The Fault in Our Stars - A 2012 Teens' Top Ten Nominee
June 14, 2012
Sixteen-year-old Hazel may be on a miracle drug for the thyroid cancer that’s been killing her since she was thirteen, but if you ask her, the life she is living is not very miraculous. In fact, it’s downright depressing. And being forced to go to a support group for children with cancer only makes it worse. Hazel doesn’t know why her parents are so determined that she live a "normal, teenage" life and socialize; she’d much rather just stay at home and lose herself in books, especially in Peter Van Houten’s An Imperial Affliction, a novel that seems to have been written just for her. Forced to attend the group anyway, Hazel is shocked to be drawn so strongly to newcomer, Augustus Waters. Augustus is insanely vibrant, and the two become a couple almost without hesitation. When Hazel shares her passion for Van Houten’s work, it is Augustus’s idea to use his cancer "Wish" to go to Amsterdam to meet the mysterious author. As all "cancer kids" do, Hazel and Augustus track their time in days and weeks; this urgency for life is apparent in the fervor of each moment they share throughout this book, and blips of dry humor and piercing sadness strike readers even more fiercely because of it.
John Green is one of the most connected authors in young adult literature, valuing and responding to his teen (and former teen) fans using every method available. The Fault in Our Stars hit the top of the bestseller list on Amazon last summer—6 months before its publishing date—because Green promised to hand sign every pre-ordered copy (a promise he completely followed through on). The cover of The Fault in Our Stars was created by a teen fan after Green announced a contest for the best design. With his brother Hank, John Green introduced and perpetuates a YouTube channel (Vlogbrothers) that has had over 750 million views and inspired the Nerdfighter community, a group that "fights to decrease the overall worldwide level of suck." What can I say? The guy is popular and deservedly so.
In short, if you have never read a John Green book, there are literally hundreds of thousands of fans out there who are screaming for you to pick up The Fault in Our Stars, Will Grayson, Will Grayson, Paper Towns, Looking for Alaska, or An Abundance of Katherines right now. I am one of those fans.
Erin’s Bonus Features for The Fault in Our Stars
Genre: realistic fiction (so very, very realistic)
Mood: infinite and rare
Song: “Falling is Like This” by Ani Difranco
Readalikes: Looking for Alaska by John Green; Every You, Every Me by David Levithan
This blog is part of a series on YALSA’s Teens’ Top Ten 2012 nominees. Voting for TTT starts in August; more information can be found here.