I realise that I skipped last Friday. This is because I am a disorganised mess who has spent at least one afternoon out of the last four curled up in a ball sobbing. Fear not. I am fine. A sobbing emotional trainwreck. But otherwise fine. The cause of my distress is a book by Mr John Green, called The Fault In Our Stars. Remember last Wednesday when I said I would eventually make a post about Young Adult literature? This is that post. Brace yourselves.
I love books and I love reading and I get really sad when people say “I don’t read” like it’s something that they’re proud of. You’re missing out on so many amazing things when you don’t pick up books. Specific to this post, you are missing John Green, who is a) the author of 4 YA novels and co-author of 2 more, b) master of a good title (others include Looking for Alaska and An Abundance of Katherines) and c) really excellent.
Most of Green’s books have made me cry at some point (because I become too emotionally attached to characters and don’t know what to do with myself). The Fault In Our Stars was particularly bad on the gross-crying front. It’s narrated by 16 year old cancer patient Hazel Grace, who is suffering from “thyroid originally but with an impressive and long-settled satellite colony in my lungs.” She meets Augustus, a fellow cancer patient who lost a leg to osteosarcoma. They hit it off, and not to spoil too much, they eventually fall in love.
Were I to give a blow-by-blow account of the plot, you probably wouldn’t pick this book up because it sounds about as uplifting as repeatedly smashing your face into a brick wall, but John Green is some sort of magical wizard person (or is very talented, take your pick) and has managed to make the book both funny and gut-wrenchingly sad all at once. It’s flipping brilliant even though it had me doing some weird combination of laughing and sobbing at the same time, which mostly just sounds like hiccuping punctuated by sniffling.
When he isn’t writing, John and his brother Hank post bi-weekly vlogs on their YouTube channel chatting about their week and various topics that John’s teenage readers aren’t supposed to care about. But they do. There’s a whole big flock of them, called Nerdfighters. They do a lot of cool stuff, raise heaps of money for charity and just preach general positivity (“Don’t forget to be awesome” being the group’s slogan.)
So, in spite of the fact that he made me cry a lot, John Green is not a bully. He is just a really good writer. If you’re a young adult and you’re looking for a place to start your love affair with books, this is a good one. I promise, it’s a good decision that doesn’t have to be limited to just reading. This has a whole community behind it that can be super fun and interesting and informative and supportive of your reading choices. Check out the Vlog Brothers (that would be Hank and John Green) here.
This blog with return to its usual snarky self when it has more time to do so.