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'The Fault in Our Stars' subtly profound

staff writer

Published: Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Updated: Tuesday, February 18, 2014 16:02

Before the movie comes to theaters this summer, grab a copy of “The Fault in Our Stars” by John Green and start reading. I promise you won’t regret it.


There is so much to love about this book. There is a huge misconception floating around that teenagers just have their eyes glued to the Internet and they don’t know how to carry on conversations. You’ve all heard it, and some of you might be guilty of speaking such atrocities. Thank goodness for John Green, who shows us that is not always the case.


The book follows a 16-year-old cancer-ridden girl in Indiana. At a cancer support group, she meets Augustus Waters, who is 17. Both Hazel and Augustus are intelligent human beings and speak in simple profoundness. They are not your typical teenagers. Once more, like most teenagers I know, they love their parents and have a good relationship with them.


Yes, this is a book with people who have cancer in it. But I’m sure Hazel, the main character, would be angry if anyone called it a “cancer book.” It didn’t make me cry, but it made me re-think how we treat those with terminal illnesses, especially those with cancer. In the book, both Hazel and Gus hated being defined by their illness.


Another thing I loved about this book is how the main characters checked their email regularly. It seems weird, I know. Why would I like the fact that the characters check email? I guess I feel like older people think we teenagers don’t know what email is or that we don’t have one, much less check it. It’s such a simple thing, but I haven’t read too many books where the teenage characters check their email on a daily basis. It’s not a huge part of the book, but I liked how Green made the characters real by including it.


Both Hazel and Augustus read. In fact, they both read each other’s favorite book and discuss it. Hazel’s favorite book comes to play a huge role in her and Augustus’ thinking and their lives. It shows the impact a book can have on a person’s life.


In this book, the characters talk like they know what a dictionary is, which is very refreshing from all the poor representations of teenagers out there. They may say the words “OK” and “like” a lot, but in reality, despite our age, we all do it.


What I really love about this book is, as I said, the subtle profoundness that can be found on every page. In a book with two teenagers who have cancer, you would expect the topic of death to come up; and it does. But Augustus and Hazel also talk about how they hate certain behaviors by the cancer-free population.


About dead people, Augustus said, “The thing is you sound like a bastard if you don’t romanticize them, but the truth is . . . complicated, I guess. Like, you are familiar with the trope of stoic and determined cancer victim who heroically fights her cancer with inhuman strength and never complains or stops smiling even at the very end, etcetera?”

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