This book turned out to be one of my favorite books I've read all year. Currently I'm almost at my goal of 35 books for the year and out of the 34 I've read so far I'd say this one is definitely in my top 5. I'm not sure what it was exactly but this story really got my attention and held it the whole way, reading the book in only a day. With the lure of television and the internet I don't often devote enough time to read a book in a day much anymore, hence the reason my goal was only 35 books for a year. Many years ago 35 books a year would be nothing. Since I'm not reading as much I've been trying to be a little more choosey about what I do read and I am glad I made the time to read this one.
Time Magazine called this book "damn near genius" and I would say I have to agree. It isn't a book with a light subject, any time a kid has cancer its devastating so you have to be able to look past that a bit to enjoy the story. The main characters, Hazel Lancaster and Augustus Waters meet at a Cancer Kid Support Group and end up becoming close friends and later a couple. Being high school aged and in a relationship is hard enough but when both have cancer in a very serious stage it changes a lot of the dynamics. You can't help but read and put yourself in their shoes. This review from Amazon sums it up beautifully.
At 16, Hazel Grace Lancaster, a three-year stage IV–cancer survivor, is clinically depressed. To help her deal with this, her doctor sends her to a weekly support group where she meets Augustus Waters, a fellow cancer survivor, and the two fall in love. Both kids are preternaturally intelligent, and Hazel is fascinated with a novel about cancer called An Imperial Affliction. Most particularly, she longs to know what happened to its characters after an ambiguous ending. To find out, the enterprising Augustus makes it possible for them to travel to Amsterdam, where Imperial’s author, an expatriate American, lives. What happens when they meet him must be left to readers to discover. Suffice it to say, it is significant. Writing about kids with cancer is an invitation to sentimentality and pathos—or worse, in unskilled hands, bathos. Happily, Green is able to transcend such pitfalls in his best and most ambitious novel to date. Beautifully conceived and executed, this story artfully examines the largest possible considerations—life, love, and death—with sensitivity, intelligence, honesty, and integrity. In the process, Green shows his readers what it is like to live with cancer, sometimes no more than a breath or a heartbeat away from death.
I can only imagine how I might feel in their situation. To be 16 and in "love", what a dramatic time that is but to add in the fact that both parties have terminal diseases? That must intensify things tremendously! Most teens probably feel like their first love is THE ONE but to know that your first love really will be your O.N.L.Y. love because both of you have a terminal disease? Wow!