23 February 2014

A Beautiful Read

Published: January 10, 2012
Dutton Books
Kindle Edition
337 pages
Stand Alone
YA Contemporary Fiction

The Fault In Our Stars - John Green

Diagnosed with Stage IV thyroid cancer at 13, Hazel was prepared to die until, at 14, a medical miracle shrunk the tumours in her lungs... for now. 
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.

Synopsis taken from Goodreads

It took me a little under 12 hours to read this book. Possibly the only productive day in my week off. I couldn't put the book down.

Beware, there are a lot of spoilers and I've taken quotes directly from the book. 

If I could describe the whole story in a word I would use "bittersweet". Constantly I found myself laughing at the jokes and banter between Hazel and her family and Augustus, only a page later to be suckerpunched by a depressing thought or event. It made me feel terribly guilty for laughing.
Just like, when Augustus takes her to the park for a Dutch picnic and it's so sweet, and then later on that day she almost dies of lack of oxygen.
The biggest example is from Gus's last good day before the Last Good Day. I laughed so much during this back and forth, and then I turned the page.
“I can only hope,” Julie said, turning back to Gus, “they grow into the kind of thoughtful, intelligent young men you've become.”
I resisted the urge to audibly gag. “He’s not that smart,” I said to Julie.
“She’s right. It’s just that most really good-looking people are stupid, so I exceed expectations.”
“Right, it’s primarily his hotness,” I said.
“It can be sort of blinding,” he said.
“It actually did blind our friend Isaac,” I said.
“Terrible tragedy, that. But can I help my own deadly beauty?”
“You cannot.”
“It is my burden, this beautiful face.”
“Not to mention your body.”
“Seriously, don’t even get me started on my hot bod. You don’t want to see me naked, Dave. Seeing me naked actually took Hazel Grace’s breath away,” he said, nodding toward the oxygen tank.
“Okay, enough,” Gus’s dad said, and then out of nowhere, his dad put an arm around me and kissed the side of my head and whispered, “I thank God for you every day, kid.”

Anyway, that was the last good day I had with Gus until the Last Good Day.

(Kindle Locations 2510-2520). Dutton Juvenile. Kindle Edition. 
Floods of tears.
Obviously not quite so bad as this.
My dad grabbed me just above the knee and cut me a disapproving look, but from the row behind me, someone muttered almost inaudibly near my ear, “What a load of horse crap, eh, kid?” I spun around. Peter Van Houten wore a white linen suit, tailored to account for his rotundity, a powder-blue dress shirt, and a green tie.
(Kindle Locations 2692-2695)
For demonstration reasons, I crossed out the rest of the sentence. That is literally as far as I got. I had to stop and just. Be. for a minute. Again, floods of tears. I just wasn't expecting it. Or the resulting correspondence between Van Houten and Hazel.

There is so much I want to gush about with this book, I am just so glad I read it.
Hazel is such an inspiring character - despite being so sick, she's always more worried about the people around her and how her illness affects them. Her parents, her friends, her boyfriend.. She's just a selfless being. I know she's not real, but.. You know when you just get completely sucked in? At some points, I was sitting on the sofa right next to them.
It's given me a new lease of life, in a way. Given me a kick up the butt so I actually do something with my life, which will be long and healthy, instead of just feeling sorry for myself!


There was a point where I thought, "oh, this isn't a book about Hazel, it's about Augustus", but it's not. It's about them and their own private togetherness. Their little infinity. And I thought, after he died, why does the story continue? But I realised their story doesn't finish until she finds the eulogy.
And it is the most perfect ending for this book.
I really need to read more stuff by John Green.

So, after finishing the book I decided to watch the trailer for the film again, and so much more of it made sense. Honestly, I'm so excited.
Only a couple more months.


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