This book. This freakin’ book. I tweeted it as my Friday Read a couple weeks back and the lovely MsWas told me to get the tissues. While I didn’t out and out cry I did want to curl up with a blanket and hug something or someone when I got to the conclusion. But I was warned about that (h/t narfna).
This book has been reviewed a few times for cannonball, but it’s my first experience with John Green, and although this is YA, and to a certain extent reads that way (there’s a lot of extremely lucky turns of events that are written off as cancer perks. Cancer perks are real but occasionally it felt a bit convenient), it was good times. Green kept me on my toes even when I was pretty sure I knew what was coming. It should be known that this book’s main characters are all cancer patients at various stages and their families. You definitely need to know this before you sign on to read it, because as I said before – you might need tissues or a blanket to get through the end.
Our narrator through the journey is Hazel, she is sixteen and cancer has gone ahead and settled in her lungs. There is a miracle drug (just in the book) that has stopped the growth and for the time being she’s holding steady but required to bring her own oxygen wherever she goes. However, her mother has decided that she’s depressed and with her doctor’s direction, Hazel is forced to attend a support group. Hazel doesn’t want to go, stating that depression is merely a side effect of dying and not to be worried about. But, as it is in the world of fiction, it turns out to have been for the best that she attends.
At support group we meet Augustus and Isaac. Isaac is a known quantity to Hazel. Augustus on the other hand is something new altogether. I appreciate that Green wasn’t afraid to write the meet cute in a cancer support group. Life doesn’t stop just because you have cancer. On a lark Hazel shares with Augustus her favorite book and they begin their relationship from there.
I won’t devolve into a plot summary. But the relationships these characters share read and ring true. You get it all with them: hope, love, sorrow, tragedy, triumph, humor. The whole deal.
Green is careful to point out in his Author’s Note that this book is not about anyone, and is strictly speaking a work of fiction. I respect that. I will however point out The Fault in Our Stars was dedicated to Esther Earl, who’s picture reminds me of what I thought Hazel looks like. Her family has set up a foundation in her honor to support cancer families, This Star Won’t Go Out and is worth a visit, particularly if you have some dollars you can afford to donate.