With the upcoming release of The Fault in Our Stars movie starring Shailene Woodley and Ansel Elgort, I think we should have a little revisit of the 2012 novel it’s based on. You know, to refresh readers and prepare them for the ugly crying they’ll be doing in the theater. I mean, I teared up just watching the trailer.
The Fault in Our Stars
Author: John Green
PUBLISHER: Dutton Books
RELEASE DATE: January 2012
LENGTH: 318 pages (Hardcover)
John Green’s prose is gorgeous: it’s smart, quirky, charming, devastating, and everything you could ever want in a YA novel. It’s full of profound thoughts on the human condition, but it is also really funny and sweet. It will pull at your heartstrings one second and make you cackle with laughter the next. There wasn’t a single character or sentence that was unnecessary, each word carefully placed to pull you in and never let you go.
Hazel Grace Lancaster is 16 and she has terminal cancer. At 12 years old, she was ready to die, but a medical miracle saves her life. She’s alive but clinically depressed, so her doctor sends her to a kids-with-cancer support group. Here, she meets Augustus Waters, a fellow cancer survivor. They are both highly mature, intelligent, charming; they’re kindred spirits. And of course, they fall in love. Together they face life head-on, and the result is both beautiful and devastating.
As you can probably guess from a novel about two kids who fall in love and who both, sadly, have cancer, this novel will make you cry. But it will also make you laugh and I fell in love with these characters just as they were falling in love with each other. Hazel Grace and Gus are two of the most mature characters in a YA novel that I’ve ever read. Some people didn’t like them because they don’t act like normal teenagers, but I think it’s safe to say that being 16 and fighting cancer makes you officially NOT normal. These characters are real, like you-could-meet-them-in-real-life real, and this is part of the reason this novel is just so hard to read at times (Make sure you have at least one box of tissues with you when you start reading). I thought the way they confronted the questions of the human condition (Will I be remembered? Does my life have meaning?) to be both genuine and relatable. I’ve definitely contemplated these questions, but I can’t say I’ve ever faced death while doing so. I will never forget this book for reminding me to never give up, to live my life to the fullest, and to love like I was dying. This is a story that deserves to be read, and I am so glad I did (every time).
If you haven’t read TFiOS, please do it. For me. For yourself. For Hazel Grace and Augustus Waters. And then get prepared: buy some boxes of tissues and get ready to ugly cry with the rest of us on June 6. Okay? Okay.
Three other titles TFiOS is similar to:
The Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky
Just Listen by Sarah Dessen
The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time by Mark Haddon
You can buy The Fault in Our Stars from a variety of vendors on Penguin’s website: http://www.penguin.com/book/the-fault-in-our-stars-by-john-green/9780142424179
Also, check out the trailer for the movie adaptation here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9ItBvH5J6ss
(Cover design by Rodrigo Corral)