Good Reads: The Fault in Our Stars


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By Megan McFarlane

The Fault in Our Stars by John Green

Hazel Grace Lancaster's parents are worried that she is depressed as a side effect of her cancer. Hazel would remind them that her depression, like her cancer, is a side effect of her dying. But Hazel has been dying for years now, and what she is really concerned with is watching the "America’s Next Top Model" marathon, re-reading An Imperial Affliction and learning what happened to Anna’s pet hamster after the book ends. What Hazel was not expecting to find at her cancer support meeting was Augustus Waters. But that is what she found in the “literal heart of Jesus.”

Augustus, once an athlete, doesn’t take life or dying too seriously and his upbeat personality is an enigma to Hazel at first. But as they spend time together she finds herself growing to like him more and more, especially after sharing her love of An Imperial Affliction with him. Desperate to learn more about the book, Hazel has written to the reclusive author Peter Van Houten time and time again without ever receiving a reply, but there is something in Augustus' self-deprecating honesty that finally heralds a reply along with an offer from his assistant to visit them in the Netherlands. Augustus decides to use his Genie Foundation wish to send himself and Hazel to the Netherlands to meet the author.

But after being terminal for years, it isn’t the letters or the wish that surprise Hazel the most about Augustus Waters, it’s the fact that he loves her and that she loves him back.

Before John Green became a hugely successful Young Adult author, he was an editorial assistant in the books for youth section at the American Library Association's Booklist, so he's often in attendance at ALA conferences.

At this year's Midwinter Meeting in Dallas in January, I told Green that I cried like a baby while reading this book.  His response was, “Um… sorry.”  But as Augustus reminds us in The Fault in Our Stars is, “That’s the thing about pain, it demands that it be felt.” And it does. Green does an excellent job of making the reader feel the experience of Augustus and Hazel’s love, their excitement, their anticipation, their disappointment and ultimately their grief.

In a recent interview with Ilene Cooper, senior editor at Booklist, Green said of The Fault in Our Stars:

“You never want to say you are arguing against Shakespeare, but I was arguing against Shakespeare… The truth is we live in a world where there is fault in our stars always and everywhere, and I find that very difficult to reconcile myself to, and I think I have been writing this book for so long as a way of trying to find value, and meaning, and hope in the most difficult and painful parts of life.” 

The full interview can be seen here:

 

If you're like me and can't get enough of John Green, check out his vlog with brother, Hank Green, on YouTube and his website.

The Fault in Your Stars is one of the finalists for this year's Teens Top Ten list, a teen choice award, where teens nominate and choose their favorite books of the previous year! You can vote for The Fault in Our Stars, or any of your favorite books from the short list.

There's also a short video in the "Library Stories" section of our website in which Green talks about the important role libraries have played in his life, as well as his views on censorship and library budget cuts.

Says Green, "Library budget cuts have been devastating to the health and well-being of communities, and it makes me really sad. It's been devastating to see book budgets get cut
so much.  It's also been devastating to see staff budgets get cut so much, because one of the things that makes the United States the United States is the fact that all people in our country have access, free and open access, to all of the world's information through public libraries. And to see that stripped away, really to see one of the core facets, the cornerstones of the idea of America stripped away."

 

 

 

 

 

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