I don’t often read YA novels because the tend to be overly dramatic (too much pathos for me), but The Fault in Our Stars has so much buzz surrounding it, with so many of my friends raving, that I decided to give it a try. I am so glad I did because John Green has created something quite special here.
Hazel and Augustus are remarkable teenagers, partly because they have stared death in the eye and keep going. They are able to discuss illness, cancer and death in ways that are funny, enlightening and, yes, tragic. But beyond that, they are both literate — dropping quotes, poetry and existential questions about quality of life into every day conversation. (In fact, my one complaint is that I don’t know anyone, teen or adult, who talks the way these characters do.) But, in the context of the novel, it works.
From the start, we know that the author is taking a slightly different approach to terminal cancer. “This Support Group featured a rotating cast of characters in various states of tumor-driven unwellness. Why did the cast rotate? A side effect of dying.” I was surprised to find myself laughing out loud at several points. I was not surprised to also find my heart broken, inevitable given the subject matter.
I feel about this book sort of the way Hazel feels about Augustus.
“As he read, I fell in love the way you fall asleep: slowly, and then all at once.”