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.
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.
I'm not really sure how to start this - I have so many feels about this book, most of them extraordinary, but quite a few heartbreaking, and although I'm sure most of you have read this already I don't want to spoil anything either.
So let me say: I knew this would be sad. Honestly, I was a little scared to start it, no matter how excited I was! But I am ever so glad I did because this book - this book - is made of all sorts of awesome. This is a cancer book, sort of. Instead of dealing with cancer, it's about two teenagers that just happen to have cancer. Which I think makes it better, because they have to deal with their issues but it's not that make them who they are. I really have no idea how John Green wrote about the struggles with cancer so... astutely. I was very impressed with how he wrote of cancer and just normal teen problems with balanced attitudes to both, as both are equally important to Hazel.
Hazel was the most amazing teenage girl I think I've ever read. She was sarcastic and funny and sweet, so strong yet so little. The way John Green got inside her head and laid out her dreams and fears was incredible and awe-inspiring, both from a reader's and a female's point of view. And of course there's Augustus. They are perfect for each other. Just like Hazel, he was funny and smart and a little self-deprecating, but then he struggled with everything going on, he changed so drastically it was a bit scary. But mostly sad; I wanted to cradle them both in my arms.
This book is an emotional roller coaster and I really have no idea how John Green made me laugh and cry at the same time, balancing the good and bad with this black humour that made it funny and sad, which in turn made me feel bad for laughing at the serious bits. But sometimes that's all you can do, and John Green understood that with Hazel. I recommend this book to everyone with everything I've got; no matter how much it makes you cry, you will change for the better having read it.
Published 10th January 2012 by Dutton Books.