John Green's The Fault in Our Stars is by far my favorite book of 2012. Debuting at #1 on the New York Times Bestseller list, this Young Adult novel will resonate with teens and adults alike. Inspired by his experiences as a chaplain at a Children's Hospital, as well as his friendship with a young fan of his work who died of cancer, John made it a priority to write a book about teens... that also happen to have cancer. Successfully avoiding the stereotypical "cancer book" traits, his characters aren't portrayed as perfect heroes; they're not martyrs, they're teens. At the same time, the book deals with heavy philosophical issues related to life, love and dying with just the right balance of reverence and humor.
Hazel has been diagnosed with terminal cancer and has long given up hope for a miracle. Her miracle has already occurred in that she has survived far longer than her doctors predicted. In an effort to protect those around her from the pain of her inevitable death, Hazel avoids new friendships and relationships. Enter Augustus Waters. They meet at a cancer support group and Augustus, full of charm, is determined to open Hazel up to the world she's been missing. With lines like "I fell in love the way you fall asleep: slowly, and then all at once" you are falling right there with these young survivors. At turns funny and deeply moving, the narrative voice of Hazel Grace Lancaster reminds us what is most important and that a life, however short, is worth every living moment.
Recommended by Caroline Barlow