Some of my best friends are people I have never met, nor ever can.  They are characters in novels and movies and histories.  Some writers have a gift that brings people to life from the confines an an individual’s imagination and allows them to frolic in the world of the reader.  The Fault in Our Stars by John Green is teeming with characters that I feel like I know.  They are real people-dynamic, flawed, confusing; and they deal with real problems that are both universal and individual.

In the simplest and least spoiler way, here is a plot overview.  Sixteen year old Hazel Grace has cancer.  Ever since she has been diagnosed she has know she is going to die.  At a support group meeting she meets Augustus Waters who also has cancer-a type that takes your leg but might not take your life.  The relationship that ensues revolves around all the things that any good relationship centers around-literature, learning that it is OK to be yourself, grand romantic gestures, awkward moments, and determining whether you should do what you want to do or what you think you should do.

Here’s the publisher’s trailer:

As I read I started to write down lines that were just “so perfect.”  Eventually, though, I was mostly transcribing the book.  This book made me cry real and ugly tears and then laugh as the streamed down my face.  I simply can’t tell you how much I love this book until you have also read it.

And If I can’t convince you, perhaps the enthusiasm and sheer likability of John Green will do the trick (with bonus tidbit about The Great Gatsby):

Seriously-read this book.  As soon as you stop crying, give me a call.  We’ll go out for coffee and get to work on our transcriptions.