Obviously, this is a book review blog. I mostly read Young Adult books, but I try to branch out every once and a while as well!
I avoided this book for a long time. I had heard about it, and, more importantly, what it was about, and despite fantastic reviews it was getting, I didn't want to read it. It sounded like a gimmick that served no purpose other than to make me cry, or something that was trying to be inspirational, and working far too hard. It wasn't until I began reading other John Green books that I trusted him and his writing enough to give this book a try.
Firstly, this book is not gimmicky. It did not try too hard to be inspirational, though I'd be lying if I said that it didn't make me think. It's sole purpose was not to make you feel awful for these kids with cancer, or make you cry. I mean, you do feel bad for the kids, but the book didn't seek to gain your pity. It made the characters real, bigger than the cancer. At the heart of it all, it's a love story, and a good one, which just so happens to be tragic. Yes, there were parts that made me sob uncontrollably. However, there were also parts that had me nearly rolling around on the floor with laughter.
The characters are very realistic. I haven't read a whole lot of caner novels, and I don't have cancer myself, so I can't be sure, but I feel like the characters act and think in accordance to how someone in their situation might act or think. They aren't perfect, but people in real life aren't perfect. Hazel is bitter, but can crack a joke, and she has a likable concern for her friends and family. Augustus is pretentious, but also has an admiral dedication for the people close to him, and, of course, a stellar sense of humor. They grow on you throughout the story, and I didn't realize how much I really cared for them until late into the story. Sometimes they made me sad, sometimes they made me angry, but I loved them all the same.
This book was better than I expected, which might be difficult to believe, since it had such rave reviews. It isn't just a book about cancer, though it does heavily contribute to the plot. It's a book about people, and the challenges that they have to face in their lives. John Green handles everything beautifully, as always, and fails to disappoint.
Four Point Five out of Five Stars