Sixteen year-old Hazel Grace Lancaster is forced by her parents to attend a support group for children living with cancer. Hazel was diagnosed with Stage 4 Thyroid cancer when she was 13 (three months after her first period). At support group she meets Augustus “Gus” Waters, a former basketball star who lost his right leg to osteosarcoma, and upon her first words to him he clearly becomes infatuated. Hazel convinces Augustus to read ‘An Imperial Affliction’, her favorite book, and he becomes almost as obsessed with it as she is. Beginning on their first meeting, they both begin their freeing journey to loving each other and themselves.
Like Looking for Alaska, John Green proves that he can write incredible life stories, both happy and awfully tragic. Just a warning: This book is a bazillion times more likely to make you cry than Looking for Alaska. You’ll also love and loath the characters as if they are actual people. You’ll laugh with them, scream with them, and-of course-sob uncontrollably with them. John tells an incredibly raw, powerfully real, and extremely heartfelt story about love, life, and facing anything that scares you, even death. I like to imagine that I would be as strong as Hazel in her situations but I know that it is very unlikely that a normal person could be so strong and so weak and still keep going. I believe that people with a serious illness are some of the bravest humans there are, anyway. I simply cannot imagine living this. During this book, you’ll laugh, swoon, cry, insert-intense-emotional-action-here all in the same chapter. It made me feel severely bipolar, but at the same time I loved it. I would recommend this book to anyone, whether they need to reconsider how truly blessed they are or they just want an awe-inspiring read. It will definitely make you think about how you affect the world, what mark you’ll leave on it when you leave, and what you’d do if you lost the one you dearly loved. Just make sure you’ve got a box of tissues and that you won’t have to go anywhere after you read it because you’ll be ugly and splotchy, and look like death from crying (this is what I learned from my experience). Cry. Be merry. Learn about life. But most of all, enjoy it.