New novel dives deep in emotion

Before “The Fault in our Stars” even begins, John Green asks his readers not to look too far into his story. He reminds us that we are reading fiction, and that attempting to find facts “attacks the very idea that made-up stories can matter.”

Green’s admonishment is twofold. He asks us not only to remember that this story is not representational of personal events, but that it is relatable in one way or another to hundreds of teenagers across the world. 

People who have read Green before will not be surprised by his author’s note; provocation to think differently is expected from him.

Honestly, I did not know what to expect from “The Fault in Our Stars.” I’ve been reading Green’s books for four years now, and when I heard that he was coming out with another one, I preordered it without even reading the summary. As the hype on the Internet grew and the publishing date drew closer and closer, things began to leak. 

I learned that it was, unsurprisingly, a teenage love story. Green has written four other novels, and every single one deals with a nerdy “normal” boy falling in love with an unattainable, eccentric girl. 

Despite the uniformity of plot, each book is new, exciting and thought-provoking. If there is anything to say about Green as a writer, it is that his attention to detail is superb. 

I also heard whispers that “The Fault in Our Stars” was about cancer patients and travel, which is not entirely unexpected if you have read “Looking for Alaska” or paid any attention to Green’s online projects Nerdfighteria and the Vlogbrothers.

A few days before the book arrived, I started hearing that people were devouring it. Some were even reading it in a single sitting and then crying for days afterward. I heard that it was hilarious, gut-wrenchingly deep, painful and amazing.

After reading it, I can only tell you that none of those words describe it in quite the right way. “The Fault in Our Stars” walks on a razor’s edge, dealing with topics that are touchy and often ignored by people young and old alike: how a person with cancer is often stared at, what it is like to know you are going to die, what it is like to love someone who is dying. 

I like “The Fault in Our Stars” because it is the only book I have ever read that focuses on what happens to the people a person leaves behind rather than what happens to the person after he or she is dead. Though the characters can be a bit pretentious, Green writes with taste and humor and reminds us that people are people regardless of health or happiness. 

“The Fault in Our Stars” is sad and masterful. Above all, it is human.