This book. Just, wow. I rarely have trouble finding words, but I’m at a loss right now so I apologize in advance for what is sure to be a rambling review.
My head hurts. My heart hurts. All because of this book. No, that’s not accurate. All because of Hazel and Augustus, the main characters in this book. Sixteen and 17 years old, respectively, they meet at a cancer kids’ support group, both of them with terminal cancer. Clearly more advanced mentally than their peers, they form an immediate, deep, beautiful, real, lasting, and true connection that develops into love. Real love, “not puppy love” as Gus’s mom admits.
I think I can safely speak for Hazel when I say that when two young adults talk and feel and emote like wise (if a bit jaded) adults, it is a side effect of cancer. These kids (who refuse to call themselves cancer victims) mock their own disabilities in a way that someone without a disability can appreciate, but not truly understand. They talk in abstracts in one minute, and then about their eventual and impending deaths the next. (Example, Hazel’s mom says “If you die….” and Hazel quickly corrects her, simply stating “When.”) To say that this book is a roller coaster of emotions is an understatement.
I read all 313 pages in less than 24 hours. Yes, its a YA book, but there are no vampires or zombies or werewolves. There is a love story, a death story, an alcoholic; there are realized dreams and crushed dreams; there is an ending. The ending was….perfect.
Bottom line: You, whomever you are, need to read this book.