Summary: (From Goodreads)
Despite the tumor-shrinking medical miracle that has bought her a few years, Hazel has never been anything but terminal, her final chapter inscribed upon diagnosis. But when a gorgeous plot twist named Augustus Waters suddenly appears at Cancer Kid Support Group, Hazel's story is about to be completely rewritten.
Review: I know, I live under a rock. Well, not particularly. I live under a 'I don't enjoy crying' rock. I've heard about this book. A LOT. With the buzz around this book, who couldn't?
My kids have been asking me/telling me/YELLING at me to read this book. However, I am an emotional person. I cry easily. Sappy romantics, animal injuries, threats, etc. I knew this was a tear-jerker. I knew at least someone would die. So I refused to read the book. Then I realized that was a rather shitty thing for me to do. I am a middle school (6th-8th grade) librarian. This is the book my kids are reading and asking recommendations from. I need to read this book so that I can know more than the basics and help my students. Boy was I in for a shock.
I didn't cry. I didn't even really care for the books! Overall, I felt like I missed several chapters. I didn't feel any connection between Hazel and Gus. I felt like a lot of the "love" was forced, (however typical of a young romance) and I felt the story was a bit too fantastical.
Both characters seemed too 'perfect.' Here's the girl who is dying but graduates early and is taking college courses. And this super cute boy who flirts like no-other who talks like a grandpa. Who is SO in love he is willing to spend his make-a-wish on this chick he just met.
While that sounds selfless, newsflash: he only does it to get in her pants. Literally. He even ADMITS this.
I felt no sympathy for these characters. The characters I connected the most with? Hazel's parents.
Hazel's parents are stuck in the middle of wanting their daughter to be active in life, safe from all harm, spend time with them, and yet not holding back. They are in the mourning process without trying to show that they are. That is tragic. Being a mother myself, I can't imagine living knowing that my child is basically on her death bed. How can I live my own life while telling Taylor to live hers? I would want to spend every minute I can with her, even though that would be selfish. She should be happy and spend her time living the short life she has.
It goes almost without saying that the ONLY time my eyes even misted in this book was towards the end of the book where the mom lets it be known to Hazel that she has been planning for the 'future' and had been keeping it a secret from her daughter. She had been taking classes towards becoming a social worker, and didn't want her daughter to feel like she was thinking less of her daughter.
THAT alone was the only redeeming quality of this book. I felt John Green really understood a parent's anguish. Oh gosh, the feels are back.
Oh yeah, there was love here, wasn't there? This was something that I abhorred, but understood. I can see why teen and preteens would love this kind of book. Love without conditions. Love without strings. Love is love. However love came after eying each other up. Creepily. Brazenly. She goes home with him, with in the first hour she meets him. (See why I thought I missed a chapter?)
Overall, here is how I felt in gif form:
Rating: 1 star