This review originally appeared on Examiner.com
As an avid reader, I have often been told to read John Green. As a Young Adult reader, I have been shamed multiple times for not being a fan. I tried once, in my eyes reading 70 pages of An Abundance of Katherines, was more than enough time to decide wether or not I liked his work. I'm sure it's quite obvious that I did not, in fact, enjoy An Abundance of Katherines (AAoK). For the next few years, anytime someone would mention John Green to me I would rage at them that I really didn't get what the fuss was all about. I would explain how I not only found AAoK uninteresting but just plain boring. I would always end the conversation the way I do when I discuss authors that don't interest me, "They aren't for me."
I have never been happier to be wrong. After dragging my feet for almost a year, I sat down late this summer to read The Fault in our Stars (TFioS). I knew the premise of the book going into it, honestly, a story about a teenager fighting cancer did not seem like something I wanted to subject myself to. But for some strange reason, I decided to read it on my birthday of all days. Aside from it being a hugely busy day for me, and one that would not allow for a ton of free time, I thought that being so overwhelmed with plans would prevent me from getting overwhelmed by the emotion of the book. And I was right. Thank the lord.
I cannot imagine how incredibly sad I would have been had I sat down to read TFioS in one sitting. The story itself is not, in my opinion, meant to be sad. The tone of the story is more hopeful than doom and gloom. Hazel and Gus are full of life and love despite the harshness of the reality they live with. And somehow, despite how sad the story actually is, it leaves you feeling optimistic and in my case raring to take on the world. I think that with TFioS, John Green did the impossible, he wrote a cancer book that isn't actually about cancer, but about the joys of living your life despite it. A book, that I thoroughly recommend to all readers, not just the YA fans. And even though I am sure it goes without saying, I'm going to anyway: I am a John Green fan. DFTBA.