“Sometimes, you read a book and it fills you with this weird evangelical zeal, and you become convinced that the shattered world will never be put back together unless and until all living humans read the book.”
John Green, The Fault in Our Stars
This John Green novel, The Fault in Our Stars, is that book to me. This is a story of two star-crossed teenagers who meet in a cancer support group and fall hopelessly in love, By hopeless, I mean literally hopeless. Our narrator, Hazel Grace Lancaster, a 16 year old, stage 4 thyroid cancer patient meets Augustus ‘Gus’ Waters, a 17 year old cancer patient who is in remission from osteosarcoma which caused him to lose his right leg. Initially, I did not expect to like this book because I expected it to be depressing like other cancer books. But, the dark humour even amidst all the tragedy keeps you hooked on.
The gradual development of Hazel and Gus’ friendship into love is heart-warming to read, it is something everyone can relate to. John Green gives a whole new dimension to cancer-lit. The philosophical and existential questions that keep popping up throughout the book is intriguing, especially amidst all the tragedy, romance and teen angst.
Almost every girl reading this book would fall instantaneously in love with the character of Augustus Waters, the charming, funny, smart and loveable male protagonist. The icing on the cake would be the way he first expresses his love for Hazel. He says,
“I’m in love with you, and I’m not in the business of denying myself the simple pleasure of saying true things. I’m in love with you, and I know that love is just a shout into the void, and that oblivion is inevitable, and that we’re all doomed and that there will come a day when all our labour has been returned to dust, and I know the sun will swallow the only earth we’ll ever have, and I am in love with you.”
Come on, which girl can resist a guy who says something like that? Hazel and Augustus’ trip to Amsterdam is beautifully written, it makes you question society’s view of Amsterdam as a city of sin. Personally, I loved this book because of how they fall in love with each other, the way the author narrates all of Hazel’s inhibitions about love and the way she finally allows herself to open her heart to Augustus, knowing fully well that, one day, it might be broken.
This book will make you smile, cry and chuckle till you look like a fool to anyone who sees you reading it. The ending might seem slightly predictable to some but when it comes to John Green’s books, it’s not about the plot twists and suspense. It’s about the essence of it all, how it touches you and how it makes you feel. It does not fail to leave an impact on all its readers. For young adults, it’s worth the money spent on buying this book and it makes you feel a colourful array of emotions between its black and white pages.