Novel That Tackles Big Subjects Life, Death, Love in The Fault in Our Stars

Did you know  in The Fault in Our Stars, John Green has created a soulful novel that tackles big subjects--life, death, love--with the perfect blend of levity and heart-swelling emotion?

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.  Insightful, bold, irreverent, and raw, The Fault in Our Stars is award-winning-author John Green’s most ambitious and heartbreaking work yet, brilliantly exploring the funny, thrilling, and tragic business of being alive and in love.

Ever since her diagnosis at age 13, Hazel Grace Lancaster's cancer has always been terminal. Two years later and with tumors now in her lungs, Hazel was ready to die before a miracle drug stabilized her condition, giving her a new lease on life, at least for the time being. Now besides being out of the hospital and not dying, her life hasn't changed that much. At 16 Hazel still doesn't miss an America's Next Top Model marathon, leave the house except for classes at the community college, or have more than three friends (her parents and an author she's never met). Most of all her oxygen tank - a constant reminder of her illness - will never leave her side. Naturally, it's understandable that the cancer support group her mother insists she attend is the last place she'd choose to go. But Hazel never could've guessed that she'd meet tall, good-looking, and metaphorically-prone Augustus Waters, and that Augustus, a survivor of osteosarcoma himself, would be interested in her. Quickly becoming friends, Hazel and Augustus will do anything from reading the others' favorite book to challenging each others' deeply-held views on life and death, leaving them irrevocably changed, for better or for worse.

Hazel desires freedom. Her desire for freedom not only from her physical limitations that arise from her cancer, but also the emotional complications that arise due to her disease. At one point, Hazel is given the opportunity to go to Amersterdam to visit her favorite author with Augustus. However, some of Hazel's doctors feel that the risk of flying a patient who is on oxygen and is the first successful patient on an experimental drug is too great. Hazel's physical limitations threaten to stop her from getting the closure she needs to move on from her obsession of her favorite book.

The power of John Green's writing isn't that he writes "about" teenagers, but rather "for" teenagers. Many authors who write about teenagers often times glorify the young adult life, with the over done romantics and an endless amount of everyone-gets-what-they-want. They do not catch real life, instead of including the bumps and scratched caused by fighting with parents, or swearing, or just doing stupid teenagery-type things, they smooth them over and play up the love between character A and character B. John Green, on the other hand, writes for teenagers.

The Fault in Our Stars does have its share of sad moments, but these aren't gratuitous. It's a beautiful kind of agony, watching these characters confront the basic truths of mortality that we all will eventually face ourselves. The Fault in Our Stars covers not only what it means to be dying, but what its like to grieve for someone who has died.

This book is character driven all the way. Voice? In spades. Personality? You'll forget it's a fictional construct. Plot? We'll leave that to the cancer, which has an annoying tendency of unfolding and climaxing with formulaic endings. Still, if all infinities differ, then we ALL have the Big C in some metaphorical sense: call it the "Big D" as in Date with Death. No wonder our heroes stay at an Amsterdam hotel named after philosophers at one point.

Reading this book will possibly be one of the most masochistic things that you will ever do. This is because it is going to cause you real, visceral pain. You are going to cry.