Diagnosed with Stage IV thyroid cancer at 12, Hazel was prepared to die until, at 14, a medical miracle shrunk the tumours in her lungs… for now.Two years 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 chemical assault.
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.
*This book was purchased my be as a preorder and was signed by the author*
I didn’t know what to expect when opening the cover to this book. Okay, I kind of did: lots of heartthrob, many tears shed, and intellectual humor that spoke to me in some way, shape, or form. That little bit of wisdom or confidence or inspiration that John Green delicately wove within words upon a page within a book that I curled up to. And I loved every moment. Every tear. Every laugh. And every heart beat out of place for characters whose story commutes along the train within my mind and my memories. That was what I expected from John Green but I didn’t know what to expect from the story of Hazel Grace Lancaster and Augustus Waters. But I was to find out when, after months of waiting (I preordered this in August of 2011 by the by), I had my chance to finally dive head first into a story that I actually precariously dipped myself into one toe at a time.
This was a pool that I treaded into carefully, not because the water was too hot or cold for me to handle. Not in the least. It was to savor every moment granted to me. Every memory, every day, every word within those pages. It was a story that I wanted to fall in love with. And I did.
After weeks of wondering how to write this review I finally let my fingers do the talking. Let them type away at the keys while I nitpicked the cars of that train. This was my fourth John Green novel and I must say that it’s in a close running of first with Looking for Alaska; though I’m probably saying that both are my number one. The intensity that each story exerted was something that I’ve never read before. There are very few books that make me cry but John Green always seems to know which strings to pull within me. The character development and such powerful voices he gives, it’s as if they aren’t fictitious characters but memoirs of real people. People that I want to meet and speak to on a daily basis, dissect their thoughts and engage in witty persiflage.
The relationship spawned between Hazel Grace and Augustus kept a smile on my face the whole time. While reading I kept listening to Bookends by Simon and Garfunkel and truly the lyrics of the song fit the entirety of the book from page one to page 318. Even looking deeply into the lyrics and connecting the dots between the adorable couple, I couldn’t help but produce tears. Of what you ask? Read the book and listen to the song and you may understand. But what made me love Hazel and Gus so much was it wasn’t so much love at first sight. It was like any other meeting: interest. Their relationship grew it may not have taken years but the maturity of the two made years seem like the duration. It was pure, sweet, innocent love where one didn’t want to hurt the other but hurt was inevitable. How can one not hurt another when death lingers in an abnormality called Cancer? But they held onto each other like time didn’t exist or at least pretended such.
I don’t think there was any way I could possibly not adore this book. John Green is a storyteller that I would never grow old from listening to and definitely won’t stop any time soon.
First Line: Late in the winter of my seventeenth year, my mother decided I was depressed, presumably because I rarely left the house, spent quite a lot of time in bed, read the same book over and over, ate infrequently, and devoted my abundant free time to thinking about death.