This very popular book and soon-to-be movie made me curious. About half of my friends had read it and pretty much all of them liked it. When I asked friends about it, no one could give me a straight answer as to what it was about. So I left it alone, until I saw the movie trailer. After that, I figured it was just another teen romance story, but with cancer kids.
I was wrong.
I knew I was going to see the movie when it came out so I was putting off reading it until after that. (Not to mention I’d just bought 50 books at a new bookstore and I wanted to read all of those while having 3 weeks to edit my book before the OYAN SW.) But… Last Saturday, after seeing 20 commercials for it, having a bad day, and not feeling like I could sleep, I decided to read it. I found the book and sat in my room. I started at about 10:30pm and finished the next day about 7:45pm. All together, minus sleep and snack breaks it took me about 12 hours, the fastest I’d read a book in a long time.
Before I read it this is what I thought it would be:
1. A teenage romance filled with angst and other cliches
2. Lots of ‘questionable content’
3. Characters who weren’t very relatable
This is what I thought after:
1. A well written book about real life and real love
2. Hardly any ‘questionable content’ and the one scene there was cut away very well.
3. Extremely relatable characters even though they had cancer
Needless to say, when I started reading it, I wasn’t expecting much. But after reading it, I’ll definitely be buying my own copying next time I’m at the bookstore.
The story starts with the main character Hazel, who is narrating. The writing style John Green used took me a little while to get used to, but after that I loved it. It’s unique. He mixed real life places and events into the book which made it more real.
Hazel has a great story telling voice and all of her sarcastic comments and thoughts are similar to what I think after those kinds of situations.
Augustus, or Gus, is another relatable character. He’s witty, funny, serious, etc. Both of them are so real that you’d swear they weren’t fictional characters.
As for the ‘questionable content’, and I don’t mean cussing… There is one small scene in the beginning of the book and then another later(different kinds of questionable, in case you’re wondering). The second one, which is usually the one everyone talks about was written in such a way that it did feel real, but John Green cut it to where he left almost all of it out. (I’m really hoping the movie does the same.)
If you haven’t read the book, beware. There will be spoilers after this, but nothing more than what you can guess from the commercial.
I’ll start with how Augustus and Hazel were relatable. Aside from their personalities, they’re lives, their decisions, and even the way they both spoke and dressed felt real. A lot of how I think was how Hazel thought and Augustus was a lot like one of my best friends. So for me, it was almost like reading about people who would be my friends if they were real. The side characters had a lot of personality to them as well. Issac, Hazel’s parents, Augustus’ parents, all of them. Even down to Patrick with his almost comedic leading of the support group.
Hazel and Augustus made decisions which effected them both for the better and for the worse, but I can see a real teenager making those same decisions. We don’t always think about what will happen after we do something, until it’s done. That’s something I really appreciated about this book.
I also loved the sub plot with An Imperial Imperfection and all of the quotes from it. They make you think in a way that most books don’t. Well, it doesn’t make you, but it encourages you and it makes some good points. (I.e. The world is not a wish-granting factory.) The book is filled with metaphors, too, and Augustus is there to explain them to us. The metaphors are about everything. Love, life, nostalgia, people, etc. and they all make sense.
Now, the final thing. This book is so full of emotions. And when I say that, I mean it. If you’ve read it, you know. John Green writes about this real fiction couple and then right after you fall in love with them, sends one of them on a downhill. A downhill that leads to death and you get to experience all of it.
In short, this book is emotional, witty, funny, real, and it puts you on a roller coaster that only goes up. So, do me a favor and go read it. Okay? Okay.
(P.S. Let’s all hope the movie does the book justice. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AuVjGbncgQE )