For almost a year and half now, the buzz has been steadily growing around John Green’s The Fault in Our Stars. With forty-six weeks on the New York Times bestseller list and decorating bookstore shelves across the country, Green’s fifth Young Adult novel has managed to make its way into the hearts of people of all ages.
The Fault in Our Stars, or TFiOS (as referred to by fans),details the life of sixteen-year-old Hazel Grace Lancaster, a lover of America’s Next Top Model, a reader of angry Dutch authors, and a cancer patient. At a support group meeting, Hazel meets Augustus Waters, and the novel goes on to describe their poignant experiences together.e Lancaster, who is a
The plot summary might give the impression that TFiOS follows the typical stereotype for a cancer book in the young adult book genre. But Green manages to defy this, giving readers suspense and emotion without unnecessary melodrama or cheesy element one would expect. By using two main characters that are refreshingly smart and disparagingly cynical, Green can pick apart the standard story about teens with cancer (or about teens in general) and rebuild to showcase a powerful human element.
While the theme of cancer and teenage love plays a role in the book, they are not the sole driving force for what propels this book forward. The plot emanates from the characters, and the characters emanate indisputably from themselves. Their lives and their personalities are not defined by loving each other or by their cancer – each character is an independent, unique, regular (albeit unrealistically witty) person who exists independently of events and other characters. This quality, above all, is what makes the book so much better than its counterparts – because the characters feel real.
Books like TFiOS are a dime a dozen, especially as it seems like everyone is writing similar ones. But TFiOS is different. Something that would normally be repulsive to selective readers is actually attractive due to Green’s adept characterization and defiance of stereotypes. This book is so much more popular than its counterparts because, unlike other cancer books or YA love stories, its characters are meticulously well developed and believable.
But what makes The Fault in Our Stars a must read is how Green uses strong teenagers, who despite their dire circumstances, have equally strong independent personalities to bring this story to life.