My fault: not being a teenager now.
Synopsis of The Fault in Our Stars by John Green: Despite the tumor-shrinking medical miracle that has bought her a few years, Hazel has never been anything but terminal, her final chapter inscribed upon diagnosis. But when a gorgeous plot twist named Augustus Waters suddenly appears at Cancer Kid Support Group, Hazel's story is about to be completely rewritten.
My two cents
Hazel has cancer. And though she's doing well thanks to a miracle drug, she knows she is living a shorter life than most. She meets Augustus Waters during a session in a support group, a young man who has kicked his own cancer and was there to provide support to his friend Isaac.
Thus begins their love story, with insight and meaning that is leaps and bounds beyond a typical teenage romance.
***This book has so much hype surrounding it, and some pretty die-hard fans out there. But I get it, I really get it.
So, I am going to gush. When I finished this, I went "Oh ggggaaawdd ... where was John Green when I was a teenager? This generation should be so lucky!"Because this is really good young adult fiction.
It's got a great romance that's grander than any teenager could ever imagine, it's loaded with lots of teenage angst (the regular kind), and then it's all layered with the adult world that these teenagers are forced to face: cancer, pain, parents wanting to do everything in their power to help them, awkward friends who don't know what to do around someone so ill, and the uncertainty and oftentimes hopelessness of being so ill. Talk about upping teenage angst!
What memorable characters! The two main characters have an understated chutzpah and coolness that I just loved: the unassuming, unselfconscious Hazel; the dashing, speak-your-mindedness of Gus. They're a pair I no doubt many teenagers can relate to. Then there's best friend, the awkward Isaac; and then of course the drunken anti-social author Peter Van Houten, and his assistant, the wonderful Lidewij.
Teenage awkwardness. Wry humour. Philosophical musings. A seemingly wild goosechase in an attempt to track down a mysterious writer. Living with cancer day to day. This is a love story plus plus. I laughed. I swooned (I thought Gus was cute but Isaac sounded adorable). I cheered. And my heart cried at how people so young could be so ill, so hopeful, so in love. What a rollercoaster of a read!
- This is a teenage romance. Not everything may be realistic (there is no cure for cancer), the dialogues and philosophical meanderings may seem a little put on (admit it, when one is 16, it's cool to be so knowing), and for some this may just seem sappy. So remember, this is a teenage romance. Don't overanalyze it.
- I have a feeling that not too many parents will condone sex at 16 years old. I take comfort in the fact that these teenagers seem mature beyond their years.
- If I had seen the movie before the book, I may not have even decided to read this. I am ambivalent about the upcoming movie. My advice: don't spoil this wonderful read by watching the movie before reading the book.
Verdict: Remember your first romance and up the angst factor in this rollercoaster of an emotional love story of two cancer-stricken teenagers. Love can heal so many hurts. Love can provide hope to the hopeless and make life worth the ride. Read this. Okay?