I've never felt the need to write a post about a book before. I read a lot (I was always that child with her nose buried in a book at family parties, and always need a great big pile of books to take on holiday with me), but there's not really been a book I've ever seen as significant enough to blog about before. Until I read a book that led me to cry like an absolute baby on the train back from Edinburgh a few weeks ago. This is something that NEVER happens to me. I didn't cry when I saw Les Mis, I didn't cry when I read One Day, I didn't cry when I saw The Notebook for the first time (I have cried at it once but that was only because I was having a VERY BAD DAY). I'm just really not a crier. So if that doesn't prove just how powerful John Green's The Fault in Our Stars is, I don't know what will.
The book is a story about a 16 year old called Hazel, who has been living with terminal cancer throughout her teenage years. She meets a boy, a 17 year old called Augustus who lost his leg due to bone cancer, at a support group who changes her life. Despite her reservations about getting too close to people when she has such a bleak future ahead, Hazel just can't help but fall for Augustus.
Yes, its a book about cancer. But, its not really a book about cancer. Inevitably you can't have a book narrated by a girl with a terminal disease without there being a lot of emotion involved, but this isn't a book about dying by any stretch. Its a beautiful story about life, love and wishes. Despite Augustus only having one leg and Hazel having to carry an oxygen tank around wherever she goes, they're still just normal kids, albeit a lot more deep and philosophical than your average teenagers but that's just one of those side effects that comes with their disease.
When I first picked up this book, part of me was thinking I'd gone a bit mad bringing my work life into my bedtime reading. I work as a Learning Mentor for teenage cancer patients being treated in Yorkshire, and so unfortunately I know all to well just how horrible the world of teenage oncology can be sometimes. So many people ask how I can do my job and cope with being surrounded by such a sad situation every day. And, honestly, most of the time I really don't see it as a heartbreaking place to be. I work with some of the loveliest patients who, despite being faced with awful treatment and an incredibly scary disease, are still just completely normal in every other sense of the word. Its not a depressing place to work, its actually pretty uplifting most of the time, and that's exactly how it is in The Fault in Our Stars.
Seriously, give it a read. I challenge you not to fall in love with Augustus Waters.