The Fault in Our Stars cheat sheet (no spoilers!)

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The_Fault_in_Our_StarsThe first time I read The Fault in Our Stars I cried for three days. I’m not kidding. Three. Days. My face was puffy, I gave myself an eye infection – it wasn’t pretty. But John Green, the author, King of Vlogs, and all around Internet-sensation, created such well-rounded characters and a full, realistic world that I’m not even ashamed of all the tears. Who cares if my roommates looked at me askew and avoided the living room that whole weekend? My heart was shredded. The movie version of The Fault in Our Stars comes out on Friday, and I’ve already stocked up on tissues. Starring Shailene Woodley and Ansel Elgort (who, coincidentally, both star in Divergent, based on another young adult bestseller by Veronica Roth), it promises to be just as moving as the book. Here’s the trailer if you don’t believe me:

 

Yes, this movie/book is about teenage cancer. Yes, Augustus might be the coolest one-legged kid ever. Yes, it is funny. No, it is not depressing. Or, at least not as depressing as one might think. But if you’re still skeptical, here’s a little cheat sheet to get you ready for Friday’s release:

The Premise

Hazel Grace, a stage IV-cancer patient, is forced to attend a support group where she ends up meeting the almost-too-perfect Augustus Waters. Together they do normal teenage stuff – hang out in basements, obsess over their favorite books, and start to fall for each other. But while Augustus is in remission, Hazel’s cancer isn’t budging. What does it mean to be young, sick, and in love? The story answers all these questions and more, without ever losing its honesty and humor – and, perhaps most importantly, discussing a touchy subject matter without dipping into the maudlin or over-sentimentality.

The Characters
hazelgracetfiostrailer (1)
Shailene Woodley as Hazel Grace Lancaster

Hazel Grace Lancaster: She’s an isolated, sarcastic and smart 16-year-old who spends most of her days binging on “America’s Next Top Model,” hanging with her parents and contemplating what it means to have terminal cancer. She’s not that depressed but she is stuck, pulled out of school and forced to wheel around an oxygen tank as the cancer has settled in her lungs. It takes Augustus to break her out of her rut, and to show her the world that she’s been missing.

The fault is in our stars waters
Ansel Elgort as August Waters

Augustus Waters: Clearly the “cool kid” in school, Augustus was a basketball player before he lost one of his legs to bone cancer. Quick, charming and confident, Augustus loves cheesy action novels, playing video games in his basement, and falls for Hazel fast and hard.

Isaac
Nat Wolff as Isaac

Isaac: A mutual friend of both Hazel and Augustus, he’s also a member of their cancer support group and initially brings the two together. Isaac has already lost one of his eyes to cancer and needs to have the other one removed – which will leave him blind. He, Hazel, and Augustus lean on each other through the tougher aspects of having cancer so young.

Peter Van Houten
William Dafoe as Peter Van Houten

Peter Van Houten: An author and philosopher, Van Houten wrote Hazel’s favorite book, An Imperial Affliction, about a young girl named Anna who has cancer but narrates it from a unique point of view (not the usual overly dramatic fare). Hazel and Augustus end up meeting Van Houten, as learning what happens to Anna’s mother consumes Hazel (she’s worried about her own parents after she dies). But the meeting is not quite what either of them thought it would be.

The Heartache

You think I’m telling you everything? Not a chance! head to the movie, buy the book, but just make sure you consume this beautifully honest love story. You won’t regret it, not even if you cry a bucket of tears. But you might want to have some tissues on hand, just in case.

Rachel Carter grew up surrounded by trees and snow and mountains. She graduated from the University of Vermont and Columbia University, where she received her MFA in nonfiction writing. She is the author of the So Close to You series with Harperteen. These days you can find her working on her next novel in the woods of Vermont.

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