Wednesday, January 30, 2013
Insightful, bold, irreverent, and raw, The Fault in Our Stars is award-winning-author John Green’s most ambitious and heartbreaking work yet, brilliantly exploring the funny, thrilling, and tragic business of being alive and in love. -- Dutton Children's
Normally, I just turn to my shelves for my next book; however, after reading so many book blogger's "Best of 2012" lists, I knew I had to head to my local library to get a copy of THE FAULT IN OUR STARS by John Green. This novel has received so many accolades and I can certainly see why. I absolutely adored this book... and feel like I should read everything this man has ever written!
For those of you who aren't familiar with THE FAULT IN OUR STARS (although I swear I'm the last blogger alive who hasn't read it!), this novel tells the story of Hazel, a teen girl who has survived one cancer scare but still is living with the knowledge that she is terminal. With all of her health issues, Hazel's life is far from normal, but things begin to look up when she meets Augustus at a cancer support group meeting. Hazel falls hard for this charming boy and begins to see her own life in a new light!
Truly, THE FAULT IN OUR STARS took my breath away. I read it in one day (almost one sitting if it weren't for carpooling duties!), and I was blown away by this story. While the book does deal with some very heavy issues (heck, it's about kids with cancer), somehow the story was still funny and smart; and it dealt with some very universal issues like first love and living each day to the fullest.
I could go on and on about all of the amazing things about this novel, but I'll just touch upon a few or else this review would be very long (even by my standards.) Plus I don't really feel that I can add any more to the already fantastic review out there. But I wanted to mention that Hazel and Augustus were incredible characters, ones that will remain in your thoughts for a very long time. Not only were they complex and interesting because of what they have had to deal with in their young lives, but they were also extremely real. The way the author portrayed their personalities, and even their humor, made them seem like typical teens when in reality they were far from typical!
Probably what stands out to me the most about THE FAULT IN OUR STARS is how much it affected me. I finished this novel while waiting for my son at his karate class, and I ended up sniffling and crying. Even though I knew what was coming, I felt so close to these characters that I couldn't help but cry for their losses. Yes, this book is sad -- very sad if I'm being honest, but I loved how it made me feel. I walked away from this story realizing that each and every day is a gift, and I am so fortunate to have some very special people in my life. I also realized that I need to live my life to the fullest and stop feeling sorry for myself. There are kids out there (and adults) who are dealing with a heck of a lot more than I am. Talk about some powerful messages!
I do want to mention that this book is geared towards kids 14 years old and up, and as a mom, I agree with that. I loved this book so much that I debated passing it along to my 13 year old daughter; however, I decided that one more year (or so) wouldn't hurt. There are a few adult issues (i.e. sex) as well as some emotional ones that I think she might be better equipped to handle once she's a little more mature.
Given the topics explored in this novel, THE FAULT IN OUR STARS is ideal for teen book clubs or even mom/daughter ones. I think a discussion of cancer and even death can be a good one for teens; however, there are actually so many other pertinent issues that warrant some additional thought. For example, this novel delves into subjects like friendship, first love, guilt, parent/child relationships, and more -- so much to discuss!
Needless to say, I highly recommend THE FAULT IN OUR STARS! And thanks to all of you book bloggers out there who convinced me that I should read this book! You were absolutely right!