Synopsis (as taken from the inside cover): 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.
My Impression: I should’ve titled this part “My Unpopular Opinion” because I know that many people are absolutely in love with this book and will likely disagree with what I have to say. First, let me just state that I really wanted to like this book. No, I wanted to LOVE this book. I saw it everywhere, I read reviews of it on goodreads.com, I asked everyone I knew that read it how they felt about it. Everyone seemed to have the same impression: they laughed, they cried buckets of tears, and they couldn’t wait to see the movie. I finally got my hands on a copy and read it and I have to say . . . meh.
What I liked: I liked that there was some character growth with Hazel. She came to a place, emotionally, that I hoped she would before the end of the book and I think that gave me some closure, as a reader.
I liked the raw image that this book painted of cancer. The characters talked, in a few places, of how flowery other people made it seem and how they always said what a brave fight cancer patients had fought, when they died, but how no one talked about the reality of the suffering that they (cancer patients) endured. I think that John Green did a beautiful job of honoring that suffering and bringing it to the forefront. I think that it will cause readers to think about the people that they may know, who have cancer, and whether or not they’re treating them like a person or a cancer patient and I think that’s huge. Bravo.
What I didn’t like: I felt that the characters were extremely pretentious and it had nothing to do with their age or experience. I found myself, several times, asking John Green out loud, “Who talks like that?!” In one place, toward the very end of the book, Isaac (a friend of Augustus) finally calls him out on being pretentious. I mentally high-fived that kid. It was about time someone noticed.
Call me crazy, but I didn’t really feel like these two characters actually fell for each other except that the author made it so. It all seemed very forced, unless you believe that physical attraction is the basis of instant deep romantic feeling and emotional bonding (which I don’t). As for me, I just didn’t buy it.
I found the twist and the ending to be very predictable. I spent the first half of the book hoping that I was wrong and that the author would surprise me and the rest of the book thinking, “I knew it.” It was disappointing. The foreshadowing was also extremely obvious. I think the predictability, for me, really robbed the book of its potential emotional impact.