Behjat Kerdegari, Lodi Public Library
Kerdegari read the book a year and a half ago, and feels very sentimental about it.
“It’s powerful. It’s not the usual teen angst type of literature,” she said. “Of course it has its moments of the characters being angry and sad about their situation, but that’s natural when you see your life is going to end at not even 18 years old.”
Kerdegari sees the characters as having a different kind of strength than many of their counterparts.
“In modern day teen books, like ‘The Hunger Games,’ there’s a lot of physical strength to the characters. This book has characters with mental strength.”
She admits the free ticket Gus and Hazel receive to visit Amsterdam looks fanciful.
“But when you’re dying, why not have a bit of fanciful in your life?” she said.
Kerdegari said she will probably skip the movie, since she tends to pick on films based on books.
Sara Jane Pohlman, Lodi Living Editor
I’ve long been a fan of the teenage mind. It’s something John Green and I have in common. But this book changed the way I look at their relationships, and how I think about people with illness.
There’s a common trope that people with cancer, especially children, are shining cheerful miracles of strength and hope. They aren’t. They are normal people with normal lives, and their purpose in the world is not to be an example to others. It’s to live a good and happy life for themselves. That’s what the love between Hazel and Augustus is.
About the crying: I spent the first two thirds of the book swooning, and final third in ugly tears, with jolts of reluctant laughter. Green somehow makes dying teenagers funny, and that’s why you should read this book.
Allie Lopez, 15, Stockton Baptist School
Lopez is not a big fan of sitting down with a book. But when a friend pushed “Fault” under her nose and implored her to read the first page, Lopez humored her.
“It was hilarious, and I read the whole thing,” she said. “It was so amazing. I would bawl even when it was happy.”
That was a year ago. Now she has every book written by John Green, and is planning to see the movie as soon as possible. As a teen, she says Green’s work is relatable, and the language is something she connects to.
“I love it because the story is something everyone wants. Not the cancer, of course, but the love story — to have this love happen to you,” she said.
Maisie Barclift, 15, Homeschooled
Barclift read the book after her best friend recommended it six months ago.
“I read it in three days. It was heartbreaking. It was an amazing book, and I don’t quite have words for it.”
Barclift wants to be a writer, and doesn’t agree with the critique that the main characters are too smart to be teenagers.
“I have a lot of smart friends, and they talk that way. Not many, but people do. And these kids are smart, Hazel graduated high school early and is in college.”
Barclift was fascinated with the story, and the way it takes you and pulls at your heart.
“It’s nice to know that even people who know their life is on the line can still find love, even if they try to deny it,” she said.