Sunday, July 29, 2012

The Fault in Our Stars

The Fault in Our Stars
Author: John Green
Dutton Children's, 2012
328 pages

A few days after I wrote the previous entry, I started reading the Young Adult novel The Fault in Our Stars. At first, the reading went quickly and I became absorbed in the world of Hazel, a sixteen year-old who has cancer. Hazel is an incredibly gifted, quirky kid, whose lifespan has just been granted a few more years thanks to a tumor-shrinking drug. When her mom talks her into going to Cancer Kid Support Group, Hazel meets the incredibly handsome and delightful Augustus "Gus" Waters, another sixteen year-old whose bone cancer is in remission.

Gus is an amputee with one leg, and his wits are a perfect match for Hazel's quirkiness and sarcasm. When he learns of her obsession with a book called "An Imperial Affliction" which was written by the elusive one-hit-wonder author Peter Van Houten, Gus is determined for her to get the answers to the questions she seeks regarding what happened to the characters in the novel. He'll go to great lengths to do so!

[It was about at this point when I received some sad news about a friend with a cancer diagnosis. Just days after that, a close family member learned the same. Needless to say, my reading of this book slowed down for a while . . . I just couldn't deal with the subject matter for a few weeks. I feel the need to emphasize that my putting it aside is not a reflection on the book but on my personal state of mind at the time!]

When I was finally able to return to Hazel's world, I found myself swept away on an adventure to find Peter Van Houten, who is nearly as interesting a character as Hazel herself. I'm sorry, but I'm going to have to leave the plot at that, in order not to reveal too much. But I will say this: It's one of the most original, best written young adult novels I've read since [brace yourself] the very excellent Catcher in the Rye. The writing is exquisite and honest; Hazel and Gus are so real . . . and likeable, too.

If The Fault in Our Stars doesn't win a million awards, I'm going to be both disappointed and shocked.