313 pages; published January 2012
Hazel Grace Lancaster and Augustus Waters first connect when they both find the humor in their cancer support group meeting in a church basement. Together, they irreverently explore the impact of cancer, pursue big answers from the author of Hazel’s favorite book, and find humor and even beauty in the darkest of moments.
I came late to this book and I’m so sorry it took me so long to open it an fall head over heels in love with terminally ill Hazel Grace Lancaster and Cancer Kids friends. Hazel is hilariously irreverent from the first page – about her own crap lungs that force her to drag an oxygen tank everywhere, about the cancer support group that only makes it all worse, about the friend whose cancer leaves him blind, and about the wonderful, hot, one-legged cancer survivor Augustus Waters who seeks to woo her.
I was all in on this one by the end of the first paragraph because Hazel’s voice is so honest and so wry and so, so funny about things that ought not to be funny. Dark is my favorite kind of humor. But who could resist observations like this from the middle of a Cancer Support Group Meeting, “Like, I realize this is irrational, but when they tell you that you have, say, a 20 percent change of living five years, the math kicks in and you figure that’s one in five … so you look around and think, as any healthy person would: I gotta outlast four of these bastards.”
Hazel is also obsessed with a book about a cancer kid – a pretentious-sounding novel called A Imperial Affliction, the only novel of a now-complete hermit living in Amsterdam which ends in the middle of a sentence with all plot points dangling. Her desire to know what happens next elevates to near obsession and spurs a epic quest.
The book, like life, is not orderly, tidy, or predictable, but it is wonderful.
I’ve been meaning to read this book since it came out, but life is messy, right? Then, “they” all started saying this was the best YA book of 2012. I haven’t read them all, but I do think “they” are right – for once. I would even be so bold as to predict that The Fault in Our Stars will be one of those books that endure and find a place on YA shelves for enough years to be elevated to the status of “classic.”
Awards/Honors (so far …)
- #1 New York Times bestseller
- #1 Wall Street Journal bestseller
- #9 The Bookseller (UK) bestseller
- #1 Indiebound bestseller
- New York Times Book Review Editor’s Choice
- Starred reviews from Booklist, SLJ, Publisher’s Weekly, Horn Book, and Kirkus
- Goodreads Choice Award for Best Young Adult Fiction (2012)
- ALA Teens’ Top Ten Nominee (2012)