#TFiOS

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Over the last few days, the hashtag #TFiOS has become very popular on Twitter. The full spelled-out version has been a trending topic on Facebook too: The Fault in Our Stars.

The aftermath of reading The Fault in Our Stars

The aftermath of reading The Fault in Our Stars.

The reason for the sudden upswing of popularity is, of course, the release of the trailer for the upcoming movie–an achievement for a book that hasn’t even been released in paperback yet. (As a comical aside, John Green proudly announced on his Tumblr page that he’d posted the first comment on the video as soon as it had gone up.)

The experience of reading The Fault in Our Stars defies words. Like any truly exceptional novel, the ending comes like a punch in the gut. It is sudden, it is abrupt, and to some degree, you could see it coming. Flipping the last page allows you to breathe again.

But the ending is never a secret–Hazel is realistic about her diagnosis; she says at one point that she knew her cancer was terminal at diagnosis. The Fault in Our Stars is a horribly, horribly sad book. It’s impossible to escape that–it is, after all, a love story in which cancer plays a central role. Despite that, it is a positive book — I often found myself laughing through my tears (or laughing, then tearing up). John Green commands a mastery of his prose, able to inject humour and sadness into his words. Hazel is an able narrator–witty, smart, funny and so, so sad.

It’s almost too obvious a statement to make–The Fault in Our Stars is popular, maintaining a spot (currently the top spot) on the New York Times Young Adult Bestseller List for 61 weeks. All you need to do is search for #tfios or #TheFaultInOurStars and the results start pouring in–more by the minute. The book resonates with its readers. John Green has stated on his website that he loves being an author of young adult novels, and he clearly excels at it.

Q. Due to the success of TFIOS, will your books now be marketed to all age groups?
A. I am not interested in publishing books for adults. I like my job. I like my editor. I like my publisher. I am very grateful that so many adults are reading The Fault in Our Stars, but I really like writing and publishing books for teenagers, and it’s difficult for me to imagine wanting to do anything else as a writer.

Ultimately, this book cannot be recommended highly enough. Even if you’re not feeling like you need a good cry (because I’m pretty sure I went through half a box of Kleenex, it’s impossible to escape), this is a book that will somehow better you for reading it. It’s hard to argue that it has already become a classic. To paraphrase John Green’s Hazel, as you read, you’ll fall in love the way you fall asleep: slowly, and then all at once (page 125).

And if that fails to seduce you, I’ll fall back to John Green’s recommended recommendation style: “I would tell them that if they don’t enjoy reading the book they can punch you hard once in the stomach.”

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