So, in line with what I wrote about yesterday I am jumping right back in and am (almost) immediately reviewing a book I just finished, The Fault in Our Stars, by Indiana's own, John Green. First let me tell you the thing I L-O-V-E-D about this story: it took place in my home town of Indianapolis. Green not only used Indy as the location but he used several very specific spots in the city for his story to revolve around...and I KNOW THESE PLACES!!! That was just so cool and so fun to read, to know that this big accomplished author, one that I admire even, chose to use a place he loves -a place I love- to center his story around. Like I could actually see the intersection of 86th & Ditch that he spoke of and the Speedway gas station there. I've been there. Really, that is so neat!
Okay, so my city-love aside this was still such a well written story. Yeah, it's a sad one. It's filled with kids and cancer and normally I don't go for junk like that. Books are supposed to make me happy and cheery and let me cast aside all the drudgery in the world for a bit while I idly flip through the pages...but sometimes a dose of reality is alright, and Green does an awesome job of bringing the reality of cancer, and children dealing with cancer, out into the fold of things without it seeming so sad and taboo of a topic. His characters just deal with it, the way real kids and real adults must do every day. The story talks about "cancer perks" in one sentence while following it up with those same people getting those looks from others who just feel sorry for them. He uses such wit and humor to pull forth a story about cancer without it feeling like a "cancer story." Does that make sense?
The main characters of the story are Hazel, a young home schooled cancer patient who carries around an oxygen tank everywhere just to help her lousy lungs breathe, and Augustus (or Gus) whom is a boy she meets at support group. Augustus had cancer too so he understands her, knows what she's going through, etc. They fast form a relationship that turns from friendship to a little more, despite Hazel's trepidation. These characters are so easily likable too. Aside from the fact that their banter desperately reminds me of watching Rory on a Gilmore Girls episode, they're just so totally real and down to earth. They don't sugar coat their condition, or the fact that cancer kills and that they will die. It's not sad, it's not bitter, it's just a fact.
I really enjoyed reading this book and with I hadn't waited so long to finally succumb to it. Since this was the second book by John Green, I can officially say that I'm a fan of his now. Not only has he written at least two books that I thoroughly enjoyed reading, he's also a fellow Hoosier...and that rocks! Maybe I could go meet him, tell him about my love of reading and writing and we'll become besties and collaborate on a story together down the road. Hey, I can dream, right?!
I'm totally stoked to read the two others books of his that I have waiting for me, An Abundance of Katherines and Paper Towns, the later of which is going to be coming out as a movie later this year. Stay tuned in the future for reviews of those too!