After hearing rave reviews of John Green’s The Fault in Our Stars all year, I finally got a chance to read it myself, just before the end of the year. A young friend of mine lent it to me after I squealed in delight seeing her reading it! It was just as wonderful as everyone said it was and surprisingly funny and warm for such a serious subject matter.
Seventeen-year old Hazel has had terminal cancer for much of her young life. A miracle drug has given her more time, but she and her doctors know that it is only a temporary reprieve. Her life is pretty routine and depressing until the day that a new guy shows up at the kids’ cancer support group she attends. Augustus Waters is unlike anyone Hazel has ever met before. He is honest and funny and is a big believer in metaphor. Oh, and he’s gorgeous, with a crooked smile that Hazel loves.
Hazel does end up sharing her favorite book with Augustus, but I don’t want to say much more about what happens because the plot includes some surprises. The relationship between the three friends – and especially between Hazel and Augustus – is at the heart of this novel. John Green’s talent for realistic teen dialogue shines through, and the book is filled with warmth, depth, emotion, and surprising humor. I literally did laugh and cry while reading it. A book that can make me feel such a wide range of emotions is certainly a winner.“My favorite book, by a wide margin, was An Imperial Affliction, but I didn’t like to tell people about it. Sometimes, you read a book and it fills you with this weird evangelical zeal, and you become convinced that the shattered world will never be put back together again unless and until all living humans read the book. And then there are books like An Imperial Affliction, which you can’t tell people about, books so special and rare and yours that advertising your affection feels like a betrayal.”