Friday, February 3, 2012
Full disclosure: I read this book twice back-to-back, then a third time just reading the parts I liked the best. All in one weekend. I know this is not normal behavior, it's just, I dunno, this book struck a deep chord in me and I wasn't ready to move on once I finished it.
Hazel is a 16 year old girl with cancer. She is so busy Having Cancer that she has dropped out of most normal activities. She has friends, but they still attend school and have mostly moved on with their lives. To appease her mother, she joins a kids with cancer support group... where she meets hottie Augustus. They instantly bond over their shared world view, wit, and love of a book written by a Dutch hermit.
But wait! This isn't a lame "cancer book." Cancer is an important vehicle for the story, but what really makes this book so good is the character development of Hazel and Gus, and the dialog between them. It's a love story, I won't deny it. But it seems these days that love stories have been diluted down to either "You're my personal brand of heroin"and "The lion lays down with the lamb" (anyone know which book those quotes are from?), erotica, or schmaltzy romance. This is a story that chronicles the falling-in-love part. There is one scene where Augustus says something so beautiful to Hazel, I literally cried.
Is the dialog a true representation of how teens speak? Not really. It is a realistic story? Nah. Is it beautifully written with compelling characters, and laugh-out-loud moments that balance out the sad stuff? Totally. Do yourself a favor and give it a chance.