When I became a nerdfighter in 2008, I read John Green’s books Looking for Alaska and An Abundance of Katherines and loved both of them. I felt he had the best voice of teen characters that I had read in YA fiction. They were full and complex and flawed just like real teenagers. I followed him as he wrote and then released his very successful book Paper Towns and couldn't wait for his next book to be published.
Slowly small bits of information came out about the new book at around the same time that I was finishing treatment. First, that the narrator was a girl, which I thought was awesome. Then he let out that she was a 16-year-old girl with cancer. I couldn't contain my excitement. My favorite author was basically writing a book about me. I anxiously awaited the release and hung on every nugget of information he shared about the book in his videos. In January 2012, the middle of my senior year, the book was released and I devoured it in days. I would sneak it under my desk in class because I just couldn't put it down. I remember sitting in history class tearing up as Gus told Hazel that ... (spoilers).
In the book, Hazel says that Peter Van Houten (the fictional author of An Imperial Affliction), "Writes what it's like to be dying without having died himself." That is the very way I feel about John Green and The Fault in Our Stars. He captured so well the experience of being a teenager with cancer without being a teenager with cancer. Hazel, Gus, and Isaac’s experiences and feelings related to their disease completely validated my own thoughts and feelings. They made me feel less alone even though I read the book two and a half years after completing treatment. I wish that I had the book while I was on treatment and felt so alone. I wish I could have shared it with my friends to help them understand my experience.
What I think is most important about the characters in this story is that they are more than their disease. They are complex, multifaceted, flawed people living good lives while also having cancer.
Thank you John for your beautiful book!
Because I have friends in the bookstore business I was fortunate enough to be able to meet John (and Hank) on the book tour for The Fault in Our Stars. Thanks, Jessica!
Run of Hope Total: $2,270
There is THREE DAYS left to contribute to this year's Run of Hope supporting Pediatric Brain Tumor Research!
To contribute please visit: http://www.firstgiving.com/fundraiser/sammy-loch/2014