Hazel Grace Lancaster is sixteen years old and dying of Stage 4 Thyroid cancer with metastasis forming in her lungs. She was supposed to have her whole life ahead of her but instead it has been snatched away. Hazel is hooked up to a breathing machine and on an experimental drug called Phalanxifor, which seems to be helping. She has different ideas about what to do with the remainder of her life, but instead she is forced to attend a support group for children who are living with cancer to make friends and to live her life. Isaac is a friend of Hazel’s at the support group, who lost an eye when he was younger to cancer, and is horrified and crushed to learn that he will have to remove his other eye, too. Attending group on night, Hazel meets the most gorgeous guy in the world: Augustus “Gus” Waters, who is in remission after amputating his right leg because of osteosarcoma. Hazel is immediately taken with Augustus, and thrilled that he seems to be interested in her. After the meeting, they hang out together, and Hazel almost writes him off when he pops a cigarette into his mouth, but relaxes when he explains it is only metaphorical.
The two start to spend a lot of time together, watching movies and reading one another’s favourite books. Hazel recommends An Imperial Affliction to Augustus, which was written by Peter can Houten. She reads Augustus’s favourite book, a novelisation of his ultimate favourite video game, and she enjoys it. Augustus is completely taken with An Imperial Affliction, and is unhappy that is just ends. He, like Hazel, has many questions to ask about what happens to the remaining characters of the book. Hazel and Augustus spend a lot of time flirting with each other, and Hazel finds that she quite likes being normal by any which standards. However, the two deal with Isaac’s shattered heart when his girlfriend Monica dumps him because she can’t deal with anything anymore. Isaac is an empty shell of a person, and more concerned about losing his girlfriend than losing his eye. Hazel’s parents are thrilled that she has made friends and has a boyfriend, though Hazel starts to put distance between herself and Augustus. She does not want to hurt him, what with the knowledge that she will die. She does not want to inflict pain, especially after she finds out his previous girlfriend Caroline Mathers died of cancer, too. She feels like a grenade, and is worried about hurting him even more.
Augustus starts writing to Peter van Houten, the author who wrote An Imperial Affliction, and asks questions. Van Houten is not very helpful in terms of telling them more, but it sounds like he will share the rest of the story with them if they come in person. Augustus has his wish saved from The Genies and decides to use it to go to Amersterdam, Netherlands, with Hazel. She is shocked and moved by the gesture, but she lands up with a terrible bout of pneumonia and in the hospital, and the trip is cancelled. When she is released, things continue as normal, and later it is said that she can go. However, their trip is slightly marred when the meeting completely flops. Van Houten is a rude and nasty alcoholic and a total loser, and a total disappointment. Instead of allowing him to ruin their trip, Hazel realises that she is in love with Augustus, and that she wants to be with him, no matter what. Augustus is thrilled to hear, but then drops a bomb on Hazel – his cancer is back and has metastasized greatly. Hazel is crushed by the knowledge, and soon realises that Augustus might be the grenade, and not herself.
Augustus’s cancer worsens, and Isaac has gotten over his breakup and is doing everything he can to be there for Augustus. Hazel is permanently by his side, and is terrified of losing him, but realising that is may be a very real possibility. Their relationship continues, and many odd and entertaining and heart-breaking things spot their little love story. Augustus was supposed to be the healthy one, the one that was going to outlive his college student girlfriend. The Waters family is struggling to deal with it, and Hazel sees what someone dying does to a family, and worries about hers. Will they survive after she dies, which is inevitable? Will Hazel be able to deal with anything that happens to her love? Will Isaac be alright with whatever is happening with his greatest friend?
Everyone was carrying on about it, but it was Elina who finally convinced me when she spoke so highly of it. So it had to be done, I had to see what this entire rave was about before the movie assaults us all. I must say, I really enjoyed it. It was a good read, and I like John Green’s writing style, I really appreciated it. This book gives a whole different outlook on cancer patients, once again, and gives you another look at how selfish others can be about it, and how much they deal with. I loved the characters, and Augustus Waters was just too damned adorable. The book kept me interested throughout, and it was great fun to follow Augustus and Hazel on their journey of reading, cancer and wishes and dreams. There were a lot of laughs and there was a lot of tough things to work through, and Isaac made me giggle, he had quite the sense of humour. John Green is pretty damn sharp, which is demonstrated time and time again throughout the novel. This is definitely not the type of book that I would generally read, so I was a little sceptical, especially considering there was a lot of hype surrounding it, but I think it was well justified. If you have not yet read this book, I would highly recommend it.