#Cancer. #TeenRomance. #Friendship. #Family. The Fault In Our Stars is one Young Adult fiction book/soon to be released major motion picture that is worth all the hype and more.
Until about two months ago, I never even heard about the highly popular, NY Times and everybody else’s bestselling Young Adult Fiction novel, The Fault In Our Stars. All that changed when I went to the LA Times Festival of Books and heard author John Green talk about his book.
First off, I was glad I had press credentials to go listen to Mr. Green. Otherwise I never would have gotten in to the auditorium. It was filled to capacity (several hundred strong) with John Green fans: mostly young and adoring but a lot of older and adoring too. There was a lot of pre-event exciting chattering going on as we waited for Mr. Green to come on stage. Most of the audience had a copy of The Fault In Our Stars in their laps.
While we were waiting, I asked a couple of the people around me why they were there. Said teenager Sara, “I never read books that sucked me in like this one. I’ve read it twice, cover to cover, but will just read parts of it all the time.” Another teenager, Sam added, “Not only is John Green a great author, he is a great person.”
But it wasn’t just teenagers around me. Yennie, age 35, told me how she became endeared to the book when she borrowed a copy from the library and found a handwritten Post-It Note inside that read, “TBA: don’t forget to be awesome,” one of John Green’s mantras with his fans. A high school English teacher, Yennia, commented, “John Green is a great, consistent writer. I love how he includes current pop culture references in his books.”
The lights finally dimmed, and John Green was announced. You would have thought I was at a concert. The audience went WILD!!! Screaming. Swooning. Yelling. Jumping up and down. It was nuts. I had no idea of the ROCK STAR status Mr. John Green holds in the young adult fiction world, especially with The Fault In Our Stars.
For over an hour, Mr. Green shared his thought and writing processes for his books. He “loves writing for Young Adults because he writes for them; not down or around them.” Why does he like writing this genre? “There is such intensity to teen problems and joys.” John Green sees The Fault In Our Stars as a “star-crossed lover” kind of book.
He was especially drawn to the themes of family and friendship for this story. How he chose to portray family: “If you are a great parent of a teenager, your teenager will never think about you. Family relationships are valuable – the central relationship is every teenager’s life.” And how he viewed friendship in the story: “Loosing a best friend is life altering when you are a teenager.”
Amazed and intrigued after this presentation, I was more than curious to read The Fault In Our Stars. I bought my copy to read on Amazon.
The story is about two teenagers with cancer which sounds depressing but, to me, was actually insightful, encouraging, and even comical at times. The description from the Amazon web site is spot on: “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.” And what makes it really interesting is that Mr. Green is the voice of Hazel; a man writing from a terminal girl’s perspective that really works. It took me exactly six days of reading at night (often past midnight – I could not put it down) to finish the book.
I do need to mention there are a few curse words (what teenager wouldn’t curse occasionally if they had cancer?) and a brief sex scene which is handled discreetly, respectfully, and quickly. (Again makes sense considering the story line)
What did other mid-life readers think about the book? From Michele M.: “”This is a timeless novel about love, life and tragedy that would appeal to all ages. I’m a mid-lifer myself and the story made me laugh, it made me cry and it made me a better person for reading it.” And from Teri G.: “A captivating story that I devoured in one day. Loved the easy repartee between the two main characters, Hazel and Augustus. It made me smile. I would have thought teenagers facing terminal illness would be quite a dark story, but the author took a lighter approach that was fresh and gave an interesting perspective… A well written story that stayed with me long after I turned the last page.”
Joining the popular and successful ride of the book, The Fault In Our Stars Movie comes out June 6th. John Green said, “The movie has been a gift to me. While movies can never be the book, this film is a faithful adaptation.”
I’m looking forward to seeing it — not as a rehashing of the story but as a stand alone movie.
Final analysis: this Young Adult Fiction, The Fault In Our Stars, is an engaging story not just teenagers. See for yourself what the noise is all about. You are welcome.