Tuesday, 17 September 2013

What I've Been Reading::
'The Fault in our Stars' by John Green

"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 

What a book!

Hazel Grace Lancaster is a Cancer Kid. Her life has been forever changed by the Thyroid cancer that spread to her lungs. In need of a constant supply of oxygen and having to take regular doses of an experimental drug that seems to be keeping her cancer at bay (but at what long-term cost?), Hazel is focused on the act of dying. The depression that her mother is convinced she has slipped into, is in fact, she tells us, merely a side effect of dying. Trying to coerce her daughter into the "normal" teenage life she should be living, Hazel's mom convinces her to go to a support group for teens with cancer. Expecting the group to be a waste of time, the last thing Hazel expects is to meet Augustus Waters, a spectacularly wise and stoically existential Cancer Kid.

Augustus is exactly what Hazel needs, whether she knows it yet or not. Throughout her determination not to hurt him, not to be a "grenade", Augustus never wavers. He waits patiently for her to love him, to accept that they are writing their story together.

I don't want to say too much about this novel. I don't think my words could do it justice. As I said when I reviewed 'Paper Towns', I kinda missed the boat when it comes to John Green. But boy, am I so glad I finally discovered him. He is possibly the most eloquent YA writer I've ever come across. He nestles inside his narrators head and lives them, breathes them so convincingly that you forget that he is in fact an adult male and not the 16 year old girl you've been reading about. 

But I think perhaps the thing I like most is that he's not at all patronizing. He never dumbs down his story or avoids using "big" words.  He references Philosophers like Kierkegaard and he's not afraid to talk about the big stuff, the difficult stuff, stuff like teenagers dying of cancer before they ever get to experience life.

This is another one of those books that is gonna stay close to my heart for a good while, and that's how I know when a book deserves a five star review. If a character is strong enough, real enough to move me to tears and then stick around in my head once I've closed the cover on their story, then I know that novel is solid gold.

So, 5/5 to this heart-wrenching novel of life and love. 

Buy on Amazon:: paperback or kindle.

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