Movies
3:08 pm
Wed June 4, 2014

'Nerdfighters' Mobilize For Film Premiere, Armed With Favorite Lines

Originally published on Wed June 4, 2014 6:18 pm

John Green's love story, The Fault in Our Stars, is a cult classic for young readers. The film adaptation comes out Friday, and excitement has reached a fever pitch among middle-schoolers obsessed with the book.

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Transcript

ROBERT SIEGEL, HOST:

John Green's best-selling love story "The Fault In Our Stars" has become a cult classic for young adult readers. Well, now the movie version, starring Shailene Woodley as a teen with cancer, is opening this weekend. NPR's Mandalit del Barco talked with young fans, who are beside themselves with anticipation.

MANDALIT DEL BARCO, BYLINE: Every tween and teen I talked to could quote their favorite lines from the book.

(SOUNDBITE OF INTERVIEW)

UNIDENTIFIED GIRL 1: I only go on a roller coaster that goes up.

UNIDENTIFIED GIRL 2: I fall in love with you the way I fall asleep, slowly then all at once.

OK? OK.

DEL BARCO: Gizelle Whaley and her classmates Sofia Lucio, Chiara McDonald, and Sheena Sandho are on the playground at Lincoln Middle School in Santa Monica, California.

(SOUNDBITE OF INTERVIEW)

GIZELLE WHALEY: I think, it's the best book I've ever read in my whole entire life.

DEL BARCO: Gizelle is 13. She says her and her friends plan to go to the movie's first screening, tomorrow at midnight.

(SOUNDBITE OF INTERVIEW)

WHALEY: I've never reacted this way to a book. Like, I've never loved the book is much as I did "The Fault In Our Stars."

DEL BARCO: Really? It's bigger than like "Hunger Games?"

UNIDENTIFIED GIRL 1: Oh yeah, way bigger.

UNIDENTIFIED GIRL 2: Oh my...

UNIDENTIFIED GIRL 3: Yeah.

DEL BARCO: Bigger than "Divergent?"

UNIDENTIFIED GIRL 1: Yes.

UNIDENTIFIED GIRL 2: I think so.

UNIDENTIFIED GIRL 3: Yes, way better and bigger.

DEL BARCO: It's not a futuristic fantasy, but a very real love story between two teens, who meet in a cancer support group, Hazel Grace Lancaster and Augustus Waters.

(SOUNDBITE OF INTERVIEW)

WHALEY: Some moments she'll be really happy and outgoing, like happy to have Gus. And in the other moments, she's like I want to die already. I want this to be over with. I hate this. And then Gus will bring her back up.

UNIDENTIFIED GIRL 1: He's kind of like cheesy in his own way. Yeah.

WHALEY: Cute and cheesy.

UNIDENTIFIED GIRL 1: I want a man like Augustus Waters.

UNIDENTIFIED GIRL 2: I kind of want a love story like theirs.

DEL BARCO: Gizelle, Sofia, Chiara and Sheena have never heard of the hit 1970 book and movie "Love Story," with its motto love means never having to say you're sorry. They're too young to remember when "Titanic" or even "The Notebook" first came out. Their teacher, Sarah Greenfield, who's 41, says John Green's novel is much better than the books she read as a kid.

SARAH GREENFIELD: It's real. It doesn't dumb down for the students. It doesn't feel like it's a kosher, middle school book. I think, they perceive the relationship as one that they could recognize as really happening. A lot of them also have parents or grandparents or family members who've been through an illness. And so they feel that deeply.

DEL BARCO: And they're certainly not alone. At the Children's World Bookstore in Los Angeles, slightly older teens also quote from their favorite book.

REBECCA ADLER: Some infinities are bigger than ever infinities.

DEL BARCO: Sixteen-year-old Rebecca Adler and 14-year-old Mariko Brooks (ph) say they're huge fans of "The Fault In Our Stars." And they consider themselves to be, what author John Green calls, nerd fighters.

ADLER: Not someone who fights nerds, but someone who fights for nerds.

TOM BROOKS: Anyone who wants to look at the world in complex ways.

DEL BARCO: Mariko says she's read "The Faults In Our Stars" at least eight times.

BROOKS: He's very big on not making this a, quote unquote, "typical sick people book." And he shows that just because they do have illnesses, it doesn't mean they aren't normal people. They're completely normal people. They're spectacular people, who are funny and sarcastic and have interests and hobbies, just like everyone else. But they also deal with death and dying and illness at such a young age. But it's not in a depressing way.

DEL BARCO: Noah Lewis, who's 15, interrupts with one last thought.

NOAH LEWIS: If this movie isn't good, they'll have a lot of pissed off fans. So pressure's on them.

DEL BARCO: "The Fault In Our Stars," the movie, opens Friday. OK? OK. Mandalit del Barco, NPR News. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.