The Fault in Our Stars by John Green
Disclaimer: I'm a huge fan of John Green - and have been since Looking for Alaska, which still remains my favorite of all his novels, but this one just might nudge it out of first place.
(C'mon, JODI PICOULT blurbed it! C'mon!)
I'm not sure how to accurately sum up this young adult title, except to say it's, well, exceptional.
Hazel is a teenage girl with a terminal form of cancer, but a new cocktail of drugs seem to be stabilizing her for now. In an effort to get her to socialize more, her mother forces her to attend a "Cancer Kids" support group once a week, and one day, in walks Augustus, and Hazel's world is turned inside out, upside down - for the better.
Their relationship, and the orbit of characters around them, make this sooo much more than just a "kid with cancer" book.
The knee-jerk reaction is that no one wants to read a book about a kid with cancer, but in Green's capable hands, the book evolves far beyond that. A romance, a travelogue, a constant parry of words, and yes, a sad story at times. Though I had to laugh to myself at times that Green's dialogue reminded me of Dawson's Creek (remember the refrain we used to say when watching it: okay, NO teenager talks like that in real life!), you believe it, you devour it, and you repeat it, laughing and appreciating and crying all at the same time.
Hazel and especially Augustus stuck with me long after I closed the book, and that, I think, is the point of the book - the point of life, of Hazel's life.
To be remembered even after we disappear from sight.
Brilliant, funny, sad, touching, amazing, RECOMMENDED.
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