Monday, June 18, 2012
Author: John Green
Enjoyment Rating: *****
Source: Kindle for iPad
Books I've read this year: 77
Hazel is sixteen, and she's was diagnosed with cancer three years ago. Her lungs are crap, and she's not a transplant candidate, so she walks around with an oxygen canister. Her parents pulled her out of school when she got sick, and now they have a tendency to hover. Her one break each week is her support group for teenagers with cancer, which is where she meets Gus, a seventeen-year-old who's osteosarcoma is in remission and who came to support a friend who's going blind. Sounds like a pretty grim story, right?
I laughed harder reading The Fault in Our Stars than any other book I've read this summer. Hazel and Gus, who fall in love, don't feel sorry for themselves, and they don't want anyone else to feel sorry for them either. They hate all of the cancer platitudes and tropes, and realize that their lives are decidedly not normal, even without everyone skirting around their issues. Hazel also has a major thing for this book, written about a girl who has cancer. She's read it at least a dozen times, and she has Gus read it too. Gus decides to use his Make-A-Wish wish to fly Hazel to Amsterdam where they meet the author, and where they have to confront the beauty and sadness that comes with the lives they've been consigned to lead.
The book has been compared with 50/50, and I can see some similarities. Green has written several other books, all for a YA audience, but it wasn't until I'd finished this book and looked at the amazon page that I realized that this is also intended for a YA audience. I thought it was a perfect book for an adult to read about kids with cancer, but I'm a little torn about the YA audience. These are very realistic, flawed, imperfect teenagers, and they do dumb things and things which find them out of their league. And while they would hate it if others accused them of playing the cancer card, they occasionally do things that they might not do if they didn't have to focus on their mortality every day.
The Fault in Our Stars is not a happy book, but it's an entertaining, enjoyable book. And a horrifying book, because as a reader I fell a little bit in love with Hazel and Gus.