Guest Reviewer: Brigid Kemmerer
Brigid Kemmerer is the author of the Elemental series. You can find out more about Brigid at her website.
Review by Brigid Kemmerer
The Fault in our Stars by John Green is one of the first books to make me regret the “Young Adult” label. Not because there’s anything inherently wrong with the label itself, but because some people might be quick to dismiss the book as being just for kids, and that’s not the case about many YA books at all, nowadays. Definitely not this one.
I’m going to keep the fangirling and squeeing to a minimum, but let me lead off by saying that this book was oozing awesome. It’s surprising they didn’t sell it with a handful of paper towels.
Actually, they should have sold it with an accompanying box of Kleenex, but more on that later.
If you’ve read John Green’s other stuff, this will feel familiar. The teens, Hazel and Augustus (“Gus”) are three dimensional and real. Some people may have an issue with their dialogue (when Hazel and Gus meet, he says, “Oh, I’m grand…I’m on a roller coaster that only goes up, my friend.”), but I read it as realistic.
You know why? Because these kids are living outside the norm.
Hazel and Gus meet at a cancer support group. Neither is in school. They are both extremely well-read and analytical. I loved the dialogue, I loved their rapport, I loved their entire relationship. There’s a scene with a Venn diagram about one-legged boys that made me tear up.
When I try to recommend this book to people, I almost don’t want to mention the cancer aspect. You hear “cancer book” and immediately think “downer.” And this book is so not a downer. Yes, the kids have cancer. But they are living with it, not dying from it.
And this book is about so much more than their relationship with cancer (which is so well written that the disease might as well be listed as a primary character). It’s tough for me to write this review without giving away any of the twists in the novel (of which there are many, and each one knocked me off my chair).
The writing is rich, but fast. I think I read the entire book in two days, and with a full time job and three kids in the house, that’s saying something. The characters will inject themselves into your heart and brain until you can’t wriggle them loose—especially when you consider that I’m writing this review six months after reading the book, and I still remember crucial scenes vividly.
This book will make you cry. I cried as a mother, I cried as a woman, I cried thinking of all the things Hazel and Gus had to live without, and how full their lives seemed despite their illnesses.
I don’t know what else to say other than, “Read it.” You won’t regret it.