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#6 The Fault in our Stars by John Green

Hazel Grace Lancaster was not supposed to reach the age of sixteen. Diagnosed with Stage IV thyroid cancer when she was twelve, Hazel was prepared to die. Then an experimental drug managed to do the impossible, and beat the cancer back into remission. Now she spends her days taking classes as a local community college, watching marathons of America's Next Top Model, and attending a support group for kids with cancer against her will. Then she meets Augustus Waters, a fellow cancer survivor who charms her immediately and changes everything.

Recently, I began to notice a trend while writing reviews for John Green books. They usually went something like “this book was so good, but gee, John tends to use the same character types over and over again.” Fortunately, this is not the case with his most recent book. The Fault in Our Stars is a gorgeous book that manages to do so much right where the same story would fail beneath a lesser author. This is not a typical “cancer book” where the cancer survivors are bright eyed, ever serene character types that end the story making the main character (and therefore the reader) appreciate their cancer-less lives a bit more. Hazel and Augustus are real teenagers first and foremost, whose lives have been deeply impacted by their respective illnesses, but are not solely defined by their diseases. Despite the fact that Hazel and I have experienced life differently, I found I could connect well to her thoughts, and often agreed with her opinions.  I loved the fact that she was a type of person who could read serious books, and silly video game adaptations. The romantic subplot between her and Augustus is both touching and realistic. I could not help but fall in love with Augustus just a little bit, just as Hazel found herself falling for him.

Similar to other works by John Green, The Fault in Our Stars is an exceptionally well balanced book. Despite the fact that this can be quite a sad story, The Fault in Our Stars is not only made up of heartbreaking moments. This slim volume is bursting with fantastic humor, and sweet romance as well. This is also a novel that will appeal beyond the typical YA reading crowd. Yes, it features a fast moving pace and youthful characters, but there are larger themes at play here. One of the big theme of the books is trying to find sense in a world that can seem nothing but randomly cruel. John doesn’t dumb this down just because the intended audience is teenagers, which I really appreciated. After all, sixteen-year-Hazel is dealing with it, it’s clear that other teenagers do as well.

Before reading The Fault in Our Stars, I had read ever other novel written by John Green, and enjoyed them all on one level or another. I can honestly say that The Fault in Our Stars is his best work yet, and is completely deserving or the large amount of press and praise that it has been receiving. John may not be the type of author to put out a new book every year, but I await his next release with baited breath.

Rating: five stars
Length: 313 pages
Source: gift
Other books I've read by this author: Looking for Alaska, An Abundance of Katherines, Paper Towns, Will Grayson Will Grayson (with David Levithan), Let it Snow: Three Holiday Romances (with Maureen Johnson, and Lauren Myracle)

Next I will be reviewing Saints Astray by Jacqueline Carey

xposted to temporaryworlds, bookish, and goodreads
Tags: author: g, category: young adult, genre: contemporary, review
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