Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Green Is My Favorite Color

(Image from Barnes & Noble)

Cancer books aren't supposed to be funny or quirky or romantic.  They're supposed to be sad, sentimental tearjerkers, right?  Not according to John Green.  The enormously popular YA author's newest, The Fault in Our Stars, deals not just with the Big C, but with kids afflicted by the disease.  Nothing says sad and sentimental quite like that combo.  Except, in Green's hands, it's somehow not.  Instead, it's a bright, swoon-y novel filled with love, life and laughter.  Which doesn't mean you shouldn't have a tissue handy.  You should, because The Fault in Our Stars can also be brutal in all its raw tenderness. 

The story goes a little something like this:  Hazel Lancaster, a 17-year-old suffering from Stage IV thyroid cancer, has given up on trying to live any kind of normal life.  She knows how to face the facts.  It's just something you learn as a kid with terminal cancer.  Hazel's not normal, so why pretend?  Lugging her oxygen tank around the mall while being stared at by curious onlookers really isn't worth the trouble.  She'd rather hang out at home and watch t.v. with her mom or re-read her favorite book.  Really, she would.  

Sick of watching her daughter waste away what's left of her life, Hazel's mother pushes Hazel to join a weekly support group for kids with cancer.  The meetings are totally depressing, of course, not exactly the fun-filled social activities Hazel's mom envisioned.  That is, until one of the group members brings a friend to the meeting.  Augustus Waters, a 17-year-old with osteosarcoma, catches Hazel's eye right away.  Not only is he great looking, smart and funny, but he gets Hazel in a way that no one else does.  It doesn't take long for the two to become inseparable.  But, a love story between two cancer kids can never be simple.  Theirs isn't.  What it is is a beautiful adventure, one that can't be fully described, only experienced.

Toward the end of the book, Hazel says, "You have a choice in this world, I believe, about how to tell sad stories, and we made the funny choice" (209).  I couldn't have described The Fault in Our Stars any better than that.  The book is humorous, it's honest, it's heartwarming, it's heartbreaking.  It's gorgeous.  I adored it.  Amen.   

(Readalikes:  Reminded me a little of After Ever After by Jordan Sonnenblick)

Grade:  A-

If this were a movie, it would be rated:  PG-13 for language (1 F-bomb, plus milder invectives), sexual innuendo and mild sexual content

To the FTC, with love:  Another library fine find

3 comments:

  1. My husband loved this book, here's a link to his review of it: http://ourstack.blogspot.com/2012/02/fault-in-our-stars-by-john-green_29.html

    I didn't read it because reading about a teen romance between two with cancer just didn't appeal to me.

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  2. This one sort of reminds me of Just One Wish by Janette Rallison, though a tad more serious. This is the second good review of this book that I have seen and I think I might pick it up. Thanks for the review!

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  3. Green is NOT my favorite color...not yet anyway. ;) I haven't read this one or An Abundance of Katherines so who knows.

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