The Fault in our Stars – John Green
This book is about cancer and love and living with death and also love again. It´s a beautiful book but it is also (for reasons explained) a very sad book.
Hazel was diagnosed with Stage IV thyroid cancer when she was 13 and was prepared to die. A medical miracle shrunk the tumours in her lungs and she survived. For now. For two years she has been living a sort of an in between life. In between dying of cancer and being well. Everything she did before she got sick she no longer does; go to school, socialize, being normal. She is tethered to an oxygen tank who help her breath and the tumours are held at bay by chemicals. Hazel is determined to make as little “noice” living as possible, she is content living quietly with as little distruption as possible. Hazel has a dry wit about her, guilty pleasure in Americas Next Top Model and loves to read.
Augustus Waters had cancer, lost his leg and is now in remission. Augustus is the opposite of Hazel; he wants to be remembered! He wants to make noice. He is also charismatic, caring and loveable. He is obsessed with metaphors and extremely determined. And he loves Hazel.
The two of them meet at a support group for kids with cancer. Their relationship is sweet and awkward and beautiful. A large part of the story revolves around Hazel´s-turned-Augustus´s favorite book and their almost desperate need to learn what happens to the characters after the book is finished. This need takes them to Amsterdam and the recluse author Peter Van Houten.
Despite some humour this is a heavy book and like so many others who have read it, I cried. I cried because it was so very sad. But John Greens real accomplishment is writing such a sad story and still making it warm and lovely and endearing. And that is a large part in what made is so very sad; you feel like you know these characters. You come to love the characters. These characters who, as Hazel would put it, don´t fall into the trap of becoming the clichéd “kids with cancer” characters who are heroic, wise and selfless. They are kids who are normal kids but also not at all normal because they have cancer this balancing act is done greatly by the masterful John Green.
I recommend you read this beautiful book with a box of tissues beside you and after your done donate what you can spare to the cancer foundation.