Saturday, August 30, 2014

The Fault in Our Stars by John Green

I reluctantly put this book on hold at the library more out of a sense of duty as a book blogger, rather than a real desire to read it. Much like my 9 year old niece's attitude to the Harry Potter series, I was reluctant to grab my board and join the wave of popularity that surrounded this book (my niece is totally wrong, by the way, but that doesn't mean I am).

I was something like 116th in line at the library. So I figured I wouldn't get my hands on it for at least 10 years. Since I'd heard so many good things about it, I was prepared to be disappointed by the hype anyway and felt I could afford to wait. But damn it if it didn't come just a few months later. Stupid public libraries with half decent book selections and somewhat plentiful stock.

The story is straightforward. Hazel has cancer and lives her life despite cancer's life interrupting side effects like exhaustion, hospital stays, oh, and death. In addition to the cancer, she deals with things like overly loving parents and support group, which she attends more for her parents' benefit than her own. At support group, she meets Augustus, a cancer survivor, and they soon become friends. Okay, they become more than friends eventually, but somehow the word "boyfriend" seems to cheapen their relationship.

Hazel introduces Augustus to her favorite book, An Imperial Affliction, written by Peter van Houten. Hazel obsesses over the ending of the book, which follows a vein similar to The Sopranos' Finale. Hazel writes van Houten seeking answers to the fates of the book's characters. But her letters seem ignored, until Augustus writes van Houten...and gets a response.

I'd say more, but it really isn't the story itself that is the main draw for me with this book. It's the writing.  Green's narrative had me smiling from the first few pages. Hazel and Augustus are both smart, sharp, and funny. I liked seeing the world through Hazel's eyes, especially. I suppose even without the great writing, Hazel and Augustus' search for answers from van Houten was intriguing enough. But what brings this book from three stars to four is Green's fresh and fun writing.

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