Jenny Downham is one of my favourite authors and her book Before I Die, about a girl with terminal cancer has been made into a movie called Now is Good, starring Dakota Fanning and Jeremy Irvine (Joey’s master from the War Horse movie). I’m not sure when it’s due out in NZ but I’d love to see it.
Every now and again a book comes along that gets completely under your skin. You get so emotionally invested in the characters that when you’re not reading their story you’re thinking about them and their situation, and hoping that things will all work out for them. Even when you’ve finished the story you can imagine what they might be doing next and wondering what their life might be like months and years down the track. I found myself completely wrapped up in the story of Hazel Grace and Augustus Waters in John Green’s latest masterpiece, The Fault in Our Stars.
The narrator of the story is Hazel Grace, a 16-year-old girl living with cancer. When her mother decides that Hazel is depressed she sends her to a Support Group run in her local church. At first she hates the experience and loathes having to tell others about her condition and listen to others tell about theirs. But then she meets Augustus Waters, a friend of Isaac who attends the Support Group. Augustus is also living with cancer and has lost a leg to the disease, and Hazel finds herself intrigued by him. They start to hang out together, reading each others favourite books and sharing their experiences. Hazel has always wanted to know why her favourite book, An Imperial Affliction by Peter Van Houten, ended the way that it did and after Augustus’s correspondence with the author they are invited to Denmark to meet him. It’s the trip of a lifetime and one that they’ll never forget.
The Fault in Our Stars is a heart-breaking, brilliant story that will have one laughing one minute and crying the next. It’s the sort of story that makes you want to stop after each chapter and digest what you’ve just read. There is so much in this book about making the most of our lives, living your dreams, and leaving our mark on the world. I loved the relationship between Hazel and Augustus, and some of their conversations were hilarious. Isaac was one of my favourite characters because of his humour and the ways that he coped with life. Ever since I read John Green’s second novel, An Abundance of Katherines, a few years ago I’ve eagerly awaited his next book. He’s one of those authors that make me feel like he’s written the story just for me. I have this real connection to his characters because I see parts of them in myself. I think it’s partly because of the first person narration of his books, which is something I love because you can get right inside the character’s head. Hazel and Augustus are two characters that will take up permanent residence in my head and their story is one I won’t forget.
5 out of 5 stars