I am at complete loss of words in regards to this review. This is one of those books that I picked up because all of my friends thought I was completely insane for not reading it. In truth, I didn’t want to read it because I knew that I would bawl and I was completely unprepared to bawl. I’m the avid reader out of all my friends and all of the non-readers read it so many nerdy reader friends ganged up on me and threatened to burn my books if I didn’t read it. Naturally, I relented because my books are my babies and burning them would be like ripping out my soul. Not really, but you get what I mean. Am I beyond happy that I read this book? Definitely. And I plan on checking out numerous other stories by John Green, but am I so worried about writing a cohesive review that I’m babbling to distract you from the fact that I’m still tearing up thinking about this amazing literature masterpiece? A thousand times, yes. So forgive me if this review does not reach my normal standards. It’s hard to review a book that leaves you speechless because there truly are no words to describe the feelings and emotions that it instilled in you. To begin, John Green has perfected the art of unique characterisation and connectivity. I had no problem connecting with Augustus or Hazel which I believe is why this was probably one of the most rickety emotional roller coaster rides I’ve been on in awhile. Hazel has this really caustic, dry sense of humour that I tend to greatly enjoy in characters. However, hers was made all the more interesting because it was exhibited in such a unique and dire situation. She made a serious and overwhelmingly emotional tale full of surprising laughter and occasional smiles. At least, that was the first two thirds of the book because the last third was a killer.
Augustus Waters deserves his own praise. My favourite aspect of young adult leading men are flaws. I love the flawed ones because they’re real, they’re not these perfect men that are unattainable in reality. They’re doubly perfect because of their flaws. Somewhere in the world, such a person could exits and walk amongst us. It’s characters like this that make reading worth while, and in my opinion, Augustus Waters is one these characters. Once a star basketball player, he had to get a limb amputated from cancer. In remission, he lived a life of metaphors with a big heart under his overly-confident exterior. Despite his ability to be highly romantic, the boy in him shines through his love of zombie video games and novels, but this also gives way to his obsession with helping others and going out as a saviour instead of a victim. I have unlimited respect for this boy who always put others before himself. The boy who put a cigarette between his lips signifying the ability to kill, but refusing to light it to show that he has the heart to beat it. This boy is perfect because of his complexity and uniqueness. It’s funny to think that when I first met him in the story, i couldn’t pinpoint if he was an arrogant character who was all too aware of his good looks, or if he was putting up a front. It was neither, he’s a boy with unbelievable depth who just so happens to be aware of the fact that he is gorgeous (both inside and out). I would read the book just for him. This guy is full of so much love and the romance in this one is real. It’s not a silly little teenage love story – this one deserves to have a place in the real world. This is one of the first love interests in a while which to me seems human.
The perfect romance. This book has a very serious undercurrent because it is a cancer story. I know alot of people claim it isn’t. My friends did, but this truly is one. It’s just different than the usual cancer story because John Green was brutally honest. We get the whole shebang – the worry about the family once their gone, the journey to death, accepting ones fate, low points where the pain is so immense that they want to die, and the acknowledgement of “cancer perks”. This book is real, and that’s what makes it all the more heartbreaking. Green’s amazing writing skills easily allows us to be caught up in Augustus and Hazel’s relationship, their easy banter and worry in the two-thirds of the book, that when things get real, you almost forget that you’re reading a cancer story. Almost being the key word. It quickly becomes abundantly clear that the story you predicted from page one has been lurking beneath the surface and it will all eventually come to light through a flood of tears, a barrage of tissues, and an infinite numbers of pleas for change alongside several of the characters. It’s hard to make me cry, and this book has tearing me up just thinking about it.
With that in thought, I want to caution you, that if you have a family member with cancer, I wouldn’t recommend this story. It’s heartbreaking to those of us who are fortunate enough not to go through such struggles ourselves. It’ll be so much more intense for you.
This is not the story for those for those looking for a happy-go-lucky story. At times it may seem that way, but it is so much more. The tears and torment are so worth it because the tale is so perfectly woven. I know, many people feel cheated by the ending of the story because the beginning of the book was so happy, especially for a cancer story, but again, this is a cancer story. I truly think that John Green managed this one. Green has easily proven himself as a literally genius.