Oh John Green, you are my book guy! I have been desperate to get my hands on a copy of this lovely book. I knew it would be great, I’d heard that it was sad and funny and yes it was all that. But what sad and funny don’t capture is how deeply John Green makes you care about his characters. He writes ‘real’ teenagers. The kind of teenagers who aren’t in the media, aren’t on the tv, aren’t drawing attention to themselves through bad behaviour and weird stylings. His teenagers are ordinary kids who have both ordinary and extraordinary things happen to them. They live in unextraordinary houses in unextraordinary towns. They are ordinary. But they are also extraordinary. They are quirky, they are wise and they are extremely funny. In the case of the teenagers in this book they also have cancer, or are recovering from cancer.
The story is told by Hazel, she is sixteen and has been given a reprieve from her terminal cancer in the form of a miracle drug which hasn’t cured her but has given her some time. She can’t go to school, she has to have an oxygen bottle with her at all times and she is bright, funny and a little lonely. Her parents force her to attend a support group which meets at a church and she goes very reluctantly. There she meets Alex, who has already lost one eye to cancer and is dealing with the fact that he will probably lose another, and she also meets Augustus. Augustus who is handsome, a bit wacky and who has lost a leg to cancer. Hazel isn’t too impressed by gorgeous guys, but she is impressed by great conversational skills, and Augustus has those in spades. Hazel convinces Augustus to read a book she has read a gazillion times he gets as hooked as she is and they attempt to get the answers to the cliffhanger the author left at the end of the book. Big themes abound in the book. Love, death, the fact that a terminal illness defines the person and they lose their themness, loss of innocence in lots of ways, trust and truth. It is all here.
This is a book to love, a book to buy yourself a copy of and to treasure. My copy is kind of wavy on the edges because I cried so much while reading it. Tissues will be required to accompany your reading. It is a book to devour in a couple of sittings. It is totally romantic, sad, quirky, funny and the writing is stellar. I have no higher praise to give it. Buy yourself a copy of this book. There are some fabulous quotes from the book appearing on sites around the blogs look at this one, or this one, and on Goodreads too!
“That’s what I believe. I believe the universe wants to be noticed. I think the universe is improbably biased toward consciousness, that it rewards intelligence in part because the universe enjoys its elegance being observed. And who am I, living in the middle of history, to tell the universe that it- or my observation of it- is temporary?”
― John Green, The Fault in Our Stars