Monday, May 20, 2013

Review: The Fault in our Stars

Let me preface this review with three facts about my reading preferences:
1. I hate romance. Hate. It. I have been known, on occasion  to throw books with ridiculous romances in them across the room. I don't know how this happened, because in other ways I am the girliest of girls (the kind that sees pedicures as a necessity, not a luxury), but it is true.
2. I hate books about dying/death/illness. I like to put on the front of being tough and uncaring, but the truth is, I have a giant soft heart that can hardly handle reading about the pain of others.
Cover image from Amazon, via LibraryThing
3. I generally don't read realistic fiction, probably something to do with the first two facts. I look at books as a way of escaping the world.

That being said, I could not possibly have loved this book, about a romance between a terminal cancer patient and a recovering cancer patient, any more. Hazel is a self-described "professional cancer patient". Her diagnosis is eventual death from her condition, although she has bought herself some time with a successful cancer drug trial and her trusty oxygen tank to help her "crap" lungs. She does her best to live as a normal teenager, mostly for the sake of her parents, which includes attending a support group where she meets Augustus. Augustus has one leg, which put his bone cancer into remission, a wry sense of humor, and the same stark way of speaking about the world. Of course they should probably fall in love, but how do you forge a relationship when you are assured of dying young?

It's not often you describe a book about cancer patients as delightful, but there are so many points of this book that had me literally laughing out loud. Hazel's voice is sweet, realistic, honest, and she is not afraid to point out the truth of her situation. Never once did it feel forced or treacly. The dialogue is crackling with equal parts humor, sarcasm, and honesty. They are simply two kids, one of which has no leg, and one that has very little future to look forward to, trying to figure out who they are and how they fit into the world.

The Fault in our Stars is definitely for an older group of kids. There is frank discussions of sex, death, cancer, some minor language (one usage of the so-called R-rated curse word), and one alluded-to sexual act. Keep your parent or guardian nearby, and perhaps a tissue for tears (if you're that kind).

LibraryThing Review

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