The Fault In Our Stars by John Green is a tragic tale of young love and loss. Hazel, the protagonist in the story, is only 16 and has not only been diagnosed with cancer, but is living with the knowledge it isn’t going away. She has come to terms with it. During one of the many support group meetings her mother has been making her attend, she meets Augustus, the other main character. He can’t seem to stop staring at her. Turns out, he’s utterly fascinated with her.
Hazel, who had been reluctant to let people into her life because she was in fact dying, and not wanting to cause people pain when she’s not there anymore, finds herself at the very least intrigued by Augustus. So much so, she agrees to his invitation to go watch a movie with him. Predictably so, the two become friends and soon start to fall in love.
There’s a twist to this story though, that completely catches one by surprise. Augustus has cancer. He gives up his treatment to accompany Hazel to Amsterdam to meet her favorite author, only to end up losing all control over the cancer. As if that was not bad enough to completely reduce one to tears, the rest of the story is where she spends his last days with him, while he gets sicker and sicker, and finally passes away. Without completely ruining the ending, Augustus’s final act in the story is completely touching, heart wrenching, and absolutely bittersweet.
The Fault In Our Stars is an absolute breath of fresh air when considering the landscape of young adult romance type novels available today. The reviewer had heard many times how wonderful this story was and how it would absolutely make one cry. Those descriptions were accurate, in fact, so much so, that they bear repeating here. Have some Kleenex handy if one decides to read this novel, it will be needed.
Characters are the make or break point in a novel, and author Green manages to deliver the story of one of most touchingly tragic couples the reviewer has ever had the pleasure to read. Hazel and Augustus are not quite Romeo and Juliet, but are as equally likely to be able to have a long and happy life together, yet, as the reader, one can not help but hope for a miracle and that it will work out for them.
Given the basic storyline, you know things are going to go bad somewhere in the book, but one becomes attached to the story and the characters, that when the bad does happen, in this case, when it is discovered that Augustus is dying, not Hazel, one really follows Hazel on her emotional trek throughout the rest of the novel. Her growth as a character really shines in the last few chapters of the story.
The book, while written as a young adult novel, is one that honestly transcends the genre. If one is a fan of the Nicholas Sparks type novels, this one can not be recommended enough. Just make sure to have some Kleenex handy if one decides to read this story, it will be needed.
The Fault In Our Stars is available at the Howard County Public Library. Copies are limited, so if it is unavailable, ask at the front desk to be placed on the waiting list for it.
In addition to serving as an associate librarian with the Howard County Library, Nicole Tracy has years of experience in literary fields. She writes an exclusive weekly column for The Nashville News.