The first half of this book was, all told, "okay." It didn't really appeal to my adult self, so I tried to look at it from the perspective of when I was sixteen years old. Nope, still no good. I mean, I liked that it was an unconventional romance, but even at sixteen I wasn't really into romance. Or, okay, not THAT kind of romance. My two favorite books from that time in my life were Catcher in the Rye (cliche, I know, but bear with me) and The Lovely Bones. I guess some might classify The Lovely Bones as being romantic, but considering the major players are a dead girl, her still-living boyfriend, and a girl who, so far as I remember, is a lesbian but gets temporarily possessed by the dead girl so that she (the dead girl) can finally lose her virginity. Or something. It's been years since I read that book. Anyway, just a small selection of the other books I enjoyed at age sixteen would include The Poisonwood Bible, A Child Called It, Kaffir Boy, and The Jungle. So, yeah, The Fault in Our Stars wasn't really my style, even back then.But once (spoilers!) Augustus relapsed, I couldn't stop reading. I read everything from the disastrous trip to Amsterdam to the very end in one sitting. My sixteen-year-old self enjoyed the raw emotionalism and frank descriptions of the horrors of a person's body failing as the cancer eats him alive (my twenty-three-year-old self felt those bits were put in as a sort of passing nod to raw emotionalism and frank descriptions; when I reflected, I felt we had really just skated over Augustus' disease and demise, only touching on the highlights until we got to the end).John Green manages to balance the humor with the horror to a degree that I'm sure most adolescents find refreshing. One thing I have noticed since working at Powell's is how often parents discourage or outright forbid their children from reading adult novels. I'm really not sure what these people are afraid of, since I read adult novels from a young age and I turned out...okay, I see exactly what these parents are afraid of. So it's great to see that there are some authors out there don't talk down to teenagers and let them vicariously live through these very adult situations. But because it's in the Young Adult section, it's deemed "okay to read" by the parents. Shhh, don't tell them the truth.