Hazel’s mum thinks she is depressed. She is almost seventeen. She hardly eats anything. She sleeps a lot. She keeps reading the same book, over and over. Oh yeah, and she has cancer. Then Hazel meets Augustus.
At her parent’s suggestion, Hazel attends a Kids with Cancer support group. Here she meets, Isaac, a boy with eye cancer, Patrick, the preachy group counsellor, and Augustus. To say much more about this book would be to spoil the treasures within – take my word for it, it is full of treasures. The relationship that develops between Hazel and Augustus (Gus) is real. It has prickles and softness, happiness and sadness, triumph and tragedy. In this novel, John Green has captured a brilliant, brittle, sparkling moment in the lives of his protagonists and we are swept along and buoyed by its depth and poignancy. Everyone, from Hazel’s loving but flawed parents, to Peter Van Houten, the boorish, drunken author of Hazel’s favourite book, is drawn from a place of truth. Gus is a hero any girl would fall for – intelligent, funny and pensive; and Hazel is a feisty, independent and fragile heroine. I could not put it down for 2 days, and when I did I felt better for having known them both. In years to come, I think this will be hailed as a young adult classic, but it is so much more than that. It is a book about living and dying, about how the living approach dying and the dying approach living. I could write for hours about it, so you had better just go ahead and read it.
For ages 13 to 103.