Despite the tumor-shrinking medical miracle that has bought her a few years, Hazel has never been anything but terminal, her final chapter inscribed upon diagnosis. But when a gorgeous plot twist named Augustus Waters suddenly appears at Cancer Kid Support Group, Hazel's story is about to be completely rewritten.
I read this novel cover to cover on a flight to visit my boyfriend, and it made me cry in front of a bunch of strangers. It was real awkward, but thankfully I had the window seat so I could try and discretely regain my composure.
If there was one word I could use to describe this novel it would be: magnificent. I’ve been hearing about The Fault in Our Stars by John Green for over a year and now that I’ve read it, I have no idea why I waited so long to read it. Mr. Green, I apologize in advance, because there is no way I can do your novel justice in my little review. Don’t get me wrong it definitely had its faults (no pun intended) and shortcomings but overall it’s a beautiful story that will make you laugh, cry and thank your lucky stars for all your friends and family. Was that too mushy gushy? Well, it’s the truth.
Meet Hazel Grace Lancaster a sixteen year old cancer survivor/fighter who has been dealing with stage IV thyroid cancer, resulting in a metastasis forming in her lungs, since she was thirteen. Due to the metastasis, Hazel’s lungs don’t work properly, so she’s forced to carry a tank of oxygen and wear a cannula to ensure proper oxygen flow to her lungs. Hazel oftentimes affectionately says, “the contraption was necessary because my lungs sucked at being lungs.” At her mother’s insistence Hazel is forced to go to a cancer Support Group. While there she makes a fiend in Isaac and is introduced to Augustus (Gus) Waters.
You would think a seventeen year old basketball star would be bitter about losing his right leg to osteosarcoma, but Augustus is one of the most uplifting characters I’ve ever encountered. I just love Augustus through and through. He’s such a well developed character, extremely bright and his kindness and compassion are unparalleled. I can’t tell you how many times I caught myself smiling and stifling laughter whenever he was in a scene.
Hazel and Augustus bond over a “An Imperial Affliction” a novel based on a young girl dealing with cancer, who abruptly dies mid-sentence at the end of the novel. Curious and frustrated about the unanswered questions, they reach out to the reclusive writer, Peter van Houten, in the hopes of using their “cancer perks” to learn the truth. What ensues will be an emotional roller coaster, so make sure you have the facial tissues and chocolate ready!
Overall, I absolutely loved the novel, but I do have a few gripes. While I’ve never had someone close to me go through cancer (thank God), I do have a hard time believing teenagers would be reading such advanced literature and speaking so eloquently. But, I can make allowances, because, who knows, if death was literally staring me in the face I might be delving into the meaning of the universe type books as well. As much as I love to read, I’m not sure I would be spending what could be my last days on earth with my nose in a book. It’s not annoying, but just a little unbelievable.
With that said, the dialogue (all of it) is witty, sharp, interesting, and really helps shape each character. Each character has a distinct linguistic style and it really shows in the dialogue. Even the parents have some attitude, which I love!
I’m so glad I finally got around to reading this and I can’t wait to see the film adaptation this summer. If you haven’t read this, I really don’t think you’ll be disappointed.
Would I read this again: Absolutely!