The Fault in Our Stars by John Green (2012)

ome infinities are bigger than other infinities. A writer we used to like taught us that. There are many days, many of them, when I resent the size of my unbounded set. I want more numbers than I’m likely to get, and God, I want more number for Augustus Waters than he got. But, Gus, my love, I cannot tell you how thankful I am for our little infinity. I wouldn’t trade it for all the world. You gave me a forever within the numbered days, and I’m grateful (p 260).

The Fault in Our StarsJohn Green’s most recent best seller is a tear-jerker that has found it’s way to a big screen adaptation (surprisingly, faster than his superior novel, the Printz Award winning Looking for Alaska). In Stars, we meet Hazel Grace, a teen with terminal cancer who meets the deceptively healthy looking and handsome Augustus at Support Group. The two connect, stories and experiences are shared and, predictably, someone dies. Everyone dies, sooner or later… but reading about it makes it feel real. But this is just a book and characters do not have lives outside of the book, as the fictional alcoholic author, Peter Van Houten, brutally informs the pair. Or do they?

Green is most successful when exploring truths about relationships – not through precocious teenage dialogue – but through the genuine reactions his characters have to the suffering of their loved ones and their struggle to find words to describe their myriad (and sometime conflicting) feelings.

Library copy | Dutton Books | 313 pages | ISBN 9780525478812 | Ages 13+

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