As part of the Summer Lovin’ read-a-thon I decided to finally read The Fault in Our Stars, and today the read-a-thon asks me to share with you a story that’s tugged at my heartstrings – cue TFioS. At the end of the review is my read-a-thon spine poetry challenge attempt 🙂
…I fell in love the way you fall asleep: slowly, and then all at once”
Standalone or Series? Standalone
Published: January 10th, 2012
Author’s Site: http://johngreenbooks.com/
Goodreads Blurb: 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.
Several people recommended I read this book, and when I heard it features teens with cancer I had mixed feelings. A worthy topic, but I wasn’t sure I wanted to read a book guaranteed to make me weep
I’m proud of my fellow bloggers for not sharing the intricacies of the plot. I’ll follow suit, as the blurb says the story is about Hazel and is told from her point of view. She has terminal cancer and expects one day to follow on pretty much like the other, all the same until her death, but then she meets Augustus Waters. These two characters have an impact on each other, and this is explored in a thought-provoking, tragic, yet humorous way.
Although the pace seems relaxed – just as in life – when you look back you’re amazed just how much ground’s been covered. The scenes are pulled forward by the friendly back and forth between Hazel and Augustus. Mostly they’re like a friendly pair of tennis buddies tapping a ball back and forth for practice, and every now and then they challenge each other and the interactions become more empassioned, with each of them landing an ace now and then (forgive me I’ve been watching Wimbledon!). It’s a page-turner thanks to the discoveries Hazel and Augustus make about themselves and others.
Hazel and Augustus are fantastic, and that’s all I’ll say about them so you can discover them on your own. Hazel’s parents are so easy to like, her mother’s amazingly strong and supportive. I enjoyed reading about these loving parents, and even Augustus has parents that are there for him – their biggest fault is an addiction to inspirational quotes. Endearing is the word that springs to mind, and for most of the people in the support group I’d say they’re well-meaning, but it’s so easy to understand why Hazel and her ‘sigh’ partner Isaac, feel like sighing in group meetings. The characters are wonderfully realistic, from Hazel to the eccentric author she idolises, there are complexities in their personalities which are brought to life with just a few keywords and actions.
The degree of realism in TFioS makes it immersive. The reader enters a realistic world, filled with love, despair, hope, disappointment and surprises both pleasant and awful, our senses are called upon to experience what the characters experience.
“That’s the thing about pain,” Augustus said, and then glanced back at me. “It demands to be felt”
I’m so glad I got this as an audiobook, Kate Rudd’s an excellent narrator, and I was able to listen to TFioS on the move. Still, I far more enjoyed listening to it when seated and giving it all my attention – it’s the sort of book to which you want to give all your attention. It’s a poignant story, populated with realistic characters who evoke emotions with their acute observations and witty dialogue. It reminds us how vulnerable we are, and how strong.
Back to the read-a-thon…
Today’s interactive challenge is called book spine poetry. I don’t have the physical books for the three spines that sprang to mind (Across the Universe —– Glow —- The Fault in Our Stars) So here’s my attempt with what’s on my shelf 🙂