Despite the tumor-shrinking medical miracle that has bought her a few years, Hazel has never been anything but terminal, her final chapter inscribed upon diagnosis. But when a gorgeous plot twist named Augustus Waters suddenly appears at Cancer Kid Support Group, Hazel's story is about to be completely rewritten.
Comment: When some friends first start reading this book and claiming it was very good I believed them but the fact it was with teenagers as protagonists immediately put me off and I decided I didn't want to read this, even more so because it was said to be sad and would make me cry. I don't avoid books that make me cry but I do so with YA reads which aren't, nowadays, something I have much interest in. However, this ended up being chosen by a book club and although I didn't pick it, I had voted for the poll and thought it was only fair I gave it a shot.
This book is about young Hazel, a girl who survived cancer but it isn't cured and she knows her days are probably numbered. She's in a support group for cancer patients and survivors. There she meets Augustus Waters, a young guy who will become very important to her and who will share many things they didn't think possible for two people like them, who had such a battle and who are never completely free of it.
This book features two main characters who go on a journey, not only a physical one, but a psyological one to fight and deal with the experience of living with cancer. I didn't give this 5 stars because at some point it was obvious something bad was going to happen and despite being very emotional - yes, I've cried - I wasn't as surprised as that. But I was still sad over the hows and the whys because it must be like this in real life for so many people and their families...
One of the things that made me more thoughtful about this novel was how the parents dealt with things and the impact it had in their lives, their feelings. This subject was very subtle, not the main point here, but I couldn't help but focus on that, not because I am a parent - I'm not - but because I hav parents and if something this awful happened to me I just couldn't begin to imagine how they would feel. Hazel's mother says at some point how she would stop being a mother someday. This really made me think. Things aren't easy for people dealing with this disease but the impact it must have on those involved...I couldn't even imagine.
Hazel and Augustus share many experiences while together. They like the same books and reread them a lot. One of them is even by a reclusive author and they turn meeting them and asking things about it as their life goal. It's an interesting metaphor for the search we have for explanations in our lives and how we feel some things must have a conclusion and how important it must be to find closure. I thin this was very well done and made possible for many plot lines to be tidied as well.
Hazel and Augustus have an interesting take on their lives, they are still humorous people even when knowing things aren't that famous. I liked their characters and personalities and how they dealt with things, not too serious, but not without some strength or knowledge. It was very emotional for sure.
All in all, this was a good book, full of interesting elements, ideas, thoughts. I enjoyed the reading and the emotional part a lot. This plays with the readers feelings and ability to put themselves in any of the places where the characters were and it's not easy. I think this was a book well researched - the author has worked in the cancer wing in a clinic I think - and the experience was well evidenced. This is a book not about teenagers, not about cancer, it's about the unfairness of a disease and the way one choses to fight it and how strong one needs to be to deal with it, live with it and think about those who don't make it. It sure made me think.