Some will be surprised to hear that, as a writer of fiction which often features young people in prominent roles, I don’t read a lot of YA fiction. I find it quite unsurprising: first you have to read to know what to write, and I’ve been reading a lot longer than I’ve been writing novels.
So when a friend of mine recommended Fault In Our Stars by John Green, I thought it wouldn’t be my thing (despite loving the cover and title). It took me a day or two reading the first few pages and thinking ‘hm, this isn’t my thing’, but then I got to a certain point and could not stop reading. I finished in that afternoon, and SOBBED. My friend who I was staying with came in from work to find me bawling, I loved the characters that much and couldn’t believe what had befallen them.
Besides the loveable, beautifully written, so true characters, what I personally really liked about Fault In Our Stars was its treatment of cancer. I have been deeply affected by cancer. I have a large family I am very close to, but I suppose the larger the family, the more risk of people getting sick. Generally, I hate reading about cancer. The very thought of it makes me feel like vomiting, even after all these years (this is seriously personal for a website, so I’ll stop now). This novel, however, presented the people behind the illness, and then showed the illness for what it truly is. There is one passage about somebody dying that talks about the lack of dignity. It’s about a beautiful person, but there is no beauty in the person at that point. They are sick, vomit on them, without dignity. That’s the truth about cancer. It’s a horrible death and life, and if you intimately knew someone with it, you would do everything you could to avoid it.
Fault In Our Stars is being made into a film, and apparently the script is beyond awesome. I really think the thing to be careful with is casting here. You want to cast good actors, but not people who are too well known (of that age, a lot of the best aren’t well known). The ultimate worse casting would be Kristen Stewart and Rob Pattinson. I really hope they a) stick to Americans, b) pick people who are sunny first, and everything else second and c) pick unknown-ish people. The kind of kids who work in American indie movies. Like Michael Cera (but not Michael Cera) and Ellen Page. Ellen Page would have been GREAT in this movie. Chloe Grace Moretz could be AWESOME.
Anyway, I loved this book. I hope I can produce cult hits like this one day.
*By the way also, there is a charity at the end of this book that I HAD to give to when I finished reading. I think this is such an awesome way of doing good in the world. We <3 John Green!