Everyone knows what this one’s about since I was too chicken to bring myself to read it for months. It’s about Hazel who is living with stage 4 thyroid cancer, is on oxygen and is just trying to live her life like anyone else She meets Augustus at a cancer support group her mother forces her into attending. He is in remission from the cancer that claimed his limb and is attending group to support his buddy Isaac . Augustus is charming and beautiful and he invites Hazel to hang out with him. She does the smart thing and agrees. They have a lot in common besides cancer and begin a doomed but beautiful romance. But the book, of course, is so much more than a young adult romance.
I’m giving this one a 4 and 1/2 because I felt that some of the conversations didn’t feel “real”. They seemed super thought out and I could feel the author putting these words in their mouths and it pulled me out of their world here and there. I know several brilliant teens and they do not speak this way. And no they are not dying from cancer (thank God) but I don’t believe that would change their essential way of relating to one another. They may write this way on Tumbler but their exchanges in real life are never as lyrical and thoughtful and insightful as those between Augustus and Hazel Grace. That’s my only complaint and it’s really a minor one. This book is as heartbreaking as all of the reviews promise. How could it not be? It’s a book about kids living with cancer AND their parents are present (what a novelty in YA) adding another level of heartache to so many scenes. I knew it couldn’t possibly end leaving me all warm and fuzzy because it is not that kind of book but it’s also funny and smart with some gorgeous prose. I’m glad I finally broke down and listened to it but I’m never going to do it again. My heart couldn’t take it.
Narration Notes: Kate Rudd narrates all of the characters in this novel. Her voice is youthful and full life and she does a wonderful job with Hazel as well Gus and their parents. . The only fail for me was her narration of Hazel’s friend Candace who puts on a false British accident (in the book) that the narrator didn’t translate very well. Candace just sounded like a dotty, snotty old biddy. Fortunately Candace has such a miniscule role in the book that it’s hardly worth mentioning and real nitpickery. But that’s what I do.