Friday, January 17, 2014

'The Fault in Our Stars'

About a year or so ago, I came upon a most brilliant man who had posted some amazing videos on Youtube.  He is rapid-fire with his words and knowledge, and I wonder if he even takes a breath.  I love listening to his take on economics, science, music, and just life in general.  He and his brother, Hank, originally made the videos to keep in touch with one another.

The guy?  John Green.  I love him.

And I love him even more now that I know he's the author of some fantastic, absorbing young adult books.  I've read them all, but didn't realize that he's the same guy who makes the videos (I sometimes skip looking at the author pictures on the endflaps).

So I learned something new.  But don't laugh at me.  Be happy that I've discovered that this phenomenal writer is also the guy who makes the videos I absolutely adore.

I just finished his newest book, 'The Fault in Our Stars', and it's hard to write about it.  It left me depressed, yet oddly happy.  It restored my faith in great writing.  

And it made me appreciate male writers who can summon their 'inner girl'.

I have to warn you that this story has a very sarcastic P.O.V., yet it is full of unexpected tenderness.  And lots and lots of crying.  

Hazel Grace Lancaster has cancer, but due to a medical miracle drug, she has been given a few more years of life. When she grudgingly attends the weekly Cancer Kids Support Group one evening, she meets a boy who will turn her world around:  Augustus Waters.  Augustus has lost a leg to cancer, but his view of life makes Hazel think about more than just her bum lungs.  They set off in establishing a friendship that has no bounds.  Both realize that the end could come at any time, so they share what they can, especially their hearts.  After Hazel has Augustus read her favorite book, they take off on an adventure that will change their lives.

I won't say more.  But I truly love this book.  I love the sarcasm.  I love the perspective.  But most of all, I love the fact that they are scared and aren't afraid to finally admit it. Their parents are concerned and supportive and very loving (Hazel's dad has a tendency to cry a lot).  And a situation like that made me wonder how I would feel if my daughter had been given a much-too-soon death sentence.  Would I be patient?  Would I let her make her own decisions, even though I know it would cost her her health?  

'The Fault in Our Stars' is a 'cry' book.  But you'll also laugh.  And you'll question.  And you'll feel.  Oh, how you'll feel!

No wonder John Green is in the upper echelon of YA authors.


'The Fault in Our Stars', published by Dutton Books, a division of Penguin, is available at your local library and bookstore.  The film version will be released in June 2014. 

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