"The Fault In Our Stars" is the first John Green book I've read and I'm still trying to decide if I liked it or not. I really wanted to like it because I really like John. I mean, not that I know John or that he knows me. But he seems like a swell guy. If you're unfamiliar with Mr. Green, you can read more about him here.
The book follows Hazel, a teenager with terminal cancer. Her main affliction is "lungs that suck at being lungs." Through Hazel, we meet other teens from her support group - Isaac (whose cancer has already claimed one eye and is threatening the one that remains) and Augustus (who had a "touch of cancer" previously that claimed a leg but now has a great prognosis).
The writing is witty and light despite the heavy subject matter. I mean, it's a book about teens with cancer - it's going to be heavy no matter how much levity you interject. I'm not sure how much research Green did into the lives of cancer patients but there were some very eye-opening depictions of what life is like for both the patients and their loved ones. From treatments to support to relapses to unfairness to death, many facets of Hazel's experience give interesting insights into how life goes on in the face of uncertainty.
The relationship between Augustus and Hazel is beautiful in its joy and its sadness as they bond over ordinary teenager interests (books, video games, music) and the drastic realities of prosthetic limbs, breathing tubes, and hospitalizations. You can read about their meeting in this excerpt.
The book was emotionally affecting in a way that is not only applicable to readers touched by cancer but to anyone who has ever loved, hoped, and experienced loss. Full disclosure - I cried. If you are okay with books that have the potential to make you cry, you may appreciate this book. I wouldn't recommend it to anyone in a depressive state and I'd advise caution to those with cancer in their immediate world.
For more discussions about this book, please visit the BlogHer Book Club site.
This is a paid review for BlogHer Book Club but the opinions expressed are my own.