When you’re a teenager with terminal cancer, life can seem dim. For Hazel, life was about re-reading her favorite novel of all time, watching reruns of America’s Next Top Model, attending community college classes when her body allowed her, as well as attending Support Group — an activity her mother forced her to do in order to make friends. Then the handsome Augustus Waters enters her life and turns it upside down.
As someone she feels understands her, Augustus helps put Hazel’s life in perspective and helps her live life, something she really wasn’t doing before his arrival. But Hazel knows not all adventures can last. So does she open herself up and potentially cause harm to Augustus in the case of the inevitable, or can she avoid him to save him?
My decision to read The Fault in Our Stars occurred when a good friend of mine fell in love with it. She was never one to be crazy about big hype books, so I figured it must be worth the hype if she was just as crazy about it. So, I went out to Targert and bought a soft back, non-movie cover version (I’m not a fan of movie covers for books… I like to try to stick to the original if I can). When I finally got around to reading it, I was hooked.
The writing is straightforward and not complicated, which is great for teens and for any time you just want to read something without having to really think about what you’re reading. What I really liked about the book was that Hazel and Augustus were real: they complained, they knew when they were getting special treatment because of their illnesses, and they didn’t take anything for granted. They also didn’t magically get better because they were the main characters of the story. Sometimes they annoyed me because I found them to be pretentious, but I chalk that up to being a good thing because they’re teenagers and that’s how teenagers are (god knows me and my friends were like that at that age).
I also like that the author did not rush the ending, but he didn’t drag it out either. It was written at a good pace that wouldn’t remove the reader from the overall story. No, I didn’t cry, but that could be because from the vague comments I read about the books I had an idea of what was going to happen.
While I do not want to give away the entire plot (although it’s probably all out there in some form or other) I will say this: it is in no shape or form a story about a guy who plans a trip to Europe with this girl so that she’ll sleep with him (yes, I have heard this book described this way). Does Augustus plan a trip to Europe? Yes. Is it so Hazel will sleep with him? No (although there is some intimacy between them and they do joke about it during the trip). The trip actually has a lot of meaning to it beyond the two taking the next step in their relationship and people who don’t realize this obviously haven’t read the book.
Overall, I think this is a great book for teens to read. I also think parents who are into young adult fiction should read it as well, because it could be a good talking point to have with their child.