Tuesday, March 31, 2015

the fault in our stars The Fault In Our Stars by John Green | Rating ★★★★★

"I’m a grenade and at some point I’m going to blow up. And I would like to minimize the casualties, okay?"

You’ve heard the hype — this is one of those books that has spread like wildfire amongst book lovers and even people who don’t seem to find pleasure in reading regularly. With a movie adaption fast upon us, the time is now to read one of John Green’s best works — but be sure to bring tissues with you while reading. And please note: it may not be the best idea to read this story in public.

Nearly three years ago, my good friend introduced me to John Green’s work via Looking For Alaska. And the first thing you should know about John’s writing, if you aren’t familiar, is that he does a damn good job conveying teenage angst that you can find yourself believing. Another thing you should know is that while all his books are simple to read, that doesn’t mean they lack substance.

Because let me be perfectly clear: there’s nearly nothing lacking in the way he writes. By the end of nearly each of his books, you will come out learning something — about the characters, the world, yourself. You will, without a doubt, fall in love with the characters he creates.

But onto the real article, here…


The Fault In Our Stars starts with an introduction to our narrator — a young girl by the name of Hazel. Overall, she is an extremely likeable and realistic character that you will grow to love unconditionally. She has the sarcastic humour to her narrative that many John Green fans have come to love, a true signature in terms of his writing (though, not a tired one at all) and one that makes each character relatable to his primarily teenage audience. I repeat: you will fall in love with her. You will want nothing but the best for her, and everyone in the book.

(There will absolutely be times where you just want to give a character a hug more than anything.)

And, like in real life, her world changes by a bond she forms with a fellow cancer survivor.

Enter, Augustus and Isaac. Like Hazel they have been living with cancer and have had a difficult youth filled with treatment, uncertainty and sometimes unwanted pity. Each of these characters have aged far beyond people of the same age due to unfortunate circumstances, but through each other you see a glimpse of the fragile and humour filled mind of a “regular” teenager. And the more you get to know each of them, the more you find yourself hoping for ways to “save” them.

Personally, my favorite part of the novel isn’t the love that Augustus and Hazel share (it’s definitely up on my list, though. It isn’t every day you see a love such as theirs): it is the relationships that form through connections of people who have similar struggles. There is something beautiful in the bonds that form between Hazel, Augustus and Isaac. You see and feel a real friendship between the three of them, no matter the combination. Augustus in particular has such a big heart — he’d do anything for his loved ones and he isn’t all that afraid of expressing this, either.

Moments shared between Isaac and Augustus are probably the highlight of the entire novel and showcase John Green’s fabulous humour. And the eulogy for one character, towards the end of the novel before said character dies, is one of the most fantastic scenes in young adult literature. It’s deep and heartfelt — it will pull at your heartstrings and make you laugh and cry all at once.

Then, there’s the presence of Hazel’s favorite author and that is brought up frequently throughout the story. One of the biggest surprises of the novel is how much you will both hate and love the author and his ways. Honestly, you will definitely have a few chuckles in scenes that involve him.

Or shouts.

Or both.

Overall, words can’t express how much this novel touched my heart. Especially without spoiling the entire story. And though I’ve read far too many cancer stories in my youth (I own every Lurlene McDaniel novel, mind you!) this story is one that will stick with you for the rest of your life. In this story, in all of his work, it’s easy to see why John has gained such a faithful following.

So, the next time you have a free day: make yourself something warm to drink and curl up with a blanket, this novel and a box of tissues.
 

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