31. January 2012 · Comments Off · Categories: Contemporary Fiction, Courtney, Fiction, Teen Books

The Fault in Our Stars by John Green , 318 pages, read by Courtney, on 01/30/2012

I laughed. I cried. Literally. As in, I really did laugh and cry while reading this. John Green has the uncanny ability to create some of the most memorable characters in teen fiction and this is one of his most ambitious novels yet.
This is the story of Hazel, a 16 year old who has miraculously outlived her original diagnosis. She still has problems and continues to take the “wonder” drug that sent her tumors into remission. All the while, her life is focused on mainly on staying alive and causing as little pain to others around her as possible. Her parents, worried about her anti-social tendencies, send her to a support group where she meets Augustus, a 17 year old who lost one of his legs in his battle with cancer but is now attending the group to support his pal Isaac, who is about to lose his other eye due to tumors. Hazel can’t help but be intrigued by the beguiling Augustus and a beautiful friendship and romance follow. They bond over Hazel’s favorite book about a young girl with cancer and muse over the ontological implications of dying from cancer. These two are smart, sarcastic and brilliant. But they both know that time is limited. Hazel’s treatment won’t keep her alive forever and Augustus can only hope that he stays in remission.
The language is beautiful and smart. The characters are sarcastic but never caustic. The issues they ponder are those that affect all humans, though these characters have far more at stake than the vast majority of us. And that’s just it, this isn’t so much a book about cancer, it’s a book about being human and what that means in the grand scheme of things. Thoughtful, funny and heartbreaking.

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