THE FAULT IN OUR STARS by John Green

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Hazel does not particularly enjoy support group.  It consists of sitting in a church with a bunch of other teenagers with cancer of various kinds at various stages, all in the process of dying–even those in remission.  All humans are in the process of dying, after all.  But it is at support group that she first meets Augustus Waters, an incredibly attractive guy with an unrelenting wit and an affinity for metaphorical cigarettes.  Their friendship forms quickly around conversations about nuances of language, action movies, video games, and in particular a somewhat philosophical novel by a reclusive author.  Peter Van Houten’s novel has had a profound influence on Hazel and her worldview, but there is one problem.  It ends mid-sentence with the main character’s death.  Not a very satisfying conclusion.  As Hazel tries to balance her feelings for Augustus with her reluctance to begin a relationship that must inevitably soon end with her death, Augustus tries to track down Van Houten to find out how the novel ends.

The Fault in Our Stars is at once hilarious and heartbreaking.  Through an exploration of love, family, hope, disappointment, and loss, John Green captures the infinite beauty, tragedy, and potential of finite human life.  Hazel and Augustus are witty, intelligent, imperfect, and so utterly human that I could not help but fall in love with them.  Although it is heart-wrenching, I would not call this book depressing.  In fact, I would describe it as uplifting, a reminder that the transience of human life does not diminish its beauty or its meaningfulness.  Thank you for this book, John Green.  It is truly a masterpiece.

If you liked The Fault in Our Stars, you might like The Book Thief by Markus Zusak.

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