Diagnosed with Stage IV thyroid cancer at 12, Hazel was prepared to die until, at 14, a medical miracle shrunk the tumors in her lungs... for now.
Two years post-miracle, sixteen-year-old Hazel is post-everything else, too; post-high school, post-friends and post-normalcy. And even though she could live for a long time (whatever that means), Hazel lives tethered to an oxygen tank, the tumors tenuously kept at bay with a constant chemical assault.
Enter Augustus Waters. A match made at cancer kid support group, Augustus is gorgeous, in remission, and shockingly to her, interested in Hazel. Being with Augustus is both an unexpected destination and a long-needed journey, pushing Hazel to re-examine how sickness and health, life and death, will define her and the legacy that everyone leaves behind.
I read this book in one sitting, yup, that's right...one sitting. I seriously plopped down on the bed - cried and laughed a bunch and hours later looked up with a finished book in my hand. That being said, I don't really think this is a novel that should be devoured in one go. I will most assuredly be rereading this sometime later in the year at a more leisurely pace because it deserves time for thoughtful pauses.
I can't touch on the plot without fearing that I'll venture into spoilery territory - so I just won't go there. I will say that both Hazel and Augustus are fantastically witty and loveable characters. Also, I got a big kick out of the fact that the book is set in Indianapolis. Since I only live about an hour away, I've visited many of the places mentioned (including Funky Bones)!
So I know that this book could be mistakenly lumped into the sappy "Cancer Book" category but really, it's not. As Hazel points out, "Cancer Books" have certain annoying epic tropes inherent in them (such as angelic cancer patients accomplishing fantastical feats). The Fault in Our Stars is simply about the relationship of two intelligent teenagers who are dealing with cancer (well, and about hopes, fears, life, love, art, poetry, etc). John Green's amazing writing combined with his ability to realistically portray teenagers make this an extremely poignant read. This book will resonate with pretty much everyone because it deals with universal questions of mortality and purpose.
Originally I thought to give this book 4.5 stars but after further consideration have upped the rating to 5. The reason for my original assessment was due to the Dawson's Creek-ification* of the main characters wherein teenagers have a vocabulary that far surpasses many adults. In the end, I decided I don't care about this because a) I wish more people in general exhibited a superior grasp of the English language and b) this book is just so darn good it deserves a 5 star rating.
“You have a choice in this world, I believe, about how to tell sad stories, and we made the funny choice.”- The Fault in Our Stars
I highly recommend this book to all readers!
*Wow, I really dated myself there - yes, I'm of the Dawson's Creek generation :)
This fulfills my Young Adult entry for the Eclectic Reader 2012 Challenge!