With the glut of 'supernatural romance' and 'mummy porn' books taking up shelf space at your local bookstores, it would be completely understandable if you had lost a little of your faith in authors working today. If you have, then allow me to recommend to you a wonderful book by John Green called The Fault In Our Stars.
The Fault In Our Stars is the story of 16 year-old Hazel Grace Lancaster. Who is battling terminal lung cancer. It's a battle that has been raging since Hazel was 13, and it is one that she knows she cannot win. But Hazel has accepted this fact, had accepted it before the novel even begins.
It is important to know that The Fault In Our Stars is not a story about Hazel's acceptance of death, but is about her contemplation of life itself. When Hazel meets the charming and ridiculously attractive Augustus Waters at Cancer Kid Support Group, her life is turned slightly on end. Augustus' interest in and affection for Hazel forces her to examine some things that have been on her mind, presumably since she was diagnosed: Will I be loved? Who will remember me? How can I live without hurting people?
John Green always provides well-rounded and fully-developed characters in his novels, but with The Fault In Our Stars, I believe he has given us his best yet. Hazel's voice and personality is so realistic that she quickly works her way into your heart; while Augustus is perhaps the best written teenage boy I have ever come across in fiction. Where many male romantic leads are simply an empty vessel into which readers can pour a personality. Augustus Waters is fully formed, deliciously witty, and incredibly insightful.
With masterful brushstrokes Green paints Hazel and Augustus' story. Together they explore what it is to be alive, what it could possibly mean to be dead, and try to fathom what they are supposed to do while they are in between.
The Fault In Our Stars is a wonderful novel. Not just because it answers today's supernatural teen novels with a beautifully written and tender love story. But because it is a book that will leave you with a lump in your throat, and that will stay with you for long after you have turned the last page.