Written by: John Green
Published by: Dutton books, an imprint of Penguin Group January 2012
Length: 313 pages
Hazel is a 16 year old teen living with Stage 4 cancer. She’s living because of a miracle drug that has somehow slowed down the progress of cancer,shrunken her tumors and yet her whole life is also on hold. She’s no longer in school, she has no social life, and then her mom decides Hazel is depressed. Forced to attend a support group for young cancer patients, Hazel is unimpressed and bored until one night when she meets devastatingly handsome Augustus Waters, a friend of Isaac, the only person she has befriended in group. As Hazel and Augustus become friends she shares her other love with him. She is in love with a book and it’s author, AN IMPERIAL AFFLICTION by Peter Van Houten. Seeking to learn more about each other, and to meet the elusive Van Houten becomes their mission, their last wish so to speak. Their journey begins.
I honestly felt I was called to this book from the many teens and others that continually purchased this book in the store in which I work. I’ve never been much of a follower of the Young Adult genre and had never heard of John Green, I’ve now decided I was just not cool enough. So many people are drawn to his books because they love the videos he and his brother Hank have on YouTube. I was clueless.
John Green wrote Hazel, Augustus, Isaac and all the teen characters as if he was in fact that age and could reach into their minds and know the dialogue and their thoughts. Hazel was so well done, from the way she struggled to make friends, because she has been so cloistered with just her parents for the past three years, to the way she wanted to have a relationship, a love, with Augustus. The single minded pursuit of the author Van Houten and answers to their questions about the book were perfect, so exactly what a teen would do in a fan crazed devotion.
I was in love with this book from the beginning, maybe a reader’s heart just clutches at young cancer patients, but it was more. Hazel is intelligent and she wants to stop living her life so safely, so predictably. She decides she wants love, and she wonders what she will leave when she leaves this world. Augustus was beyond beautiful as a teen boy, a friend, a person who really cared for Hazel, in every way. Green gave him beautiful words and a passion so great for love and life. I rated this book a 5 out of 5 stars, and I never want to forget the way it has made me feel. Get the book, borrow it, buy it, whatever, you won’t regret it.
John Green is all over the internet, he loves it. Twitter @realjohngreen