Plot driven vs. character driven-- I love them both. But even books with the most crazy, imaginative plots (HUNGER GAMES, anyone?) better give me characters that make me care. Characters I want to spend time with. Characters I HAVE to root for. Characters that break my heart.
When I read HUNGER GAMES, I was ready to jump in and watch Katniss's back. And I was Team Peeta all the way. But in John Green's latest novel, THE FAULT IN OUR STARS, Hazel and Augustus did more than break my heart. They shattered it.
Green's writing is so much more than witty dialogue and gritty truths. He finds ways to show fierceness and bravery in simple, unexpected choices.
Augustus doesn't smoke cigarettes. He dangles them. His biggest character tic is one of choice. That unlit cigarette dangling from the corner of his mouth screams in frustration and pain, boasts of triumphs great and small, and shouts out laughter and fear.
All by choice. Augustus' choice.
In THE FAULT IN OUR STARS, lots of stuff happens that the characters can't control. And that broke my heart. But the choices they made -- well, that's what shattered it.