So by now now I’m sure everyone knows about/ has read The Fault in our Stars by John Green. It’s heartbreaking, it’s inspiring, it’s easily the most devastating work of young adult fiction that’s ever been written. Here’s the short version. A teenage girl named Hazel Grace Lancaster suffers from thyroid cancer. Her mother makes her go to a cancer support group at a church for other kids with cancer. At this support group she meets the ever charming Augustus Waters, who had osteosarcoma, but is now in remission. They hang out, fall in love, and just when you get really attached to them as a couple, John Green rips off the band aid and tears your hope apart with the cold, hard iron fist that is cancer.
The style of writing and heartfelt sentiments of teenage love will fill your heart with much emotion you won’t know how to handle it. I had heard that TFIOS was such a good book and that I would love it, and while those things are 100% true, everyone neglected to mention that I would also cry through the ENTIRE last half of the book. When i began the book it was my expectation that there would be death. It’s a book about kids with cancer after all. My expectation that it would be Hazel who died, however, was completely and soul-shatteringly (is that a word?) wrong. And here come the spoilers! Reading the decline of Augustus’ health was the hardest part of this book for me. He is introduced as a strong, charming, wise beyond his years young man who seems to have overcome his curable form of cancer, and his story ends with him in a state of complete weakness. There is a point towards the end of the book in which Hazel shows this connection. John Green makes a note by explaining how Hazel went from calling him Augustus in the beginning, like the great emperor, to calling him Gus in the end, just as his parents do, showing how he has become weaker and more boy-like. More mortal.
TFIOS is by far my favorite book since A Rose for Melinda, which also happens to be about a teenage girl with cancer. So, as you can see, I have a thing for tragically sad stories. John Green created a gem of a novel with TFIOS because it’s isn’t just a love story or a story about sick kids, it’s a story about how learning what it means to love and being given the opportunity regardless of age or health and despite having very long to live on the planet. I believe that’s what is beautiful about Hazel and Augustus. Even though Hazel had come to terms with her disease and her mortality and Augustus believed he had longer to live than he did, neither of them let their circumstances stop them having the chance to love each other. Some people never get the chance to fall in love.
So, I’ll end this post before I start to cry. Read and re-read TFIOS, go see the movie if you haven’t yet because Shailene Woodley and Ansel Elgort did a fantastic job of bringing Hazel and Augustus to life on screen, and be sure to check out John Green’s website and follow him on his various social media sites like I do! His other books are good too. I am currently reading Looking for Alaska, so expect a post on that soon.