Hazel has lived with her cancer since middle school, and because her tumors were in her lungs, now she has to have an oxygen tank with her at all times. She doesn’t really see the point of doing anything anymore, she knows that she is going to die within the next few years. Why should she become attached to new people and try to work through the pain to live a semi-normal life?
When she goes to her weekly support group meeting, she meets Augustus Waters. He is a boy who lost a leg due to his cancer, and he views life in a very unique way. For example, he puts cigarettes between his teeth so that he looks cool, but he never lights them so that they won’t kill him. Hazel quickly finds herself falling for this boy, who is giving her a new point of view on life.
I read this book several years ago when I was about 13-14, and I enjoyed it. However, to write a review on here I knew that I had to read it again. This reread truly gave me a better appreciation for the book.
For one, this book always makes me think about what quality of life truly is. When people battle cancer and “win”, I used to think that they would simply be fine from that point forward. I did not realize how painful fighting cancer could be, nor did I realize that there were many side effects even after chemotherapy has ended. Sometimes I got irritated with the characters in this book for wanting Hazel to be happy and act “normal” because she was in pain almost constantly.
Secondly, when I first read this book, I only focused on the love story. However, this time the story of Peter Van Houten really caught my ee. I wish that I could find out more about him after the story ended, but I won’t reveal anything for those who don’t want spoilers.
Lastly, my favorite part of this book was also seeing Isaac progress. Even though he went through one of the biggest changes in the book, I enjoyed seeing how he dealt with it and how Gus and Hazel also worked with and tried to help him.
Overall, reading this book a second time really opened my eyes to things I had missed the first time around. I recommend this book to all teens, because not only is it a beautiful love story, but it also discusses details that people tend to forget when seeing the happy cancer survivor commercials on TV.
Overall Rating: 5/5