Sixteen year old Hazel has had a traumatic life, first getting diagnosed with cancer at just aged twelve. Sadly, it has got to the point in which her cancer is incurable and she knows that she doesn’t have much time left so she has to live everyday as it comes. Whilst taking drugs to help keep her tumour under control, and carrying an oxygen tank around daily to control her breathing, Hazel knows that soon enough she will be leaving her loved ones behind.
Along comes cancer survivor, Augustus. Hazel and Augustus meet at a cancer support group meeting, in which Augustus is in remission after losing his leg to the disease. Soon enough, Hazel and Gus hit it off and slowly but surely fall in love. Little did Hazel know just how much her life was going to change…
Despite the fact I adored this book, I have to be completely honest and say that I was slightly disappointed by it. For weeks, even months, I have constantly read reviews and tweets emphasising just how amazing this book was and how it was a huge “must read”. Therefore, due to the huge hype that surrounded it, I feel as though I set my expectations too high which disappointed me in the long run.
That’s not to say that I disliked it though. I really didn’t. The characters were so beautifully written and there are so many deep and meaningful messages throughout the book which make you pause for a moment and realise how much you should treasure life. Not once did the book come across exaggerated or unrealistic – it felt as though every part of the book and every character was a true resemblance of reality.
I seemed to go through every emotion imaginable when reading this book. I laughed, I cried, I felt happy, I felt sad… I experienced a rollercoaster of emotions, yet they all seemed to have a meaning behind them.
I have read a few comments previously written by people who have said that they would not like to read a book merely about cancer. However, after reading the book, I wouldn’t say the book is totally about cancer as such. Yes, the main character has cancer and yes, much of the story talks about the illness and day-to-day ways of dealing with it, but it is much more than that. It is a love story which has a hundred different meanings behind it. Not just romantic love, but love between families and friends too.
The story is all told through Hazel’s eyes which was very interesting to get a sense of how she was feeling and the thoughts that go through her head. I will admit that at times I felt as though she didn’t come across too nice, such as when she shouted at her parents. However, I soon realised “who am I to judge?”. Despite the fact she had cancer, she was just a normal teenager. She shouldn’t be looked at differently at all. I suppose I was thinking that if your end was coming soon then the last thing you would want to do is upset the people you are leaving behind, but life isn’t like that. Everybody goes through ups and downs and loses their temper. Just because she is unwell doesn’t mean she should constantly try to be happy and brave.
Augustus was a saint. What a gorgeous and loving young man. From the very moment we meet him it was so obvious that it was almost like love at first sight when he first met Hazel. It was as if he would do anything for her; it was adorable. I’m not going to say much more about him because I want you to meet him and fall in love with him for yourself!
I think this book is most definitely worth a read. I’m certain that I will be reading this book again sometime in the near future. It helps put life into perspective and helps you realise how precious life really is. The characters were so loveable and I cannot recall the amount of times I was reduced to tears. Sad tears, but also happy tears. It is a love story that I will never forget and will be recommending to people in years to come, I’m sure!