“Sometimes, you read a book and it fills you with this weird evangelical zeal, and you become convinced that the shattered world will never be put back together unless and until all living humans read the book.” –Hazel Graze, a character in The Fault in Our Stars
^ That is exactly the way I feel about The Fault in Our Stars by John Green. I just got finished REreading this book, yet again, and let me tell you…it only gets better.
Ever since I discovered the book Looking for Alaska in an Adolescent Literature course I took while attending college at LSU (Louisiana State University), I have been obsessed with anything written by John Green. Seriously, the man is a snarky nerd god! I am also still quite convinced that he should leave his wife and kid for me…just sayin’.
Up until The Fault in Our Stars came out a little over a year ago, Paper Towns was my favorite novel by John Green, but it can’t even hold a candle to his most recent literary marvel. I seriously don’t know how he does it, but he can take the crappiest subject in the world (childhood cancer) and somehow make you laugh about it…and not in an “I’m a horrible person because I’m laughing about adolescents having cancer” kind of way.
In The Fault in Our Stars, we follow sixteen-year-old Hazel (or Hazel Grace as Augustus Waters likes to refer to her), as she trudges on through life with the knowledge that she has terminal cancer, and will die soon…the successful “miracle” experimental medication she is on is basically just giving her a few more years until she “bites it.”
Having already gotten her GED, Hazel has become a complete shut-in, only venturing out a few hours a week to attend college classes at the local community college. But her mom is convinced that Hazel needs to get out more and live what life she has left to the fullest. It’s because of this that Hazel is forced to attend a youth Support Group in the basement of a church, which the Support Group leader refers to as “the heart of Jesus.”
It is in Support Group that Hazel meets Augustus. She is immediately taken by his good looks, and quickly becomes smitten with his snark and charm…the fact that he only has one “real” leg (the other taken by Osteosarcoma, doesn’t bother her at all—I mean, she has to wheel around an oxygen tank everywhere because her lungs suck at being lungs, thanks to the cancer nodes residing in them). But the fact that these kids have—or have had—cancer doesn’t mean that their since of humor is gone:
“We are literally in the heart of Jesus,” he said. “I thought we were in a church basement, but we are literally in the heart of Jesus.”
“Someone should tell Jesus,” I said. “I mean, it’s gotta be dangerous, storing children with cancer in your heart.”
It is with such wit that the book continues. Like, seriously, it will have you laughing out loud just about every other page (again, I reiterate the fact that John Green is a nerd god). And the book isn’t all puppies and unicorns farting rainbows—it actually does illuminate the crappiness of their circumstances. These kids do get extremely pissed about having cancer—and not just about how their cancer effects them, but their family and loved ones as well. They have horrible thoughts and meltdowns and tantrums, just like anybody would:
“There is only one thing in this world shittier than biting it from cancer when you’re sixteen, and that’s having a kid who bites it from cancer.”
“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.)It was, we were told, incurable.”
Just trust me when I say that you ABSOLUTELY cannot miss reading this book. For reals, your life will not be complete until you do. So do it, do it now!
This book, hands down, gets twenty-eight out of five stars!