Lots of hype about this, so I thought I’d give it a go…
Genre Fiction (Contemporary)
Tuesday 24th June – Thursday 26th June (3 days)
2 mornings, 1 evenings, 1 night.
This book has been in the spotlight a lot recently due to the film being released, and I thought I would give it a go. I wanted something to download to my iPad for my holiday in Spain, and this came up on offer, so I thought I’d try it.
There has been a lot of hype about this, but I tried to go into this with an open mind… and I was pleasantly surprised. It was a well written book, with very likeable characters, both the two main characters are easy to relate to, funny and interesting. It was easy to pick up and get into, and difficult to put down. And it made me cry.
The story (in case you didn’t know…) follows Hazel Grace who is terminally ill with cancer. Her mother wants her to go to a cancer support group, which she does begrudgingly, but whilst there, she meets Augustus, who is in remission, through a friend of hers – Isaac. The book follows their love story… and I don’t really want to say more without spoiling it… so, if you haven’t read it and don’t want to know what happens, stop reading this review now…
Hazel is reluctant to fall in love with Augustus as she doesn’t think it’s fair to leave people behind when she dies, comparing herself to a grenade. She already feels guilty about her parents and how they will cope after her death, and doesn’t feel it’s fair to Augustus for them to have a relationship.
Her favourite book is about a young girl who dies from cancer, and the twist of this book is that it ends abruptly when she dies, and you never find out what happens to the other characters. Gus manages to organise a trip to Amsterdam for him, Hazel and her mother (throughout a “Make a Wish’ style charity) to meet the author and find out what happens to the characters left behind in the book, and over the course of the trip, Hazel and Gus fall in love, she is insulted and offended by the alcoholic author (who also doesn’t tell them what happens to the characters) and finds out that Gus’s cancer is back and that he too is now terminal.
The book follows both Gus and Hazel learning from each other – Hazel realising that it is not a bad thing that people will be left behind and sad when she dies, and Gus realising that he doesn’t have to do something huge or leave this big mark on the world to have made a difference. The end sees Gus dying, and her being surprised to see the author at his funeral. He has a eulogy written by Gus for Hazel, where he says that we all get hurt, and that we can’t help that, but we can choose who we allow to hurt us, and that he is happy he chose Hazel, and hopes she is happy to have chosen him.
The book is very sad, obviously. It’s an interesting read, as it is written from the perspective of a cancer sufferer and it doesn’t hold back. I cried a lot, there is illness, amputation, blindness and death in this book, both characters have terminal cancer and there is no miracle cure, or happy ever after. However there is hope and love and that makes the book an uplifting read, even if it is very sad.
The only thing I would say I did not enjoy about the book was the Amsterdam part and the author… the Amsterdam bits seemed a little cheesy, and out of place, and whilst I understand the role of the author and his outburst, it just didn’t feel quite right. However, don’t let this put you off, it’s a really good read. I will be reading more of John Green’s work… and possibly watching the film…
Next book: A Storm of Swords 1: Steel & Snow by George R. R. Martin