Reading a John Green novel is like being a teenager again and watching a John Hughes film for the first time. John Green has that in common with John Hughes - he remembers exactly what it was like to be a teenager. Though I'm far from being an adolescent, I still loved Green's award-winning novel, Looking for Alaska. I thought it was beautifully written with a lot of depth and wisdom that you don't usually find in young adult novels. In his new novel, The Fault in Our Stars, John Green is tackling not just ordinary teenagers but teenagers with cancer. When I first heard the premise of this book, I was afraid that it would be too depressing but it actually wasn't. Hazel is sixteen, with terminal cancer, when she meets Augustus at her kids-with-cancer support group. Hazel introduces him to her favorite novel, An Imperial Affliction by Peter van Houten, and together they embark on a quest to meet the reclusive author and finally find out what happened to the characters in his open-ended novel. But apart from this quest, the book is about love, friendship, death and finding joy in living even when one knows that time is short.
“Sometimes, you read a book and it fills you with this weird evangelical zeal, and you become convinced that the shattered world will never be put back together unless and until all living humans read the book. And then there are books which you can't tell people about, books so special and rare and yours that advertising your affection feels like a betrayal.”
As always John Green's writing voice is immensely readable and charming. I must say though that I preferred Looking for Alaska. However, The Fault in Our Stars is still a very good book, one that took me out of my comfort zone. Normally, I would never read a book with this subject matter but since it was John Green I just couldn't refuse. It brought ideas and thoughts to the forefront that I would never have thought about. The fact that life has value no matter how short it is; that immense joy can be found even when you know your days are numbered; that deep friendships can be created even in sad circumstances.