“Despite the tumor-shrinking medical miracle that has brought 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.”
One of the saddest and yet most beautiful stories to ever hit my bookshelf, not only made me cry but also made me think about my life and how I could be living it so much better. The Fault in Our Stars is a thought provoking novel that delves into the human condition we call life. And how all any human wants is to not “die” but live on in the memories of others.
As I stated, this book makes one reevaluate one’s life. Most human beings are not 16-year-old girls fighting cancer like our leading lady Hazel is in this novel. Thus it makes me think, “Surely my life can’t be as bad as hers,” and then I start over thinking about ways to improve my life to make it more meaningful. Or at least less mundane. Yet monotony is a part of any human’s life, including a girl like Hazel.
I sat with this book for about a week and at first, could not put it down. Hazel, our cancer-rific heroine is stuck in a morbid, mundane state of existence just passing the time away until she dies. She is witty, sarcastic and intelligent. She does not let her disease become who she is even if it does encompass a majority of her being nor does she shy away from it. She sometimes throws it in your face, making the reader own up to a fact that plagues all human minds: one day you will die. Yet unlike most humans, Hazel just stares death in the eye and shrugs, “Whatever.”
Now enter in Augustus Waters.
A new and even attractive face to her sickly life, Hazel finds herself seeing things in a whole new light. Augustus, a cancer survivor himself with a prosthetic leg, gets her out of her “I’m just going to die anyway, only a matter of time” rut and gets her not only living her life but actually wanting to live what little of it she has left. Thus, what seemingly began as a cancer story is now a romantic tale.
So as I continued to read, I found myself rooting for their love more and more, forgetting that these two kids actually have diseases and are walking time bombs. And I think this is much like our own human existence. Trying to grab more time with our love ones, forgetting our own cancer that is death and focus on the living moments.
At some point, the novel shifts from romance back to real life. Tragedy strikes and our young lovers are faced with the formality that all humans will inevitably face: death. But I wish not to say anymore, lest I give away the ending. Yet I will say that our lovely couple has to learn how to cope and deal with the loss to come, imprinting one another into the other’s memory to live on forever.
Ultimately, this novel takes you through a range of emotions along with these passing moments. Overall, sadness is what you feel but there are many “awh” moments throughout that leave you feeling happy too. Thus what you walk away with is a feeling of wonder, sadness, and a desire to leave your mark for those you love in hopes to never truly “die.”
Reviewed by Camia Rhodes
Publisher: Penguin Group
Release Date: 1/10/2012