I’ve heard good things about this book, but have been reluctant to read it because I knew it was about a kid dying of cancer. I’m still a bit sensitive to a plot revolving around dying of cancer, having been diagnosed with breast cancer four years ago. However, I convinced Mr. Curiosity to read it (after he loved Eleanor and Park). As soon as he finished, he plopped the book in my lap and told me he’d found my next book. I try to respect his suggestions and read it on his recommendation.
Genre: YA fiction
Length: 313 pages
Setting: generic U.S. city, present day
Summary: Hazel is a teenager with Stage 4 cancer. She’s on a new drug that has stabilized her cancer, although her lungs aren’t the most functional anymore. She meets Augustus at an otherwise dreadful support group for kids with cancer. Augustus and Hazel immediately hit it off and start seeing each other. They bond over the book An Imperial Affliction. In fact, Augustus uses his Wish from the Genie Foundation (I guess Green couldn’t use the Make-A-Wish Foundation’s name?) to take Hazel with him to Amsterdam to meet the author. While on the trip, Hazel finds out Augustus’ cancer has returned and he’s terminal. Hazel was unwilling to get into a relationship with Augustus because she was afraid how much he’d hurt when she died, and he died first.
Final thoughts: This book deserves all the accolades it’s won. It really was a great book about relationships (both friendly and loving), even though the end was so sad. Reading the book, I’m continually preparing myself for Hazel to die, and the Augustus is the one who dies. He was always full of so much life and irreverent humor, which is why he was drawn to Hazel since she had that same vein of humor. Augustus’ death is wrenching for Hazel (and therefore the reader), and Green doesn’t sugarcoat the decline in the last bit of life. This is definitely a YA and not a middle grade book because of the emotional content. At least Hazel and Augustus had good times together, and a special trip to Amsterdam.
Title comes from: A Shakespeare quote mentioned in the book
Reading challenges fulfilled: book #35 for the year
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