If you’re wondering why sales of young-adult books are up, even with all the challenges the publishing industry is facing, it’s because of novels like this one. The Fault in Our Stars is about teenagers who happen to have cancer, but it’s not a cancer book, because as the narrator, 16-year-old Hazel Grace, bluntly puts it, “cancer books suck” — by which she means they’re full of clichés and sentiment that conceal hard truths. John Green, writing with wit, unpretentious clarity and total emotional honesty, clears away the clichés to reveal the hardest possible truths, which Hazel and her boyfriend Augustus have to face head on. The Fault in Our Stars is a love story, one of the most genuine and moving ones in recent American fiction, but it’s also an existential tragedy of tremendous intelligence and courage and sadness.
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