“Despite the tumor-shrinking medical miracle that has bought her a few years, Hazel has never been anything but terminal, her final chapter inscribed upon diagnosis. But when a gorgeous plot twist named Augustus Waters suddenly appears at Cancer Kid Support Group, Hazel’s story is about to be completely rewritten.”
I don’t think it’s any secret that I’m not a John Green fan. But prior to me not being a fan, I made the mistake of buying all of his books that had already come out. And all because I really enjoyed reading Paper Towns. Since then, I’ve gone through his books slowly, and one by one. I found out that I wasn’t a big fan of Looking for Alaska, or of An Abundance of Katherines–but I found myself liking Will Grayson, Will Grayson, even with the author’s tried and tested formula.
One book remained: The Fault In Our Stars.
People raved about the book, and I was intrigued. Again. Will Grayson, Will Grayson allowed me to have faith in Green’s writing again. But some of these people also raved about the other John Green novels that were not Paper Towns. So I approached the last John Green book in my possession with a lot of hesitation and very low expectations. And you know what they say about setting low expectations, right?
I loved The Fault In Our Stars. Mostly because it didn’t follow the John Green formula of having a quirky male lead fall in love with a too cool to be popular girl. Nor did it have the overweight best friend who was very humorous and/or well-loved. The Fault In Our Stars had Hazel, a girl who knows she will soon die–and the boy she didn’t want to love, but did anyway.
Not even a quarter into the novel, I was already tearing up. Out of all the characters John Green has created, I think Hazel is the first to actually feel real. From her matter-of-fact way of dealing with her cancer, her relationship with her parents–and her reaction (and reluctance) to falling in love with a boy who will definitely lose her to cancer.
I liked Hazel. And the reason why I, I think, enjoyed this book is because I was rooting for Hazel. I wanted her to have a happy ending. I wanted her to take a leap, to risk loving Augustus Waters.
And I loved the fact that both of them weren’t perfect, but were beautiful to each other.
I loved the fact that while Hazel has accepted her destiny, she never bowed down to it. That she continues to enjoy the life she does have.
And I love how, even though they were background characters, Hazel’s parents had lives of their own.
Notice the number of times I’ve used the word love? I really love this book, it seems.
Within the story, Hazel and Augustus become enamored by a book that dealt with dying. Said book ends in mid-sentence, never really revealing what happened to the characters in it, only implying that the main character, the one telling the story, has died. Being the type of guy who refuses to peek at the last page, I must admit to being afraid that John Green might do the same thing for the book. (Spoiler alert: he doesn’t.) But that’s not the point.
The point is this: Hazel and Augustus are frustrated that they don’t know the end to the stories of the other characters. And that got me thinking. Why don’t I ever wonder what happens to the other characters once I put down a book? I guess that’s because I like to imagine them leaving healthy, happy lives afterwards. And I’m content with that. But Hazel and Augustus aren’t. Maybe because their book ends so abruptly.
If they had read their own story though, I don’t think they’d have been frustrated. While John Green doesn’t tie up everything with a nice little bow, he does give closure to almost all the characters. And that needs to be enough.
I must say, The Fault In Our Stars has placed John Green back in my good graces. I hope whatever his follow up is won’t fall into the formula of his older books.