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Goodreads- 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.
****This review contains some spoilerish comments*****
It's hard to review a book that is already being made into a movie. That has over 7,000 reviews on Amazon alone. So I'll tell it to you differently. I have avoided reading this book for almost a year. I was one of the first to get it of course. It was John Green. Nerdfighter. DFTBA. One half of the Vlogbrothers. Hank Green's bro. And it was signed?? (How did Amazon do that??) So of course mine was preordered. I have every one of his novels. But this was a cancer book. I tackle mental illness with no problems. I know that subject. But cancer, that is scary. There is no pill or therapy that can make it bearable. And it scares the shit out of me. So for one entire year I have avoided The Fault in Our Stars.
But it's time to stop avoiding things that scare me, especially books out of my comfort zone. That's the first place to start. I won't lie, right now I am on some heavy anti-depressants and making me cry is difficult. But looking at the clock, I have been sniveling and wiping my eyes for the last hour and a half. I had my doubts. I was well into the book, two thirds in until I first started quivering. But you don't start caring about Augustus Waters and Hazel Grace and Isaac at the end when you're crying. For me it started slowly. Hazel has a very quirky sense of humor. It's not for everyone, but matched with Augustus it just clicked. There is no way I couldn't have loved Augustus Waters. I am always most interested in personality and his is quite bright on the page. Hazel is curmudgeonly compared to him. His reasoning is so brilliant it was almost difficult to follow. Metaphors, everything was a metaphor. And he spoke from the heart, so deeply. Hazel was a goner the minute Augustus met her eyes. She resisted, but the things he said and did, the guy gave her his Wish. I'm half in love with Gus.
John Green made me cry. I didn't sob and wail. It was a quiet, resigned, cry. I was well aware that someone would die and I was pretty sure I knew who through the whisperings on other blogs. It did not diminish the impact of the loss. But the death, the loss, instead of being loud and a huge fanfare like a war, was quiet and dignified, as much as it can be when a teenager struggles to breathe and falls into restless unconsciousness until death finally takes him. It was a surrender. And the families, friends, Hazel all grieved quietly. It was no less devastating. It had no less of an impact on me. Silent tears hurt almost more than loud wailing ones. It feels a bit like they are stuck with you longer. The loud loss, the loud wails of death are soon forgotten. It's the quiet, silent tears and sorrow that remains. That's why I think this book will remain in my mind for quite some time. There will be passages that I'll remember that will float through my mind. Images I formed as I read of what Amsterdam looked like as Augustus and Hazel ate at Oranjee. This isn't a book that I'll soon forget. Augustus and Hazel will remain with me.
I am no longer afraid to read cancer books. I survived my first one. What a chicken shit I've been. Families are actually living through this every day and I am too scared to read about it. There really is no excuse for that. I'm sorry for that. I won't let the topic of a book scare me away again because I am afraid to feel it or cry.
So, yes, John Green remains on the Special, Special shelf with a very few authors. I recommend this novel to everyone, not just YA lovers. It is emotional so don't give it to a child that is too young to handle death and off the page sex. My 13 year old read it before me and loved it. He wanted to spoil it for me, but I wouldn't let him. Now we can discuss it. So don't let the cancer scare you away.
and don't forget to be awesome (DFTBA)
If you'd like to find John Green on the Web-