. Hazel & Augustus, like many of his characters, are people who I would have loved to have been friends with in high school (as a matter of fact, other than the cancer, I know people a lot like them). The quick wit, the humor, the heartbreak, are all great elements in this story. I laughed out loud quite a few times & teared up a few times as well. The way he handles these characters and the way they deal with their cancer, their families, and their friends is done with grace while allowing the them to be irreverent about their diagnoses. This irreverence was authentic to the characters.
When I finished the book I re read the last paragraph about five times because that is exactly how the story needed to have ended. This is one of the most beautiful stories I have read.
SPOILER SPOILER SPOILER
I have to admit, when Hazel & Augustus talked about their favorite book -An Imperial Affliction & how it ended there was a small part of me that was afraid he might take that same route with this book.
Also I really loved the scene where Hazel & Isaac read their eulogies to Augustus. It was such a touching scene. My favorite part though is Augustus' letter about Hazel. So beautiful, so perfect.