The Fault in Our Stars
Who among us hasn't been plagued with a serious case of angst? For teenagers, it seems par for the course (all those raging hormones, OMG). But it's especially true for the two main characters in John Green's hilarious and heartbreaking cancer-kid novel, The Fault in Our Stars. Brought to us by a master of young adult literature, The Fault in Our Stars will have you laughing, weeping, and perhaps even depressed for a few days after you read it.
Don't say we didn't warn you.
Hazel Grace is just a normal teenager who is bored with life and likes to quote philosophers (no big deal) when she meets Augustus, a grade A hottie. It would be your typical teenage-girl-meets-boy story if it weren't for the particulars of how they meet: Hazel and Augustus first lay eyes on each other at a support group for kids with cancer. Ugh.
This is a love story in the bleakest sense. Usually when teenagers fall for each other, it's all exhilaration and excitement and promises of forever. But even though Hazel Grace and Augustus experience that kind of giddy obsession with each other (and trust us, it's pretty freakin' cute), their relationship is, well, a little complicated by their medical statuses. You see, they live in an era where they've been able to slow the progress of their tumors, but not totally get rid of them. So for kids like Hazel Grace and Augustus, the future is one big question mark.
More than anything, this book is about coming to terms with your own mortality. All the characters in the book handle it in different ways: there are glass-half-full support group kids who try to get in touch with their spirituality and inner strength; there are parents who try to keep their premature grief in check; there are people like Augustus who want to make a mark on the world; and there are people like Hazel Grace who just float along without making a fuss about dying or living either way.
In the end, no way is right or wrong. And no way is easy.
So pick up your own tear-stained, dog-eared copy of The Fault in Our Stars and let's fall in love, cry, and learn from all the trials and tribulations that come with dying... and of course, living.
Why Should I Care?
Why should I care? This might as well be a question that's asked by the book's narrator, Hazel Grace. Quite frankly, Hazel doesn't see much of a point in life or leaving a mark on the world. But even if she remains passive, life still happens to her. And that's where all the interesting stuff starts to happen. John Green strives to show us all the messy, wonderful, and utterly surprising things that can happen in a life, even if you're not actively seeking out any adventures. Hazel Grace's life is far from perfect, even when she meets the dreamboat Augustus and falls madly in love with him. It's full of breathing tubes and worried parents and former classmates who treat her like she's fragile glass. But it's still a life, and that's the truly important part.
The book challenges you, the reader, to examine your own life and what you want out of it. After all, even with their obvious limitations, the characters in this book demand control of their lives and try to make the most of the time they have—even if it turns out to be not so much time at all.
That's certainly a thought to chew on.