Okay, so don’t hate me for this review. Because while I found the book amusing and touching and whatever, I’m not joining the ranks of its raving fan club, nor did it make me get over my John Green prejudice like I hoped it would.
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.
I think the number one thing I appreciated about this book was its humor. Hazel is a funny girl--realistic and self-deprecating, and just generally hilarious. And I think the humor was really important in this book to keep it from becoming a totally sappy cancer story. And it was well-written too. I’ll admit there were quite a few quotes that I underlined, and there were some really great observations about life in there.
I liked all the characters too. As I said, Hazel is great, and she takes what’s a really crappy situation and handles it with maturity and grace. Augustus is a lot of fun to read. He’s funny but pretty dang pretentious--but it’s an intentional pretentiousness that I can forgive him for. Hazel’s parents deserve a best-parents medal or something. They seriously were champs. It’s gotta suck majorly to have a daughter with cancer, but they deal with it and deal with it well.
So yes, there are plenty of things I admire about this book. But it never quite won me over. I guess I thought it was way too predictable and pretty cliché. Especially since it kept saying that Hazel and Augustus’s story was different than the cliché, but . . . it wasn’t really. I was hoping it would be so much more than it was, so I was let down by what it turned out to be. Which is kinda my own fault, but whatever. Plus, everyone kept talking about how it made them cry, but I really don’t know why--I didn’t find it that depressing or touching or whatever it was that made everyone tear up. Maybe I’m just heartless, I don’t know.
Overall, while I think there are some things that the book does really well, I thought it turned out to be too much of a cancer-story cliché. Plus, I’m not John Green’s biggest fan, so it had that working against it as well. I would still recommend it to people, though, because I think I’m just disappointed that I didn’t find it as awesome and moving as everyone else seemed to.