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52 books, 52 weeks, Week 7: The Ugly Cry

02/20/2013 08:34 am ET | Updated Apr 22, 2013

After a #fail with James Patterson's Private Berlin last week, I was happy to turn to a book I knew I would like this week, John Green's The Fault in Our Stars.

For those of you haven't read it yet -- and, seriously, what are you waiting for? -- The Fault in Our Stars is about a sixteen-year-old terminal cancer patient named Hazel, her obsession with a book called An Imperial Affliction, written by a Salinger-like author named Peter Van Houten, and how she falls in love with seventeen-year-old cancer survivor August Waters. Sounds cheery, right? But the thing is, it is hopeful. Hazel was supposed to be dead a long time ago, but an experimental drug has changed her status from terminal to "not yet." August Waters have every reason to be negative, but he's chosen unrelenting positivity and his enthusiasm spreads to Hazel. And because Augustus chooses to spend his "cancer wish" on her, she even gets to meet Van Houten, which includes a romantic trip to Holland. What could go wrong?

The answer is, everything, of course, because life--especially in books--is like that. But it all goes so beautifully wrong; there's beauty and grace and brilliance in the wrongness of it all and that's what makes this book so beautiful, graceful and right.

So what else can I say about this book that hasn't already been said? No idea, but here's one thing I'll say: Green has such a way with language. The other day, author Tracey Garvis Greaves and I had a long exchange of spontaneous recall of quotes from the book that went something like this:

"As he read I fell in love like you fall asleep; slowly, and then all at once."
"Life is not a wish granting factory."
"Cancer perk."
"Side effect of dying."
"I was really tired from my busy day of having cancer."
"The Prefuneral."
Her: That made me cry.
Me: That book makes me ugly cry.

Yup, that's right. We were two authors just spouting lines from the book at one another for no other reason than our awe at how amazing it is, how it affected us, and how we think everyone we know should read it.

So maybe someone's already said all these things about it, but I'll add my voice to the chorus. This book is brilliant and funny and sad. Read it.

And now for next week's read. Safe Haven is still hogging the number one spot, so I've wildcarded it again for a book that should be on the list, and could use some extra help because it's been entangled in the Barnes and Noble and Simon & Schuster mess, which is a damn shame for all books. Anyway, the choice is The Comfort of Lies, by the bestselling author of The Murder's Daughter, Randy Susan Meyers. Let's help make it a bestseller, shall we?

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