Diagnosed with Stage IV thyroid cancer at 13, Hazel was prepared to die until, at 14, a medical miracle shrunk the tumours in her lungs... for now.
post-miracle, sixteen-year-old Hazel is post-everything else, too;
post-high school, post-friends and post-normalcy. And even though she
could live for a long time (whatever that means), Hazel lives tethered
to an oxygen tank, the tumours tenuously kept at bay with a constant
Enter Augustus Waters. A match made at cancer
kid support group, Augustus is gorgeous, in remission, and shockingly to
her, interested in Hazel. Being with Augustus is both an unexpected
destination and a long-needed journey, pushing Hazel to re-examine how
sickness and health, life and death, will define her and the legacy that
everyone leaves behind.
I originally read this book a few months ago, but I decided to reread this weekend and post a review of it. Everything about this book is amazing - the writing, the story, and the characters. I noticed the writing more the second time I read this book. The first time I read it, I was wrapped up in what would happen next in the story, but this time I noticed that John Green really does have a way with words.
POSSIBLE SPOILERS AHEAD
First, there is Hazel, the protagonist of the book. I have only read one other John Green, but I learned online that this is his first book with a female protagonist. Hazel has a great voice that does sound female. She is wise beyond her sixteen years, yet she still acts (and thinks) like a teenager at times as well. She has cancer, but she doesn't want it to define her. Overall, she is an amazing character.
Then there is Augustus Waters, a boy with cancer and Hazel's love interest. He is a well-developed and complex character. He has an obsession with oblivion. He wants to die for a greater cause. He does not feel like there is honor in "dying of." He and Hazel have a few interesting discussions on the topic of oblivion and death. The romance that develops between the two is very well-written and believable. Hazel does not want to date Augustus because she thinks she is a grenade. She feels that her eventual death will hurt all those who love her. Eventually, she realizes she can't stop people from loving her and she begins a relationship with Augustus.
Also in this book, there is a book called An Imperial Affliction. This book stops in the middle of a sentence, and Hazel and Augustus want to know what happens to some of the characters after the book ends. They go to find the author in Amsterdam, and he is a drunk who doesn't give them the answers they seek. There are some parallels between An Imperial Affliction and The Fault in Our Stars. After the book ends, the reader does not know if Hazel dies young from cancer or lives for many more years. We don't know how her family reacts if she does die from cancer. All of these things remain a mystery to us.
If you like YA contemporary and don't mind reading a sad book, pick up this book.