Monday, February 6, 2012

The Fault in Our Stars by John Green

The Fault in Our Stars
by John Green
Reviewed by: Baby Sister Brittany
The Sisters Say: Unforgettable. Unique. Unbelievable. Unputdownable.

I’ve let this book percolate in my mind for nearly a week, hoping I could find the words to do this book (and my experience of reading this book) justice. Time has passed, and the awe this book inspired has not diminished (and neither has my inability to find the words).

John Green is one of my favorite authors, and I’ll use another of my favorite author’s quotes to tell you a little bit of how I’m feeling…

"Sometimes you read a book so special that you want to carry it around with you for months after you've finished just to stay near it.” –Markus Zusak

There are books that you enjoy, books that entertain, even books that sweep you away.

And then there are books that leave you in such a tangle of feelings—joy, sadness, satisfaction, need—that you feel different for having read them. As a writer, these are usually the kinds of books that make me want to lock myself in a room and write for days on end in the hopes that I can one day put my name on just such a book.

The Fault in Our Stars is one of those books.

It has all the humor that we’ve come to love and expect from John Green’s work. I was so excited to see Green’s first female protagonist—and he definitely did not disappoint. Hazel is at once hysterical and hard as steel. She’ll make you think, make you laugh, make you want to rage at the world, and yes, probably make you cry. Here’s a little taste of her awesomeness:

“I told Augustus the broad outline of my miracle: diagnosed with Stage IV thyroid cancer when I was thirteen. (I didn’t tell him that the diagnosis came three months after I got my first period. Like: Congratulations! You’re a woman. Now die.)”

Let me just get the whole cancer thing out of the way here—yes, Hazel has cancer. I know this will scare some of you away *cough* My sister Amy *cough*, but let me assure you that this is not a “cancer book.” Yes, people have cancer—quite a few of them do, in fact. But this story goes beyond that. It’s not about the disease, not really. It’s about life and death, and the myriad of places that fall between. I was afraid this would be one of those books that was so unbearably emotional that I might not get through it or that I’d have to read it in small doses. In fact, I devoured this book in less than a day. Sadness was only one small part of the story. There was just as much humor, just as much romance. This book was a lesson in balance—that’s the best way to say it I think. This book was PERFECTLY balanced.

Speaking of romance….


I am hereby beginning my campaign to get Augustus Waters into this summer’s YA Crush Tourney. Contemp YA Characters were woefully underrepresented last year, and I think August could be the one to change that. THAT boy… he’s dreamy, and intelligent, and dorky, and gorgeous. More than that… he’s different. There’s a mystery to him that makes him even more attractive.

Need some evidence? Here you go:

“May I see you again?" he asked. There was an endearing nervousness in his voice.

I smiled. "Sure."

"Tomorrow?" he asked.

"Patience, grasshopper," I counseled. "You don't want to seem overeager.

"Right, that's why I said tomorrow," he said. "I want to see you again tonight. But I'm willing to wait all night and much of tomorrow." I rolled my eyes. "I'm serious," he said.

"You don't even know me," I said. I grabbed the book from the center console. "How about I call you when I finish this?"

"But you don't even have my phone number," he said.

"I strongly suspect you wrote it in this book."

He broke out into that goofy smile. "And you say we don't know each other.

“I'm in love with you," he said quietly.  
"Augustus," I said. 
"I am," he said. He was staring at me, and I could see the corners of his eyes crinkling. "I'm in love with you, and I'm not in the business of denying myself the simple pleasure of saying true things. I'm in love with you, and I know that love is just a shout into the void, and that oblivion is inevitable, and that we're all doomed and that there will come a day when all our labor has been returned to dust, and I know the sun will swallow the only earth we'll ever have, and I am in love with you.” 


Love him. Seriously.

I’m not sure what else to do besides urge you to read this book.


Consider yourself urged.

Let me recap for you real quick: Amazing book. Beyond Amazing. Sad—yes sometimes—but so MUCH MORE THAN THAT! NOT A CANCER BOOK!  It’s a people book! It’s about people! Hilarious! Did I mention amazing? GO BUY IT NOW.

In the end, I think a direct quote from this book is the best way to describe it:

“You have a choice in this world, I believe, about how to tell sad stories, and we made the funny choice.”