The Fault in our Stars: A young adult novel everyone was talking about, that I avoided to read until I heard its movie adaptation was about to hit the big screens in Greece. I thought that it would be another heart-breaking, chick flick full of sweet teenage romance - cancer drama, as the heroes fall in love while they give their battles against cancer, which might not appeal to my age or taste.
And then I said hey, it’s summer and I enjoy relaxing with chick flick movies, but as always I HAD TO READ THE BOOK FIRST. So, I did and I was so WRONG! It’s a book packed with tragic realism and bluntness that sometimes made it so painful to read, but I kept reading non-stop until I reached the last page. The harsh realities of life as a teenage cancer patient, including fears, physical flaws and humiliations, emotional ordeals, the relationships with family, friends, doctors are exposed very honestly through the voice of a very mature, sarcastic, slightly rebellious teenage girl.
I kept stopping to underline phrases and then re-read paragraphs, as Hazel, Augustus and Isaac were wrestling with the big issues of cancer and life: "Cancer kids are essentially side effects of the relentless mutation that made the diversity of life on earth possible." p.49, death: "Nostalgia is a side effect of dying, he answered" p.235, loss and grief : "Grief does not change you, Hazel. It reveals you" p.285 and lasting love: "Gus, my love, I cannot tell you how thankful I am for our little infinity. I wouldn’t trade it for the world. You gave me a forever within the numbered days, and I am grateful" p. 259
The Fault in Our Stars is a hip, smartly crafted page turner with an unexpected story twist and razor-sharp characters, but it is NOT another cancer book. It’s a painfully beautiful story about life, illness, loss and true love in between and you should expect to laugh, cry, think deep and ask to re-read.
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