About the Book:
Author: John Green
Publisher: Dutton Books
Publication Date: 2014
Find the Review elsewhere:
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Find the Book Elsewhere:
Amazon ▪ Barnes & Noble ▪ Goodreads
Genre: Fiction; Young Adult Contemporary
Rating: 3 1/2 out of 5
Review: It’s tough to read uber-popular novels as the girl who isn’t easily bothered if she doesn’t read the New York Times bestsellers – if they are books that don’t interest me, that is. To this day there are series that sold millions and are continuing to enjoy social media campaigns that I will never read – and yes, I know we aren’t supposed to say “never,” but I’m boldly going for it. Still, when I saw the trailer for this movie, I happened to develop a curiosity for it, imagine my surprise when I discovered it was a book. After some debate (the most important of which was an Instagram post), I took the bait and bought a copy. The story (as everyone knows) follows the exploits of Hazel Grace Lancaster and Augustus Watters, two teens who have both lived with cancer. Only difference in their situations is Hazel is terminal and always has been – her experimental treatment is just to prolong her life, whereas Augustus lost his leg to the disease but not his zest for life and the fortunate circumstance to be in remission. This is their story.
How to review, rate or discuss this novel? I’m not sure the task is an easy one. The book is one of those that makes an excellent first impression then sinks into a kind of oblivion that isn’t easy to climb out of – particularly in the latter half when I found myself more annoyed than delighted by the barbs that somehow crept into the scope of coming across as insulting even if they weren’t a direct slam to anyone or any belief. The early half of the book is charming – there is a warmth and beauty that surprised me. I loved the wit, the characters and the general notions presented in the story. Nothing seemed forbearing and almost seemed to spite the fact that the book opens at a cancer support group – almost as if that was nothing more than a place and didn’t need to put on a full display of emotion for any kind of mental impact. This is what is most beautiful about the book; it doesn’t focus on the cancer (it really doesn’t, and yes, I know everyone says that, but it’s true) nor does it sink (early on) into some black hole of depression. For that, I applaud.
The second half is different. Why exactly I don’t know… it just is. There is a more vivid realization of what is happening behind the wit to the characters – both physically and mentally and it is perhaps more angst-y than its previous story points had been. The journey these two go on is unique and because of that, I’m finding it difficult to find much more to talk about. Hazel and Gus are their own brand of unique and I do love that about them. They had a special kind of relationship, something often more superficial in the YA genre, which is probably why this will be a book I’ll remember reading for a long time – not only is the wit fantastic, the book has a very good kind of quirky quality that separates it from the norm. Will I reread it? Honestly, I don’t know. It’s one I’ll keep around for a while (it looks pretty on my shelf, after all *wink*), but as to if it’ll be one of those forever favorites, I doubt that. There is admiration for the story and certainly, it’s not hard to fall head over heels for Hazel Grace Lancaster or Augustus Watters – they are two of the best characters I’ve had the pleasure of meeting, and that will stick with me for a long time.
Note: This is secular fiction so there is some profanity, and a non-descriptive but clear indication that two teens have slept together – there is also some crude references to anatomy (mainly in regards medical terms, though it is used as a “joke”) as well as conversations about being a virgin.
Synopsis: Despite the tumor-shrinking medical miracle that has bought her a few years, Hazel has never been anything but terminal, her final chapter inscribed upon diagnosis. But when a gorgeous plot twist named Augustus Waters suddenly appears at Cancer Kid Support Group, Hazel’s story is about to be completely rewritten. – Goodreads