I don’t read a lot of YA but The Fault in Our Stars took the world (both young, and older than young) by storm, so my curiosity was piqued. Then, my favorite podcast Literary Disco (CHECK IT OUT) did an episode about it so I had to read it before listening to the episode so that was just the nudge I needed.
I did the first half of this as an audiobook, and the second half as an ebook (just because I wanted to speed things along) so I feel that hearing a voice through the beginning might have helped me to feel endeared to our narrator, Hazel. Hazel has a terminal diagnosis and is, at this point in her young life, watching the minutes tick by with little interruption. That is, until she has her meet-cute, though this one takes place at support group. Augustus Waters is handsome, clever, and a survivor of his own diagnosis who works to push his way into Hazel’s life. Hazel introduces Augustus to her favorite book, An Imperial Affliction and he helps her on her quest to contact the author and discover what happens “after.”
So. I figured out the ending soon into the novel. I mean, as a voracious reader beyond the years of “young adult” I SHOULD be able to predict where a YA book is going to go. Even so, I see what the draw is about this book. and I would have fallen headfirst into this story when I was a member of the target audience. The story is sweet, the parents are lovely secondhand characters and the teens are realistic, albeit whimsiquirkalicious.
I’m not sure I buy the vernacular of the 16 year olds. I enjoyed it, it was clever and quippy, but it seemed conversationally akin to Gilmore Girls or a Aaron Sorkin dialogue in that it was a shade TOO clever and too spot-on to be something a teenager would actually say. I suppose you could argue that as the narrator and her love interest had, at this early stage in life, already looked death down they might have a maturity and worldliness that could transcend their years but in Hazel’s case, either you are a bookworm recluse with no friends OR you are a super-skilled conversationalist, but managing both equally seems a bit of a stretch.
All in all, I liked it and found things to ponder big picture things to ponder about illness, love, and death, so YA or not, Green did a solid job. Now I just need to hear what my Literary Disco folks had to say about it. (Predictions: Julia will like it, Tod will be snarky about it, Rider will haaaate it).