Okay? Okay.

I first read The Fault in Our Stars in the Summer of 2012, six months after publication. It generated a lot of buzz from my fellow librarians and YA book lovers, so it jumped on my reading radar, but the rest of mainstream America was oblivious to the story of Hazel and Gus, two brilliant, funny teenagers who just happen to meet in a support group for kids with cancer. They fall in love, and the rest is...well, if you've read it, then you know how it ends. Obviously, I ADORED this book. John Green takes a story that could be cliche and turns it into a beautiful, gut-wrenching, Kleenex-soaking reading experience. With his words, JG warmed my heart, ripped it out, and then handed it back to me in better shape than he found it. Thank you very much, John Green.

Ironically, this is what I wrote in a post comparing TFioS to Fifty Shades of Gray. (I happened to be reading them simultaneously two years ago, which made me love TFioS even more):

"The Fault in our Stars will not appeal to everyone. It won't be at the top of the bestseller list, although it is at the top of YA Fiction lists."  

So, I was fifty shades of WRONG. 

Fast forward to now: May 2014. If you didn't already know it--The Fault in our Stars is kind of a big deal. Here are its major accolades according to Amazon

  • TIME Magazine’s #1 Fiction Book of 2012
  • "The greatest romance story of this decade." Entertainment Weekly
  • Millions of copies sold
  •  #1 New York Times Bestseller
  • #1 Wall Street Journal Bestseller
  • #1 USA Today Bestseller
  • #1 International Bestseller
  • #1 Indie Bestseller

And in case you haven't heard, the movie is about to hit theaters on June 6, just in time for the Summer Blockbuster Season. 

This thrills me. 

I always get excited when books break out into movies because the movie usually draws more attention to the book, which will hopefully bring more people into the fold of reading. We've seen this happen lately with The Hunger Games series and Divergent. Don't get me wrong, I LOVE these books and thought the movies were well-done (especially Catching Fire), but I'm more excited about this book/movie adaptation than any other because this is a REAL LIFE story. It's not about vampire wannabes, dystopian societies, or wizard schools (no offense, Bella, Katniss, Tris, and Harry); it's about perfectly flawed people finding perfectly flawed love in a perfectly flawed world.  And there's only one thing that can make this real-life story a real-life success at the box office: "The John Green Effect" (click here to read a comprehensive article from the The Wall Street Journal about all things JG.)  

I adore John Green for many reasons. As a writer, I admire his tenacity and candidness about his struggle with the writing process. As a reader, I admire his brilliant, flawed, and funny characters. As a librarian, I admire his ability to write spot-on teen fiction that keeps teens coming back for more and adults reminiscing about their own teen-angst-ridden days. As an educator, I deeply admire his #Nerdfighters movement and his rallying cry to kids that it is COOL to be SMART, as well as his #dftba (Don't Forget to be Awesome) mantra. If you haven't gotten sucked down the John Green rabbit hole, then carve out a couple hours of your life, watch his YouTube channels (Vlogbrothers, Crash Course, and Mental Floss), marvel at his wicked-smart brain, and wait for your own brain to grow exponentially (I'm still waiting...). 

Today we had a "Lunch in the Library" where kids got to bring their lunch and hang out while we watched the TFioS movie trailer:




 And we wrote our own metaphors inspired by Gus's brilliant "It's a metaphor" scene: 




I asked the kids to create a metaphor for their own lives. They blew me away with their brilliance. It just goes to show that when kids write about things that matter to them, magic happens. 



We had a HUGE turnout, our biggest one of the year, with over 100 kids coming during all four lunches. Even our fabulous principal came (color-coordinated!) and talked about the book because she had just finished it. Maybe  it was the lure of the snacks and turquoise Hawaiian punch (it matched the book cover!) that we served. Maybe it's because it's the end of the year, and we all just need a little novelty to keep us going. All I know is that kids came to fangirl (and fanboy) over a book. And that gives me joy. 



All of this is why I have no shame that I own this awesome t-shirt: 



I'm a librarian. It's my job to get kids excited about books any way that I can, but I wear this shirt under the guise of book promotion because I'm really a 38 year old mom with the heart of a 16 year old girl. And I'm okay with that. 

I'm not a re-reader. I've got too many books in my to-read pile (587 to be exact). But Hazel and Gus are calling to me to revisit them. And so I will in the next few weeks before the movie comes out. And I'll  keep the Kleenex close by because even though I know how it all ends, I will still cry. Their story will still break my heart and make it whole all in the same chapter. 

Okay? Okay. 


Comments

  1. Seriously. You just keep getting better. I cried reading this. Partly because I thought of Hazel and Gus, partly because of John Green, partly because I'm still reeling from Levithan's 2BK, and mostly because I'm so proud of you, my friend. Thank you for inspiring me "exponentially"!!!!!

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  2. YOU are the BEST! Thank you for being my constant friend and support. I am looking forward to our 12 days of writing bliss. WE are going to be published one day, my friend.

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