The Fault in Our Stars by John Green
Are you a crier? Then you will cry reading this book. Lucky for me, I am not and therefore no tears were shed. But when a book is about a teenage girl with terminal cancer who meets and falls in love with a teenage boy, who also has cancer, its a safe bet that the book won't end well.
Knowing early on that someone was going to die, it wasn't hard for me to figure out who. But the book was less about cancer and dying than it was about love.
Hazel was loved by her parents. Her parents who knew at every waking moment that they would one day bury their daughter. Her parents who never knew when that day would come and what day would be their only daughter's last. We often hear that we take each day for granted when we are not sick, and while that may be true, I prefer it that way. Worrying that each day with my loved ones may be the last would be exhausting and emotionally traumatic. I enjoy the fact that I get the luxury of taking for granted the time I get.
Hazel was obsessed with a book written about a girl with cancer. The book ended abruptly, mid-sentence. You never know what happens. The book implies that it stopped mid-sentence because the girl finally died. But Hazel could not accept this and was obsessed with wanting to know what happened to the girl's mother, friends, and hamster. It is obvious that Hazel is not worried about the characters in the book as much as she worries for the characters in her life who must press on in the wake of her inevitable death.
But the book is also about a different kind of love. True love. Hazel meets and falls in love with Augustus Waters, a one-legged cancer survivor. I have read many a review of this book citing their love as "a love I will never truly know." I, on the other hand, view it as the kind of love I already have, just on a shorter time table.
Did my husband use his dying wish to fulfill my lifelong quest? Nope. But then again, he's not dying, so he has no dying wish. Our love is not surrounded by death at every corner. We get the luxury of taking our time together for granted. Did John Green create a love like none other in this book? No. What he did was show the love that many of found, but between two kids who knew they needed to live a lifetime in a very short time.
Hazel was easy to relate to, since she dealt with cancer in a fashion I felt I would have at her age. She tried to be alone but when she couldn't, she dealt with it with blunt and realistic sarcastic tones. That's what made it easy to sink into.
So why 4 stars and not 5 you ask? Because, as always with me, I relate better to adult than teenagers. Especially teenagers who have a large vocabulary and grasp on existentialism, yet constantly use words like "hot" and "sucks". But for a YA book to get 4 stars in my book takes an awful lot.