Two years post-miracle, sixteen-year-old Hazel is post-everything else, too; post-high school, post-friends and post-normalcy. And even though she could live for a long time (whatever that means), Hazel lives tethered to an oxygen tank, the tumours tenuously kept at bay with a constant chemical assault.
Enter Augustus Waters. A match made at cancer kid support group, Augustus is gorgeous, in remission, and shockingly to her, interested in Hazel. Being with Augustus is both an unexpected destination and a long-needed journey, pushing Hazel to re-examine how sickness and health, life and death, will define her and the legacy that everyone leaves behind.
Okay, deep breath. This is a hard one to write about.
Normally, if a book makes me cry, I know that it was a good book. I mean, it takes a lot to get me there so if I’m wrapped up in the story enough and I care about the characters enough to shed a tear than I generally know it’s a keeper. But this one’s a little different. You kind of go into a book about kids with cancer prepared to cry, so it becomes less of a form of measurement. Illness is sad. Young people dying is sad. But the thing about this book is, it made me cry more over their moments of life, and that’s why I knew I liked it.
I loved the characters.
I know people have said that Hazel and Augustus sound nothing like actual teenagers do, and I can understand that, but I disagree. I really connected with each of them and the way they viewed the world. There was something so real and relatable about the way Hazel describes things. Not just things to do with cancer, but with life in general.
Reading this book felt like getting to peak in at a slice of someone’s life. Once I got to a certain point I forgot I was even reading, forgot there was an author who was not Hazel, forgot these were not real people. It’s hard to write about a sad book in a way that is not overly mushy or builds it up to be something it’s not, but I can’t help but want to try. It was this review that made me decide to read the book, and I think it sums up my feelings better than this rambling is managing to do. This one too.
This book is sad, yes. It is also funny, engaging, descriptive and very romantic. In the end I was so wrapped up in it that I was caught of guard by my sadness, just as I am with any book I love.