Wednesday, February 1, 2012

The Fault in Our Stars

The 2012 edition of What's New in Young Adult Novels? and Ideas for Classroom Use is now available at Click on the book cover at the top right of my blog page and it will take you to this site.  I have added over 130 new titles from 2011 and have reorganized the bibliographic summaries so that one book in a series is referenced and then all the books in the series are listed in a separate series section.  The new books have also been integrated into the units for the classroom.
 I've already read several terrific books for 2012.  My favorite so far is The Fault in Our Stars by John Green (Looking for Alaska, An Abundance of Katherines, Paper Towns) Virtually every review of the book is starred, and it was Amazon's young adult book of the month.  In my opinon, the book is very deserving of all this praise.
Hazel Grace Lancaster is a stage IV cancer survivor who due to a medical breakthrough has been given a reprieve from death. Her parents and doctor insist that she attend a cancer support group where she meets Augustus "Gus" Waters, a basketball player who has lost his leg to osteosarcoma.  The two connect when Hazel introduces Gus to her favorite novel about cancer called An Imperial Affliction. Hazel is obsessing over the book's ambiguous ending, so the enterprising Gus arranges a trip to Amsterdam where they meet the author who is an American expatriate.  Of course, the trip does not turn out as planned. 
The book is set in Indianapolis, where I grew up. In the book Gus goes to North Central, my former high school, and lives in my best friend's neighborhood. Recognizing one landmark after another only added to my delight in the book.  Gus and Hazel's witty repartee and poignant struggles with life and death issues endear them to the reader.  This is John Green's best effort to date, and that's saying something, considering his Printz award winner and honoree.  The tough subject matter and romantic interludes make this a book for more mature readers.