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Thursday, May 24, 2012

Recommended Reading: "The Fault in Our Stars" by John Green.

Once in a while I enjoy reading a Young Adult book.  A good YA novel typically offers clean and stylish writing and a compelling plot that moves along briskly.  On all of these counts, The Fault in Our Stars is a very good book.

The plot concerns love and illness, themes of interest to adults young and old.  I don't want to summarize it in too much detail as part of the book's charm is in the rolling out of events.  Simply put, the novel's protagonist is 16-year old Hazel Lancaster.  Hazel has terminal cancer.  At a cancer support group for children, she meets Augustus Waters.  Seventeen-year old Augustus' cancer is in remission, but the treatment cost him his right leg.  The two smart, self-aware teens are attracted to each other; and so their star-crossed story begins.  Reading about a teen with a terminal cancer diagnosis may sound tough.  Although this book certainly has its share of teary moments, The Fault in Our Stars is not cloyingly sentimental.  It has good dialogue, unpredictable plot turns, and quality reflections about love, time, and illness.

How much of life can be control by our actions and how much is fate?  In Shakespeare's Julius Cesar, Cassius tells Brutus that fate is not the determinant of the a man's course:  "The fault, dear Brutus, is not in our stars, But in ourselves, that we are underlings."  But what if the fault is in our stars?  That's what Hazel must sort out in this very good book.


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