BlogHer Book Club will be reading this title in March, I wasn't selected as a reviewer. I decided to review the book, which I bought myself, anyway.
I heard an interview with John Green, the author of The Fault in Our Stars
, on NPR. The phrase that hooked me and made me want to read this book was "The truth is that teenagers are teenagers, whether they're sick or well." I had to read this book after that, a love story between two "star-crossed" lovers who have cancer. The book manages to escape all of the traps of a "cancer book," including the fear that keeps many people from picking up a book like this, the idea that it will just be depressing. I found it surprisingly hopeful, even as I was crying my eyes out.
The title of the book comes from a Shakespeare quote. Hazel, the narrator, is a literary and shy sixteen-year-old who has terminal thyroid cancer that has spread to her lungs. She is on a fictional cancer drug that has bought her some extra time even though it cannot save her life. Hazel meets Augustus, a "hot" fellow cancer patient with a razor-sharp sense of humor and an age-appropriately grandiose sense of self.
I love how the kids in this book are kids. They aren't falsely heroic and they don't want to be "inspirational." Unlike most of us, they are acutely aware of their mortality and search for meaning in the face of it, while also indulging in a bit of dark humor about "cancer perks" and their incredible tolerance for drugs.
I love this book so much that I want to erase it from my memory so I can read it again for the first time. Short of that, I want to encourage every other person I know to read it. The book is available in hardcover, paperback, and Kindle formats, but I listened to it as an audiobook, which I think added a lot to my experience. The voice of narrator Kate Rudd perfectly evokes a smart, scared girl falling in love.
I am guessing this will be made into a movie. In the meantime, here is a great little trailer to tease your interest.