Monday, February 18, 2013

The Fault in Our Stars by John Green

Diagnosed with Stage IV thyroid cancer at 13, Hazel was prepared to die until, at 14, a medical miracle shrunk the tumors in her lungs…for now.

Two years post-miracle, sixteen-year-old Hazel is post-everything else, too; post-high school, post-friends and post-normalcy. And even though she could live for a long time (whatever that means), Hazel lives tethered to an oxygen tank, the tumors tenuously kept at bay with a constant chemical assault.

Enter Augustus Waters. A match made at cancer kid support group, Augustus is gorgeous, in remission, and shockingly to her, interested in Hazel. Being with Augustus is both an unexpected destination and a long-needed journey, pushing Hazel to re-examine how sickness and health, life and death, will define her and the legacy that everyone leaves behind.

“I’m a grenade. I just want to stay away from people and read books and think and be with you guys because there’s nothing I can do about hurting you; you’re too invested, so just please let me do that, okay? I’m not depressed. I don’t need to get out more. And I can’t be a regular teenager, because I’m a grenade.” – Hazel

JUST A FAIR WARNING: if you plan on reading this book, make sure you have an entire box of Kleenex ready to rock; you’re going to need them. All of them. I thought I could handle it, I thought I prepared myself enough. I didn't. This book didn’t just make me cry – it made me sob uncontrollably. I’m talking an ugly cry, where there are tears and snot and swollen eyes and you have to stop reading to mentally get your shit together because you can’t even see the pages through the waterfalls that have suddenly been installed in your eye sockets. I’m not kidding. Here's a little something to give you a visual of the mess that was my life during and after reading this novel:

 I’ve had a really hard time trying to piece together this review, which tends to happen when I read a book that just blows my doors off. This is one of those reviews where no matter what I say, I know it’s not going to be good enough. I’m not going to be able to convey to you just how much the story of Hazel and Augustus touched me. I don’t know that I can describe the gutted, heartbroken, “life isn’t fucking fair” feeling that overwhelmed me towards the end of the book. You know, I like to think that I’m pretty good with words, but there are some just books that leave you speechless, that touch you beyond belief – that make you realize, this is why I read!

The Fault in Our Stars is one of those books. 

I refuse to give away any spoilers so I won’t go too much into the plot, but the relationship formed between Augustus and Hazel is nothing short of spectacular. Their easy banter and ability to relate to each other’s issues makes for a heartwarming, funny, seemingly effortless connection. Augustus and Hazel’s relationship, however, wasn’t the only one that made my heart happy; the other was the friendship between Augustus and Isaac. Their quips back and forth to each other made me laugh out loud, and added a necessary element of comedic relief to what could have potentially been a super depressing novel. 

This is, without a doubt, one of my top 10 books of all time and I will forever recommend it to friends, family, co-workers...anyone within earshot of me, really. I'll stand out in front of freaking Barnes and Noble and ask everyone that comes out, "Have you read The Fault in Our Stars? No? Did you buy it today? No? Then you get your ass back in there and buy that freaking book!" I don't know how long Barnes and Noble will allow me to harass customers, but if that's what I have to do, then that's what I have to do. I guarantee this book will not disappoint you, and although you may look like an absolute train wreck after you finish, it’s worth it. It is worth every tear, every tissue, every sob, every smile, every laugh, every last bit of hope and heartache; it is sooo fucking worth it...

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