I hesitated signing up to review The Fault in Our Stars by John Green for the BlogHer Book Club. The blurb said it was about a teenager with terminal cancer, and quite honestly, I wasn't sure if I could handle another book about death and dying. It feels like that's all I've been writing about lately.
But I did sign up for it, because I've enjoyed all of the other books I've read in the BHBC. I trusted them that this one would be just as good.
Well, I'm so glad I did. Green's characters - Hazel, Augustus, Isaac - are so real and fresh and funny that I totally fell in love with them. I could hardly put the book down.
Green tells their story without letting it muddle into a melodramatic tearjerker. Oh, I cried plenty of tears - it's a book about kids dealing with cancer and facing death, after all - but mostly I laughed and cheered and rejoiced.
The characters came to life for me, more than any other characters I've ever gotten to know and love. They felt genuine, and I think I'm qualified to judge, having raised three teenagers of my own in recent history.
Where other teenagers dream of their future, Green's characters wonder if they'll have a future beyond the next year... week... month. They realize the importance of the "here and now" because they know that may be all they get. And it reminded me that none of us is guaranteed more than the "here and now".
So, even though the main characters are teenagers, this book isn't just for young adults. The story goes straight to your heart, making it ageless.
It's also a love story more than a cancer story. Love doesn't know anything about cancer, or oxygen tanks, or prosthetic legs - it's a straight heart-to-heart connection. And when so much in your life is out of your hands, it's a relief to have some sense of control over even a small aspect.
As Augustus says, "You don't get to choose if you get hurt in this world, old man, but you do have some say in who hurts you."
This is a paid review for BlogHer Book Club, but the opinions are my own. I really do love, love, love this book and its characters. If you've ever loved, loved, loved a book, join the discussion, "Which Books Do You Love?", HERE.