I have recently read The Fault on Our Stars by award-winning author and vlogger John Green. Although released in early 2012, the book has recently become very popular, especially among young adults.
In short, this book is about a girl named Hazel who has terminal cancer. She meets another cancer sufferer through a hospital support group, a boy called Augustus Waters. They bond over thier joint love of a cancer themed book called An Imperial Affliction and go on a journey to find the author, who has become a recluse after finishing the book mid-sentence. While on this journey they experience the usual teenage emotions of love and heartbreak, while also dealing with the effects of thier illness (Augustus is already one leg down).
What I liked the most about this book, foremost, was the fact that although both of the main protagonists were suffering from it, this was not a cancer book. It was simply a situation in which the themes of love, death and loss were explored, which is what I personally liked the most about this book. The use of quotes is also used alot, which I think really added to the character development, as they say you can tell a lot about a person by their favourite quotes.
My favourite character is Augustus and I think this is because *SPOILERS* his death really summarised what the book was about. Hazel didn't want to hurt anyone with "her emotional shrapnel" however by witnessing the death of Augustus, who was in remission, she really has to think about what it will be like when she is gone and what she wants to leave behind. Augustus is also very witty and humorous, which brings a bit of light to quite a dark book. We also get the impression that his jokes area way of coping with the effects of the cancer as he says "Seriously, don't even get me started on my hot bod. You don't want to see me naked, Dave. Seeing me naked actually took Hazel Grace's breath away." We also learn that he is just like a normal teenager in terms of his emotions and insecurities.
My only criticism of this book, and one which many people have highlighted, is the fact that both main characters seem to deliver a lot of perfectly timed and well- articulated speeches. However, the reason this bothers me is not because it makes Hazel and Augustus seem less like 'real' teenagers, but the fact that it can drag on a bit. I'm not saying that the dialogue isn't beautifully written, but some parts of it could have been summarised using half as many words. This is a minor criticism though, and I thought the way Green described augustus death was very beautiful without being cheesy and cliche.
In conclusion I really enjoyed this book, and took a lot away from it. Be warned, people have been known to get very emotional when reading this book, so have a packet of tissues at the ready. A very interesting read, although I think i'll go for something with a bit more action next time.
Age Rating: 12+
Star Rating: 3.5 /5 stars
Author's website: http://johngreenbooks.com
Author's Youtube Channel: http://www.youtube.com/vlogbrothers