From time to time, we'll do he says/she says reviews in which the two of us review a book we've both read. Here's the first of those reviews.
Title: The Fault in Our Stars
Author: John Green
Publisher: Dutton Books
Publication Date: January 10, 2012
AR Levels: Interest Level: 9th-12th, Book Level: 5.5, Points: 10.0
In a Nutshell: Sixteen-year old Hazel was diagnosed with Stage IV Thyroid Cancer as an early teen, but due to medical marvels, she has been living fairly uninhibited--except for the oxygen tank and frequent chemical exposure. She makes a few friends at a support group, including Augustus, whose cancer is in remission. Their friendship--which starts out rocky because of Hazel's less-than-cheerful disposition and bleak outlook on life--sends them on a journey of self discovery, on which they will learn about coping with what life gives you, handling fear of the unknown, and truly living when you might be dying.
I'll be honest--John Green could probably annotate a tax law manual and make it a worthwhile read. So, needless to say, I was very excited to hear about The Fault in Our Stars, and I even pre-ordered it like 7 months in advance to get an signed copy. I immediately tore into it and couldn't put it down. For those who haven't read it yet, it's the perfect combination of hopeful exuberance, youthful hilarity, and gut-wrenching poignancy (translation: It was really good!).
I'd Recommend It for Grades: 8th-12th+; This book gets pretty intense at times and does feature some strong language.
I'd Recommend It To: ANYONE and EVERYONE!
What I Liked Most about this Book: These characters had very realistic personalities and emotional responses to their life situations. To share something personal about me, my biggest defense mechanism is humor--I tend to make jokes at inappropriate times to keep from dealing with intense emotions (I'm the guy that tries to make people laugh at funerals.). Hazel and Augustus both do this, so I felt especially connected to them.
Single Favorite Moment (Without Getting Spoiler-y): At one point in the book, Augustus jokes about taking Hazel's breath away. If you didn't catch the punchline, reread the "In a nutshell" section and the "What I liked most about this book" section.
Star Rating: 5 stars, hands down. I would love to go beyond that if I could.
I also pre-ordered this book and got a signed copy (with a Hanklerfish...might I add! Nerdfighter inside joke), and I took my time reading it because I didn't want it to end! I think it's got Printz Award written all over it. It's rare that a book can make you laugh and cry in the same sentence, and this one does that time and time again.
I'd Recommend It For Grades: 9-12+ (and all adults too!) for some strong language and some mildly sensual scenes
I'd Recommend It To: anyone with a heart :)
What I Liked Most about this Book: The authenticity of the characters. Green doesn't sugarcoat what it must feel like to be a teenager with cancer, yet these teens aren't over-dramatic archetypes either; they talk and act like real teens - making jokes, flirting, philosophizing on life - and they're super witty. You care about these characters the second you meet them, and after you finish reading, you want to start all over and meet them again. Also, this book is laugh out loud funny at times, and that's something I never thought I'd say about a cancer book.
Single Favorite Moment (Without Getting Spoiler-y): I don't want to give away too much, so you'll have to read the book to really see what I mean, but John Green has a gift for Venn Diagrams, and this book contains a fabulous one. Also, I now want to go to Amsterdam because of this book.
Star Rating: 5 of course!