Book Review: The Fault in Our Stars

It’s book review Wednesday and that means time to acquaint yourself with another of our fabulous Inky shortlisted novels.  Handpicked from the Silver Inky shortlist, we’ll be looking at all things Green today but earlier in the year Liz Kemp composed an in depth exploration that is worth checking out.

Despite the tumour-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.

John Green is quite the young adult phenomena managing both critical and commercial success to the point that there is a substantial online community (Nerdfighters) build around the catch cry ‘don’t forget to be awesome’.  I mention this as The Fault in Our Stars made an impact before it had even debuted.  Green promised to sign every book pre-ordered and this resulted in the author signing 150,000 copies. Not bad for an author who writes contemporary tales instead of paranormal romances or tales of wizardry.

There’s reason for this popularity, outside the bounds of internet hoo-ha, is that Green is a gifted writer and this can be witnessed in startling form in The Fault in Our Stars.  Hazel is a girl of great sensitivity and humour knowing that her time on Earth is nearing its end.  She’s not grappling, or struggling to make peace with it – she’s already there.  Accepting but depressed.  In meeting Augustus, a fellow cancer sufferer in remission, she finds a whimsical soulmate.  A person who can distract her with the strength of her feelings, the wonderful absurdity of his mind and the rush of the unexpected.  It’s potent.

While quirky is executed exceedingly well in this title, it is so much more.  There is a humour that resonates every character and each sentence that allows the reader to laugh even when tears hover.  The first chapters set the tone wonderfully weaving authentic observations, morbid humour and an acceptance that stretches out of the bounds of the cover and into the reader’s heart.  It’s powerful stuff.

And also why this book graces our Silver Inky shortlist.  Make sure you read The Fault in Our Stars and vote for your favourite at www.insideadog.com/inky.

 Penguin

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