The Fault in Our Stars – by John Green
Hazel has been living with cancer since she was 12. She’s kept alive by a “miracle” drug, but the cancer can never be removed completely. And then she meets a boy named Augustus Waters, who is a cancer survivor, and they become nearly inseparable, leading Hazel to reevaluate her life, limited though it may seem. It’s a story about living and dying, and the sometimes imperceptible difference between the two.
I have a feeling this is going to be a really short review, because what is there to say beyond “It was brilliant” and “I cried (a lot)”? I don’t usually read books about depressing topics like cancer, but I made an exception because I love John Green. Teenage me probably wouldn’t have touched this, to be honest. I complained a lot as a teenager about all the depressing books we were forced to read in school. Although – I’m about to go on a tangent here, so maybe this won’t be so short after all – I’ve been thinking about this and there is definitely a difference between a book that makes me cry and a depressing book, and I don’t think “depressing” is a word I would use to describe The Fault in Our Stars. I don’t think any of the books I railed against in high school actually succeeding in bringing me to tears, while the books that did are full of both joy and sadness, humor and tragedy, as this one is. Many of them, in fact, have happy endings. Anyway, to get back to the story: I loved Hazel and I loved Augustus, and I was able to empathize with them, as well as with their parents, despite never having had to experience what they’ve been through, and I think that’s the mark of powerful storytelling. All I really want to say, I guess, is that I think the world is a slightly better place for having this book in it.