– by Karen Hansford
“Maybe Okay will be our Always” – John Green.
If you have spent a considerable amount of time on YouTube, you have probably come across the vlogbrothers, otherwise known as Hank and John Green. The latter half of the Green brothers is John, author of popular Young Adult novels such as Looking for Alaska and Paper Towns. His fourth book The Fault in Our Stars is the most well-known of his novels and has been quoted multiple times on Tumblr and other internet forums.
The Fault in Our Stars revolves around Hazel Grace Lancaster, a sixteen year old girl who is terminally-ill from a cancer that affects her lungs. After being forced to go to a support group Hazel meets Augustus Waters, a charming and handsome seventeen year old who had osteosarcoma – an aggressive form of bone cancer – but it is now free from the illness after having is leg amputated.
Through their conversations, Hazel reveals that her favourite book is Imperial Affliction, a novel that infuriatingly ends mid-sentence without concluding what happens to the characters. Between their love for the book and the questions it raises, Hazel and Augustus develop a relationship.
The characters of The Fault in Our Stars are intelligent and funny. Hazel is not a doe-eyed simpleton who depends on Augustus for her to feel complete and her sarcasm and cynicism is understandable considering her situation. Augustus is charming and intelligent, yet his character is not made up of an amalgamation of idealised ‘boyfriend material’ for Hazel to obsess over, he is a person.
However, while both Hazel and Augustus are intelligent, witty and wise beyond their years, I felt somewhat disconnected from them because of that. Their conversations had a Gilmore Girls quality to them, where they talk really fast and always have a witty remark up their sleeves. Real people, real life and real teenagers are not like that.
I enjoyed the fact that The Fault in Our Stars does not romanticise cancer and that the characters suffering from being terminally-ill are not mini saints; they get angry at their parents and the world around them. They remain people throughout their ordeal.
John Green is an accomplished author and The Fault in Our Stars is a remarkable and beautifully written story, although I failed to cry in the more tragic parts, I can almost guarantee that 95% of people will cry while reading this novel. I urge readers to buy this book before watching the movie – although the movie has not been released yet.
To watch vlogbrothers channel, click here.
The trailer for the film is available here.