John Green’s The Fault in Our Stars has just been named the best book of 2012 by TIME magazine, ahead of the likes of Zadie Smith and Booker prize winner Hilary Mantel. I couldn’t be happier.
When we think of Young Adult books today, it’s usually vampire fiction and dystopian novels which come to mind first. These trends in YA literature spring from the success of series like Twilight and The Hunger Games and stick around for a certain period of time, before the next big trend appears.
The Fault in Our Stars is different. It doesn’t fit neatly into any trend. Whilst it is a book about teens who have cancer, it is not ‘a cancer book’. As TIME have recognised, this is not a book full of clichés about the lives of those suffering from cancer. It is the love story of Hazel Grace and Augustus Waters, characters who become so spectacularly real to us. It is through their love story, and their attempts at leading ordinary teenage lives, that we are presented with the realities of cancer. It is heartbreaking in its honesty and yet John Green tells the story with wit, energy and intelligence, making it distinct from any other book tackling these issues.
There is no reason why an adult shouldn’t be picking up a YA novel to read. There are some truly spectacular pieces of writing around on the YA shelves at the moment and to reject them simply because they are primarily targeted at a younger audience would be such a waste.
I honestly believe that The Fault in Our Stars will be around for years. In my head, it’s already a classic.
You can read what TIME had to say about The Fault in Our Stars and discover the other books in the top ten here: Top 10 Fiction Books of 2012