I have to begin this review by admitting that I do not read “young adult” books very often. As a matter of fact, I avoid them. I watch 14 year olds and their drama every single day, I do not want to come home and read about more teenage angst. But one evening, when I was desperately searching for a new book for my Kindle (yes, I panic when I don’t have a next book lined up), The Fault in Our Starsby John Green popped up. I seriously hesitated, but it had such good reviews, I decided to wave my doubts.
Oh. My. Gosh. I loved this book from the very first page. I don’t know what makes it “Young Adult” other than the fact that it is about teenagers. The writing is outstanding. The storyline sad, but presented with humor.
The main character is Hazel. Hazel is 16 and has terminal cancer. While at a cancer support group, she meets Agustus Waters. They fall in love. Simple enough plot line, but made oh-so-incredible by the beauty of the writing. I had to keep myself from highlighting practically every section. The writing is stark, beautiful, humorous, sad.
About the support group:
“This Support Group featured a rotating cast of characters in various states of tumor-driven unwellness. Why did the cast rotate? A side effect of dying.”
“So here’s how it went: The six or seven or ten of us walked/wheeled in, grazed at a decrepit selection of cookies and lemonade, sat down in the Circle of Trust, and listened to Patrick recount for the thousandth time his depressingly miserable life story --- how he had cancer in his balls and they thought he was going to die but he didn’t die and how here he is, a full-grown adult in a church basement in the 137th nicest city in America, divorced, addicted to video games, mostly friendless, eking out a meager living by exploiting his cancertastic past, slowly working his way toward a master’s degree that will not improve his career prospects, waiting, as we all do, for the sword of Damocles to give him the relief that he escaped lo those many years ago when cancer took both of his nuts but spared what only the most generous soul would call his life.”
When they meet an author of book that Hazel loves:
“Given the entertainment bacchanalia at the disposal of young me and women of your generation, I am grateful to anyone anywhere who sets aside the hours necessary to read my little book.”
You can see, that in no way is the writing “dumbed down” for teenagers, on the contrary, these teenagers have a vocabulary I envy. They are the teenagers we want to know: bright, witty, charming, honest.